This is why I don't blog. I have read three stories tonight. And all three of them have made me so mad, I want to throw something.
Republican frontrunner Rudy Guiliani is a serial liar. Do we need to say more?
Giuliani faults the other Clinton
By JONATHAN ROOS [Des Moines] REGISTER STAFF WRITER
November 9, 2007
Ames, Ia. -Republican Rudy Giuliani, campaigning in Iowa the same day that Bill Clinton was in the Hawkeye State, charged Thursday that the former president had weakened the American military and intelligence services through spending cuts during his administration.
"Our military is too small to deal with the Islamic terrorism threats, but it really is too small to deter would-be aggressors to even think of challenging us. And that's due to Bill Clinton," Giuliani told students and others in the audience of about 350 at Iowa State University's Memorial Union.
"Bill Clinton cut our military and our intelligence budget by such a huge amount that we've never made up the difference," said the former New York mayor, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.Giuliani said in response to a question about relations with China that the United States needs a bigger military, including at least 10 more combat brigades and a 300-ship Navy.
I know, I know. My sides are hurting from the extreme discomfort of hearing those outrageous lies. There are people eating that stuff up. There are people who are, no doubt, in complete agreement with Guiliani.
Well, let's debunk this bullshit.
The following is the record of Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense, prior to the Clinton Administration, and all of these items come from defenselink.mil:
...Early in 1991 the secretary unveiled a plan to reduce military strength by the mid-1990s to 1.6 million, compared to 2.2 million when he entered office. In his budget proposal for FY 1993, his last one, Cheney asked for termination of the B-2 program at 20 aircraft, cancellation of the Midgetman, and limitations on advanced cruise missile purchases to those already authorized. When introducing this budget, Cheney complained that Congress had directed Defense to buy weapons it did not want, including the V-22, M-1 tanks, and F-14 and F-16 aircraft, and required it to maintain some unneeded reserve forces. His plan outlined about $50 billion less in budget authority over the next 5 years than the Bush administration had proposed in 1991. Sen. Sam Nunn of the Senate Armed Services Committee said that the 5-year cuts ought to be $85 billion, and Rep. Les Aspin of the House Armed Services Committee put the figure at $91 billion.
Over Cheney's four years as secretary of defense, encompassing budgets for fiscal years 1990-93, DoD's total obligational authority in current dollars declined from $291.3 billion to $269.9 billion. Except for FY 1991, when the TOA budget increased by 1.7 percent, the Cheney budgets showed negative real growth: -2.9 percent in 1990, -9.8 percent in 1992, and -8.1 percent in 1993. During this same period total military personnel declined by 19.4 percent, from 2.202 million in FY 1989 to 1.776 million in FY 1993. The Army took the largest cut, from 770,000 to 572,000-25.8 percent of its strength. The Air Force declined by 22.3 percent, the Navy by 14 percent, and the Marines by 9.7 percent.
And everyone agreed--the end of the Cold War brought a "peace dividend." Remember those days? You can trace a straight line from the decisions made during the first Bush administration to the size and capability of our military today. Who started the ball rolling, as far as "reducing" the size of our military?
Here's what defenselink.mil has to say about the three SecDefs under Clinton, one of whom (Cohen) was a Republican. Let's start with Les Aspin--who was a disasterous choice:
Development of the Defense budget for FY 1994, beginning on 1 October 1993, remained Aspin's biggest task. The budget process proved more complicated than usual, owing to Clinton's campaign pledge to reduce DoD funding and to a "bottom-up review" of the military structure ordered by Aspin shortly after he took office. The end of the Cold War and the consequent opportunity to cut military costs clearly called for the kind of reevaluation of ends and means that the bottom-up review might contribute. A Pentagon steering group chaired by Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) John M. Deutch and including representatives from various OSD offices, the Joint Staff, and the services conducted the review.
Because of the growing threat of regional conflicts, Aspin wanted to have a strong capability to carry out limited military operations, including peacekeeping, and to maintain "a strong peacetime presence of U.S. forces around the world." The bottom-up review report, which Aspin released in September 1993, took into account strategy formulation, force structure, weapon systems modernization, and Defense infrastructure. The report projected a reduced force structure still capable of fighting and winning two simultaneous major regional conflicts. Forces would include 10 active Army divisions; 11 carrier battle groups, 45 to 55 attack submarines, and about 345 ships; 5 active Marine brigades; and 13 active and 7 reserve Air Force fighter wings. The report also called for additional prepositioned equipment and airlift/sealift capacity, improved anti-armor and precision-guided munitions, and enhanced Army National Guard combat brigade readiness.
As always with secretaries of defense, the formulation of the Defense budget and shepherding it through Congress was one of Perry's most important duties. The problem of how to deal with a large projected Defense budget shortfall for the period 1995-2000, an issue that weakened Aspin and contributed to his resignation, per-sisted when Perry took office. Immediately on presenting his 1995 budget request, which he termed "a post-Cold War budget," Perry stated that Defense required a few more years of downsizing and that its infrastructure needed streamlining as well. The proposal, he said, maintained a ready-to-fight force, redirected a modernization program (including a strong research and development program), initiated a program to do business differently (acquisition reform), and reinvested defense dollars in the economy.
Perry asked for $252.2 billion for FY 1995, including funds for numerous weapon systems, such as a new aircraft carrier, three Aegis cruisers, and six C-17 cargo aircraft. The budget projected a further cut of 85,500 in active duty military personnel, leaving a force of 1.52 million. Ultimately Congress provided $253.9 billion TOA, about $2 billion more than in FY 1994, but actually a 1.2 percent cut in real growth.
When he presented the FY 1998 budget, Cohen noted that he would involve himself with the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which would focus on the challenges to U.S. security and the nation's military needs over the next decade or more. When the QDR became public in May 1997, it did not fundamentally alter the budget, structure, and doctrine of the military. Some defense experts thought it gave insufficient attention to new forms of warfare, such as terrorist attacks, electronic sabotage, and the use of chemical and biological agents. In commenting on the QDR, Cohen stated that the Pentagon would retain the two regional wars scenario adopted after the end of the Cold War. He decided to scale back purchases of jet fighters, including the Air Force's F-22 and the Navy's F/A-18E/F, as well as Navy surface ships. The review included cutting another 61,700 active duty service members--15,000 in the Army, 26,900 in the Air Force, 18,000 in the Navy, and 1,800 in the Marine Corps, as well as 54,000 reserve forces, mainly in the Army National Guard, and some 80,000 civilians department-wide. Cohen also decided to recommend two more rounds of base closings in 1999 and 2001. The Pentagon hoped to save $15 billion annually over the next few years to make possible the purchase of new equipment and weapon systems without a substantial budget increase above the current level of $250 billion.
Those criticisms of Cohen look about right--we should have been more focused on terrorism in the 1990s. But who took over in 2001 and basically ignored the warnings of people like Richard Clarke? Who didn't do anything to respond to the bombing of the USS Cole when we found out who was responsible for that bombing in 2001?
Today, we still have ten active Army divisions. We reduced our Army to ten on a gradual basis--starting with the direction set by the first Bush administration after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We had ten when Clinton left office. We had ten when we went to war in Iraq in 2003. So for Guiliani to say that our military is too small because of something Clinton did all by himself is ludicrous. Bear in mind--after the 1994 mid-term elections, each and every Defense bill had to pass a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. You know--the people who were thrown out of office for incompetence in 2006? The Duke Cunningham crowd? And there's no mistaking what the agreed-upon direction was--the downsizing of our military in the wake of the end of the Cold War.
We saw reductions in the size of our military because of the direction this country took after the Cold War. Secretary of Defense Cheney cut more people from our military, by my count, than Aspin, Perry and Cohen combined. They all cut people because that was the strategic vision as agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats throughout the 1990s. Sometimes it makes my head want to explode--nothing happens without compromise and nothing gets done without both parties finding common ground. But why does Guiliani get away with criticizing what Clinton supposedly did when each and every defense appropriation bill was gone over with a fine-toothed comb by every Republican in the House and Senate, who were all desperate to find some way to embarrass or criticizen Clinton?
Today's military is the size that it is because of a trend in American policymaking that structured our military based on the post-Cold War realities, and not so much on what would happen if someone's crazy kid started wars all over the place and had about as much success as a drunken frat boy trying to get laid in a convent.
Will our media reveal Guiliani to be the serial liar and exaggerator that he is?
I kinda doubt it.