Rep. Allen West tells Newsmax that the cuts in Pentagon spending that would be required if the congressional supercommittee fails to reach a compromise would “gut” the U.S. military and leave Americans unable to protect and defend themselves.
The Florida Republican also warns that “the clock is ticking very fast” toward Iran becoming a nuclear-armed threat, and says the United States should “absolutely” support the Israelis if they launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
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West was first elected in 2010 and is a member of the Tea Party Caucus. He is also an Army veteran who served for more than 20 years, with postings in several combat zones, and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
If the supercommittee charged with devising deep cuts in the nation’s budget deficit does not reach an agreement this month, the Pentagon would automatically be required to cut at least $500 billion from its budget in the coming years. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, West was asked what would be the consequences of those cuts.
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“The Army, which is today at 569,000, would go down to 426,000,” he says.
“The Marine Corps, which is at 202,000, would go down to 145,000. Navy ships, which are 288, would go down to 238. Air Force fighters, which are 1,990, would go down to 1,512.
“Basically you’re gutting our military. It becomes hollow, especially at a time when we find out from the [International Atomic Energy Agency] report that we have the number one threat to peace and stability in the world, Iran, getting close to having a militarized nuclear device.”
If those cuts are implemented, “you will not be able to take care of United States’ national security. We will not be able to contend with the various contingencies we have,” West warns.
“We are talking about pulling out all troops from Iraq. Iran has got a green light now. What does that mean in terms of our being able to reinsert ourselves and also support Israel in case they decide to take action against those nuclear facilities?”
Asked if the U.S. would be able to “adequately protect and defend ourselves” with those levels of military cuts, West stated: “No, we would not be able to.”
Discussing recent reports asserting that the U.S. is preparing for strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, West tells Newsmax: “I think you have to understand in that part of the world the only thing they recognize is strength.
“This is a Chamberlain-Churchill moment for the United States of America. You cannot compromise with and appease a dictator, a despot, a theocrat, and an autocrat, and that’s exactly what you have in Iran. And we’re giving them so many signals to say they’ve got a green light.
“Sanctions are going to work when you have people who care about the standard of living of their people, but in Iran they don’t care about that standard of living. And furthermore, the mutually assured destruction theory, the MAD theory that we had with the Soviet Union, that’s out the window now with Iran.”
West was asked how much longer the U.S. can afford to wait before striking Iran.
“I think that the clock is ticking very fast right now,” he responds.
“I believe when you have a complete reduction of all forces in Iraq by 31 December, that is really going to hasten Iran going toward that device. And it also puts a constraint on Israel because now you have to be concerned about overflight and aerial refueling.
“When I was over in Israel in August we had a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and one of his concerns was not having a credible U.S. force in Iraq and the Middle East that would keep Iran at bay, and we’re about to have that happen.”
Asked if the United States should act before the year’s end, West says: “I think we should strike when we have the right kind of conditions. I don’t want to tip anyone’s hand.”
He was also asked if the United States should support the Israelis if they strike Iran.
“Absolutely,” he declares. “And I think the greatest concern is not so much about logistical support but also the material support.
“And then what happens if Israel does strike, because you’ve got 50,000 rockets and missiles. Hezbollah has completely rearmed and refitted. All these rockets and missiles are facing south to Israel. Every single city can be struck. Hamas is just as strong as ever. The situation in Egypt is getting terrible.
“And the worst thing is that there are 30,000 shoulder-fired missiles that are missing from Libya, and I just cringe to think where they could end up.”
Turning to the American economy, West asserts that President Obama “has to understand that his economic policies have failed. We’ve gone from $10.6 trillion in debt when he took over to almost $15 trillion.
“This $447 billion stimulus package that he’s proposing is just going to be another failure. It was a failure with the first trillion-dollar stimulus package.”
West adds that as president Obama has “unequivocally” been a failure.
Some in Congress have been calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal. West agrees.
“Yes, he has to resign. And if the president does not ask for Eric Holder to resign, then I think that he’s complicit and is very rewarding of that type of behavior from our attorney general.”
Referring to the clamor over accusations from several women of inappropriate sexual behavior by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, West was asked if Cain would be receiving the same level of scrutiny from the media if he were white.
“That does come into play in this somewhat,” West says.
“There are many parallels to what happened to Justice Clarence Thomas. There’s no doubt about it that when you are a black conservative you are very threatening to the liberal progressive establishment. I ran into that myself.”
West is the number one Republican congressman that the Democratic National Committee has targeted for defeat.
“It’s an incredible badge of honor,” West says.
“The fact that a person who has never been in politics in their life” is the “number one target, that means that our message is very effective."
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