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Inhofe: Putin's action due to 'President Obama's disarming of America'

  • McClatchy Washington Bureau
  • Published Monday, March 3, 2014, at 1:30 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at 3:19 a.m.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ripped President Barack Obama's military policy monday, saying it's emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The arrogant actions of President Putin and Russia in recent days is a direct result of President Obama's disarming of America since the beginning of his Administration." said Inhofe, top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"Five years ago, I went to Afghanistan to respond to President Obama's first budget knowing he was going to disarm America. In that first budget, he canceled our only fifth generation fighter, the F-22; he cancelled our C-17; and he cancelled our FCS. That was just the first year.

"Since then he has taken $487 billion out of our national security. His disarming of America over the past five years limits our options in Ukraine today. I just returned from Georgia in January, and they fear Russia will further invade their territory next."

Inhofe then recalled his own warnings.

"Throughout this Administration, I have also warned that if the United States does not maintain a ready and capable military, we would surrender our global influence and leave a vacuum that will be filled by Russia. I warned this day was coming, and it is here. President Obama's attempt to seek peace through apologetic diplomacy while defunding and dismantling our military has failed. Today our enemies don't fear us and our allies no longer respect us."

And he looked ahead.

"When the Defense Department releases its budget this week, we will be faced with the impacts of another year of cuts to our national security. President Obama plans to ask Congress for more funding for our troops, but his request is deceiving as he plans to tie it to tax hikes and increased spending for non-defense," the senator said.

"General Dempsey testified in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that defense cuts will 'severely limit our ability to implement our defense strategy. It will put the nation at greater risk of coercion, and it will break faith with men and women in uniform.' Furthermore, Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Winnefeld testified that 'there could be for the first time in my career instances where we may be asked to respond to a crisis and we will have to say that we cannot.' It's time for President Obama to come forward and either fully fund our military or reduce expectations for the United States' leadership in the world."

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