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Gazette Premium Content Obama's sequester leads to looming defense crisis

The Gazette editorial Published: August 2, 2013

Our military faces a crisis, and the fault is with the White House.

When voters choose a president to run the executive branch of federal government, the man or woman should have significant executive experience. The victor, after all, is chosen as the highest-ranking executive in the land.

The Gazette's initial concerns about the election of President Barack Obama involved his lack of executive experience. He had spent not a day of his life in an executive's role. He had not been a CEO, a governor, a mayor, a vice president, a military leader, a small businessman or even an office manager. His only experience in government was a short stint as a legislator who voted "present" to avoid difficult decisions. Good father, good husband, good man. Just not a seasoned executive.

So it's no surprise we find ourselves with a commander in chief and chief executive who has no idea how to propose and sell a workable budget. When Obama wanted a massive increase to the country's debt limit, he bargained with Congress by agreeing to enact strategic spending cuts.

To assure Congress and other Americans who worried he might not cut spending, Obama offered a guarantee. If he didn't lead and execute a package of meaningful cuts, the law allowing more debt would require automatic, across-the-board cuts. Basically, Obama assuaged concerns by creating an auto-pilot program that would take over his duties if he and a "super committee" on debt reduction failed to perform. Congress needed a guarantee because the country is drowning in debt.

Most Americans have forgotten that sequestration was President Obama's idea because the mainstream national media, which overwhelmingly and overtly supports Obama, continues to distort the story. A 913-word article by the Associated Press Thursday explained the dramatic toll sequestration will take on our country's national defense capabilities, but did not once associate sequestration with Obama - the sequester's architect. Instead, it used phrases that might lead readers to mistake sequestration as something Congress came up with.

"If Congress doesn't act to avoid the cuts . the Pentagon may be forced to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order additional sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps," the AP report said.

Congress has tried repeatedly to avert crude and careless sequester cuts to military. President Obama has refused to accept major debt-reduction packages designed by bipartisan committees, such as the Simpson-Bowles commission. The House of Representatives passed a bill last year that would have replaced defense aspects of sequestration with cuts to Obamacare, welfare programs and Dodd-Frank - the federal regulatory scheme that established more government agencies to monitor financial institutions. With no support from Obama and the Senate's Democratic majority, the bill had no chance. Had it become law, the House measure would have preserved our country's military strength, prevented new taxes and initiated significant cuts in areas of spending that have created a growing culture of Americans who depend on government for passive income.

Congress and the president could surgically cut waste in military budgets if the commander in chief would lead like a top CEO or general, rather than a divisive party-first ideologue. An experienced executive, in running the country's executive branch and military, would lead Congress to eliminate military pork and duplicative contracts without harming national defense.

By creating an auto-pilot program as a replacement for leadership, Obama created a looming national defense crisis. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, an Obama appointee, warned Thursday that sequestration's automatic cuts will leave the country ill-prepared and underequipped as American enemies become more technologically advanced. Hagel warned of a Navy with the carrier strike capacity it had during World War II. Troop cuts could leave the Army with staffing levels equal to those of 1940. The military will slash special forces, limit research and curtail upgrades to weapons systems.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to encourage a culture of dependency - even urging college students to consume food stamps - that reduces productivity at a cost to hard working, taxpaying Americans.

Our military's budget nightmare, as outlined by Hagel, is a leadership crisis. It results from electing an intelligent and likable man with no qualifications for an executive's job.

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