Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Defense Cuts

Vice President Cheney went after John Kerry yesterday for voting in the 1990’s to cut defense spending. Well, Holy Ned, who’s dumb idea was that? It was George Herbert Walker Bush in the State of the Union address in 1992.

Two years ago, I began planning cuts in military spending that reflected the changes of the new era. But now, this year, with Imperial Communism gone, that process can be accelerated. Tonight I can tell you of dramatic changes in our strategic nuclear force. These are actions we are taking on our own, because they are the right thing to do.

After completing 20 planes for which we have begun procurement, we will shut down production of the B-2 bomber. We will cancel the ICBM program. We will cease production of new warheads for our sea-based missiles. We will stop all production of the peacekeeper missile. And we will not purchase any more advanced cruise missiles.

This weekend I will meet at Camp David with Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation. I have informed President Yeltsin that if the commonwealth, the former Soviet Union, will eliminate all land-based multiple-warhead ballistic missiles, I will do the following: We will eliminate all Peacekeeper missiles. We will reduce the number of warheads on Minuteman missiles to one and reduce the number of warheads on our sea-based missiles by about one-third. And we will concvert a substantial portion of our strategic to primarily conventional use.

President Yeltsin’s early response has been very positive, and I expect our talks at Camp David to be fruitful. I want you to know that for half a century, American presidents have longed to make such decisions and say such words. But even in the midst of celebration, we must keep caution as a friend. For the world is still a dangerous place. Only the dead have seen the end of conflict. And though yesterday’s challenges are behind us, tomorrow’s are being born.

The Secretary of Defense recommended these cuts after consultation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And I make them with confidence. But do not misunderstand me: The reductions I have approved will save us an additional $50 billion over the next five years. By 1997 we will have cut defense by 30 percent since I took office.

Remeber who the Secretary of Defense was in 1992? It was Dick Cheney. Who was the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? It was General Colin Powell. So if Senator John Kerry voted to cut defense spending, he did it because he was going along with what President Bush asked for.

How stupid do they think we are?