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Sequestration attacks security

Regarding the Jan. 28 article “Debt deal may increase risk of sequestration”: While the political calculus of sequestration has been broadly reported, few leaders in Washington discuss the consequences. Slashing $500 billion from our national defense would weaken our pursuit of al-Qaida, cede the Pacific theater to China, or allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

An underfunded military — with fewer troops, ships, fighter jets and intelligence resources — would be incapable of supporting our current foreign policy and could actually make things worse. If Iran believes our military is too weak to stop its nuclear program, it will obviously charge ahead irrespective of sanctions or diplomacy. That could prove deadly. Current missile defenses provide a limited shield against Iranian nuclear ballistic missiles — a shield that Republicans, Democrats and nonpartisan experts agree we should improve and expand. But the sequestration cuts would make it impossible to develop new ways to handle sophisticated countermeasures or install an East Coast location, as recommended by the National Research Council.

The American public no doubt supports smart cuts to defense spending — or any government spending, for that matter. It would not support the kind of drastic and strategically tone-deaf spending cuts to essential pillars of our national security currently threatened by the “fiscal cliff.”

Col. Kris Mineau (retired)
North Reading, Mass.

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