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Chairman of Joint Chiefs Raps Paul Ryan Over Claims That They Lied to Congress

I mentioned earlier that Paul Ryan seems to think that the military operates under a kind of Stockholm syndrome. They have fallen in love with their captors in the Obama Administration and have started to happily parrot their thoughts on trims to the military budget. But they don’t really believe in any of it, according to the House Budget Committee chair.

At a forum on the federal budget Thursday hosted by National Journal, Ryan said “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice. We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget. I think there’s a lot of budget smoke and mirrors in the Pentagon’s budget.”

Now, keep in mind that the Obama Administration’s “cuts” to the military budget aren’t cuts. They just slow growth over time. And the Pentagon doesn’t even contemplate the mandated trigger cuts that are coming at the end of the year, which fall in large part on the defense budget.

But Martin Dempsey, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had to respond to this nonsense today, and he assured Ryan that, no, he’s not a hostage of the socialist Kenyan Obama Administration.

Gen. Dempsey, the military’s top officer, took sharp exception to the chairman’s comments.

“There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars,” Gen. Dempsey told reporters aboard a U.S. military aircraft after a four day visit to Latin America. ”My response is: I stand by my testimony. This was very much a strategy-driven process to which we mapped the budget.”

Gen. Dempsey said the budget “was a collaborative effort” among the top officers of the military branches as well as combat leaders.

The proof that the military budgeting represented a collaborative effort, of course, is that it doesn’t cut the military budget all that much.

But it’s worth re-emphasizing that Paul Ryan called the entire military brass a bunch of liars who gave false testimony to Congress. And he will not listen to their calls for even modest trims to their funding. This makes him the very serious budget hawk in Washington.

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David Dayen

David Dayen