Dick Cheney Broke US Military, now blames Obama for Cuts

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has lambasted the Obama administration for its announcement that it will cut 8% out of the military budget and reduce standing army troop levels to the lowest level since before World War II (from 550,000 at the height of the Iraq War to 440,000). Cheney told CNN he believed that Obama would rather spend the money on food stamps than on the military.

Cheney himself, however, is one of the reasons for these cuts.

According to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Cheney is the one who insisted on two big tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in the first years of the Bush administration, which has been a structural contributor to persistent budget deficits. America has become an extremely unequal society, with the top 1% taking home 20% of the national income every month, and obviously if they pay dramatically less in Federal taxes, it causes a shortfall that cannot be made up from the 99%. Those deficits provoked the ‘sequester,’ automatic across the board cuts in the government budget, which are among the impetuses for Hagel’s budget.

Cheney also pushed hard for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, which has already cost $1 trillion, all of which he borrowed and so contributed to the budget crisis and to the difficulties the country had getting out of the 2008 Great Bush Depression. The care for the tens of thousands of wounded veterans will over the decades likely cost the government another two or three trillion.

Given that Cheney helped prosecute a naked act of aggression on false pretenses, he is a war criminal and ideally should be prosecuted and jailed rather than being given a megaphone in corporate media to continue to push for militarism.

Not to mention that Cheney was among the architects of the push to deregulate the banks and Wall Street, going back to the 1970s, which helped cause the banking and real estate crisis of 2008. After 2008, business was unwilling to invest, requiring government stimulus and big budget deficits to kickstart the economy. None of that would have been necessary if government regulators had been examining Bear Stearns’ books when Cheney was in office.

Congress’s budget ‘sequester’ is behind some of the cuts that Cheney is blaming on the Obama administration.

Given the opprobrium in which the German invasion and occupation of Poland in 1939 is generally held, Cheney has the distinction of finally making unacceptable the invasion and occupation other countries in the absence of a casus belli or legal cause for war. The American public wants nothing to do with such seedy operations, and is unlikely to want anything to do with them again in my lifetime.

Cheney wants a standing occupation force available for aggressive purposes. But such a force is not necessary when we have no intention of invading and occupying any further countries.

Since the US is no longer at war (President Obama announced the end of active war-fighting by US troops in Afghanistan last year this time– saying they are now in a support role for the Afghanistan National Army), it is natural that the army be smaller and that the military budget stop growing so fast. Actually the Founding Generation of Americans thought having a standing army corrosive of democracy and George Washington and James Madison would advise, contrary to the rather lesser Cheney, that we maintain nothing more than a skeleton force when we aren’t at war and haven’t been attacked by anyone.

Not to mention that when Cheney was Secretary of Defense from 1988 to 1992, he cut the army troop levels by a whopping 25% and cut the military budget annually as much as Congress is doing this year:

“Over Cheney’s four years as secretary of defense, encompassing budgets for fiscal years 1990-93, DoD’s total obligational authority in current dollars declined from $291.3 billion to $269.9 billion. Except for FY 1991, when the TOA budget increased by 1.7 percent, the Cheney budgets showed negative real growth: -2.9 percent in 1990, -9.8 percent in 1992, and -8.1 percent in 1993. During this same period total military personnel declined by 19.4 percent, from 2.202 million in FY 1989 to 1.776 million in FY 1993. The Army took the largest cut, from 770,000 to 572,000–25.8 percent of its strength.”

Those cuts came because of the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. When wars wind up, Mr. Cheney, military budgets wind down, as you yourself demonstrated.

Cheney: cuts would cause long term damage to military

26 Responses

  1. It’s being reported that a Major General just told Cheney to STFU. The General said, “Anyone responsible for two disastrous wars does not have the right to criticize.”. He then got a jab in by saying…”At least Bush had the sense to withdraw from public life.”

  2. “When wars wind up, Mr. Cheney, military budgets wind down, as you yourself demonstrated.”

    Sir, I think you mean, when wars wind down. To many of my generation, “wind up” means to increase in intensity versus, I think, your meaning that it is finishing.

  3. Setting aside the (very profound) moral arguments against Dick Cheney, what kind of a fool would take advice about national security policy from this man? He is an utter failure. Sure, he was a capable SecDef, but that was when he was implementing policies laid down by a President who took a very strong hand in foreign and military affairs. Left to his own devices, Dick Cheney was a miserable failure at protecting America’s security.

    I know, let’s ask Christopher Cox what he thinks about financial regulation, or Michael Brown what he thinks about emergency management.

    • “…what kind of a fool would take advice about national security policy from this man?”

      It appears that the mainstream media (the fawning corporate media according to Ray McGovern) and the neocon think tanks believe there are lots of fools out there. Notice how many columnists and talking heads who got it disastrously wrong on Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel are still provided space in print and face time on television to promote more wars – Iran and coming down the pike, Ukraine.

  4. Esai Morales said one time on Bill Maher, “Let’s call it what it really is, offense spending.” It hasn’t been defense spending for a long time. It’s either that or military spending.

    Does anyone doubt that that vast majority of US residents would be safer and more secure with full employment, living wages, affordable health insurance (single payer), enough food, clean drinking water and air, higher quality education and infrastructure improvements than they are with over $1 Trillion in annual military/offense spending?

    It’s ironic that politicians are so concerned about keeping the “American people safe” that they are willing to let many atrophy from unemployment, suffer hunger and malnutrition and exposure from homelessness.

    The people need to redefine “safe and secure” for the politicians. Since it’s more likely I’ll win the lottery than die in a terrorist attack, I’ll take my chances with less offense spending and more human needs spending.

    • “Let’s call it what it really is, offense spending.”

      Don’t stop there. Change the Department of Defense to a more honest title: The department of wars.

  5. “Not to mention that when Cheney was Secretary of Defense from 1988 to 1992, he cut the army troop levels by a whopping 25% and cut the military budget annually as much as Congress is doing this year:”

    A trend of cuts that continued under President Clinton. In real dollars, the DoD budget was cut by about 30% between 1989 and 2000. While this was happening, Republicans like Dick Cheney were howling that Bill Clinton had “hollowed out the military.”

    Of course, it was that “hollowed out” military that rolled so effortlessly through Iraq in March-April 2003. Later, of course, during the occupation, it turned out that there weren’t enough troops for that mission – not for the invasion, but for the occupation – resulting in multiple extended tours and stop-loss orders for the soldiers tasked with that mission.

    A military sized as it will be under Hagel’s budget will still be able to go anywhere and kick anyone’s ass; what it will not be able to do is occupy countries and pacify them into docile client states. That is what Dick Cheney is complaining about.

    • “Of course, it was that “hollowed out” military that rolled so effortlessly through Iraq in March-April 2003. Later, of course, during the occupation, it turned out that there weren’t enough troops for that mission – not for the invasion, but for the occupation – resulting in multiple extended tours and stop-loss orders for the soldiers tasked with that mission.”

      Just as General Shinseki warned and for which he was fired.

      • General Shinseki warned Donald Rumsfeld that his invasion-lite force didn’t have enough troops for long term occupation. But I doubt Rumsfeld was ever on board the neoconservative long range plan. He was focused on a fast moving attack force keeping the enemy so off balance they would not be able to regroup and mount a counterattack.

        It worked to perfection.

        The U.S. Army captured Baghdad in six weeks. .

        • Indeed, Rumsfeld was constantly talking, in both public and private (according to documents that have come out) about getting out quickly. Remember, it was Rumsefeld who said “Security is the Iraqis’ responsibility.” He had no intention of conducting an occupation.

      • You’re right on the essentials, Bill. They threw now-Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki right under the bus.

        One minor edit, though: they didn’t actually fire Shinseki. His term in office ended on its scheduled time. They just dissed him in public and made him persona-non-grata for the last months of his service.

        When you think about it, the administration’s treatment of Eric Shinseki makes him the perfect person to be in charge of taking care of the veterans they created.

  6. ” The American public wants nothing to do with such seedy operations, and is unlikely to want anything to do with them again in my lifetime.”

    I hope your assessment is right on this point, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  7. That Cheney can still get air time on places other than Fox shows that the cover up by the Government and the MSM of the truth of the Bush/Cheney years is succeeding.

  8. The US military, and the corporate monster that copulates with it, has been “broken” for a long time, long before the episodes that Cheney can claim credit for. Too much imperial intrusion into other nations’ existence, infection of the whole planet with militarist-dominance thinking, force-fitting a “force projection solution” onto stuff that if the species is going to survive needs a very different kind of mentation.

    Spend time reading the Military Industrial Creature’s own ponderous, portentous, acronym-ballasted self-documentation, created to justify all the many ways real wealth can be converted into “procurements” and “programs” and “initiatives” and other stuff that leads mostly to a “Terminator” kind of future. For Cripes’ sake, they spend a billion dollars on just creating and maintaining their own special dictionary, link to dtic.mil, let alone all the manuals and studies and Doctrines and other dogma. Read the trade pubs that announce the “milestone successes” of trillion-dollar calamities peddled as “jobs programs” like the F-35, along with all the different ways the War Department justifies throwing more good money after a huge pile of bad.

    And for all that, what a surprise, the vaunted “world’s biggest, toughest, most capable military” thing can’t squash a bunch of tribesmen on their home court. Idiotic missions — kicking in doors in Kandahar, and doing what, again, in Fallujah or Khe Sanh? “Going in” to Wardak, with the promise that “the mission” will be the linchpin of VICTORY in the current Longest Day?

    Cheney deserves a kick in the crotch for the huge disservices he has done to the actual service men and women who take the King’s shilling to do what many believe is “fighting for our Freedom” ™ Not to mention the stuff he and his co-conspirators have done to the rest of us with the way they have twisted language, lied and used an inarguably potent skill at grabbing and using the levers of power. The fact is that he lives consequence-free and pumped up and plauditified but is just one of many, albeit maybe primus inter pares , who profit from and gloat over their chicken-hawk “victories” over the idiot Homeland Homefront that has been subdued into supporting them.

    We humans do not have too many more chances to get this “continued survival as a species” stuff right, and continuing to Make Life Really Large for the worst of us by draining the labor and puny wealth of the rest of us ain’t going to make it any easier.

  9. Has anyone had the opportunity to ask Dick Cheney whose taxes he will raise by how much to pay for the force he wants? And while he is at it, let’s recover the one trillion borrowed for Iraq from those who benefitted from the tax cuts. No problem at all if we kick the top marginal rates back to 70 percent.

  10. Cheney of course should be in jail and American military spending could be cut in half if it weren’t for the fact that Wall Street and the Pentagon run the country. Americans shun socialism while running the greatest corporate welfare state ever.

  11. Legal and illegal wars make the rich sickly richer and give more power and control to the ruling trillionaires/billionaires and their lackey millionaires.

    Keep avoiding the main problem, rule and control by the corrupted, insane rich.

    Who controls money controls EVERYTHING: governments, people, banking, corporations, news media, education, etc..

    The Federal Reserve/IMF control the money thus they control ALL.

    The private billionaire and trillionaire owners of the Fed are thus the most evil people on this planet and must be exposed and sentenced to life in a regular prison, not in a yacht club.

    The Federal Reserve Act was illegally snuck through Congress while most members were on Christmas recess in 1913.

    Not much will change until the Fed/IMF are nationalized and their owners and contributing white collar criminals are brought to justice. White collar criminals must receive their just rewards.

    See “Secrets of the Federal Reserve”:
    link to apfn.org

    Another gigantic problem is patriarchy, rule by men. Some research and investigation into the history of the pyramids and other megalithic and gigantic structures around the world suggests that there have been ancient civilizations with advanced abilities. Egypt’s golden era may have been matriarchy 50 to 60,000 years ago instead of only 5,000 years ago.

    I find it easy to consider a golden era under matriarchy. Often male rulers and men in power are excessively greedy and use military force to rule.

    Don’t know if females participated in the Jekyll Island meeting that drafted the Federal Reserve Act.

  12. Juan,
    You are correct that America has become an extremely unequal society and I don’t think you have a clue why.
    I suggest you read “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies” Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee from MIT
    and stop whining about the top 1% who make most of the money. This book explains what to me had been inexplicable about the different behavior of the U.S. and global economies since the Clinton era. Now it suddenly makes sense why the top 1% are the only ones to be prospering, and how the top 0.01% are doing so much better even than they. Everything from the accelerating decline of the middle class to our floundering educational systems vis-à-vis other advanced countries and even as compared to U.S. standards decades ago becomes comprehensible. Everyone who needs to understand should read this book. Only then might the fortunes of the bottom 99% improve.
    In reading this book it will help you contemplate the effects that are coming with the continuing exponential advances in the digital age. This is an excellent summary of the technology headed our way. The authors are insightful in highlighting the changes that this technology will mean. It will mean unemployment for many who will be replaced by a machine. We should be thinking about how to handle this now.

    There are two ways of looking at this. Unemployment disaster is headed our way or we should be able to become even more productive with the new digital tools we will have at our disposal. I think the latter is what we should focus on. But we need to realize that we need to prepare people with new STEM and Job Creating skills and not continue with the overwhelming Liberal Arts education that most are receiving now and silly degrees like Asian, African studies, etc.

    • Productivity gains by technical education are overrated: already there are not enough jobs in engineering and technical management. The wealthiest are among the least productive citizens regardless of their activity level: higher management get there by competing with the same collusion and bully boy tactics which bring relative “success” for their companies, but not for society. Most “wealth” is now generated by financial scams and extortion “markets” (e.g., investment/banking, military/security) not production or innovation. There is finite business wealth to be had by collusions, scams & deals, and speculation: if everyone played the millionaire game as so many try, the pyramid would look the same, and society does not gain, but rather suffers, because those skills produce exactly nothing of value to others.

      The “exponential advances in the digital age” have brought us better communications and control systems, but those bring ever less real value, and are manifested now mostly as icing upon other developments in medicine, chemistry, etc, with slower rates of innovation. What has cloud computing brought us but massive theft of information? What do new weapons bring us but new wars? Apart from science (e.g. medicine and energy), our problems are in policy making, not technology. And none of those problems are reduced by the skills of the 1%.

      Reducing broader education reduces broad competency in policymaking, although a more practical focus for the social sciences would serve society better than psychobabble and pop theories du jour. Why don’t the Cheneys and Bushes and Obamas know what policies will work? In part because we do not have a College of Policy Analysis to study policy alternatives with the greatest energy and detail, insulated from political bias. And of course because they don’t want to know, they are the same sort of corporate bully boy who enter the 1%.

  13. Juan: what are you talking about? “they bought Congress and got taxes on securities down to 10% then put their money in securities.” Could you please be more explicit. Taxes on securities (I assume you mean equities) at 10%–where are you getting those figures?

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