As reported yesterday, Democrats in Congress, following the dictates of the Obama White House, are blocking efforts by House Republicans to restore $1.2B in cuts for missile defense programs. Republican Congressmen Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Michael Turner (R-OH) were in the forefront of the losing battle and talked to PJ Media about what Franks dubs the “profound lack of insight” in cutting programs at the very time that rogue states like North Korea and Iran are ramping up efforts to obtain and deploy nuclear weapons.
Franks says this is nothing new. “When Ronald Reagan first came up with the idea of a system to defend the country from nuclear attack rather than enact revenge, the liberal side did everything they could to make fun of him and criticize him, ” he recalls. “Ever since, liberals have been committed to criticize or suppress missile defense — not on the basis of its efficacy but on political grounds. That’s a tragedy.”
Franks notes that during the campaign, Obama promised that he would reduce missile defense. The congressman observes that unfortunately “that is one of the few promises they have kept.” Franks, borrowing the 1960s phrase, observes that the “whole world is watching” how America responds to rogue state threats. He declares that it concerns him greatly that we are not taking the opportunity to pursue viable missile defense strategies which would “devalue” nuclear weapons and thereby assist in non-proliferation efforts.
In the committee on Tuesday, Franks says that there was fulsome debate, but that Democrats are “forcing false choices” in defense spending to meet the White House’s budgetary directives. With obvious frustration he declares, “We can find $787B to spend on unbelievable projects — $10B on environmental cleanup — but we couldn’t find $1.2B for missile defense.”
It was ironic, he says, that on the very day the president was meeting with the president of South Korea to declare that North Korea poses a “grave risk,” the committee was meeting to cut missile defense. In fact, he read to his colleagues the wire report of the president’s remarks, but the amendments to restore funding “lost on party line votes no matter what the logic and reason.” He dubbed this “one of the greatest disappointments in my congressional life.”
In particular, he points to airborne laser technology which will be reduced to no more than a research project if the Democratic cuts are not reversed. Franks contends, “This is a giant, giant paradigm shift that will someday be to missile defense what the silicon chip was to computers.”