Rep. Fleming: Obama Is Undermining National Security "On Purpose"

April 08, 2010 3:40 pm ET — Walid Zafar

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) has a record of selectively quoting or leaving out important information when discussing an issue.  So it should come as no surprise that he's chosen to oppose a policy without acknowledging the historical context that would undermine his claim and render his point moot.

In a piece published by the Daily Caller, Fleming, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, criticizes the administration's efforts towards nuclear disarmament and accuses the president of appeasement, writing that if other countries threaten the United States, our policy under Obama is to apologize to them.  The piece is dishonest and nonsensical, primarily because Fleming compares Obama's purported weakness to Ronald Reagan's bravery by not mentioned the fact that Reagan was, in the words of Fred Kaplan, a "nuclear abolitionist."  Fleming writes, "President Reagan understood all too well what this president and other liberals like him chose to ignore: strength equals deterrence equals peace."

As our partner organization, Media Matters for America, has highlighted, Reagan was very much in favor of nuclear disarmament.  

Reagan's "ultimate goal" was "eliminating all nuclear weapons."  In several  speeches, Reagan stated that his "ultimate goal" was the "total elimination of nuclear weapons."

Reagan: "[S]igning of the first-ever agreement eliminating nuclear weapons" "has a universal significance for mankind." In December 1987, President Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the Soviet Union,  which "requires destruction of the Parties' ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment within three years after the Treaty enters into force."

[...]

Reagan proposed reductions to ICBMs that eventually became the START I treaty. In a May 9, 1982 speech, Reagan stated:

The main threat to peace posed by nuclear weapons today is the growing instability of the nuclear balance. This is due to the increasingly destructive potential of the massive Soviet buildup in its ballistic missile force.

Therefore, our goal is to enhance deterrence and achieve stability through significant reductions in the most destabilizing nuclear systems, ballistic missiles, and especially the giant intercontinental ballistic missiles, while maintaining a nuclear capability sufficient to deter conflict, to underwrite our national security, and to meet our commitment to allies and friends.

Fleming writes, "Our nuclear arsenal has provided this strong and much needed deterrent to other nuclear countries." He forgets to mention, of course, that while the Obama's administration seeks to rid the world of all nuclear weapons, no such thing is currently being proposed.  We will still have thousands of nuclear weapons in our arsenal.  He goes on to state that Obama's action "significantly undermines not only our national security, but the security of our partners and allies as well - many of whom have chosen not to develop and deploy WMDs of their own solely based on the credibility of the U.S. extended nuclear deterrent" without again acknowledging that the fact that little will change in our actual national security apparatus.

But one part of his piece stands out as particularly disgusting.  Towards the end of his piece, Fleming, echoing conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh, writes, "Simply put, President Obama is disadvantaging the United States one step at a time and undermining this country's national defense on purpose."  The emphasis is his.

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