The New York Times reported late Sunday that Hagel’s proposal, which will be released to lawmakers and the public on Monday, will call for a reduction in size of the military that will leave it capable of waging war, but unable to carry out protracted occupations of foreign territory, as in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Under Hagel’s plan, the number of troops in the Army will drop to between 440,000 and 450,000, a reduction of at least 120,000 soldiers from its post-Sept.11 peak.
Officials told the Times that Hagel’s plan has been endorsed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and protects funding for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare. It also calls for the Navy to maintain all eleven of its aircraft carriers currently in operation. However, the budget proposal mandates the elimination of the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft, as well as the retiring of the U-2 spy plane, a stalwart of Cold War operations.
Now, I am sure that many people would contest my characterization of the A-10 as our best plane, and certainly there are other candidates. But it’s kind of hard for any reasonable person to disagree that Hagel is showing poor judgment in scrapping a plane simply because it is hated so by the antiwar movement*. Is this why the President nominated the man for Secretary of Defense?
…The President probably doesn’t want you to actually answer that question.
PS: The proper size of American military forces is, of course, a complicated and genuinely perplexing question that needs the input of qualified civilian and military experts and that’s why we shouldn’t let the Obama administration make the call because they’re the kind of people who would decide to go with Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.
PPS: Told ya Barack Obama was thinking of gutting the military. And I’m telling ya again: don’t expect Chuck Hagel to give Obama any cover.
*It’s a non-glamorous work horse that fires depleted uranium rounds and is best known for its ability to turn enemy ground forces into pate, up close and personal. There are a heck of a lot of American troops that are alive because a Warthog showed up at the right moment.
…So of course the antiwar movement hates it.