Intervention on the Cheap

Stimson Spotlight

Intervention on the Cheap

Syria may be the issue of the week, but the budgetary opportunists are not missing the chance to tie defense budgets to the vote on a missile strike. No sooner had President Obama announced that he would seek congressional approval for launching missiles on Damascus, than the defenders of defense stepped out to say: The Pentagon can't do this; it has no money; do something about the sequester.

This is Washington; nobody misses an opportunity to hang their pet rock on a passing vote. But the thing is, budgetary sequestration is irrelevant to what the president says he intends to do. We already bought the five destroyers now off the Syrian coast. We bought the Tomahawks the president plans to fire off, if he gets the vote he wants, years ago. There are several dozen on each of those ships. And we are paying the sailors who will fire them off. In fact, the president has now twice exempted military pay from the sequester (smart political move). 

To read the full column, click here.

In addition, Gordon Adams appeared on C-SPAN to discuss the latest developments on possible U.S. military intervention in Syria. He discussed the legal justification for any action, short- and long-term effectiveness and the impact on the region, the role of Congress, U.S. military capabilities following sequestration budget cuts, and the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To view the interview, click here.

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This column was first published in Foreign Policy on September 3, 2013

Photo by Maggie Osama via flickr