In the midst of a mad, mad period in America’s history, comes a report that indicates President Obama is keeping his sanity while (as the poet Kipling might have said) those about him are losing theirs and blaming it on him.
I’m talking about the announcement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the Pentagon plans to cut $78 billion from its budget over the next five years.
It’s about time somebody reined in the Pentagon. America spends more than $650 billion a year on its military, and with wars and more wars on the horizon, prospects for a reduction didn’t look good. Especially with saber rattling right wingers taking over the House of Representatives.
These right wingers are busy trying to repeal Obama’s health care reform law, despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office said this would add $145 billion to the deficit through the end of the decade, and $230 billion by 2021. And despite the fact that they campaigned on a promise to cut the deficit.
The Obama Administration can make many of the proposed military budget cuts unilaterally. But some require Congressional approval.
In this crazy Congress anything could happen. The motley crew of newcomers represents a hodgepodge of contradictory convictions. Some demand the kind of “freedom” they believe the Founding Fathers wanted, yet bombastically promote war, ignoring the 1795 admonition by President James Madison that:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
Now, if the president and Congress would only do something to end those wars…