“...how the fiscal cliff could desecrate the military...”
Obviously, the word should be “decimate”.
Why do writers attempt to use words they don’t know? It doesn’t enhance their writing or their credibility.
I am glad the greatest impression this important topic made on you was the phraseology of the author.
Re Using words correctly: Decimate literally means one in ten. You probably want devastate.
Even when they spell decimate correctly, they use it incorrectly. It does not mean what most people assume it means.