Commentary: Don’t Play Politics with Military Readiness

Posted May 1, 2014 at 9:21am

Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta writes in the Wall St. Journal : “Thursday marks the third anniversary of the day when two dozen members of an elite U.S. special operations force flew 150 miles into Pakistan by helicopter and killed Osama bin Laden. As I watched the operation from the seventh floor of CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., I knew we had dealt a tremendous blow to the organization that attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. But I also knew that his death did not wipe out all threats to America and our allies.”  

“Three years later, the world is just as dangerous—maybe more so. While a mood of withdrawal and restraint is spreading in both political parties, recent events suggest that the U.S. may need to address crises around the world that threaten our national security. Our military must be prepared to respond if necessary.”  

The piece continues: “America must be willing to take the risks involved with leadership. The president and leaders in Congress must be willing to make difficult budget decisions—and, yes, compromises—that involve political risks. There’s little appetite for compromise at a time when the extremes of both parties command attention, but that is what is essential to protecting our economy and our national security. Our national leaders cannot just give up until the next election. Events in a dangerous world will not wait for the next election.”