Gutfeld: Domestic Spending Increases "Dependence," While Defense Spending Increases "Preserve Independence"
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Today, Mike Huckabee voiced support for certain Defense Department cuts proposed by the co-chairmen of the White House National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on Fox & Friends, while Sarah Palin urged Republicans to oppose defense cuts.
Palin wrote "An Open Letter to Republican Freshmen Members of Congress" on her Facebook page today:
You need to say no to cutting the necessities in our defense budget when we are engaged in two wars and face so many threats - from Islamic extremists to a nuclear Iran to a rising China. As Ronald Reagan said, "We will always be prepared, so we may always be free."
Fox News' America's Election HQ, Foxnews.com, and Fox Nation highlighted Palin's letter.
By contrast, on Fox & Friends today, Huckabee argued in favor of the defense cuts proposed by the White House commission:
DAVE BRIGGS: I was surprised, though, that the right wasn't as outspoken about some of the defense cuts that we need to make. A hundred billion dollars slashed out of that beast of a defense budget. It's unpatriotic to come out and talk about the defense budget, but their Pentagon is accepting airplanes that they don't even need.
HUCKABEE: They don't need and that they don't want. And what happens is, we're still designing a lot of military hardware for a war that we don't plan to fight. And, Robert Gates the Defense Department secretary, who I think has done an excellent job, and he has been one of those willing to grind sacred cows into hamburger and serve it rare, has really helped to identify ways in which we can keep ourselves strong, not cutting the military strength and not hurting veterans. There are two things Americans don't want to do, number one, get weak and, number two, hurt the veterans who kept us free. But those priorities don't have to be bloated with a lot of stuff that really is not about keeping us safe and protecting and caring for veterans. So yes, there are areas of the defense budget that need to be looked at honestly.
This isn't the first time that Palin has been at odds with another GOP official and Fox News contributor. We've noted the charges lobbed between Palin and Fox News contributor Karl Rove and their allies as a prelude to the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
The Drudge Report is attempting to link $8.7 billion in Iraq reconstruction money that the DOD reportedly cannot account for to the Obama administration by blaring the headline "Defense Dept. can't account for $8.7 billion" under an image of President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But the Associated Press article Drudge linked to reported that the funds in question predate the Obama administration.
From the Drudge Report, accessed July 27:
In fact, the Associated Press article Drudge links to makes clear that the funds in question were "withdrawn" from the U.N. Security Council's Development Fund for Iraq "between 2004 and 2007."
From the July 27 AP article:
A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation.
The $9.1 billion in question came from the Development Fund for Iraq, which was set up by the U.N. Security Council in 2003. The DFI includes revenues from Iraq's oil and gas exports, as well as frozen Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the defunct, Saddam Hussein-era U.N. oil-for-food program.
Iraq had given the U.S. authorization to tap into the fund, which is held in New York, for humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, withdrawing that approval in December 2007.
With the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq shortly after the start of the U.S. invasion in 2003 until mid-2004, about $20 billion was placed into the account. The $9.1 billion audited by the Iraq reconstruction inspector general were funds withdrawn from that account between 2004 and 2007.
Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President Obama is "cutting troops' pay" and "cutting back on the military spending now as we speak." In fact, the Obama administration requested an increase in soldiers' salaries and also requested a larger overall defense budget for fiscal year 2011.
In a Washington Examiner column, the Heritage Foundation's James Carafano falsely claimed that the Obama administration is "refusing to modernize the U.S. [nuclear] arsenal" and is "cutting back on defense." In fact, the administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) includes "significantly increased investments" to modernize America's nuclear weapons infrastructure, and each of Obama's two defense budget requests have increased the budget by billions of dollars.
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Fox Business' Stuart Varney baselessly claimed that the Obama administration was using inflated cost estimates of $1 million per year per soldier to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan in order to "introduce the pressure to leave" and that the Pentagon's estimate for cost per additional soldier deployed to Afghanistan is "closer to $600,000." However, the Pentagon reportedly acknowledged that the lower estimate does not include additional essential costs such as constructing additional facilities, providing support forces, intelligence assets, weapons, and other equipment, and one Pentagon comptroller memo that did include such costs reportedly estimated the cost to be between $750,000 to $1,250,000 per soldier per year, placing the White House estimate in line with the Pentagon.
Fox News' Bill Hemmer did not challenge Rep. Trent Franks' criticism of the Obama administration for proposing to reduce the missile defense budget, failing to note that Defense Department officials have testified that the cuts allow them to more effectively manage the fleet of interceptors that counter rogue state threats.
Carl Cameron reported that House Republicans are opposing President Obama's war spending bill because it contains funds "improper in a war funding bill." But Republicans passed numerous supplemental war spending bills during the Bush administration that contained non-war spending.
The Washington Post quoted Rep. Mike Pence -- criticizing Democrats' war funding bill -- as saying, "A war funding bill should be about war funding and nothing else." But the Post did not note Pence's previous support for war funding bills that included non-defense spending.
The Washington Times published an op-ed by John R. Guardiano criticizing Robert Gates' decision to cancel the Future Combat Systems' vehicle program but did not disclose Guardiano's ties to a contractor for the FCS vehicle program.
Reporting on Robert Gates' decision to end production of F-22 fighter jets, The Washington Times quoted Tom McInerney's claim that Gates "has decimated the Air Force for the future" without noting that McInerney has reportedly served as a consultant to Northrop Grumman, a major subcontractor on the F-22.
Fox Business' Charles Payne asked whether the "piracy situation" and other recent foreign policy events will make President Obama reconsider "cutting the [military] budget," and on-screen text read: "Pirate Problem: Will President Obama Rethink Military Cuts?" In fact, the Obama administration has proposed increasing defense spending by billions of dollars.
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