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Neocons vs. Bob Gates, With Special Guest Appearance by KKK Founder

Tom Donnelly and Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute, members in good standing of the neoconservative cabal to eat your babies and conquer the world and then eat more babies, have an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing against Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ program cuts. While they don’t really like the budget, they do seem to like the founder of the Ku Klux Klan:

More often it rewards those who arrive on the battlefield “the fustest with the mostest,” as Civil War Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest once put it. If Mr. Gates has his way, U.S. forces will find it increasingly hard to meet the Forrest standard.

Um.

Beyond that, Schmitt and Donnelly argue for a continuation of most of the programs Gates is cutting, and do so through some curious omissions and outright misstatements. The alternative to the F-22 Raptor jet is apparently “the 660 F-15s flying today, but which are literally falling apart at the seams from age and use” — not the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that Gates and the generals are actually advocating as a replacement. Stopping the Army’s Future Combat Systems vehicle-modernization program means “future generations of soldiers will conduct mounted operations in the M1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles designed in the 1970s,” even though Gates said on Monday that he’s going to “reevaluate the requirements, technology and approach and then re-launch the Army’s vehicle modernization program.” And Gates is somehow “cap[ping] the size of the U.S. ground force,” even though Gates is seeking an extra $11 billion to expand the Army and Marine Corps. (I suppose, to be charitable, they could mean they want an even larger ground force, but that’s hardly clear from the op-ed, which implies that Gates is resisting the very expansion he’s funding.)

Basically, Donnelly and Schmitt’s real beef is that Gates’ budget gets rid of the dry rot in the Pentagon and presumes that the military can’t fund all things for all conceivable threats. As Gates put it:

It is important to remember that every Defense dollar spent to overinsure against a remote or diminishing risk or, in effect, to run up the score in capability where the United States is already dominant is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in, and improve capabilities in areas where we are underinvested and potentially vulnerable. That is a risk I will not take.

American dominance is not so fragile that trading planes is going to eliminate it. But I guess taking advice from Klan leaders leads to all sorts of paranoia.

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