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Oct 09 2012

Ryan’s False Claims of ‘Weakness’

The new line that Paul Ryan is using in the wake of the attacks on US embassies or consulates in Libya and Egypt is that it’s all because Obama is so weak and that’s make our enemies think we can be attacked with impunity. Here’s what he said last week in Colorado, starting with his latest flip flop:

“Of all the things that Mitt Romney and I differ, disagree with President Obama – we need a strong military!” Ryan said. “We believe in peace through strength. We believe that when America’s military is strong, America is safer.

“These defense cuts that he is promising, these devastating defense cuts that he is promising not only undermine our peace, not only undermine our security, they compromise jobs right here,” he said.

Guess what? Obama is opposing those defense cuts too, and offering the same kind of absurd excuse. Leon Panetta has made the same argument repeatedly in arguing against the sequestration deal — which Paul Ryan not only voted for, but released a statement praising its importance:

“The Budget Control Act represents a victory for those committed to controlling government spending and growing our economy. I applaud Speaker Boehner’s leadership in stopping tax increases on job creators, rejecting President Obama’s demands for a blank check to keep borrowing, and advancing real spending cuts and controls.

When he voted for the sequestration deal, it was all about keeping Obama’s profligate spending under control. Now suddenly it’s about his reckless budget cutting. I guess Ryan got his very own etch-a-sketch when he joined the ticket. And now it’s all about Obama projecting weakness:

“Please know that when we gut our military as the president is proposing – when we equivocate on speaking up for our values overseas, our freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom for women and women’s rights and individual rights – when we do this, we project weakness abroad,” he said. “And when we project weakness abroad, our enemies are more willing to test us, they are more brazen and our allies are less willing to trust us and that will not happen under a Mitt Romney administration because we believe in peace through strength.”

Okay, so how about during the Reagan administration, when the rates of attacks on American diplomatic outposts were 3-4 times higher than under Obama, and in some years 6 times higher?

Was Reagan projecting weakness when he vastly increased defense spending? Or are you just full of shit?

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Randomfactor

    The President was warned that he’d put US personnel into an unstable situation. He ignored those warnings, and when the worst happened–an attack resulting in multiple deaths–President Reagan “pulled a Reagan” and withdrew from Lebanon.

    The weakling.

  2. 2
    Reginald Selkirk

    when we equivocate on speaking up for our values overseas, our freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom for women and women’s rights and individual rights – when we do this, we project weakness abroad,

    If you are concerned about any of those freedoms here in the USA, then don’t vote for Romney/Ryan.

  3. 3
    The Lorax

    I gotta say… Clinton? Wow. Just wow.

  4. 4
    John Hinkle

    …speaking up for our values overseas…

    Sounds like a euphemism for bombing brown people.

  5. 5
    baal

    hmmmm, something about the Clinton years changed. Could it be that terrorists rely on the good will of their communities and they don’t get that when the US is more or less behaving responsibly internationally?

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    The point of embassies and foreign posts is that they are outposts – it’s not rational to expect them to be like mid-state Ohio. And, if you’re a foreign service officer in some unstable part of the world, you should not expect things to be like Ohio. That’s what “foreign service” fucking means.

  7. 7
    psweet

    baal — your idea makes sense, but does that mean that under G.W. Bush, we were treating other countries that way?

  8. 8
    Nick Gotts

    something about the Clinton years changed – baal

    End of the Cold War, perhaps. The 1990s saw a pronounced fall in inter-state armed conflict globally. Other indices also show a reduction in non-state violence over the decade.

  9. 9
    baal

    psweet – we obviously were not so I have to wonder if the broadly lower rates of incidents from Clinton on say something about the graph was created or some other effect like the sympathy halo from 911. It wasn’t until after a few years of the GWOT that we started to take a nose dive in international reputation.

  10. 10
    cry4turtles

    “Peace through strength” now there’s a knee slapper.

  11. 11
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    These true facts are clearly wrong.

  12. 12
    Troublesome Frog

    I can see how shaving just a little bit off the military budget may give our enemies the false impression that they could take us. We would be barely neck and neck with so may of the world’s militaries if not for a handful of extra planes and the odd destroyer here and there. Hanging on to our military superiority by our fingernails, we are.

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