The U.S. House of Representatives, in one of the greatest feats of legerdemain since Houdini died, has voted to instruct the United States military not to take climate change into account as a strategic threat to our nation. Folks, you can’t make this kind of stuff up! As Huffington Post said in its incredulous lead to this preposterous story:
The House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill on Thursday that would bar the Department of Defense from using funds to assess climate change and its implications for national security.
In the twisted, conspiratorial, anti-anything-Obama-likes minds of the GOP House, this amendment will “prohibit the costs of the President’s climate change policies being forced on the Department of Defense by the Obama Administration,” according to the amendment’s principal sponsor, West Virginia Republican Rep. David McKinley. In other words, this is not about the reality of climate change. Nor is it about the possible strategic significance of those sweeping changes to our military posture. It’s only about opposing President Obama’s agenda, regardless of how much sense it makes. This is the 21st Century equivalent to telling the military to ignore the hordes of Chinese troops coming over the hills into Korea because “we can’t give them the satisfaction of acknowledging their existence.” (No, that didn’t happen. But it might have if that were happening today, only the excuse would be that we have a trade deal with them.) In what universe should the House of Representatives be allowed to dictate to the military what threats it can and cannot consider in its assessment of our nation’s strategic defense? Does this mean that if, e.g., the major technology companies could buy enough Republican Congress Critters, it could dictate that Congress pass a bill telling the military not to worry about cyberwarfare? Or to refuse to buy any virus software that might interfere with some company’s market planning? I am actually aghast that such a ridiculous proposition could get serious floor consideration, let alone that it could be passed by a House that can’t take effective action on any actually meaningful legislation. Four Democrats voted in favor of this bill and ought thereby alone be disqualified from continuing to claim to be Democrats: John Barrow of Georgia, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, and Nick Rahall of West Virginia. The inmates really are in charge.