Dick Cheney was on the Hill yesterday trying to rally his GOP troops to fight automatic military spending cuts. Cheney reportedly relied on his experience as Defense Secretary to make his case (ironic given the DOD’s budget fell drastically under his watch), but according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Cheney’s real concern is about the next war:
Cheney, 71, said defense spending is “not a spigot you can turn on and turn off, that you need to keep money flowing in a predictable way so you can plan for the next war,” Graham said after the Senate Republicans’ weekly luncheon. They heard from the former vice president, who was President George H.W. Bush’s defense secretary from 1989 to 1993.
There’s absolutely no evidence that suggests the U.S. won’t be able to plan for or fight any wars should the military spending cuts sequester take effect. As the CBO reported this week, cutting military spending by $500 billion over the next ten years, as the sequester mandates, will still allow the Pentagon to spend as much money as it did in 2006. And at the time, the United States spent more on its military than any country in the world many times over and was engaged in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Cheney is worried about the U.S. not being able to fight/start a war. It’s also a bit concerning that he’s openly predicting a “next” one. Indeed, he lobbied hard in the waning days of the Bush administration for an attack on Iran and presumably he thinks he’ll get another shot at it should Mitt Romney win the White House.