There is only one part of the sequestration that will have an immediate adverse effect on the safety and security of American citizens: the rigid reductions in operations and maintenance funding for our armed forces. Military personnel won't be fired or furloughed. But civilian employees and contractors supporting our troops in the field and providing medical care for our wounded will be. Congress and the White House could fix those problems by giving the Department of Defense and our intelligence services flexibility in where they make cuts. They should do so immediately.
Meanwhile, just so we all know that bizarre behavior is not the sole purview of the executive branch, the U.S. House of Representatives has joined the race for D.C. dunce. On Feb. 28, the House passed the Senate's version of the Obama administration's expanded Violence Against Women Act.
Left-leaning pundits proclaim that the new law will somehow provide additional protections for American Indian women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and immigrants. In short, you are covered by this "new protection" as long as you can prove you are not a heterosexual white male.
Congressional and Obama administration proponents apparently want us to ignore that the new law adds $650 million in spending to the already bloated federal budget. Nor has anyone noted an obvious inconsistency: While we're passing new laws to protect women, we're putting them into U.S. military ground combat units. Perhaps fear of prosecution will prevent enemy combatants from raping our female soldiers and Marines on the battlefield.
And finally, in the midst of "austerity," we have our new secretary of state, John Kerry, on his all-expenses-paid grand tour of European capitals. This week, he announced a $60 million grant in "nonlethal aid" to the Syrian opposition. Where is this money coming from?
Kerry also is showing his independence from the White House. When Nobel laureate Barack Obama travels overseas, he prefers to bow to foreign potentates and apologize for America. Instead of apologizing in foreign capitals, Kerry prefers to insult us.
In Berlin, he told a young audience that in the 1950s, at the age of 12, he took a secret bicycle ride in the Soviet-controlled sector of the divided city. Apparently hoping the German kids don't know about his claimed exploits in Cambodia in 1968, he added, "I never made another trip like that." The German kids also laughed and applauded Kerry for saying, "In America, you have a right to be stupid." He should know. In the immortal words of Forrest Gump: "Stupid is as stupid does."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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