Senator Lindsey Graham gave an emotional speech on the floor of the United States Senate, Thursday, about the negative impact sequestration will have on the United States military. He noted we have already committed to reducing defense spending by nearly $500 billion over ten years and the additional military spending cuts called for under sequestration would add another $600 billion on top of that figure, totaling 1.1 trillion dollars, which would essentially gut the finest military in the world. “What we’re doing in this sequestration proposal is ill-conceived, dangerous and despicable”, he railed.
“What came out of Bob Woodward’s reporting and common sense, Graham began, “is that this idea came out of the White House and the White House thought that it had created a penalty clause for Super Committee failure called sequestration, which would take 600 billion out of the 1.2 trillion out of the Defense Dept ….and 6oo billion out of non defense that would put pressure on the Super Committee to get the right result”
“Well, we’re going to spend 45 trillion over the next decade. The question”, he continued, “is can we save 1.2 trillion without destroying the Defense Dept. and raising taxes? Yes we could if we tried…”
He went on to make an important point that many Republicans, (including me) have been missing about the money being cut from defense.
“2/3 of the budget (almost)is exempt from sequestration”, he noted….
“When you hear Republicans say, we can find 85 billion out of 3.5 trillion dollars in spending – to my Republican colleagues – stop saying that. That’s not accurate. We’re not cutting 85 billion out 3.5 trillion dollars. We’re cutting 85 billion out of 1.3 or `1.2 and 1/2 because the budget Act took of the table 2/3 from the government from getting cut.”
“I guess that the Republican party feels like pell grants and food stamps and FAA and home mortgage interest deduction and all this other stuff in the federal government should be shielded, but those who have been fighting the war that protects us all from radical Islam should be on the chopping block. Ronald Reagan should be rolling over in his grave. Shame on everybody who thought this was a good idea on our side. I can’t tell you how disgusted I am with the concept that when it comes time to cut because a bunch of politicians couldn’t reach an agreement, we fire the soldiers and keep the politicians and every other social program intact - put half the cuts on those who are fighting the war.
So next time you go on a military base — good luck with looking those men and women in the eye —because I don’t see how you could. I don’t see how you go onto a military base or see somebody at the airport and shake their hand and thank them for their service given the fact that you’ve taken the Defense Dept, and made it something not so special anymore.”
Senator Graham really seemed on the verge of tears at this point.
You could say he was not pleased with the Republican leadership, but he had even tougher words for the president.
“You are the Commander Chief of the United States”, he began, “they trust you, they need you, your primary goal is to take care of those in uniform and their families. Mr. President, you have let them down……How you could have considered this as an acceptable outcome, just makes me sick to my stomach.”
“How any Commander in Chief could have been comfortable with the idea that if the Super Committee fails we’re going to gut the military…and you haven’t lifted a finger in the last year to do anything about it – you finally go down to the Naval base down in VA after the election a few days before this kicks in. To me, this is a pathetic leadership by the Commander in Chief , this is an abandonment of the Republican party’s belief in peace through strength, this is the low point of my time in the US Congress….”
“I cannot tell you how ashamed I am of what we’ve done to those who have been busting their butt for the last eleven years, have been deployed time and time again, and to their families. The thanks you get from the President of the United States and Congress is we’re going to put your way of life on the chopping block. God, if we can’t do any better than that all of us should be fired”, he said. “Fire the politicians, not the soldiers.”