Monday, February 25, 2013

Scared of the Sequester, or, Panic on the Darkling Plain

William Kristol is very worried about the defense spending cuts scheduled to happen Friday:
The plain is darkling. The world grows more dangerous. Yet we heedlessly slash our military preparedness. Iran hastens toward a nuclear weapon, which would pose an existential threat to Israel and signal a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Yet the president nominates for secretary of defense a man who is patently unqualified for the position, who despises Israel, and who has a record of being exceedingly solicitous of Iran. We win in Iraq and make progress in Afghanistan, thanks to the valor and sacrifice of our troops, and the president puts these accomplishments at great risk because he chooses to pander to public war weariness rather than attend to America’s national interests.

Our political armies are confused or ignorant. A foolish and dangerous sequester looms, one both parties promised would never happen. But neither party now can be troubled to put forth a credible proposal to avert it. President Obama views the moment as an opportunity for scoring cheap political points. Republicans are so desperate for a “victory” over Obama that they now embrace Obama’s foolish idea, and so are willing to sacrifice national defense for minor cuts in domestic spending which will in no way fundamentally change our trajectory toward national insolvency and a nanny state.
This notion that the world "grows more dangerous" baffles me. How is Iran having the bomb any more dangerous than Pakistan or North Korea having the bomb? And how does any of that compare to the nuclear standoff between the US and the Soviet Union, which the world somehow managed to survive?

Isn't this a democracy, where the citizens are supposed to decide for themselves which wars are worth fighting?

I have much more at stake here than the average American, since I make my living off the largess of the government, and some projects I was planning to spend the year working on may be cut. But, really, $85 billion out of the whole Federal budget, and our civilization is at risk? Oh, the darkling plain! Oh, the ignorant armies! Will no wise man step forward to save us from this clash by night?


UPDATE: Pat Buchanan -- yes, I'm quoting Pat Buchanan, so shoot me -- said of similar hysteria from Jennifer Rubin,
Remarkable. Our uncles and fathers turned the Empire of the Sun and Third Reich into cinders in four years, and this generation is all wee-weed up over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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