One of the top Defense Department scholars debunked President Obama’s “pernicious” claim that “the tides of war are receding,” warning Congress of a number of rising global threats, before implying that the president’s “real agenda is cutting defense, not contributing to our security.”
“There’s a pernicious concept floating around Washington D.C. right now that ‘the tides of war are receding’ and that the United States can retrench without risk,” Frank Hoffman, a senior fellow at the National Defense University, said at the beginning of his testimony yesterday before a House Armed Services subcommittee on intelligence, emerging threats and capabilities.
Hoffman attributed the ‘tides of war’ claim to “think-tanks here in town,” but that’s a mere courtesy, given that he was quoting one of Obama’s favorite foreign policy claims.
“Let there be no doubt: the tide of war is receding,” Obama told the United Nations in September of 2011. “When I took office, roughly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of the year, that number will be cut in half, and it will continue to decline. This is critical to the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan.” He made the same comment earlier that year, when announcing the draw-down in Afghanistan, and then again in November, during a speech at Arlington National Cemetery.
Hoffman pointed to the Arab Spring as one example among many that the tide of war is not receding, arguing that American support for the revolutions is helping al-Qaida in some places.
“I think the Arab Spring has a lot of hope in it, but it’s also going to produce illiberal democracies and we’ll see some other forms of government emerge out of that,a dnI’m particulaly concerned of course about Egypt and other areas,” Hoffman said. “We’re creating a lot of fertile ground for al-Qaida and its affiliated movements to take root in some places and we’re not going to be happy with the results.”
After beginning his remarks by slamming the “tide of war” claim, Hoffman ended with this warning.Trends suggest that the next decade is not going to be as placid as the last ten or 20 [years] were, and many of us don’t think that the last decade was that great,” he concluded. “There are folks whose real agenda is cutting defense, not contributing to our security, and you need to consider that when looking at their evidence.”
Chuck Hagel, the president’s nominee for Defense Secretary, will oversee “huge cuts to the military,” according to one of Obama’s former aides.
“This is a guy who’s a decorated veteran, and when you’ve got a period of time when you’re going to have to make huge cuts to the Pentagon, he’s the sort of guy you want on your team doing it,” Bill Burton, a former White House deputy press secretary who also ran Obama’s super PAC during the 2012 campaign, said on MSNBC (h/t The Weekly Standard).