News / Middle East

    US Administration Calls on Congress to Continue Foreign Military Aid

    Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen (l) and Defense Secretary Robert Gates testify on Capitol Hill, February 16 2011
    Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen (l) and Defense Secretary Robert Gates testify on Capitol Hill, February 16 2011
    Al Pessin

    Senior U.S. defense officials appealed to the Congress Wednesday not to cut military aid programs, saying they contribute to stability around the world, and that the Egyptian military demonstrated that during the recent crisis.  

    Members of congress are in a budget-cutting mood, aiming to cut the huge government deficit.  And one of the largest potential targets is defense spending.  President Barack Obama has asked for $671 billion for defense next year, as usual by far the largest part of any president’s discretionary budget.

    And within that amount, one of the most attractive targets for some members of Congress is aid to foreign militaries.  On Wednesday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, urged the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives not to cut such programs, and said recent events in Egypt are evidence of their value.

    “Foolhardy would it be for us to make hasty judgments about the benefits - tangible and intangible - that are about to be derived from forging strong military relationships overseas, such as the one we enjoy with Egypt," said Admiral Mullen. "Changes to those relationships - in either aid or assistance - ought to be considered only with an abundance of caution and a thorough appreciation for the long view, rather than in the flush of public passion and the urgency to save a buck.

    Mullen said the $1.3 billion annual military aid package for Egypt helped make its army what he called a “capable, professional force,” which he said proved to have “incalculable value” in the crisis.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also praised the Egyptian Army, and linked its performance to its long financial and training relationship with the U.S. military.

    “If you ever wanted proof of the value of our military assistance to Egypt over the past 30 years, it has been in the behavior of the Egyptian Army over the past three weeks, and their professionalism in dealing with the kind of situation they had," said Secretary Gates.

    U.S. officials have pointed out that past interruptions in U.S. military relations with other countries have often hurt the United States in the long term.  Indonesia is an example frequently cited, where the Congress cut military aid due to human rights violations, and ended up creating a generation of Indonesian military officers who had no relationship with their American counterparts.

    More broadly, Secretary Gates warned against abandoning what he called U.S. “global security responsibilities” and said short-sighted thinking could “lead to costlier and more tragic consequences later.”  Gates said members of Congress too often think of the defense budget as “a math problem.”  Rather, he said, it should be viewed in the context of the missions the military has been given, and the threats it may have to respond to in the foreseeable future.  He said that at 19 per cent of the federal budget, defense’s share of spending is nearly as low as it has ever been.  

    Admiral Mullen noted that although the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to wind down during the next few years, saving money in the process, the demand for even higher-cost items for the Navy and Air Force may well go up as planners prepare for potential new conventional threats from rising states.  And Secretary Gates added there will also be the need for more spending for security in outer space and cyberspace, where both states and non-state entities pose potential threats.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora