The Pentagon is blaming the halving of our basic offensive air capacity in the area on budgetary worries - code words designed to invoke fear over the specter of a sequestration plan which will automatically go into effect should Congress fail to deal with the budget by March 1.
At that point an automatic across the board $1.2 trillion cut would be imposed.
As that date quickly approaches Team Obama is ratcheting up its campaign of deception by suggesting all manner of nightmare scenarios in order to steam roll Congress into allowing the spending spree to continue ad infinitum.
Actually this is a ridiculous but deadly serious game of chicken in which the president is suggesting that any cuts to the federal budget will reduce grandma and grandpa to eating cat food, will destroy education and render hollow our defense posture.
Congress of course must share in the blame here, they put themselves in this position because neither side wanted to fight the budget battle before the November election. Therefore they agreed [along with Mr. Obama] that the best way to get a reasonable deal was to use the mechanism of sequestration - in which budget cuts are automatically triggered without any respect to their potential effect - as a sort of Sword of Damocles to force the parties to the negotiating table.
So far this hasn't worked, hence Mr. Obama's newest act of brinksmanship, disastrously reducing the ability of the United States to project power in the most dangerous area on the globe.
It's as if this bunch failed to learn the key lesson from the Benghazi tragedy, that creating the appearance of weakness in this region is in itself highly provocative and thus might well invite an attack by the Islamists which heretofore might have been unthinkable.
There is nothing really new here it's standard operating procedure when government becomes worried that its budgetary authority might be cut, even minutely. At the state and local level pink slips are sent out to teachers and police departments are notified that their budgets will also be slashed. The latter almost invariably results in threats to cut the number of beat cops thus provoking outcries from "low information voters" to stop the cuts.
The truth in this matter is rather easy to understand - without sequestration the United States is projected to spend $44 trillion over the next 10 years. Assuming sequestration happens, the projected spending will be reduced to...$43 trillion. So regardless of the threat of "draconian" cuts to DC's bloated spending habits we are looking - at most - a net reduction of only about 1% per year, an insignificant amount if one is seriously concerned about restoring the "full faith and credit" of the United States.
And all of this is upon the assumption that future Congresses will allow themselves to be held captive, bound to a pretend bare-bones budget designed by a previous Congress...yet there is no historical precedent to suggest that it has any chance of occurring, it ain't gonna' happen.
The real problem here is with the president.
Still filled with swagger over his electoral success Mr. Obama seems willing to further gamble with the nation's defense posture in order to score cheap political points which will mean nothing long term, other than serving as another sign that the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. isn't serious about anything except speeding this country's rush towards a European type socialist state with a very limited ability to defend itself.
This isn't just folly, it's the equivalent of dereliction of duty and a casting aside of the presidential oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.