Ziggy: Rebuttal of Rachel Kleinfeld’s Lies

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This article was originally published by Zbigniew Mazurak and subsequently posted on

The AOL Defense website has published yet another piece of  utter garbage written by a pro-Obama propagandist. This time, the author was Rachel Kleinfeld. Kleinfeld has stated a number of blatant lies, starting with the following:

“While the politicization of four American deaths in Libya has some of the media distracted, those of us who care about defense need to look past the hype. The “he-said, she-said” accusations on the Libyan tragedy are obscuring major differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on defense spending and strategy.”

Firstly, the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi has not been politicized; people are merely asking questions that are obviously uncomfortable for Obama, such as: “What did you know at the time this happened and shortly afterwards? Why were 16 Marines withdrawn from Benghazi despite Ambassador Stevens’ request that they be kept there?”

Secondly, the following claims are blatant lies (like the rest of this screed):

“President Obama’s goals are pretty clear. His main focus is ensuring that we have a strong economy to maintain American strength, so he is trying to keep non-stimulus spending down. “

FALSE. Obama has done NOTHING to keep “non-stimulus” spending down. Under his administration, non-defense spending has exploded across the board: in education, farm spending, transportation, HUD, failed “green energy projects”, and of course, entitlements, which are growing on autopilot and which Obama is shielding from any reform with his veto threats.

“He sees our future threats lying in Asia, and wants to rebalance more resources there. And he wants to invest in new energy sources so we move away from oil, and stop being dragged into endless Middle Eastern conflicts.”

FALSE. Obama is significantly CUTTING the US military’s size (except the construction of useless “Littoral Combat Ships” that can’t defend themselves) and is underresourcing his own SECDEF’s “pivot” to Asia. As for Obama’s “new energy sources” – don’t make me laugh. These “new energy sources” are utterly uneconomical, inefficient, interminent, and unreliable, and can never supply more than a few percent of America’s needs. Despite Obama wasting untold tens of billions of dollars on these green boondoggles, they have utterly FAILED to reduce America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil even slightly.

But while wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned money on these green boondoggles, Obama has consistently fought against the TRUE alternative sources of energy that can liberate America from Middle Eastern oil: natural gas, Canadian oil, and coal. Obama has declared war on coal, has openly admitted that he hopes to eliminate it as an energy source and bankrupt coal electric plants, and has vetoed the Keystone Pipeline.

“his plan actually expands defense spending overall, which will rise with the rate of inflation. But Obama will be cutting the rate of growth we’ve been on during the post 9/11 era…”

FALSE. Obama’s plan does NOT expand defense spending at all – it will cut it. Defense spending will NOT rise with inflation – it will be cut in real terms. As the CBO has documented in this report, defense spending, even without sequestration, will, under Obama’s plan, decline in real terms from 535 bn today to 521 bn in January and not return to its present level until FY2018 at the earliest. But if sequestration – which was OBAMA’S idea – goes through, defense spending will be cut down to 469 bn and thereafter grow so slowly that it will not recover for at least a decade – if ever.

So under Obama’s plan – and sequestration is a part of it – defense spending will be cut in real terms, and significantly so.

“Governor Romney, meanwhile, wants to spend 4 percent of America’s GDP on the Pentagon – but he doesn’t seem to know why.”

FALSE. Gov. Romney has already said what exactly the money would be spent on: building a 350-ship Navy (and his advisors have already specified what classes of ships he would procure), replacing the USAF’s obsolete aircraft, speeding up the Next Gen Bomber, and reversing Obama’s cut of 100,000 troops.

“Meanwhile, Gordon Adams, who oversaw Pentagon budgets at the Office of Management and Budget under Clinton, has warned that spending at that level will further slow our economy by adding to the deficit.”

This is utter garbage, coming of course from a strident liberal who orchestrated President Clinton’s disastrous defense cuts and who is still lying about defense spending to this day (and has repeatedly been rebuked by me for doing so). 4% of GDP is a very modest amount. The US spent a much LARGER percentage of its GDP on defense throughout all of the Cold War except FY1948 and the Carter years, yet, the economy didn’t collapse. Under President Reagan, the US spent 6% of GDP on defense, yet, under his presidency, the US economy expanded rapidly, by a size equivalent to that of the economy of West Germany at the time.

“According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments Romney’s desire to match Pentagon spending to 4 percent of our GDP would cost up to $2.3 trillion over eight years. “

But those numbers are dead wrong. They’re not even close to being correct. Increasing defense spending from 3.47% of GDP (today’s level) to just 4% of GDP wouldn’t even come CLOSE to adding $2.3 trillion over eight years (or even then years) to the defense budget. Not even close.

America’s GDP is currently $15.29 trillion, so 4% out of that GDP is $611 bn, just $90 bn above Obama’s proposed defense budget for FY2013 ($521 bn). Even if GDP rapidly grows to a full $17 trillion within the next eight years, 4% out of that would still be only $680 bn, not even close to being as high above President Obama’s plans as the CSBA claims. And that’s assuming an absurdly rapid pace of economic growth.

If the CSBA’s claim were true – which it isn’t – Romney would have to add $287.5 to the defense budget every year ($2.3 trillion over eight years). Romney does not plan or pledge to do anything of the sort. The CSBA’s numbers are dead wrong.

“To put that in perspective: last year we invested about $58 billion across all U.S. transportation improvements. Or to compare foreign policy tools: the annual budget for the entire State Department and USAID is about $50 billion.”

And where in the Constitution are such items authorized? Nowhere. They are unconstitutional. Defense, OTOH, is the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government. And Governor Romney has proposed a plan to invest a modest, but sufficient amount of money in it – an amount which will not bankrupt the Treasury or destroy the economy.

“Where would that money go? The governor has been vague…”

Wrong. He and his defense affairs advisors, particularly Dov Zakheim and John Lehman, have already said where the money would go: primarily Navy and Air Force modernization and numbers buildup.

“Romney also wants to add more ships to our navy, building 15 a year instead of our current 9. Some naval expansion may make sense…”

“May” make sense? It WOULD make sense, because as I have already documented numerous times, the Navy is currently too small. It can meet only 59% of Combatant Commanders’ requests for ships and only 61% of their requests for subs. (See the enclosed picture.) It is way overstretched and not large enough to underwrite Obama’s under-resourced paper pivot to Asia. Building just 9 ships per year is pathetic. Under President Reagan’s Navy Secretary John Lehman (now one of Romney’s closest advisors and the architect of Romney’s naval buildup plan), the Navy was building 24 ships per year.

If Obama is reelected and his meagre shipbuilding plans are enacted, the Navy’s submarine, cruiser, and destroyer fleets will decline precipitously, as documented by CRS’s Ronald O’Rourke, who says that even doesn’t account for Obama’s plan to decommission 7 of the Navy’s newest Tico class cruisers prematurely.

“but as usual, Romney doesn’t indicate why he’s doing it. If Russia is our main enemy, as he has said, well – their warm-water ports are pretty meager. He may be trying to inhibit China – they did just get their first aircraft carrier. But they currently lack the know-how to land planes on it.”

WRONG. Romney has already indicated why he’s doing it: to supply the Combatant Commanders with the number of ships and submarines they need, instead of the meagre 59% and 61%, respectively, that they get. The Pacific Command says it needs 16-18 attack submarines permanently, but the Navy can only give PACOM ten, because all of its other attacks subs are committed elsewhere.

The Chinese are already practicing landing on carriers at their land bases (counterparts of Pax River) and have practiced touch-and-go landings on their 1st carrier. They also have 68 submarines (almost as many as the USN has) and growing, as well as very large and modern surface combatant fleets.

And the Russian Navy is not to be dismissed. It has 63 subs (and growing, thanks to Putin’s shipbuilding plans – Putin, unlike Obama, understands the value of a large Navy), most of them quieter than all of the USN’s subs except those of the Seawolf and Virginia classes… which (along with China) is part of why Romney wants more Virginias.

“In fact, Governor Romney’s proposal is mostly bluster. He’s actually likely to preside over the greatest post-Cold War drawdown in our nation’s defense. That’s because he hasn’t had the character to fight his own party as they threaten $500 billion in additional cuts to the Pentagon.”

That’s a blatant lie. Sequestration was OBAMA’S idea, HE demanded its inclusion in the debt ceiling deal, and HE threatens to let it kick in and to veto any attempt to undo it unless it involves massive tax hikes. This has been documented by Bob Woodward in his latest book, and confirmed by him shortly after Monday’s presidential debate.

“You see, last year, Congress put a gun to its own head to force itself to pass a smarter budget.”

No, it didn’t. OBAMA demanded defense sequestration’s inclusion in the debt ceiling deal (as documented by Bob Woodward in his latest book), while Gov. Romney OPPOSED sequestration from the very beginning.

“Instead, congressional Republicans are refusing to budge on the budget until it enshrines tax cuts for millionaires. (…) But right now, Republican no-tax ideologues are beating Republican hawks politically, and they are holding the military hostage for tax cuts to the wealthy. So despite his desire to look tough on defense, Romney could well preside over $500 billion in defense cuts.”

FALSE. Republicans want to preserve tax cuts for ALL Americans, while Obama and his congressional allies want to tax hikes on “the rich” – whom they define as anyone earning over 200,000 dollars a year – and thus penalize people for being successful. But these “rich” Americans are the ones who create jobs, invest in stuff, and employ other people, and they already pay 70% of federal taxes.

The only reason why sequestration hasn’t been resolved yet is because President Obama and the Democrats are threatening to reject any solution that does not involve massive tax hikes. THEY, not fiscal conservatives or defense hawks, are holding the US military hostage.

And holding the US military hostage to the threat of sequestration is downright despicable and unbefitting a commander-in-chief.

House Republicans have already passed solutions to sequestration – only to be met with veto threats by Obama and with refusal to act by the Senate. Obama and Senate Democrats, for their part, have proposed NO solutions to sequestration whatsoever and have offered only their traditional partisan blame games. But Republicans aren’t interested in blame games; they are interested in solutions.

By the by, under Republican leadership, the House has passed not only solutions to sequestration, but also a complete federal budget, 7 of the 12 regular Appropriations bills, and a National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate, under dysfunctional and totally ineffective Democratic “leadership”, has not done ANY of these things, even despite Secretary Panetta’s repeated calls and despite Sen. McCain’s heroic efforts to get these bills passed.

The facts are clear: one party has delivered and the house of Congress it controls has done its job. The other party has utterly failed.

If a President Romney and a Republican-controlled Congress are elected, sequestration will be finally resolved without massive tax hikes on American employers. If the Democrats are reelected, we will only see continued dysfunction and inaction, just like we have seen for the past 4 years. America cannot afford this.

The opinions expressed by Ziggy’s Defense Blog do not necessarily reflect those of

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