Quick thought on the looming shutdown of the federal government: Republicans have a conundrum. Do they press for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, an organization that tangentially or directly (you decide) provides abortions? (which would thrill social conservatives, and many others who may support reproductive choice but not the use of taxpayer dollars to support the activity)
Or, will Speaker Boehner and the House Leadership blink/cut a deal/pick your own spin, invective etc, to ensure our Armed Forces do not miss a paycheck? The military’s support for Republicans has been devout, loyal and unwavering in recent years despite a solid decade of war, preceded by a decade where warnings from Special Forces soldiers and their Intel counterparts were dismissed – and such dismissals led to the wars, the terror, and general chaos we are currently facing in Western Civilization.
I don’t know what the answer will be. But I have always believed that if you are not safe, then you most certainly not free. The budget crisis is a hostage to domestic politics, and now, so are our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Despite an offer from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to fund the Department of Defense for the rest of the year, and offer a one-week extension on the rest of the budget, President Obama rejected it.
So there it is. The president and his Democratic majority in the United States Senate are willing to go to any length to protect federally funded abortion – at the expense of those who provide such freedoms – than do the right thing. Our Armed Forces paychecks should not be a pawn of political interests.
Regrettably, neither President Obama nor Majority Leader Reid seem to care. Unfortunately, Republicans are not drawing the distinctions loudly enough. So the question is, will they side with Social Conservatives and allow abortion to drive the entire budget process? Or will they force a compromise with the President? I don’t know.
To be clear, I don’t support federally funded abortion. Though I have not finished reading Paul Ryan’s entire budget, I support most of what I have read thus far. However, as long as there are men and women fighting for our freedom across the globe, we should keep faith with them. Support them. As long as they are in harm’s way in Libya, Korea and rescuing survivors in Japan, we must impress upon our leaders that their domestic political and electoral fortunes are not America’s treasure. Those who wear the uniform are.
UPDATE: As I mentioned above, I haven’t read the entire Ryan budget – though I will tonight. Domestic political interests & electioneering are the obstacle to meeting Congress’ one Constitutional mandate: crafting and passing 14 separate Appropriations bills. The foreign affairs / diplomacy / aid budget gets the axe, according to Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin:
Ryan’s 85-page plan, “The Path to Prosperity,” doesn’t discuss diplomacy or development at all, but sets topline limits for international affairs (known as the 150 account) in the tables at the end of the report that drop off dramatically from current levels in fiscal 2012 and keep going down from there. Ryan recommends a total international affairs budget of $37 billion in fiscal 2012, gradually declining to $29 billion by fiscal 2016 — a reduction of 44 percent from what the president requested for fiscal 2011. Ryan didn’t include any details on what programs should be cut.
It troubles me that my fellow Republicans have such little understanding of the positive impact aid and diplomacy CAN have, when the goals and expectations are realistic – and accountability measures are enforced, and reinforced. If hindsight is 20/20, then what the hell have we learned from Somalia 1993? Has nobody ever briefed Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor about the guy we were trying to catch? Aidid, a drug and weapons trafficker had ties to Bin Ladin. Bin Ladin’s other buddy, Omar al-Bashir, is still in power – Clinton had no conviction to take him out. What would have happened if our intervention, begun under President George H. W. Bush had continued – and been successful? I don’t know. But it is hard to say the chaos Clinton left behind is preferable. With the whole of North Africa and much of the Middle East unraveling before our eyes, it is gravely disappointing that Republican leadership has so little historical context, military experience, diplomatic understanding, or intellectual curiosity.
I want Ryan to succeed in wrangling our nation’s debt to a manageable sum but not at the expense of our soldiers paychecks next week, and certainly not at the expense of their lives when this, or another, president puts them in harm’s way to mop up during or after a genocide that could be prevented with a little foresight.
“While everyone agrees we need to get our fiscal house in order, we must protect our national and economic security in the process,” said U.S. Global Leadership Council Chairman Dan Glickman. “Military leaders from General Petraeus to Admiral Mike Mullen are adamant that International Affairs programs are a critical part of our national security. These very deep cuts can hamstring our ability to effectively respond to the global challenges we face today.”