Barack ObamaMissile DefenseWilliam Cohen

Former Clinton Secretary of Defense William Cohen Says Obama Is Wrong on Missile Defense Cuts


Political Cartoon by Michael Ramirez

William Cohen, Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of Defense and Republican Senator from Maine says that President Obama is sending the wrong signal to rogue regimes.

Writing the Washington Times, William Cohen, a Republican senator from Maine who served as President Bill Clinton’s defense secretary from 1997 through 2001, says that President Obama’s decision to reduce the funding commitment to the US missile-defense system by $1.4 billion “sends the signal that we do not take the threats of rogue regimes seriously, and are willing to take the risk that current technologies are sufficient to prevent devastating accidents or miscalculations.”

Given North Korean actions, Cohen says, this is a big mistake.

“Given the disturbing geopolitical events that are now unfolding, it is imperative that we err on the side of safety,” he says. “The consequences are too grave to allow our leadership to claim at some future time that they were taken by surprise.”

Cutting this commitment will “embolden North Korea, Iran and other rogue states to pursue missiles of increasing range. It would also confuse our allies and undermine their trust in America’s security guarantees. If the United States is vulnerable to the threat of a missile attack by a rogue state, allies could lose confidence in America’s nuclear deterrent – which could lead nations such as Japan to pursue a nuclear deterrent of their own.”

Of course, Obama is wrong. But he, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, plus other Senate Democrats have never been fans of missile defense even after the technology has been proven.

“This premise, that one day Kim Jong Il or someone will wake up one morning and say ‘Aha, San Francisco!’ is specious,” Senator Joe Biden told AP in May 2001.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Carl Levin (D., Mich.) offered in June to cut off funds for the ground-based interceptor program that Mr. Bush recently activated in Alaska in anticipation of the North Korean launch. Mr. Levin wants to stop new interceptors from being built, but Senate Republicans wouldn’t bring his proposal up for a vote. Mr. Levin has been waging his own private war against missile defenses for a generation, to the point of outflanking Russian objections on the political left.

In May 2001 the Boston Herald’s Woodlief wrote that John Kerry “wants to croak the hugely costly nuclear missile defense system.” And just one day before the 9/11 attacks Joe Biden (D., Del.) gave a National Press Club speech outlining Democrat opposition to national missile defense.

Cohen makes his point and is the conventional wisdom in defense circles.

But, will Obama stop the DOUBLESPEAK and do what is right?


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