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Is Obama shrinking the U.S. military? 

On April 6, the Obama administration unveiled its proposed 2010 military budget.  

Republican condemnation of Obama's Pentagon spending plan was swift and severe.

"It seems the only place the president is willing to cut spending is on the armed forces," said Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia.

"President Obama is disarming America," said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. "Our sons and daughters are risking their lives fighting an enemy whose sole purpose is the destruction of our country and our way of life, while their president disarms America. And all this to support his welfare state."

"While the nation's eyes have turned to a struggling economy, this administration is taking steps to cut defense spending," said talk radio and FOXNews host Sean Hannity, R-Douchebagistan. "And that noise you hear off in the distance, those are the mullahs — well, they're cheering."

Disarming America? Welfare state? Mullahs ululating with glee?

Did Obama just propose disbanding the United States Marine Corps and using the leftover money to fund mandatory K-Y Jelly, wine coolers, and Mecca-facing abortion clinics for every public elementary school in America?

Not exactly.

By "not exactly" I mean "not at all" and "Price, Inhofe, Hannity and their ilk are ginormous effing liars whose status as Republican leaders should embarrass rank-and-file Republicans."

Get it straight: Obama has proposed increasing the U.S. military's annual budget by $20.4 billion, from $513.3 billion to $533.7 billion for 2010.


Increase means more. As in "more than the previous year" and "the opposite of decrease." It means spending more on the military than the United States has ever spent.

And that number does not include an additional $130 billion Obama proposes spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just like Bush and Clinton before him, Obama's budget would see the U.S. continuing to spend as much on its military as every other country in the world spends on their militaries combined.

Some perspective: At the moment, the world's second-biggest military spender is China. China spends about $120 billion annually on its military. That's less than one-fifth of the U.S. total.

As for the laughing mullahs, Iran spent about $7.2 billion on its military last year, or roughly the same amount spent last year by that great military power, um, Greece.

That Iran spends as much on its military as Greece seems somehow appropriate. After all, the last time Iran's military posed a serious threat to Western civilization was when it attacked Greece — 2,500 years ago.

Just because the loudest critics of Obama's military budget are pathological liars doesn't mean the budget itself is above criticism or discussion.

Proposals for individual programs within the budget reveal Obama wants to reorient the U.S. military's war-making capabilities away from so-called traditional wars, ones against other armies.

Instead, Obama wants the Pentagon to better equip itself for the type of wars we've been bogged down with since 2001 — wars that require both counterterrorism and counterinsurgency skills.

The biggest signifier of Obama's proposed shift in the Pentagon's mission is his proposal to dramatically slow Air Force purchases of the F-22 fighter jet.

The F-22 was conceived in 1981 to thwart anticipated advances in Soviet military aviation. The advances never arrived, and the Soviet Union itself kicked the bucket in 1991.

The F-22, however, lived on. The first F-22 rolled off the assembly line six years ago. It joined the active-duty fleet four years ago.

It's probably the most technologically advanced flying thing in the history of gravity, but it hasn't actually seen a minute of combat, unless you count its appearance in 2007's Transformers movie. Radar-evading, super-computerized, supersonic combat jets aren't much use against turbaned hillbillies armed with AK-47s and Toyota pickups.

Obama proposes capping the F-22 fleet at 187 and redirecting the Pentagon's cash spigot to the slightly cheaper and more durable F-35.

Obama also plans to more than double the U.S.'s unmanned fighter plane fleet — the so-called Predator drone planes that have proven far more capable at dropping missiles on giggly cave-dwellers than the F-22.

It's fair to question the wisdom of cutting or growing particular programs, but stating that Obama is cutting military spending or disarming America is a flat-out lie.

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