President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney both agree that the United States is in the midst of a historically unsustainable debt spiral; they also both agree that military spending is a sacred cow that can be cut under no circumstance.
Obama has used drones in an unprecedented way that has resulted in the loss of life of not only enemy combatants in war zones, but also civilian casualties in countries like Pakistan where the United States is not at war. And Romney — who, if elected, will take control of the same remote-operated fleet of death machines — applauds the current President’s drone strategy, which has come under fire from many within the human rights community and drawn protest from the citizens and leadership of countries abroad.
“I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends,” Romney said when asked about drone policy at the Presidential debate Monday.
Romney also proffered the same 2014 Afghanistan troop withdrawal date that Obama has been touting, despite having criticizing the President in the past for “offering the enemy a timeline.”
The two candidates spent a long time during the debate Monday driving home one point: America is in dire financial trouble, but cannot make defense spending cuts.
Unmentioned, however, was the fact that the budget cuts that the two candidates are so worried about do not actually cut defense spending at all. The focus of the contention is on “sequestration” cuts — automatic spending cuts put into place last year when government again raised the debt ceiling.
The first round of “cuts” has already taken place under sequestration, shaving $487 billion from Pentagon spending over the next decade as defense spending continues to grow at the rate of inflation.
Romney wants to reinstate that money. And Obama said Monday that he, too, would reverse sequestration cuts.
If government doesn’t act by January, an additional $600 billion in defense spending will go into action. But even under complete sequestration, defense spending will continue to rise by about 16 percent.