Saturday, October 27, 2012

GUEST COLUMN: "Obama’s Defense Cuts Will Leave Lima Struggling"


During the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden said that more M1 Abrams tanks were no longer necessary. For people who live in Lima and work to make the tanks, Biden is saying the jobs they love and care about are no longer necessary.

President Obama’s looming defense cuts are threatening to devastate our national security and destroy jobs across the nation. In Lima alone, the President’s 2013 defense budget plan puts at jeopardy nearly 800 jobs, including thousands of jobs at small businesses. Under the President’s plan, General Dynamics, the company that manufacturers the tanks, would be forced to temporarily shut down and hand out hundreds of pink slips. To add insult to injury, the plant has already cut a number of well-paying jobs.

At a time when 23 million Americans across the country are struggling to find work, it’s unconscionable to kick more Lima workers to the unemployment line. Unfortunately, this course of action is unwise when we are trying to preserve our national security and jump start our economy.

The Lima plant tank is not only vital to the local economy but our country’s national security and military readiness. However, Joe Biden and Barack Obama don’t seem to understand this. If the tank plant isn’t saved, we risk losing a unique manufacturing skill set and perhaps most concerning is the way the world views us. When we make cuts to our defense we project weakness abroad.

Perhaps most concerning about the President’s reckless pursuit of disarmament is his commitment to pursue it at a time when disorder is on the rise abroad, particularly in the Middle East. Every day, Iran marches closer to a nuclear weapon, and in Syria, tens of thousands of innocents have been slaughtered by an oppressive regime.

Indeed, the world is a dangerous place. It’s quite clear that closing the doors to a plant here in Lima and cutting our defense at this critical moment is not the solution. They don’t seem to understand that when we make cuts to our defense that the President’s own Secretary of Defense characterized as “devastating,” we project weakness abroad.

I know the President hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy. We cannot protect the United States and support our friends when our words are not backed up by deeds when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of, and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity.

And that’s why the contrast before the American people in this election could not be more important.

Mitt Romney will not weaken our nation’s defenses. He will reverse the President’s misguided cuts to our military. Instead of leading from behind, he’ll restore American leadership across the globe. And he’ll put America on a new course at time when we cannot afford four more years of the same failed policies.