Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pentagon Angst

Military wonks at the Pentagon and right wing political hawks on Capitol Hill are starting to pull their hair out over the scary prospect of having to deal with some serious and long overdue defense spending cuts which would clearly benefit the country. It’s like telling a morbidly obese food addict that he has to go on a diet.

They’re whining to the high holy heavens that if the recently appointed Congressional super committee doesn’t agree to more than $1trillion in domestic spending cuts by December; $650 billion over the next 10 years will be automatically sliced from the Pentagon pork pie.

The number of Army battalions would supposedly go from 100 to about 60; Navy ships from 288 to 238; the Air Force might give up 400 fighter jets and about 34 strategic bombers.

Defense spending could once again be at its lowest level, as a portion of the overall federal budget, since before World War II. But Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of dire consequences when asked by Senator Lindsey Graham: “If we pulled that trigger, would we be shooting ourselves in the foot?”

“We'd be shooting ourselves in the head,” said Panetta.

Buck McKeon, the House Armed Services Committee Chairman, admonishes us that if the cuts go too deep the Pentagon might have to reintroduce the draft, (reinstate slavery) and other committee Republicans talk about how our nation's overall unemployment rate would rise if these severe defense cuts are triggered.

Incredibly, that’s what the crying and hand wringing is all about. They actually view U.S. military aggression and nation building abroad as a vehicle for boosting the economy and jobs here at home. So they’re carping about some 200,000 soldiers losing their employment along with 25% of the military civilian workforce; another 200,000 or so jobs.

They feign concern about how these vets will find jobs in the present economy with 9% unemployment; 22% for Iraq and Afghanistan vets; and 41 percent for wounded vets. Maybe they’ve forgotten that the U.S. economy boomed for several decades after World War II. Returning soldiers had no trouble finding plenty of jobs in the private sector then. The rest of the American people were benefiting too.

In truth, these Chicken Little military hawks are really worried about the feathering of their own nests. They want the cuts applied to Granny’s meager social security check instead – not the bloated gargantuan military industrial complex monster.

They want Grandma and Grandpa in Buffalo to eat dog food and turn down their thermostat this winter while they drop multiple $1.5 million dollar Tomahawk missiles on Pakistan, and blow hundreds of billions more taxpayer dollars on the unending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

U.S. aid to Pakistan alone has been estimated at about $5 billion a year for the last several years. All that money is being flushed straight down the toilet. All the money spent in Iraq and Afghanistan has been flushed straight down the toilet. Most military spending today is a complete waste because the average American citizen gets nothing in return. We actually enjoy even less freedom now because of it.

Let me try to put this military spending thing into perspective: As a percentage of annual GDP, U.S. military spending in the year 2009 accounted for about 40% of all global military spending. The United States military budget right now is over six times larger than that of China, a nation with billions more people to defend. We and our close allies are responsible for two-thirds to three-quarters of the entire world's military spending.

Last year, the Defense budget accounted for about 19% of U.S. federal budgeted expenditures and 28% of estimated tax revenues. When non Department of Defense spending is included, total military spending was approximately 28–38% of budgeted expenditures and 42–57% of estimated tax revenues.

Defense spending grew 9% annually on average from fiscal year 2000–2009, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Total Spending on just Iraq and Afghanistan so far: $1.030–$1.415 trillion, plus the classified portion of the budget we will never know about. Total Spending in 2010 alone: $685.1 billion.

Here’s the budget breakdown for military spending next year: Department of Defense spending: $707.5 billion base budget, plus "Overseas Contingency Operations"; FBI counter-terrorism: $2.7 billion (at least one-third of the FBI’s total budget); International Affairs: $5.6–$63.0 billion. (At minimum, foreign arms sales -- at most, entire State budget); Energy Department, defense-related: $21.8 billion; Veterans Affairs: $70.0 billion; Homeland Security $46.9 billion; NASA, satellites: $3.5–$8.7 billion (Between 20% and 50% of NASA's total budget); Veterans pensions $54.6 billion. Other defense-related mandatory spending: $8.2 billion.   

If military spending were cut in half, right now, today, the United States would still have by far and away the most powerful defense force on the planet. We would be perfectly safe from any conceivable foreign military threat.

No question about it: there is no reason whatsoever for Pentagon angst.

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