While many have persuasively argued that the fiscal cliff defense cuts would hurt innovation and slow our economic recovery, few offer concrete examples of how these catastrophic cuts would endanger our national security.
Iran's drive to acquire nuclear weapons provides the perfect example. Intent on testing America's resolve to stop its nuclear program, Iran will accelerate its uranium enrichment if the U.S. cannot credibly threaten to use military force. Cutting warships, fighter jets, intelligence technologies, and other critical capabilities — as would happen if we go over the fiscal cliff — would encourage Iran to run out the diplomatic clock until it has built a nuclear ballistic missile.
Incredibly, the fiscal cliff defense cuts would even reduce funding for U.S. missile defense — our only shield against the ballistic missiles now spreading in Iran and worldwide. Most leaders in Washington support missile defense, with Democrats like President Barack Obama newly converted by a growing number of tests that prove that the technology works. Rather than cut missile defense — which accounts for less than one fifth of one percent of the Pentagon budget — the National Research Council recently suggested adding an East Coast location as the least expensive way to strengthen homeland missile defenses against an Iranian missile attack.
Falling over the fiscal cliff would embolden our enemies, expose us to attacks and weaken our ability to respond.
Ret. Lt. General Jerry Boykin, Farmville, Va.