House GOPers Use 9/11 to Attack Defense Cuts (VIDEO)

<a href="">House Armed Services Committee/YouTube</a>

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 upon us, Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee have released a video collage of WTC imagery that warns their Senate counterparts: Cut defense spending, and you’ll be responsible for the next attack on America.

“Our No. 1 priority, I think, should be as a Congress to protect our nation,” intones a black-and-white, professionally cropped House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) in the video, embedded below. “What if we’re attacked in some other area? What is our military going to be able to do if we keep cutting them?”

The Democratic-led Senate is returning from its summer break to pass a military spending bill, and indications are that it’ll slash some of the pork that the Republican House tried to slip in. Already, the Senate’s budget committee has trimmed $26 billion of fat from the 2012 defense budget it got from the House—cuts required by the bipartisan debt-reduction deal Barack Obama signed last month.

And there’s plenty to cut, thanks to McKeon and his congressional cohort. This spring, they preserved defense earmarks after vowing that they wouldn’t; voted to make more Humvees the Army doesn’t want (and reject Afghanistan base defense systems that it did); to keep an unnecessary $3 billion GE contract to build an “alternative engine” for the single-engine Joint Strike Fighter, whose costs are approaching $1 trillion; and to repatriate US victims of the 1804 Barbary War in Libya.

In their defense, they did vote to trim defense dollars by banning color copies at the Pentagon.

McKeon’s message is the GOP’s good ol’ “strong on defense” refrain—if you watch it to the end, you can hear soldiers shouting a marching cadence that goes, “Fired up! Here we go!”—but it’s shaky on substance. “Our fighter squadrons have dropped from 82 to 39,” McKeon worries. “Strategic bombers, 360 down to 154.” Yet he never mentions how $2 billion stealth bombers might have kept 19 terrorists from hijacking commercial jets and plowing them into US buildings. (The cost to produce eight such bombers is equivalent to the entire budget of the US State Department [PDF].)

“We’re the smallest Navy we’ve been since 1916,” McKeon continues, failing to note that in 1916, the US had no aircraft carriers or nuclear missile-carrying submarines, much less guided-missile cruisers, destroyers, and frigates. None of which, again, have proved useful in preventing 9/11, or any other potential terrorist attack on US soil.

Perhaps the unintentionally funniest line in the video is this: “Tell me what missions that we’ve done in the last couple of years that we are not gonna be asked to do in the next couple of years.” Rep. McKeon, please see: Iraq, the $3 trillion invasion of.


as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.


as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.