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Is Obama Starving The Military? Uh, No...

But you'd never know it from all the right-wing agitprop on the subject. On Friday, Fox News ran an item saying Obama would cut the Pentagon budget by $55 billion, sourced to an anonymous "defense official." Then today, Tony Blankley had this to say in his Washington Times column:

I have been told by sources at the Pentagon that they have been told to not expect full funding of all existing programs. And there is evidence that Obama has apparently been planning to force cuts on our military for some time.

Blankley went on to spin out an elaborate theory about how Obama kept Bob Gates on at the Pentagon precisely because he was planning big cuts.

Alas, it's all bunk. Obama plans to increase the Pentagon budget by some $14 billion over the last Bush budget of $513 billion. The apocryphal cuts refer to a report by the Joint Chiefs arguing for a $584 billion budget figure. But, as CQ reported Monday:

Defense budget experts have said the draft by the Joint Chiefs, which was never publicly released, was designed to pressure the Obama administration to drastically increase Defense spending or be forced to defend a reluctance to do so.

Defense officials in past outgoing administrations have left inflated budget estimates for incoming officials in the hope of raising the spending baseline. The Joint Chiefs' draft budget was never scrubbed by President George W. Bush 's OMB, which had told federal agencies to submit draft budgets based on current services.


Update: Looks like the TPM folks were here first.

--Noam Scheiber