I am proud my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee succeeded in securing a 3.4 percent pay raise for our troops as well as critical advance funding for twelve new F-22 air superiority fighters in the National Defense Authorization Act. However, I am extremely disappointed that the Democrats failed to take this opportunity to draw a line in the sand and show the leaders of rogue regimes that the United States will not back down from investing in a strong missile defense system.
Without question, the Obama administration has a vastly different political ideology than its predecessor. While publicly stating its intention to project American power overseas, the Obama Administration has been under constant pressure by anti-war Democrats to break from what the left views as eight years of bellicose American foreign policy. The administration needed to cut something to silence their left wing and they chose missile defense. The implications of this $1.4 billion cut in funding will be long lasting and dangerous for our security.
A quick read of the headlines is all it takes to realize that the world remains a dangerous place. North Korea and Iran represent clear and present dangers to our national security. Two past administrations tried to play the arms control game with Pyongyang and Tehran and if anything, the pieces haven’t changed position on the board.
Kim Jong-Il continues to develop nuclear technology, test nuclear weapons, and proliferate fissile material all in defiance of UN mandate. In the face of mounting world outrage, Iranian President Ahmadinejad continues to bring centrifuges online to develop nuclear weapons grade material. Somehow in the face of all this, President Obama thinks that cutting deals with Russia on nuclear arms reduction will improve our standing with these rogue regimes and push them to disarm in good faith. This is folly.
The American people are keenly aware that the election of a new President with a message of “resetting” our foreign policy agenda will not change the fact that a ballistic missile fired at the United States will reach its target within 33 minutes. The threat is real and the American people demand a strong defense against the prospect of a missile attack on our soil.
President Obama hasn’t been out of the Senate that long to have forgotten that it’s Congress’ Constitutional imperative to protect our nation from external and internal threats. Members of his administration would be well served to read the following quote from a 1997 speech by the current Democratic Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Ike Skelton:
“Congress is responsible for ensuring that U.S. Armed Forces are prepared to preserve and protect the security of the United States.” Let me emphasize, the key phrase in this statement ‘congress is responsible,’ under the constitution it is the duty of congress, not the president, let alone the secretary of defense or the Joint Chiefs of Staff who are not constitutional officers to determine the size of the armed forces. Article 1, Section 8, of the constitution, which lists the powers of congress makes it clear, “It falls to congress therefore, to ensure that our military strength is adequate to defend our nation and our national interests.”
The American people, through the representatives they directly elect to Congress must decide how we protect our nation from danger. The best way to exercise this duty today is for Congress to fully restore funding for missile defense.
The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.