Panetta: ‘Dysfunction in Washington’ Threatens US Security

The Secretary of Defense railed against stubborn politics on the issue of budget cuts, after playing that very game himself

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in a speech Thursday that political impasse in Washington threatens U.S. national security and prevents functioning democracy.

“Dysfunction in Washington … threatens our security and raises questions about the capacity of our democracy to respond to crisis,” Panetta said. Referring to the budget crisis facing Congress right now, he called the deadlock “a political crutch” and “not a part of the American spirit.”

Panetta’s lecture against political partisans refusing to compromise is pretty rich coming from the guy who stubbornly refused making any meaningful cuts to defense budgets, which make up an inordinate percentage of overall spending. He said cutting the defense budget back to 2007 levels would be “catastrophic,” and instead would only agree to slight reductions in the rate of growth in military spending.

“One thing that I’ve learned over my career is that governing requires people coming together to get things done, not to pound their fists on the table and stand in the way,” he told an audience at a dinner sponsored by Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. Present for the speech were present and former government officials, members of Congress, defense industry representatives and dozens of college students.

But “standing in the way” is precisely what the Obama administration has done on issues of defense cuts. Panetta, by far the loudest money-grabbing warmonger of all, described the sequestration cuts that were supposed to automatically kick in if the Super Committee failed to reach a deal as a “doomsday mechanism.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.