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Any Republicans who vote against higher defense spending should be fired

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Let’s talk a bit about which House Republican incumbents are going to draw primary opponents in 2016. Make a note: Those GOP representatives who vote against upping Pentagon spending this week are at the top of a list that deserve to face off against an Iraq or Afghan war vet when votes are cast in primaries next spring or summer. Reckless endangerment of American national security via showboating votes against Pentagon funding should earn a GOP representative a quick ticket to enforced retirement.

With a world on fire and threats to the homeland as well as allies growing daily, posturing over Pentagon spending should become a toxic indulgence for incumbents.

“There is overwhelming support in our conference for providing additional resources to protect our national security,” House Speaker John Boehner declared at his weekly press conference last week, and with that the gauntlet was thrown down.

There will be a vote in the House, just has there have now been votes in the Senate, that are going to separate the GOP into the heirs of Ronald Reagan and his “peace through strength” beliefs and the hangers-on who have never understood that all they prize in terms of liberty, small government and federalism depends first and foremost on an American military that is not only larger than any other two, or five or ten combined next largest militaries, but one equal to the unique and essential task of bringing order to a chaotic and increasingly out-of-control world.

Small government grinds who point to stupid expenditures in the Pentagon in the tens of millions of dollars betray a fundamental, indeed disqualifying myopia about a budget of more than $600 billion yet still less than 3 percent of the nation’s GDP. Without the military and its vast budget there is no America for long. It will be attacked. It will be humbled. Americans will die in great numbers.

The Pentagon isn’t the most efficient agency in the world. It is, however, the best military in the world. I joke on the radio that when it comes to interviews, “I’m not perfect, I’m just the best.” That’s not a joke when it comes to the American armed services. The best security is worth the cost and worth as well the occasional inane program or maddening cost overrun.

Even as widely respected a critic of the Pentagon as Pulitzer winner Tom Ricks, an ardent advocate for military reform, admits that sequestration-driven cutting is the stupidest way possible to bring needed reform to the Department of Defense. And even critics of this or that weapons platform admit we need certain core platforms — such as our Ohio class submarines, a critical part of our essential nuclear deterrent — replaced within 15 years and we haven’t seriously begun that process. Our carrier groups — which project not just American power but American aid to the hardest hit parts of the world — need certain funding and replacement lines. These are not debatable topics. And the money for them isn’t there.

I have posted transcripts at of conversations from Friday with Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain and national security expert Robert C. O’Brien. Read them all before the debate this week. There really isn’t a coherent, sustainable argument against breaking the sequestration cap when it comes to the Pentagon. Not a single Republican should vote against doing so. Those that do should be fired.



This column was originally posted on


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