Commentary by Julianne Jilinski
Nearly 70 years ago, my father piloted a B-17 over Europe and dropped bombs on strategic German targets. They included airfields, oil refineries, factories, and bridges. The goal, shared by all Americans, was to win World War II. After completing more than 30 missions, he returned home safely, but many of his colleagues gave their lives to defend the cause of freedom.
Today freedom is still under assault. In many countries, American ideals and interests are being attacked. In Iran, scientists are laboring on a nuclear weapon capable of wiping Israel off the map and possibly attacking Europe and the United States.
Yet, despite being the world’s only superpower, the United States seems impotent and unable to act. The president and his administration are reluctant to use the word “terrorists” to describe the people who killed four American diplomats in Benghazi.
This is not the America that my father knew and that the Greatest Generation defended. In the past four years, our nation’s strength and standing in the world has been sapped by Obama administration policies that “lead from behind,” put elections before national security, and ignore the words of George Washington who said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace."
Rather than focusing on the nation’s national security, politicians are using our military as a pawn in a dangerous game of chicken over the deficit. If Congress doesn’t stop the so-called sequestration, nearly $500 billion will be cut from the Defense Department during the next 10 years. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called the cuts “a disaster,” warning that, “we cannot maintain a strong defense for this country if sequester is allowed to happen.”
The nation’s defense also could be hampered by the administration’s energy policies, which have wasted taxpayers’ money on green energy programs instead of encouraging a steady supply of crude oil, a commodity that is critically important for our military preparedness.
During his first term, Obama and his administration imposed a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and issued a five-year drilling plan that will keep 85 percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf off-limits to energy development. They promulgated new layers of regulations that make drilling more costly and time-consuming and directed several agencies to consider new federal rules on hydraulic fracturing, despite the fact that the time-tested production technique already is heavily regulated by the states.
The president also gave billions of dollars to Brazil to help it drill for offshore oil, saying he hoped the United States would become one of Brazil’s best customers. And in a move that can only be described as pandering to his political base, Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline which could have delivered 830,000 barrels of secure Canadian oil to U.S. refineries.
More recently, the administration has failed to grant a waiver that could reduce the amount of corn-based ethanol blended into gasoline. As West Virginia poultry and beef farmers can attest, the ethanol fuel mandate has pushed corn prices over $9 a bushel, sharply raised feed costs, and is pushing up food prices.
These counterproductive defense and energy policies are hurting families and the economy, reducing our national security, and emboldening our enemies. They should be reversed and America should reassert its leadership.
By removing the threat of defense cuts, the U.S. military could resume its plans to maintain our national security.
By encouraging the production and distribution of U.S. and Canadian oil, our energy security and our economy would be improved. Analysts at the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie estimate that policies encouraging drilling and approving the Keystone pipeline could generate 1.4 million new jobs by 2030.
By granting the ethanol waiver, West Virginia farmers could get some relief from high feed costs, and consumers could see their dollars go farther.
These actions could make America stronger at home and abroad. Restoring America’s might and global leadership should be a high priority for the next president. I will vote for the candidate who believes in peace through strength.
Julianne Jilinski is a retired government contractor who lives in Mathias, W.Va.