The DoO vs. the Rest of Us

Posted on 08. Nov, 2009 by in Uncategorized

uncle-samFirst, I read this:

“Over the last eight years, the core U.S. defense budget has risen 70 percent, even without factoring in $500 billion-plus separately appropriated for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Keep in mind, the Cold War, our long winter of nuclear build-up, strategic missile placement and proxy wars throughout the world, officially ended in 1991.  There is no more ‘bad guy’ the size or with the influence of the former Soviet Union.  Then I read:

“Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law the $680 billion FY 2010 Defense Authorization Bill, [including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan] the largest such budget since the end of World War II.”

Then became confused by:

“President Obama signed a $680 billion defense authorization bill Wednesday that he said begins the difficult process of eliminating “some of the waste and inefficiency” from the defense budget.”

That’s like my granddaddy shoveling pig poop pass the porch and telling granny she’s smelling roses. But according to numerous news reports, this largest bill (pun intended) in 60-odd years is a step forward in reducing defense spending. The rationale given is that Obama successfully killed a couple of outdated programs, like the F-22 fighter jet–which does not get to the bottom of Obama’s shallow claim that spending more money eliminates waste and inefficiency.  Granny’s old, not stupid. Our Department of Defense has turned into a Department of Offense. What the media seems not to be interested in is, why, and how tithes to this one institution might be bankrupting the rest.

The United States outspends China, our closest military budget competitor, six times over–and they have 700 million more people to protect.  The Department of Homeland Security’s budget alone –excluded from that low-balled $680 billion along with other billion dollar “incidentals”–is six times larger than Iran’s total military tab.  Republicans complain about spending $1 trillion on healthcare for nearly every American over 10 years and yet we pay close to that amount annually for our military.

Our offense budget is an unbelievable quantity, like the stealth flying saucer seen only by the town crazy.  Every man, woman and child contributes roughly $2,000 each to the military machine and our commitment is matched only by our dedication to granny’s healthcare.

I don’t believe that Americans are war-mongers by nature.  We’re not modern-day Mongols scavenging the earth for our next kill.  But even before the recession, our economy took care of only a few.  The poor and working class who grapple on to the military are desperate for well-paid jobs, education, health care, benefits, security, opportunity–all of which the uniform offers.  It’s welfarism (or, perhaps, the shadow state that we wish we all belonged to) under cover of rewarding bravery.  Even as the bill surpasses a trillion dollars and dwarfs all other priorities (education, infrastructure, universal healthcare, research, etc), who will argue against subsidizing the brave soul who sacrificed to fight for their country?

Absolutely no one will make that argument.  It’s a stick-up with none of the barbaric language that accompanies that sort of behavior.

And so our military budget grows.  And other countries–and small bands of terrorists–watch the tri-color hulk growing on their horizons and make plans of their own.  What none of us hear, as Bill Moyers describes it, is the sound of the ripping of the American social fabric.

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