Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Panetta: 'Trigger' Cuts "would do real damage to our security"

The Debt-Ceiling bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday contains a stipulation stating that if a special House-Senate committee can not agree on a deficit-reduction plan by year's end, or Congress rejects its proposal, it would trigger automatic cuts to both defense and domestic programs.

Sen. Jon Kyl noted on Tuesday that it was the President and Congressional Democrats who insisted on inserting the mechanism into the bill that could potentially slash about a half trillion dollars from the defense budget.

"Can you imagine anything more irresponsible than for the commander in chief of the military to promote, not just promote, but insist on the knowing destruction of the U.S. military as a means to threaten Congress?" Kyl asked in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

In a letter to Defense Department personnel posted Wednesday morning on the Pentagon’s Web site, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that additional spending cuts to the defense budget would harm the "military’s ability to protect America."

"I will do everything I can to ensure that further reductions in defense spending are not pursued in a hasty, ill-conceived way that would undermine the military’s ability to protect America and its vital interests around the globe," Panetta wrote in the letter. "For example, the debt ceiling agreement contains a sequester mechanism that would take effect if Congress fails to enact further deficit reduction. If that happens, it could trigger a round of dangerous across-the-board defense cuts that would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our ability to protect the nation...."

However, as opposed to Sen.Kyl who lashed out at the President for insisting "on the knowing destruction of the U.S. military as a means to threaten Congress", Panetta carefully glided over the fact that it was Obama and his cohorts who inserted the mechanism in the bill, that, if activated, would effect deep, unsustainable cuts to the defense budget.

"Indeed, this outcome would be completely unacceptable to me as Secretary of Defense, the President, and to our nation’s leaders," wrote Panetta. "That’s because we live in a world where terrorist networks threaten us daily, rogue nations seek to develop dangerous weapons, and rising powers watch to see if America will lose its edge. The United States must be able to protect our core national security interests with an adaptable force capable and ready to meet these threats and deter adversaries that would put those interests at risk. I will do all I can to assist the Administration and congressional leaders to make the commonsense cuts needed to avoid this sequester mechanism."

That's right, Panetta will do all he can to assist the administration and to make sure the administration's reckless behavior does not harm our national security.

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