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Obama criticizes a Cold War approach to defense

Rez O. Lewshun

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Obama criticizes a Cold War approach to defense
By LIZ SIDOTI (AP) – 3 hours ago
PHOENIX — President Barack Obama chastised the defense industry and a freespending Congress on Monday for wasting tax dollars "with doctrine and weapons better suited to fight the Soviets on the plains of Europe than insurgents in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan."
"Twenty years after the Cold War ended, this is simply not acceptable. It's irresponsible. Our troops and our taxpayers deserve better," he told a national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "If Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with a bunch of pork, I will veto it."
Turning to the two foreign wars engaging the United States, Obama spoke of fierce fighting against Taliban and other insurgents leading up to Thursday's national elections in Afghanistan. He said U.S. troops are working to secure polling places so the elections can go forward and Afghans can choose their own future.
Attaining that peaceful future "will not be quick, nor easy," Obama said.
He said the new U.S. strategy recognizes that al-Qaida has moved its bases into remote areas of Pakistan and that military power alone will not win that war. At the same time, confronting insurgents in Afghanistan "is fundamental to the defense of our people."
As to Iraq, Obama reiterated his commitment to remove all combat brigades by the end of next August and to remove remaining troops from the country by the end of 2011. U.S. troops withdrew from cities and other urban areas in June.
Obama, in his third appearance before the VFW but his first as president, got hearty applause and standing ovations as he spoke at the Phoenix Convention Center to several thousand veterans, though only about two-thirds of the seats were filled.
That may have been partly because he started his speech nearly an hour before it was scheduled. Aides say he was anxious to get back to Washington after a four-day trip out West that was part family vacation and part business, including the VFW speech and town hall meetings in Montana and Colorado to push his health care agenda.
Obama told the veterans that overhaul would not change how they get their medical services — and that nobody in Washington is talking about taking away or trimming their benefits.
Instead, he said he's instructed senior aides to work with the secretary of veterans affairs to come up with better ways to serve veterans.
Obama said he wants each of the 57 regional VA offices "to come up with the best ways of doing business, harnessing the best information technologies, breaking through the bureaucracy."
He said the government would then pay to put the best ideas into action "all with a simple mission — cut these backlogs, slash those wait times and deliver your benefits sooner."
Even at a time when Obama needs as much congressional support as he can summon for his health care priorities, he spared no party from his harsh critique of business-as-usual by some in the military establishment, some defense contractors and some lawmakers who write defense budgets.
He assailed "indefensible no-bid contracts that cost taxpayers billions and make contractors rich" and lashed out at "the special interests and their exotic projects that are years behind schedule and billions over budget."
He took on "the entrenched lobbyists pushing weapons that even our military says it doesn't want" and blistered lawmakers in Washington whose impulse he said was "to protect jobs back home building things we don't need (with) a cost that we can't afford."
He said such waste was unacceptable as the country fights two wars while mired in a deep recession.
"It's inexcusable. It's an affront to the American people and to our troops. And it's time for it to stop," Obama said.
As a candidate and as president, Obama has held up the weapons-buying process as the perfect example of what's wrong with Washington and why the public doesn't trust its leaders. He essentially picked a political fight with a large part of the congressional-military-industrial alliance.
He sounded much like his campaign rival of a year ago, Arizona Sen. John McCain. And, while in Arizona, Obama praised McCain for seeking to rein in costs and reform the weapons-buying process.
In seeking to overhaul the weapons-buying process, Obama hopes to make good on a campaign promise to change the way Washington does business. But it certainly won't be easy to do; lawmakers protecting jobs at home are certain to put up enormous fights over Obama's efforts to stop production on weapons like the F-22 fighter jet.
Despite objections and veto threats from the White House, a $636 billion Pentagon spending bill was approved by a 400-30 vote in the House late last month. It contains money for a much-criticized new presidential helicopter fleet, cargo jets that the Pentagon says aren't needed and an alternative engine for the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that military leaders say is a waste of money.
The Senate will deal with the spending measure in September.
The president laid out a vision of a nimble, well-armed and multilingual fighting force of the future, not one that was built to fight land battles against the Soviets in Europe.
"Because in the 21st century, military strength will be measured not only by the weapons our troops carry, but by the languages they speak and the cultures they understand," he said.
He praised McCain for joining him and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in opposing unneeded defense spending.
Shortly after Obama won the White House, McCain had pointedly suggested there was no need for the Marine Corps to bring on newer helicopters to ferry the president at a cost of billions of dollars.
On the subject of the helicopters, Obama told the veterans: "Now, maybe you've heard about this. Among its other capabilities, it would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack. Now, let me tell you something. If the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack."
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
 

TMMT

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Shades of Jimmy Carter all over again... were so ********************ed
 

Captain Morgan

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He's right, the way he's going... we're shaking hands with the Commies rather than fighting them. Que the Soviet National Anthem! :puke:
 

pilotyip

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Except it was 1977

Shades of Jimmy Carter all over again... were so ********************ed
Except Jimmy was still in the cold war when he followed through with the defense draw down started by Nixon and continued by Ford following the Vietnam War. Look at Soviet adventurizem in the late 70's and early 80's, most likey due to a world wide drawal of the US military. However times are differnet now and I agree with McCain and BO that these cold war weapon systems are not needed today. The MC-12 is the weapon of the day.
 

filejw

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Except Jimmy was still in the cold war when he followed through with the defense draw down started by Nixon and continued by Ford following the Vietnam War. Look at Soviet adventurizem in the late 70's and early 80's, most likey due to a world wide drawal of the US military. However times are differnet now and I agree with McCain and BO that these cold war weapon systems are not needed today. The MC-12 is the weapon of the day.


So right, we need to keep up with the times....
 

earhart

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He's right, the way he's going... we're shaking hands with the Commies rather than fighting them. Que the Soviet National Anthem! :puke:

Queue the Soviet.................. Although it would actually be cue in your foolish, ill-educated post.
 

waka

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Shades of Jimmy Carter all over again... were so ********************ed

Whatever Chicken Little. You would be bowing in praise if McCain got elected and did he same thing. You stumble over yourself so much that it isn't even funny anymore.
 

Draginass

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Looks like Obama is falling into the trap of preparing for the last war instead of the next one. Obama is a lightweight political hack.
 

Rez O. Lewshun

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Looks like Obama is falling into the trap of preparing for the last war instead of the next one. Obama is a lightweight political hack.


Always ready to send yours and my kids to their death?
 

pilotyip

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pilotyip

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I think

Think we could give detroit the can-cans?

Win-win!
A better win-win Rez and CD dropped off at Grand River and W Grand Blvd at 0300? They would be right at home, lots of liberals who believe in redistribution of income. However their sysyem willbe a little more direct than BO's. More like "Give it to me sucka"
 

embraerjetpilot

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Yeah or sending hundreds of thousands of soldiers to fight a war unprepared that only endangered us is better? Anything is forgivable after watching bush fire commanders that told him that they didnt have enough troops or the right equipment to do the job. That should have been treasonous.

Then again, we're talking about an administration that raised the terror threat level days before an election so that they could win it.
 

Full of LUV

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Well at least BO and I agree on one thing!

Yeah or sending hundreds of thousands of soldiers to fight a war unprepared that only endangered us is better? Anything is forgivable after watching bush fire commanders that told him that they didnt have enough troops or the right equipment to do the job. That should have been treasonous.

Then again, we're talking about an administration that raised the terror threat level days before an election so that they could win it.

Although I probably disagree with about 90% of BO's positions, I do believe that he, Gates and Mccain are correct in that congress wastes billions annually on weapons that are useless in todays reality. If China invaded Taiwan tomorrow, what would we do? Really, fly an F22 over Beijing? Carpet bomb with a B52? Reality is that we have tomohawks and other cruise missles (both conventional and nuclear) that can do the job. We are still buying the military poised to go to war with the communists instead of preparing for the current reality. It's been over 6 years since the reinvasion of Iraq and the Navy is still supplying the Army with thousands of bodies from Officers and enlisted to augment their force. That tells me one thing, the Army is either broken, or needs to be bigger and perhaps the Navy is too big. Beyond that, it is obscene to see what the AF spends on a daily basis in the desert in the name of "fighting" the war, all the while landing C17's, B1's gear up.
Al Queda is defeating the US the same way we beat the Soviets in the cold war, letting us spend ourselves into oblivion.
Rant off.....
 

Mud Eagle

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"Because in the 21st century, military strength will be measured not only by the weapons our troops carry, but by the languages they speak and the cultures they understand,"

Has the rest of the human race been informed of the new Obama Standard, or are they still working off the "old" paradigm that training, tactics, and weapons define military strength?

We need to make sure our future opponents got the memo when we show up for the war and start comparing number of languages we know to decide the winner.
 

SIG600

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Reminds me of the phrase "better to be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Your post is so full of holes I can see through to next week. Uneducated disposition at it's best. The liberals want nothing more than to cut funding down to the bare minimum of a fair fight for the other guy. The far right want it so lop sided we'll be bankrupt before war ever breaks out. Where's the middle ground?
 

Full of LUV

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Really....

Reminds me of the phrase "better to be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Your post is so full of holes I can see through to next week. Uneducated disposition at it's best. The liberals want nothing more than to cut funding down to the bare minimum of a fair fight for the other guy. The far right want it so lop sided we'll be bankrupt before war ever breaks out. Where's the middle ground?

Sig,
After nearly 20 years of active service, my love for my country, family and community allow me to see things as they really are.
Eisenhower said it best, when he said to fear the military industrial complex. You and your 375 hours of experience are blinded by generalizations where I am just validating what I have personally witnessed. How many f22s does it take to defend a country? How many carriers does it take to patrol the seas? How many 2.5 billion dollar bombers can we build before we bankrupt the nation?
I don't have the exact answers, but my experience is that the real number is irrelevant because it is what the congressman from whatever district has power to decide.
My assessment is that the US democracy can only be saved by absolute term limits across the board, otherwise we are well on our way to duplicating the rome's fate.
Luv
 

Paradoxus

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Sig,
After nearly 20 years of active service, my love for my country, family and community allow me to see things as they really are.
Eisenhower said it best, when he said to fear the military industrial complex. You and your 375 hours of experience are blinded by generalizations where I am just validating what I have personally witnessed. How many f22s does it take to defend a country? How many carriers does it take to patrol the seas? How many 2.5 billion dollar bombers can we build before we bankrupt the nation?
I don't have the exact answers, but my experience is that the real number is irrelevant because it is what the congressman from whatever district has power to decide.
My assessment is that the US democracy can only be saved by absolute term limits across the board, otherwise we are well on our way to duplicating the rome's fate.
Luv

As much as it pains me to say it.....well said.

Make no mistake, I am a firm advocate of mounting an effective defense, however, Eisenhower was no simple fool. In my estimation, he put himself at grave risk to give such a dire warning.

We are now saddled with a prodigious military-industrial-government media complex that from this point will only become bigger. The corruption leading to the endless graft and spending over weapons development has long-since outstripped the need for as much. Now, millions of livelihoods depend on the development of more and more hardware that we simply do not NEED, to make matters that much worse.

Only the most ardent fools in this matter blindly follow the notion that we maintain the military resources to subjugate the entire planet. Somehow I don't think this was the intention of the founders, nor is it practical economically.

Elucidation: We do not need the bombers, the ultra-sophisticated stealth fighters, the carrier battlegroups, nor do we need an entire host of absurdly complex and expensive war machines that serve no other purpose other than instruments of graft and defense industry/government corruption.

That said, we do not need to further eliminate or nuclear arsenal. In an age of worldwide stand-off nuclear strike capability, it is enough deterrent to have the capability and will to smoke entire populations from our home continent. If the powers that be were truly serious about national defense, this would be the rational course of action.

Alas, they are not.
 

pilotyip

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Ike Liked CV groups

Elucidation: We do not need the bombers, the ultra-sophisticated stealth fighters, the carrier battlegroups, nor do we need an entire host of absurdly complex and expensive war machines that serve no other purpose other than instruments of graft and defense industry/government corruption. Alas, they are not.
I am also a big fan of Ike; he was always concerned about excessive military spending. Particularly on Nuc Weapons. But He was also not afraid to tell China and Russia, "If I have to use Nuc's against you, I will use them, they are a weapon in our inventory with a defined capability, that is a commander's job". The Mil/Ind complex played on fear, the media joined and congress joined them, only Ike with his reputation as a complete military man was able to stand up to them and tell them it was not needed, and then veto it on top of congresses approval. In dangerous times he kept us out of many wars that other encouraged him to fight. On the CV battle groups, Ike liked the flexibility those groups gave him in bringing US presence to a region, he used them in Lebanon in 1958. It sent a clear message to the Russians we still had a very capable conventional force. He authorized the building the CV-59 class, but was against the Nuc CV’s.
 
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