Some strong comments today from Obama administration officials in response to the many bogus attacks being leveled against yesterday’s decision to refocus U.S. missile defense efforts in Europe.
First, via Spencer Ackerman, Hillary Clinton came out swinging in an appearance this morning at the Brookings Institution. The key paragraph:
So make no mistake: if you support missile defense — which I did, as a senator, for eight years — then this is a stronger and smarter approach than the previous program. It does what missile defense is actually supposed to do: it defends America and our allies. Now, I know we’ve heard criticism of this plan from some quarters. But much of that criticism is not yet connected to the facts. We are not, quote, shelving missile defense. We are deploying missile defense sooner than the Bush administration planned to do so. And we are deploying a more comprehensive system. We are not reducing our capacity to protect our interests and our allies from Iran. By contrast, we are increasing that capacity, and focusing it on our best understanding of Iran’s current capabilities.
That’s diplo-speak for, well, you know what. Clinton does an excellent job of portraying opponents of the change as out of touch with the real security threats we face and painting their specific objections as the function of misplaced ideology rather than sound and pragmatic strategic thinking.
Second, also via Spencer, in a laughable display earlier today at something called the Value Voters Summit former Gov. Mike Huckabee accused Gates, Cartwright, etc. of secretly opposing yesterday’s decision on missile defense (their vigorous public support notwithstanding):
I heard Ambassador John Bolton, I heard many other people who are really at a point of liberty where they can speak their minds — unlike those in the Pentagon who do answer to the commander in chief and have to answer for his policy decisions — who believe that it was a very significant strategic mistake.
Forget for the moment that Huckabee considers Bolton a voice of reason on national security matters. Does Huckabee also believe that Gates was not being sincere in his opposition to the F-22? And the Airborne Laser? And the Kinetic Energy Interceptor? And the second engine for the F-35? Really? Please.
Asked if he thought the Secretary of Defense was not being forthcoming about his views, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell stated: “That is not the inference I would draw from Mr. Huckabee’s comments…but if that is what he was trying to imply I would say that Secretary Gates’ support is completely genuine…as is that of Joint Chiefs.”