This is not just a question of which side is he on. This is a question of which planet is he on. “Obama’s National Defence Review ignores Iran and Islam in favour of… climate change!,” by James Corum in the Telegraph, February 11 (thanks to Pamela):
Under American law, every four years the US Defence Department must present to Congress a comprehensive review of the security threats and challenges to America. The security picture presented in the review provides the justification for planning and creating the appropriate military forces and capabilities. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is supposed to be a non-partisan and objective strategic document – free of partisan politics. After all, the duty to protect the nation and its citizens is supposed to take a higher priority than subsidies to labour unions, or hand-outs to party loyalists.
Last week the Defence Department released the 2010 QDR. It is a remarkable document. As guidance for American strategy it might even take a historical place alongside some of the great assessments of the Bush administration–such as the 2003 Congressional testimony by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that a war in Iraq could be waged at little cost.
The 128-page Defence Review says some important things. It outlines the problems with maintaining the US military’s technological lead over potential adversaries. It discusses the need to counter terrorism. The threat to Western cyber systems is noted. The proliferation of Russian high-tech anti-aircraft missiles around the world is noted as a problem.
However, it’s not what is in the document that surprises the reader – it’s what was left out. There presence of two elephants in their living room apparently escaped the notice of American’s top civilian and military leaders. Islamic radicalism does not receive any mention whatsoever in the American Defence Review and the threat posed by a nuclear Iran is mentioned in only one general sentence at the end of a document (page 101). To put this lack of discussion in proportion, contrast this non-discussion with other security issues mentioned in the document. For example, the security effects of climate change are highlighted and discussed in depth in eight pages of the document.
I would not have thought it possible that one could publish a book-length assessment of America’s security challenges and responses and NOT address the problem of Islamic radicalism or the Iranian bomb – but that’s just what Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen have done. From this one can draw one of two possible conclusions: these men are really, really stupid (not very likely), or they have deliberately minimised the current security threats to please the Obama administration and support the President’s desire to cut defence spending. The smart money is on the latter explanation….