Seven Years Wasted:

Barry McCaffrey, former Army division commander and national drug czar, laid into the military leadership March 12 for going along with “[former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld’s idiocy” for the last two Administration terms. Speaking at an Air Force Defense Strategy Seminar on Capitol Hill, McCaffrey said he blames the services for acceding to modernization plans that don’t go “anywhere near” meeting the nation’s future military needs or obligations. McCaffrey said the uniformed leadership has been suckered into believing that defense budgets are a zero-sum game, arguing that it should “trust the good judgment of the American people” to fund the military properly if given a good explanation. McCaffrey said defense budget forecasts are a joke, as unknowable as the stock market of “five years from now.” The defense budget is the product of “thousands of individual actions” and shouldn’t be a prediction, but the result of reasoned debate. “We have lacked wisdom in the military leadership,” McCaffrey said. “Your job, as an agency leader, is to get an ethically sound defense argument, put it on a piece of paper, and submit it for consideration. Then let the political debate take place.” He added that military leaders should not “anticipate the outcome of the political debate and give them the answer they’d like to hear. And I think that’s been a failure of those in uniform for the last seven years.” McCaffrey said fixing defense will take political will, courage, and an investment of about 5.2 percent of GDP for about five years.