Inhofe’s painful inanity

INHOFE’S PAINFUL INANITY…. It’s hardly surprising that members of Congress would be reluctant to accept Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ efforts to restructure military spending. Gates’ proposal is a rather dramatic effort at reform, and for lawmakers who’ve grown attached to Pentagon-related pork, the administration’s proposal shakes up the status quo.

But while some resistance was inevitable, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a constant embarrassment to himself and the Senate, is once again breaking new grounds of indecency.

In a YouTube video that is getting linked around the conservative blogosphere, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attacked Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ 2010 defense budget recommendations, though he aimed his criticism at President Obama instead of Gates. Speaking from Afghanistan, Inhofe declared that “President Obama is disarming America. Never before has a president so ravaged the military at a time of war.”

Specifically, Inhofe charges Obama with cutting funding for “our troops in the field during an ongoing war.”

In the video, Inhofe adds, “Here in Afghanistan, while the war is intensifying and the number of U.S. forces increases at the direction of President Obama, he undercuts those he sends into harm’s way. It is not just unbelievable … it is unconscionable.”

Of course, Inhofe is either lying or he’s a fool. (It’s so hard to tell.) Following the recommendations of its Republican defense secretary, the Obama administration is increasing military spending from $513 billion under Bush to $534 billion in 2010. Inhofe, who’s never been accused of being the sharpest crayon in the box, is making a series of ridiculous war-related accusations that don’t make any sense at all. “Disarming America”? “Ravaging the military at a time of war”? “Undercutting” the troops? Even by Inhofe standards, this is blisteringly stupid.

The point of Gates’ review is to make the defense budget more effective for the 21st century, divesting in projects and weapons systems that aren’t needed, and directing those funds to better use. That’s not “ravaging” the military; it’s improving it. That’s not cutting funding for “our troops in the field during an ongoing war”; it’s actually more money for “troops and new technology to fight the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

If Inhofe wants to defend unnecessary spending projects, fine, he can make his case. But this kind of rhetoric is absurd. He either believes this nonsense, in which case he should learn what he’s talking about and apologize, or he’s deliberately deceiving people, in which case he should set the record straight and apologize.