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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 02:37 PM
Original message
Indefensible Spending
by Robert Scheer
What should be the most important issue in this election is one that is rarely, if ever, addressed: Why is U.S. military spending at the highest point, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than at any time since the end of World War II? Why, without a sophisticated military opponent in sight, is the United States spending trillions of dollars on the development of high-tech weapons systems that lost their purpose with the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago?

You wouldnt know it from the most-exhausting-ever presidential primary campaigns, but the 2009 defense budget commits the United States to spending more (again, in real dollars) to defeat a ragtag band of terrorists than it spent at the height of the Cold War fighting the Soviet superpower and what we alleged were its surrogates in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The Pentagons budget for fiscal year 2008 set a post-World War II record at $625 billion, and that does not include more than $100 billion in other federal budget expenditures for homeland security, nuclear weapons and so-called black budget or covert operations.

And what are we spending all this money on? We are talking high-tech war toys designed to fight a Cold War enemy that no longer exists, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, with its estimated total price tag of $300 billion, and Virginia-class submarines at $2.5 billion each. Who cares that the terrorists lack submarines for the Navy to battle deep in the ocean, for which the Virginia-class submarine was designed?

Then there are the F-22 Raptor jet fighters that no longer fill a credible military purpose but will take $65 billion out of taxpayers pockets. The Raptor includes stealth technology and elaborate electronics designed to counter threatened leaps in Soviet war-fighting capability. In 2005, Lawrence J. Korb, an assistant secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration, wrote that the Raptor is the most unnecessary weapon system being built by the Pentagon.

Since President Bushs first year in office, according to the Government Accountability Office, the Defense Department has doubled its future planned investment in those ultra-pricey weapons from $790 billion to $1.6 trillion.

When pressed on why the massive weapons arsenal we already possess, which was credited with intimidating the Soviet Union into surrender, isnt sufficient to keep the peace in a suddenly unipolar world, defense hawks sometimes cite what they claim is an emerging threat from China. The Chinese are designing new classes of submarines with increased capabilities, said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). If we do not move to produce two submarines a year as soon as possible, we are in serious danger of falling behind.

That is nonsense. China is not even a serious regional power, as the Pentagons 2007 report to Congress makes clear: The intelligence community estimates China will take until the end of this decade or later to produce a modern force capable of defeating a moderate-size adversary. The report noted that Chinas military is focused on assuring the capability to prevent Taiwan independence, but this last week the military threat to Taiwan gave way to a historic peace opening, with the first visit by the head of Taiwans ruling party to the mainland since the 1949 revolution.

Oh, and heres another thing. Those Virginia-class submarines that Lieberman says are so important to our national security and for which he lobbied so hard? General Dynamics Electric Boat Co. has received multibillion-dollar contracts to build them. The company is based in Connecticut, suggesting that the real goal here was to find an enemy any enemy that would justify spending U.S. tax dollars on weapons produced in his home state. /

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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. can we fiscal Conservatives please have an accounting of the $625 billion? How exactly was it spent
IF they can not tell us why give them more?
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. Follow the money
and more programs than not are traceable to some politico's campaign account.
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east texas lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. There will always be "threats to the security of the state"...
If there are no real ones, imaginary ones will be created, whether external or internal. History
has shown this to be the case again and again. The security apparatus of all states are hammers,
and every problem is a nail to be driven under.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
4. Kick.
Edited on Sun Jun-01-08 08:28 PM by bemildred
How about a couple more recs for one of Scheer's better efforts?
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-02-08 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower (who, as Gen. Eisenhower, was also Supreme Allied Commander during World War II) . . .

more prescient words were never spoken, by either a Republican or a Democrat . . . yet now that his worst fears have been realized, no one in Congress or on the campaign trail is even mentioning the issues of obscene military spending and unprecedented corporate influence in government . . . instead we hear about preachers and lapel pins and other meaningless drivel . . .

we're in some pretty deep shit . . .

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Daveparts Donating Member (854 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-02-08 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
6. Airplanes Fly,
submarines submerge but the missle defense shield does not work. A Trojan Horse that has eaten $115 billion dollars just during the Bush administration and the cost are expected to double by 2016.

All for a system that has never shot down a missile that it wasn't told ahead of time when it would launch and where it would be.

A system, that is totally ineffective against cruise missiles or short range missiles. Just billions down a rat hole without an airplane or boat to show for it.
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