Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hawking security

Carter or Reagan: which was the hawk?

Republicans claim the high ground when it comes to being hawks on security. But are they really, or do they just hawk big-ticket defense industry? What's behind some of the rhetoric?

MarketWatch is sort of a subsidiary/associate of the Wall Street Journal, both of which are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., home of Fox News, not known for its friendly relations with liberal left mentalities, preferring to hoist it's own skull and crossbones for the conservative and evangelical right.

So it's curious when you get the following kind of reportage from that media. But then, Rupert has always been more pragmatic than dogmatic when it came to making money.

Suppose he's just now getting around to backing whom he thinks the next winner is? He did it with Labor's Tony Blair.

Obama strikes dagger into GOP defense doctrine?
Lawrence Korb is a fellow at the Center for American Progress. Korb was assistant secretary of defense during Reagan's first term in office.

Korb says history shows the GOP isn't always the most hawkish. Republican Richard Nixon actually cut the defense budget during his time in office from 1968 to 1974, but Democrat Jimmy Carter tried to raise Pentagon spending after winning the presidency in 1976. It was Carter who developed the doctrine that an interruption in oil supplies from the Middle East posed a threat to national security, Korb said.

Reagan took office after the 1980 election, defeating Carter on the notion that he would make the nation stronger by heavily boosting defense spending in the wake of the Iranian hostage crisis, an episode that contributed heavily to Carter's loss.

Pundits have said much of the success of the first Gulf War in early 1991 can be attributed to the Carter administration even though it was orchestrated by George H.W. Bush. During that short conflict, an array of high-tech weaponry got high marks for performance - much of which was developed under Carter's watch.

Among the weapons procured during the Carter years: the Patriot missile, the F-117 stealth fighter and the Tomahawk cruise missile. One big-ticket item that Carter killed but Reagan revitalized, the B-1 bomber, sat on the sidelines during that conflict.


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