Thornberry: Political Fights Threaten National Security

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Washington Report

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said the acrimony and infighting among the political parties is being watched closely by those outside our borders who wish us harm and makes their job easier.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies last week, “I am distressed at what’s happening in both parties. We have always had fringe elements in our politics, but other than the Civil War, those things that bound us together have been stronger than the forces pulling us apart.

“The centrifugal forces now are quite strong, here and elsewhere. And make no mistake, there are those outside our borders, who are ready, willing and more able than they have ever been before to fuel and exploit those forces to our detriment.”

Prior to his remarks, Thornberry received the think tank’s National Security Leadership Prize for putting the nation’s best interests above those of politics. His speech was reported on by Military Times.

He reiterated his oft-stated confidence that the U.S. military is capable of handling any threat if politics doesn’t get in the way.  

“My concerns are mainly about us—the decisions we make or don’t make—even our ability to make a decision,” he said.

He said dealing with defense spending caps and finding the right funding levels have become even more difficult because the political fights make defense another political football.

“It is obviously tempting to voice an opinion on every tweet or interview,” he said. “There will be one faction or the other that will cheer. But when every utterance is a criticism, it dilutes the effectiveness of all criticism.”