Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered a parting shot to the troops, mere days before he vacates his post, suggesting that our fighting men and women in the military should have their pay cut next year.
Just days before he leaves office, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is recommending military pay be limited, effectively decreasing troop salaries next year.
Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a 1% increase in 2014. The Pentagon has calculated that the Labor Department’s 2014 Employment Cost Index is expected to be above 1% but wants to still cut back on pay because of “budget uncertainties,” a department official told CNN. In 2013, a 1.7% increase was approved, based on the index, which has been the basis for military pay for the last several years.
Three Pentagon officials have confirmed details of the plan to CNN. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have also agreed to Panetta’s proposed pay plan. Final approval for the pay would come from Congress in the form of the 2014 budget.
Of course, this stems from “budget uncertainties” surrounding – at least in part – the looming sequestration plan; a devastating cut to the defense budget that was generated by the White House itself.
Let me ‘splain…
The Washington Post’s fact-checker flatly called the idea of sequestration “a White House gambit”, buoyed by a Bob Woodward book called The Price of Politics, in which members of the Obama administration proposed the idea to Senator Harry Reid. The following excerpt (p. 339) explains the idea as presented by White House staff:
“Lew, Nabors, Sperling and Bruce Reed, Biden’s chief of staff, had finally decided to propose using language from the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law as the model for the trigger. It seemed tough enough to apply to the current situation. It would require a sequester with half the cuts from defense, and the other half from domestic programs.”
Half the cuts from defense, an area that should be last for consideration.
Meanwhile, the President recently used an Executive Order to give pay raises to vice-President Joe Biden and members of Congress.
Perhaps Congress is where the pay cuts should be coming from first?
Joltin’ Joe commits a gaffe, and Dirty Harry plays right along.
At a campaign stop in Las Vegas, Joe Biden asked people in the crowd how many of them know someone who has served in … Iran?
While most of us would have sat there in stunned silence, Harry Reid can be seen in the background raising his hand like a schoolboy dying to give the teacher an answer.
And guess what happens next … Joe asks another question – How many know someone who has been injured or lost in Iraq or Iran? And Reid raises his hand again!
I wasn’t aware that we had any troops on the ground in Iran. Thanks for the history lesson, Joe!
Watch these two Mensa candidates in action…
“We are leaving. We are leaving in 2014. Period.” – Joe Biden at the Vice-Presidential debate.
Well, that’s not exactly true.
Via the Foreign Policy Blog:
Despite statements by Vice President Joe Biden, the State Department is about to begin formal negotiations over the extension of U.S. troops past 2014, a top State Department official said Tuesday.
Last week, U.S. and Afghan negotiators met in Kabul to talk about the Bilateral Security Agreement that will govern the extension of U.S. troops past 2014, when President Barack Obama said the combat mission in Afghanistan will end and the U.S. will complete the transition of the entire country to Afghan government control.
Also last week, Biden told Americans during his Oct. 11 debate with Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan that U.S. troops were leaving Afghanistan by 2014.
“We are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process, we’re going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion,” Biden said. “We’ve been in this war for over a decade. The primary objective is almost completed. Now all we’re doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. It’s their responsibility, not America’s.”
Marc Grossman, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, explained today that’s not the whole story.
Grossman said Tuesday that the point of the upcoming negotiations is to agree on an extension of the U.S. troop presence well past 2014, for the purposes of conducting counterterrorism operations and training and advising the Afghan security forces.
The actions taken by this President regarding the Koran burning incident – a procedure which is perfectly legal in Islamic law for handling Korans that have been desecrated with extremist messages, and I might add, the same exact manner in which the U.S. military destroyed Bibles that were being used by terrorists to convey extremist messages – is nothing short of disgraceful. Instead of investigating the procedures in-house, the President made a public spectacle of the incident, issuing a groveling apology to Afghan President, Hamid Karzai.
What did the President get for his apology? Over a dozen deaths at the hands of rioters.
Worse, the President is unwilling to demand an apology from the same President Karzai for the deaths of multiple American soldiers.
From Beltway Confidential:
President Obama’s spokesman yesterday praised Afghan President Karzai for his response to the ongoing protests, which have resulted in the deaths of multiple American soldiers, but would not say if Obama believes Karzai should apologize for the soldiers’ deaths…
(Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh) Earnest had been asked if “the President [is] seeking an apology from President Karzai for the fact that U.S. service personnel were killed” during protests over the inadvertent burning of Korans at Bagram Air Force Base. Two soldiers were killed at Bagram by a person in an Afghan military uniform. Two other American officers were killed in Kabul, the Afghan capital. “Local media reports said the gunman was an Afghan policeman but this has not been confirmed,” the BBC reports…
“There is no doubt that we’re working through a difficult situation there,” Earnest added in answering the question about asking for an apology from Karzai. “But we are going to stay on track of accomplishing our goal and continuing to make the significant progress that we have made in ensuring that Afghanistan cannot be a safe haven for al Qaeda or other violent extremists.”
Two opportunities to demand an apology fall by the wayside. But it doesn’t stop there. Earnest informs everybody that President Obama is actually happy with Karzai’s efforts:
“The President is certainly gratified that President Karzai has appealed for calm in Afghanistan, as we work through what is a very challenging situation.”
Gratified? When American men and women are dying in spite of, and maybe actually having been encouraged by, Obama’s apology?
This is nothing short of disgraceful. Expected, yet disgraceful.
President Obama is the man under which the phrase “courageous restraint” was ushered in. Courageous restraint as you may recall is a medal which is awarded to U.S. troops for not firing on their battlefield enemies. It is the model under which Obama’s foreign policy operates – courageous restraint.
Is it not time our country had a President whose platform is one of ‘courageous aggression’, holding accountable those who encourage the killing of our troops through silence, and punishing those who would harbor such terrorists? Our men and women need to know their President will stand up and demand action against those who seek to kill them at the hands of a false Koran-burning rage.
We need a Commander-in-Chief, not an Apologizer-in-Chief.
We need a courageous President, not a restrained one.