Tags: Syria | inhofe | US | obama | troops | syria | immoral

Inhofe: 'Degraded' Military 'Has No Money Left' to Strike Syria

Friday, 30 Aug 2013 09:24 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A key Republican blasted the Obama administration for a questionable array of options in Syria that will ultimately rely on a "degraded" military, saying use of U.S. troops in the current crisis would be "immoral."

Besides, Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said the United States simply cannot financially afford to get into a confrontation with Syria.

"Our military has no money left," Inhofe said this week.

Urgent: Should U.S. Strike Syria? Vote Here

Inhofe, of Oklahoma, has linked the military's dire condition to the White House's $500 billion in budget cuts slated for the Pentagon over the next decade.

"As [Secretary of Defense Chuck] Hagel, Adm. [James] Winnefeld, and I have discussed before, we have a financial crisis in our military," he said Thursday. "We have a starving military."

Yet, Inhofe said, the Obama administration is laying out a broad array of options in the civil-war torn country — where it's suspected Bashar Assad's regime turned chemical weapons against its own people — without ever laying out "a single option" or providing "a time line, a strategy for Syria and the Middle East, or a plan for the funds to execute such an option."

"Even Gen. [Martin] Dempsey (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) said we are putting our military on a path where the 'force is so degraded and so unready' that it would be 'immoral to use the force,'" Inhofe said.

The Washington Free Beacon reported on Friday reported the administration will need to ask Congress to pay for strikes on Syria.

"[Hagel] indicated that the administration would consult with Congress on the cost of exercising a potential military option, but specific dollar amounts weren't discussed," a senior defense official said when asked about the funding shortfalls, The Free Beacon reported.

Larger-scale military operations in Syria could run into the billions, Dempsey said in a July 19 letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Training and supporting Syrian rebels could cost $500 million a year. Operating a no-fly zone would cost about $1 billion per month, The Free Beacon says.

A Free Beacon source said the Pentagon would need to work with Congress to obtain funding for Syria attacks. "Good luck with that," the source said.

Inhofe said the president owes it to both Congress and the American public "to lay out how they will fund their military action," and admonished Obama for moving too quickly without adequate preparation.

Inhofe raised similar concerns Wednesday, blaming the Obama White House for undermining "future military readiness and capabilities" to deal with the growing crisis in Syria and elsewhere in the world.

The president, he said, has "decimated our military."

Urgent: Should U.S. Strike Syria? Vote Here

"We must not forget this president has put us on the brink of a hollowed force," he charged. "Our troops are stretched thin, the defense budget has been slashed to historic levels, and we are facing an unprecedented time of unrest across the Middle East amid growing concerns about Iran's influence on the region and its nuclear ambitions.

"No red line should have been drawn without the strategy and funding to support it,"
he said.

Inhofe said that with the administration's underfunding of the overseas contingency operations fund and the reduced base defense budget, "Our military has no money left."

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