The Republican Party has distinguished itself for its shameless, knee-jerk opposition to anything with even a faint fragrance of liberalism. Their robotic rejection of any policy proposed by President Obama, or any other Democrat, is evidence of their acute aversion to critical thinking – or thinking period. And now they may have demonstrated that their assholiness even extends to weakening America’s national security.
The Pentagon has long regarded Climate Change as a credible risk factor for international affairs. It is predicted that it will cause more severe natural disasters like hurricanes and drought, and multiplying refugee crises. All of this will profoundly increase the sort global tensions and conflict for which the United States must be prepared.
In response to these risks the Pentagon implemented a strategy (Department of Defense Directive 4715.21) for dealing with the consequences of a warming world. It was a fairly innocuous plan that mainly called for assigning specific people the responsibility of insuring that necessary measures were being taken to address potential problems. But even that plan was too much for the anti-science GOP, as reported by Politico:
“Last week, however, House Republicans voted to block it. By a 216-205 vote Thursday, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the department from spending money to put its new plan into effect. Not a single Democrat voted for the amendment, which was attached to the defense spending bill.”
The amendment was authored by Colorado Republican Ken Buck, who has no experience in either science or the military. His ignorance on the subject led to a defense of his amendment that makes little sense:
“The military, the intelligence community [and] the domestic national security agencies should be focused on ISIS and not on climate change. The fact that the president wants to push a radical green energy agenda should not diminish our ability to counter terrorism. […] The president has talked about an increase in the climate temperature on the planet. It is a fraction of a degree every year. How that is a current threat to us is beyond me.”
Indeed, this entire subject is beyond Rep. Buck. Apparently he thinks that the Defense Department, with 3.1 million employees and a budget of more $600 billion is incapable of concentrating on more than one thing at a time. Buck also believes that being prepared to respond to future military threats is part of a “radical green agenda.” His absurd position suggests that the U.S. should also drop any projects related to Russia, North Korea, NATO, cyber-warfare, or anything else not directly concerning ISIS.
Republican fear mongers, and their PR division at Fox News, are heavily invested in fighting a narrowly defined war on “radical Islamic terrorism” that mainly consists of reciting those three magic words and watching the bad guys dissolve into the ether. They have no affirmative suggestions for achieving victory, but they are overflowing with pointless criticisms. They mock those, including President Obama, who correctly assert that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than Climate Change.”
Conservatives who dispute the looming danger of a world with declining resources like water and arable land dismiss the warnings of 97 percent of the scientists who study the matter. They believe the whole crisis is a hoax that was invented to enrich greedy professors or, as Donald Trump laughably claimed, by the Chinese. However, the issue was laid out in stark detail by a Republican administration with an icon of modern conservative national security taking the lead:
“In 2003, under Donald Rumsfeld, former President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, the Pentagon published a report titled ‘An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security.’ Commissioned by Andrew Marshall, who is sometimes jokingly referred to within the Pentagon as Yoda — and who was a favorite of Rumsfeld’s — the report warned that threats to global stability posed by rapid warming vastly eclipse that of terrorism.”
And Rumsfeld is not alone among security professionals in warning about Climate Change. The Politico article quotes several, with decades of military experience, who regard Buck’s amendment as foolish and more costly in the long run. In fact, four of the past Secretaries of Defense (Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, and Rumsfeld) all subscribed to the policy that Climate Change is one of America’s top strategic risks. And three of the four are Republicans. Those are the people Ken Buck and his fellow Republicans are overruling with this ill-considered budget cut.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
So why would the GOP advance this nonsense that is contrary to the non-partisan opinions of most experts? Because conservatives don’t really care about national security. What they want is to terrify people by focusing on the immediacy and bloodshed of incidents like the recent massacre in Orlando. Which is, ironically, the same thing the terrorists want. And that purely political, self-serving objective overrides any genuine interest in the welfare of the American people or the world.