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Member since: Tue Jul 9, 2019, 04:24 PM
Number of posts: 96

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Zakaria: Defense Spending Out of Control and Dems Are Complicit

What threats justify our continued massive and expanding spending on our war machine? Why aren't we talking about slashing the defense budget instead of begging for some crumbs as we vote to expand it?

Defense spending is America’s cancerous bipartisan consensus

You often hear that in these polarized times, Republicans and Democrats are deadlocked on almost everything. But the real scandal is what both sides agree on. The best example of this might be the defense budget. Last week, the Democratic House, which Republicans say is filled with radicals, voted to appropriate $733 billion for 2020 defense spending. The Republicans are outraged because they — along with President Trump — want that number to be $750 billion. In other words, on the largest item of discretionary spending in the federal budget, accounting for more than half of the total, Democrats and Republicans are divided by 2.3 percent. That is the cancerous consensus in Washington today.

The United States’ defense budget is out of control, lacking strategic coherence, utterly mismanaged, ruinously wasteful and yet eternally expanding. Last year, after a quarter-century of resisting, the Pentagon finally subjected itself to an audit — which, in true Pentagon style, cost more than $400 million. Most of its agencies — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps — failed. “We never expected to pass,” admitted then- Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has identified $15.5 billion of waste. But that is after reviewing only $53 billion of the $126 billion appropriated for Afghanistan reconstruction through 2017. He wrote in a 2018 letter, “[We] have likely uncovered only a portion of the total waste, fraud, abuse, and failed efforts.”

Outside war zones, there are the usual examples of $14,000 toilet-seat lids, $1,280 cups (yes, cups) and $4.6 million for crab and lobster meals. Remember when then- Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted that the Pentagon had about as many people in military bands as the State Department had active Foreign Service officers? Well, it’s still true today.


Much more at the link.
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