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By Herman Melville

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A Submarine to Fight al-Qaida?s Navy

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Posted on Apr 1, 2008
submarine
AP photo / Carol Phelps

A U.S. Navy Virginia-class submarine.

By Robert Scheer

A trillion dollars here, a trillion dollars there, and soon you’re talking real money. But when it comes to reporting on what the Bush war legacy has cost American taxpayers, the media have been shockingly indifferent to the highest run-up in military spending since World War II. Even the devastating defense spending audit released Monday by the Government Accountability Office documenting the enormous waste in every single U.S. advanced weapons system failed to provoke the outrage it, and five equally scathing previous annual audits, deserved.

This is not about the waste of taxpayer dollars—already pushing a trillion—in funding the Iraq war, which, while reprehensible enough, pales in comparison to the big-ticket military systems purchased in the wake of 9/11. In the horror of that moment, the floodgates were lifted and the peace dividend promised with the end of the Cold War was washed away by a doubling of spending on ultra-complex military equipment originally designed to defeat a Soviet enemy that no longer exists, equipment that has no plausible connection with fighting stateless terrorists. Example: the $81-billion submarine pushed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, presumably to fight al-Qaida’s navy.

That’s the huge scandal the media and politicians from both parties have studiously avoided. But as the GAO’s authoritative audit details, the costs are astronomical. The explosion of spending on expensive weaponry after 9/11 had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks of that day. The high-tech planes and ships commissioned for trillions of dollars to defeat an enemy with no navy, air force or army, and using $3 knives as its weapons arsenal, were gifts to the military-industrial complex that will go on giving for decades to come.

The Iraq war may end someday, but rest assured that major weapons systems, once commissioned, have a life-support system unmatched in any other sector of public spending. Rarely does the plug get pulled on even the most irrelevant and expensive war toy. Not while both Democratic and Republican politicians feed at the same trough, and when so much is at stake in the way of jobs and profit.

Just how expensive and wasteful this is was marked in the GAO’s audit: “Since 2000, the Department of Defense (DOD) has roughly doubled its planned investment in new systems from $790 billion to $1.6 trillion in 2007, but acquisition outcomes in terms of cost and schedule have not improved.” Pentagon cost overruns, always a huge problem, have mushroomed. As the GAO reported, “Total acquisition costs for major defense programs in the fiscal year 2007 portfolio have increased 26 percent from first estimates, compared with 6 percent in 2000.”

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I know eyes glaze when government budgets are discussed, but keep in mind that defense spending accounts for more than half of all the federal government’s discretionary spending. In short, funding for all the other stuff we argue about—science research, education, Arabic translators, insuring uninsured children—is minor compared to the waste on these military boondoggles that go unexamined.

Yet nothing else the federal government does involves such waste because we are talking about weapons systems shrouded in secrecy and protected from unwelcome scrutiny by the Teflon coating of “national defense.” Credit the GAO for providing a rare glimpse into the most egregious waste of taxpayer dollars, concluding in its exhaustive, 205-page report:

“Of the 72 programs GAO assessed this year, none of them had proceeded through system development meeting the best-practice standards for mature technologies, stable design, or mature production processes by critical junctures of the program, each of which are essential for achieving planned cost, schedule, and performance outcomes.”

That’s a grade of zero for every major weapons system. Let’s take just one, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a program estimated to be worth $300 billion in sales to its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, the nation’s biggest defense contractor and most generous donor to lobbyists and politicians’ campaigns. The program to build what Lockheed boasts is “the most complex fighter ever built” is also the most expensive, with estimated acquisition costs having increased a whopping $55 billion in just the last three years.

Lockheed need not worry about future profits, because the procurement schedule on this troubled plane has been stretched out to the year 2034. As the GAO says, “currently unproven processes and a lack of flight testing could mean future changes to design and manufacturing processes.” Hey, no problem, Lockheed will just add that to the taxpayer tab. Maybe by 2034, the plane will be ready to go take out Osama bin Laden. Or not.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By Kevin in NY, June 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At least when Obama takes over he won’t spend like an even drunker sailor… oh wait.

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By Joe, April 9, 2008 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can someone brighter than I splain to me how any of the thousands of nuclear weapons we are stockpiling and upgrading can ever be used? The only practical use I can figure is a single high-altitude burst, the EMP to disable data and voice communications of a major foe in some drastic scenario. Even this would be a low-yield device optimized for its task. Any use of surface detonations of any yield, as in the case of a missile attack by us against a foe, would result at minimum in a collapse of the US economy via Bond cash-ins and utter disgust expressed by trading partners. This is not even considering some sort of reprisal attack. In the worst case of an attack upon the US by numerous nukes, a like response would screw the world economy if not make the place unlivable. The only proper course is to toss most of the nukes and put the money into modern conventional forces, kept AT HOME except in time of imminent threat.

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By Mudwollow, April 9, 2008 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

This needed saying and you said it extremely well. Thank you.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 8, 2008 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

Dear Nabih Ammari,
Salaam wa-Tahiyyah!

I read your previous message directed to me and I reciprocate with the words of appreciation and “Shukran jazeelan!”

As to this phony who calls himself “Inherit the wind” he is one full of hot air, therefore it is more fitting for him to be called “Inherit the hot air.”

I hope that his types would not discourage you to keep contributing your insightful posts! And remember the Arabic proverb which says, “Kullu ‘inaa’in bi ma fiihi yandah,” which roughly translates as, “Each earthen pot oozes the fluid it contains.” You have knowledge, facts and wisdom to share and ITW has hot air to emit. And this the situation you get in a free speech setting; some are warriors for the truth and others are enemies of the truth and warriors for falsehood.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 8, 2008 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

He did more than Bush or Cheney

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By Nabih Ammari, April 8, 2008 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Two solid causes for SU collapse.

In earlier post I outlined two major events as the
causes for the collapse of the Soviet Union.They are:

(1)The Chernobyl’s Nuclear Catastrophe which occurred
on April 26,1986.

(2)The Soviet Union’s war and occupation of Afghanistan
(1979-1989).

For details of what I wrote about the above two causes,please check my earliest post dated April 4
at 6:30pm.

Somebody by a pseudonym “Inherit The Wind”(what a
fancy phony name!!) claimed that I have no idea of what I was talking about??? he claims that the reason for the collapse was INTERNAL frictions,corruption,
enslavement of labors,lack of incentive etc…

I feel I must remind ITW that Mikhail Gorbachev had
started his INTERNAL REFORM on day one as he became
the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985.He called his INTERNAL REFORM which was consisted of two parts;
one dealt with reconstruction and the other one dealt
with liberation.To be specific,he called them in his
own language as:

.PERESTROIKA for Reconstruction.
.GLASNOST for Liberation.

He almost had succeeded in his INTERNAL REFORM,if it was not for the two main causes that bled the Soviet
Union financially to the bones.As a result,he made
the decision to recede from the International Stage
and try to salvage as much as he could of a faltering
economy and collapsing financial capacity.All of this had taken place only in four years since he ascended
to power.

Therefore,I suggest to ITW to review what Gorbachev
had done in his INTERNAL REFORM before ranting his
nonsense.

Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By ManUtd, April 8, 2008 at 3:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“That is why we have nukes”. What is all this we stuff. You have nothing you little chump. You are a slave to the system. You are a little government lapdog who actually thinks you are part of the big club. Your not. You are a subordinate who decides nothing and when you are all used up there will be plenty more of brainwashed cannon fodder to take your place. Always remember, George Bush loves you.

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By Nabih Ammari, April 7, 2008 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Typical real Marxist thinking.

What a pity!!!

Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Marshall, April 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

“This was spoken by a man who served in the 101st Airborne. “

I think the word “served” is stretching it; “remanded” would be more accurate.  He was in less than a year as an alternative to jail, saw no combat, and was discharged for being a sub-par soldier.  If you’re looking for credibility for your post, I’d leave Hendrix out of it.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 7, 2008 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

Having got out of the USMC in 1983 after serving 2 - 4 year active tours as an 0231/0241/0211, I can safely say that if jimmyjam and gomerspile are representative of the current makeup of the U.S. military, we as a nation are truely fucked.

I do think they are wannabees as they lack discretion, valor and the BITEDICKJEDJL traits of good soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. 

Its been 25 years and it seems like yesterday.

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By jimmyjam, April 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Please tell me about the code of conduct? and your intelligence analyst experience (radio-man), then tell people why the intel you guys get from the field is not good enough to pass on. You must have went to the same school as me,or your spell checker is broken. It must be the failure of Edjumacation.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 7, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Unlike Cyrena, I think you have no idea what you are talking about.  Neither of these events brought down the SU anymore than Reagan’s pumping up the arms race.

The Soviet Union was brought down by the internal contradiction of Marxism:  Work is done as a slave, and sustenance is grudging charity.  There’s no incentive to do better—you’ll just get assigned more work. But there’s LOTS of incentive to come up with “needs” athat have to be fulfilled at your brother’s expense.

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By cyrena, April 7, 2008 at 5:15 am Link to this comment

Dear Nabih,

I know this was directed to Professor Abdullah, but I just wanted to say that I would like to have you as my next door neighbor as well, and especially with the coffee. (maybe we can sneak some in from across the way)

Thanks…this means much.

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By James Sterling, April 6, 2008 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am constantly wondering why monkeys like Jimmyjam and the other rabid, profane and peanut brained are invited to piss all over this webpage.

Unless it is to demonstrate to the world the complete failure of Education and the Media in the United States.

Having served as an intelligence anaylist in our armed forces, I can tell you with confidence that several expressions and statements they have posted here are in violation of our military code of conduct.

Such as they are hiding behind the anonymity of pseudonym, their statements must be taken at face value; ie, rubbish.

Enjoyed the article, but I think we can do without the freak show.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 6, 2008 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

jimmyjam,

Your full of shit.

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By Nabih Ammari, April 6, 2008 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:Professor Fadel Abdallah

Dear Professor Fadel Abdallah,

Please accept my sincerest “Shukran Jazilan” for your
kind words.Highly appreciated.

You really hit the target of what I was looking for,when
you described cyrena as “The Enlightened Cyrena”.I could not agree with you more.She is ENLIGHTENED,for
sure;and I might add most sensible too,in addition to
diligence and dedication.A decent human being I wish to have as my next door neighbor to exchange views
with over a cup of coffee,every now and then.
Best Regards,
Nabih Ammari

Report this

By Nabih Ammari, April 6, 2008 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Re April 5

Dear cyrena,

Thank you for your support and kind words.Most
appreciated.Please keep the splendid work you
have been doing through your highly informative
posts going,regardless of all odds.You are following
the right paths in many aspects I cannot elaborate on
here through off-the-cuff post.Yours are splendid posts,indeed.

I cannot follow-up on this thread what is going on,
because each time I click on “Arrange Comments by
Date” to get all comments I was informed that they
had already been posted,I get a completely dark screen.

The last post I read on this thread was written by
Michael Mclister April 5.I could get no more posts.

There is something wrong with this thread, since I
have no problems with the other threads as I review on Truthdig.May be the problem is in my computer.I just do not know for sure.
Best Regards,
Nabih Ammari

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By jimmyjam, April 6, 2008 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

I have to remove myself from this place for a few minutes,My x team member gomerspile, was told by you that being in the military was him just sucking on the corporate welfare thing,  back soon for a complete reply.

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By Marshall, April 5, 2008 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

“The Soviets killed themselves through dysfunction and corruption.”

Funny, that’s what I said.  The dysfunction and corruption of a state run socioeconomic system which spent itself into the ground trying to unsuccessfully (thanks to U.S. and NATO) extend its regional dominance.  Afghanistan was the Soviet’s Waterloo with the U.S. and facilitated its collapse from within.  There’s no question that containment worked; it prevented a nuclear conflict and it resulted in the collapse of the USSR.

Funny you’d bring up Korea - the “identical twins separated at birth” political experiment that illustrates the misguided fundamentals of a Stalinist dictatorship (as if history’s other examples weren’t enough) that sits next door to a thriving democracy.  I can only imagine that what you’re pointing out was how unfortunate it was that the U.S. chose to allow the establishment of such a malformed socioeconomic system in the North.

Perhaps the U.S. does spend too much on its military.  Perhaps it doesn’t.  The numbers (3.5% of GDP) aren’t terrifying.  Under Clinton, it was 3%, but many feel that our military fell into relative disrepair during that time.

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By Marshall, April 5, 2008 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

“The Soviets killed themselves through dysfunction and corruption.”

Funny, that’s what I said.  The dysfunction and corruption of a state run economy which spent itself into the ground by trying to extend its dominance too far, and trying to outdo the west.  The Soviet reach was greater than its grasp given the corrupt inefficiency of a doomed political system.  Afghanistan was the Soviet’s Waterloo and facilitated the collapse from within.  There’s no question that containment worked; it prevented a nuclear conflict and it resulted in the collapse of the USSR.

Funny you’d bring up Korea - the “identical twins separated at birth” political experiment that illustrates the misguided fundamentals of a Stalinist dictatorship (as if history’s other examples weren’t enough) that sits next door to a thriving democracy.  I can only imagine that what you’re pointing out was how unfortunate it was that the U.S. chose to allow the establishment of such a malformed socioeconomic system in the North.

Perhaps the U.S. does spend too much on its military.  Perhaps it doesn’t.  The numbers (3.5% of GDP) aren’t terrifying.  Under Clinton, it was 3%, but many feel that our military fell into relative disrepair during that time.

Report this

By cyrena, April 5, 2008 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

Part 1

No jimmyjam

Stop lying and bearing this false witness against me, because I have NOT said you were a piece of shit, not more and not less.

I also have not known, (maybe because I’ve not paid attention) that you were a member of the military.

The only thing that I ‘picked up’ from your posts, is that you appear to know a great deal about WEAPONS. So yes, that would be an indication (at least to many) that you might have served in the military. It is only THIS message that confirms it, and this is the very first post that I’ve seen from you, suggesting that you are NOW in the military.

I have indicated on this site before, that I have many, many immediate and extended family members who have served in the US military over the past 5 decades. I have and continued to SUPPORT THEM ALL. Additionally, I CONTINUE to volunteer my own time and limited resources to current members of the military TO THIS DAY. The current generation of troops has been overwhelmingly disrespected by the cowards (the current political regime of gangsters in DC and at the Pentagon) by putting them/you in harms way; NOT to protect and defend the US or our Constitution, but to steal resources from the sovereign lands of other nation states, and to establish CONTROL BY AGGRESSIVE FORCE, on a global scale. In other words, and to put it bluntly because I know no other way…our troops are being USED as mercenaries and intentionally put in harms way to further the greed of those who have made the orders to PUT them in harms way.

Just under 2 years ago, I lost yet another member of my extended family to this operation of aggressive greed. She was young, vibrant, smart and full of spirit. She finished at the top of her class at West Point, and she was dead from a roadside bomb in Iraq less than 3 months later. Now can you tell us why she died THAT way? Her family members believe that she died ‘protecting us from our ENEMIES.” Is that what YOU believe? Yes, I know that is what you have been brainwashed to believe, but have you tried to really follow it through, to ask the hard questions, and to understand WHY it is that ANY of you are thousands of miles from home, allegedly ‘defending’ us against ‘enemies’? Do you really believe that the millions of innocent Iraqis that have died from US military might, (bombs from the air) were ever our ENEMIES?

Are you familiar with Ehren Watada? He is a military hero in my book, because he dared to stand on integrity and uphold the missions and morals and HONOR that all of our troops deserve..each and every single member of the US military. He knew that his OATH was to the Constitution, and he took the time to learn what that oath was about, and refused to serve in an illegal and unjust aggressive war. He agreed to serve in Afghanistan, and on the front lines, because he believed that to be a legal and operation, based on the International Laws and the rules of war. He knew that Iraq was NOT. And yes, he too, did his duty, and was treated as a political prisoner by his own country, as a result.

TBC

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By cyrena, April 5, 2008 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Part 2

Moving along. I’m sick of the whiney statements from you and your ‘sponsors’ or agitators accusing me of anything in this extremely tortured logic….

•  “while someone like myself, a very proud member of that machine, which Cyrena herself has said I was more or less like a piece of shit, because I have been in for so long, and why because my opinion was not the same as hers, so if you are military as far as Cyrena is concerned, you suck if you dont think like her..”

It is totally irrational for you or anyone else to continue ranting against me, for supposedly somehow marginalizing you, or for not “thinking like me.”
Try to follow that Jimmyjam, and see if you can even understand how stupid that sounds.

First, I don’t even KNOW you. I did NOT know that you were a ‘proud member of the military machine’ until now,  and the most I’ve been able to pick up from your troubling posts is that you are apparently very troubled yourself, and crying out for some sort of ‘help’ in the only way that you know how.

The PROBLEM is that because I don’t know you, or even knew anything about your military status, I am PERSONALLY powerless to do anything about it! And railing against me (anonymously) on a public forum like this board, serves absolutely NO benefit to you. It is NOT ‘required’ that you or anyone else ‘think like me’ or ‘agree’ with my own opinions, or any other opinions here.

What you’ve done here, is to single ME out as your whipping post, and attack ME – by name, in your railings against the world at large, and in your obviously traumatized mental capacity.

So let me tell you this jimmyjam, because it is the ONLY help that I can singularly offer to you, under the limited circumstances of a public forum.
GET YOURSELF TO A VA Hospital or other facility, and do it immediately.

You are one of the thousands of troops who need these services, and I cannot take you there myself. I would if I could, but I can’t. I don’t promise that the response will be what it should be, or what you deserve. My personal opinion (from what I’ve witnessed myself) is that your commanders-in-chief have let you all down in ways that can never be forgiven.

At least once a week, I see veterans homeless on the street. At least once a day, -somewhere- a veteran or current member of our armed services takes his or her own life. It is an epidemic that has plagued our military in far more tragic proportions than has EVER HAPPENED in the history of our military, even though it is the SAME SMALL NUMBER of you being forced to live and die in this horror, over and over again.

I abhor it, and I want you to get yourself to wherever it is where you might have at least some semblance of help, because there ARE people out there, (albeit few I admit) who are giving everything that THEY have, to SUPPORT you.

And stop whipping up on me jammyjam, because I am NOT ‘the enemy’ here. And pass the word. There is nothing to be gained from the personal attacks by you, or joe in maine, or mensa member, or any of you with the silly and immature comments that you all make on this board.

It only means that you need and deserve some attention, but I cannot ‘personally’ provide it. I also am not the one personally responsible for it, even though I’ve extended enormous energy over the past 6 years - FIRST in attempting to PREVENT the disaster from ever being launched, and since then trying to (in whatever capacity I may have) STOP it!

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By Michael McLister, April 5, 2008 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those that rely on the eternal efficacy of MAD might think about the Soviet Nuclear Safety record. Until the Chernobyl incident the West was unaware of problems in their safety record.

Similarly with MAD, we won’t know if Russia’s, or China’s early response system to the US threat is working properly, until the day the missiles are over Western skies. What we do know is that their warning system is already antiquated and over-stressed and that there have been previous incidents. Coupled with US plans to extend their missile system even closer to Russia which will severely shorten their launch on warning times is an accident waiting to happen.

Are the Russians likely to give credence to the US’ professions of good intentions? Considering the US military doctrine of the use of pre-emptive strikes and the longstanding refusal to repudiate the First Strike option, it would seem unlikely. Meanwhile they would only have to read this blog to know the real intentions of the reactionary right is to target them, since China and Russia are the only logical recipients of the newer advanced weapons systems.

The MAD doctrine was never designed to be an end in itself. It was designed as a mechanism to buy time for cooler heads to diffuse geopolitical tensions once the Cold War ended. Instead the intentions seem to be to start a new one.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, April 5, 2008 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

jimmyjam, I do not profess to be a military expert, you see it is difficult for a person who chooses violence as a solution to understand the viewpoint of an advocate for universal peace. To put it as guitarist Jimi Hendrix put it: “when the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace”. This was spoken by a man who served in the 101st Airborne.
Too many advocates for violence think non-violent advocates are cowardly. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were two of the bravest persons to walk on this earth. So you can belittle such an attitude, if you want, it does not matter. Universal love, my fellow citizen, is the only engine of survival.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 5, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

I’ll take that dollar you whiny little puke.

Judging by your expertise on all thinks military, you confuse support for the troops with support for the policies which put them in harms way.

It is obvious you haven’t had to pick up the body parts of comrades nor seen the affects on families whose military members were off on another six month deployment serving no purpose besides intimidating other nations by U.S. military presence.

Post WWII America and the Marshall plan is long gone.  You think it’s still alive in Iraq? Go there and find out for yourself.

Check six.

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By jimmyjam, April 5, 2008 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

the most ,is that most of you are such experts on the military and the machine they represent, and I will bet a dollar, none if very few have ever served in it. yet you are so willing to bring it down. then you scream we support our troops, Bullshit. You dont support the troops or this country, mostly all of what you have learned about the military is from the Internet ,which is 75% bullshit anyway. yes we do kill , at the same time we save ,rebuild most of what we destroy, we heal their wounded even if we didn’t cause the wounds, and the best thing is most sane people d not read the bullshit you try to push on this site, all you do is preach to each other and no one on the other side hears a word your saying. once in a while someone like myself, a very proud member of that machine, which Cyrena herself has said I was more or less like a piece of shit, because I have been in for so long, and why because my opinion was not the same as hers, so if you are military as far as Cyrena is concerned, you suck if you dont think like her. I think the only time the other side hears your story is when someone who is laughing so hard cuts a piece of it and pastes it on another site, so they can laugh also.Have a great day, sun is shining here on the sand, got to go enjoy before the sun goes down, that when I do my best work…..

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By jimmyjam, April 5, 2008 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Like I said in an earlier post ,It is called M.A.D. Mutually Assured Destruction, One will not push the button because the other one will also. That is why we have nukes. and it works.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 5, 2008 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

Nabih Ammari, greetings!

I would like to join the enlightened Cyrena in thanking you for your excellent piece. I wish you were a more frequent commentator on these threads!

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By tenstring, April 5, 2008 at 5:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the standard propaganda line of post-cold war “free marketeers.”  The Soviets, like the American military-industrial-congressional complex are now doing, killed themselves: they were drunk with power, and Stalin institutionalized sociopathic paranoia to a frightening degree.  The Vietnam War wasn’t something that “worked,” nor is the divided Korea a success, nor was Afghanistan a success.  To say that “containment worked” is a glib comment that has no foundation in studied reality.  The Soviets killed themselves through dysfunction and corruption.  The same thing is happening in the U.S. right now.  Scheer’s article pulls the curtain back on the “great and powerful OZ” of American empire.  We need to hold the curtain open and let the American people have a good look.

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By cyrena, April 5, 2008 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

Dear Nabih,

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

I so very much appreciate your excellent essay here, and I hope others will learn from it as well.

Education is so very expensive these days, and of course we’re at a disadvantage even when it is available. Because all too often, it tells a far different tale of the truth.

Thanks again for the gift of the truth of history.

History matters, and the truth matters even more.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, April 5, 2008 at 12:22 am Link to this comment

How utterly sad it is that no one is able to turn off this mechanical beast euphemistically called Defense Spending. Forty years after Martin Luther King’s death, we still can’t grasp his profound vision.
http://beerdoctor-beerdoctor.blogspot.com/

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By HB Freddie, April 4, 2008 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Beyond the simple number of dollars spent, an insidious effect of defense spending is to destroy America’s economic competitiveness. Huge segments of our manufacturing and technology industries have grown soft and lazy from politically protected, cost-plus government contracts. No private sector customer would tolerate the cost overruns, schedule delays, and poor product performance that are routine on military programs. In an honest   marketplace, Lockheed (which abandoned its commercial aircraft business in the 1980s) wouldn’t last ten seconds in the ring against the likes of a Sony or Toyota.

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By Nabih Ammari, April 4, 2008 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real reasons for the demise of the Soviet Union
were mainly two:

(1)The catastrophic nuclear reactor accident that
took place in Chernobyl on April 26,1986,resulting in
evacuating 135,000 people from an area of 3,000 square
miles; announced as totally unfit for human and animal
living.The catastrophic damages are still alive and well till present time,April 5,2008.

(2)The Soviet Union’s war and occupation of Afghanistan from 1979-1989.The Mugahideen,including
what was called then the Afghan Arabs,were supported by Saudi Arabia,Pakistan,some other Muslim countries and the CIA.In addition to the bloodshed suffered by
the Soviet Union,the war and occupation had bled the
Soviet Union financially to a total collapse.Saudi Arabia was the main financier to the Mugahideen,and
hence the major cause for the Soviet financial demise

Mikhail Gorbatchev,the leader of the Soviet Union then, was intelligent enough to realize that neither
side will win a nuclear exchanges because of what he
witnessed in the Chernobyl’s catastrophe.He was also
intelligent enough to realize that the whole war and
occupation of Afghanistan was a waste and indeed
bleeding the Soviet Union in every strategic angle
he could envision.Therefore,he decided to call it quit and try to save whatever leverage he could find at his disposal.

It is interesting to note that Osama bin Laden was
on our side in fighting the Soviet’s occupation of
Afghanistan.If the official claim is true,he,at the
end,had made us pay a price too on 9/11.

The neocons self-defeating claim that we have won the cold war just does not alter the two facts outlined
above.Nether does it alter the fact that the decision to recede from the international stage was first and last a Soviet decision,not an American decision.In
other words,no dictation of terms for surrender was
dictated by the victorious side on the defeated one.

Therefore,claiming that we have won the cold war is
a neocons’ hallucination at its best.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Marshall, April 4, 2008 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

By WTFC, April 4 at 8:08 am #
Re: Re: WTF Mate?

“If I remember correctly Afghanistan had something to do with the Soviets blowing their coffers.”

Correct - and the U.S. had something to do with Afghanistan.  Who do you think supported the very people that eventually drove the Soviet’s out of that country?  (yes yes - I know who they went on to become).

Their system fell apart from the inside precisely because of their failure to project their power abroad and to compete effectively with the U.S.. The Soviets were spending a quarter of their GDP on their military.  Is this anything like the U.S.?  Nope. Our current 3.5% of GDP military spending (maybe 4.5% if you include Iraq/Afghanistan) is not even high by historical standards.  Several other countries spend more as a percentage, and we spent a far greater percentage during, say, WWII.  We also generate considerable income from the international sales of military equipment, something ignored completely by this article (in addition to its grossly inaccurate submarine cost numbers).

“All of the ex-soviet states are joining up with the EU.”

As opposed to what, declaring statehood in the U.S.?  They’re becoming NATO members which is perfectly fine with us, its principle member.

The fact is, our policy of containment worked.  It had good and bad outcomes, but on balance, it’s pretty obvious the good prevails.

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By cyrena, April 4, 2008 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

No Maani,

The PNAC dates back to the early portion of 1997.

Check your sources again, because it’s imporant. That is over 10 years ago, and they’ve been making the plans to implement it since.

They’ve not always succeeded, (like when they tried to get Bill Clinton to take Saddam out back in the same year - refer to the letter by the same signatories) but that’s how long it’s been.

I have no need to split hairs or argue simple facts long in evidence.

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By cyrena, April 4, 2008 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

I’m just now seeing this message Bill. (glad I checked the thread)

I’ll get to you in a couple of hours.

Thanks

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By Marshall, April 4, 2008 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

By jackpine savage, April 4 at 2:52 pm #
Re: Re: WTF Mate?

“Except that the Cold “War” wasn’t really a war, since the two sides never actually fought.”

Thanks - I am aware that we didn’t fight the Soviets.  I guess I’ll have to clarify my point: that that is how you fight a nuclear war; not with weapons, but with the threat of weapons.  There’s no such thing as traditional nuclear war, but that doesn’t mean that nukes aren’t necessary.

By maintaining an overwhelming defense capability, the U.S. forced the Soviets into bankruptcy and a complete rethink of their place in the world.  Without our nukes, this never would have happened.

And what do you mean by “our situation is so strikingly similiar to the Soviet situation in the mid to late 80’s”?

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By jackpine savage, April 4, 2008 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

Except that the Cold “War” wasn’t really a war, since the two sides never actually fought.

Since our situation is so strikingly similiar to the Soviet situation in the mid to late 80’s, i’d hold off on the gloating for a little while yet.

And your comparison of a geopolitical standoff to an actual war is neither here nor there.

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By Bill Blackolive, April 4, 2008 at 11:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cyrena, I agree with you enough, maybe you could contact me past this overhead sometime: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Ha, let’s see if this gets through.

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By Maani, April 4, 2008 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Cyrena:

Actually, it wa published in 2000, although it probably took a year to write so, yes, it is almost 10 years old.  But what is more important is that it JUST predates Bush’s presidency; i.e., it reads like a blueprint of the Bush Administration for the past seven years.

Marshall:

You give the neocons too little credit; the phrase itself, within its context, may seem “inocuous,” but, as the old expression goes, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.  9/11 was an inside job.  And the “new Pearl Harbor” was achieved by design, not by some ridiculously “fortuitous” timing for the neocons.

Peace.

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By debbie S, April 4, 2008 at 9:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Congress continues to supply the Pentagon with more outrageous funding for this illegal war. I do not want to support the militarism that has been implemented and funded by the military and congress .I do not want to contribute my paying taxes to go for the criminal war profiteering, sanctioning of torture, or the murder of civilians .I do not believe that dropping bombs on defenseless human beings,
the stealing of another countries resources for corporations, or environmental destruction is acceptable.The further expansion of military bases takes away from desperately needed funding for healthcare, social services, education, and decent jobs. They call it democratization but it is really imperialism with all the violence that goes with it The privatization and neoliberalism is for the wealthy, a minority here in this country who feel economics should be based on unequality, greed, and the worship of the market that we all know has no conscience or concern for anything but making profits by whatever the means.I do not wish to have as an American citizen a war-based economy along with the private security firms economic contributions. It is a disgrace which has nothing to do with a democratic society wanting to participate in a just and peaceful way with the rest of the world.I believe there are many, many people here in this country who feel the same way.The essay by Howard Zinn “Are Hilary and Obama Afraid of Talking About the New Deal? I feel is what is desperately needed here in this country.This is the way for people in america to go for a future that is sustainable and life-affirming.

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By WTFC, April 4, 2008 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If I remember correctly Afghanistan had something to do with the Soviets blowing their coffers.  Also their form of totalitarianism fell apart from the inside. They USSR also politicized every from science to bread.  Sound familiar?   
No one won the “cold war” we are losing a lot because of it right now.  I guess if anyone won the “cold war” it is going to be the EU and parts of Asia.  All of the ex-soviet states are joining up with the EU.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 4, 2008 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

The nazis keep coming out from under the rocks here at Truthdig.  Here’s another mental midget filled with venom who has NO idea what our nation stands for that calls for racism as policy.

I’m not the anti-American here.  Darryl is the complete and total enemy of the United States of America.  He belongs Goose-stepping in 1930’s Nazi Germany, then receiving the just desserts those Nazis received.

He is the enemy of Freedom.

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By cyrena, April 4, 2008 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

In case you didn’t notice Marshall, we didn’t ‘win’ the Cold War.

The Soviets just faded away.

Nuclear proliferation = mutually assured self-destruction.

In other words, it’s a suicide pact between nuclear armed nations.

And, when you tried to eat those arms that have filtered down to your private sector, you’ll find that they aren’t all that digestible.

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By Marshall, April 4, 2008 at 12:55 am Link to this comment

“How many hundred of miles is it from any ocean????”

Apparently not far enough - Clinton launched submarine based cruise missiles at Afghanistan in 1998.

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By Marshall, April 4, 2008 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

What’s scary, Maani, is how the only criticism anyone ever makes of this document is the part about Pearl Harbor, which they take completely out of context and try and portray as a wish (or even a threat) rather than the timely and unheeded warning it turned out to be.

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By Marshall, April 4, 2008 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

” It is impossible to win a war against a nuclear-armed country.”

WTF?  We already did - it was called the Cold War.  And we won it by having the teeth to back up our posturing while giving a shovel to the Soviets so they could dig themselves a financial grave.

No question a strong U.S. military provides jobs, economic stimulation, and scientific advancement that filters to the private sector.

And your comparison of a first world war to a third world occupation is apples and oranges.

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By dopey, April 3, 2008 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why on earth would we have weapons systems to “counter” China or Russia?  It’s just corporate welfare.  It is impossible to win a war against a nuclear-armed country.  If we destroy their military, do they just say “uncle” and let us win?  That’s why we spend all of our time bombing countries that are basically defenseless.  Was anyone in the U.S. ever worried about Iraqi planes flying over Dubuque?
Additionally, we built the world’s most expensive military to simultaneously fight and win in two theaters against two first world opponents.  We are taking longer than world war 2 to fight enemies who haven’t got a single airplane or missle.  They bury bombs in the road and lob mortar shells.  Why does anyone think we can take on China or Russia? 
Just more corporate welfare.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2008 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

It’s over a decade old Maani. But, that’s OK. Better late than never I suppose, for folks to become aware of the roots of their destruction.

It IS that old you know.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2008 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

Louise….

Something UNDER THAT SAND?!!!!

“..After all, everybody knows Lieberman has a special “in” with the Bush. Maybe Iraq has an underground navy. I mean there’s just got to be something underneath all that sand, right?
Maybe Lieberman knows something we don’t.
[I doubt it, though ] “

Ya got THAT right! How about oodles and oodles and oodles of OIL in both proven and unproven fields, yet to be tapped????

Yeah…Lieberman knows THAT, but so do the rest of us. This is an OIL SEARCH and ‘RESCUE’ submarine, worth every bit of its weight in…OIL. And the lobbyists from Exxon-Mobile, (Condi’s old firm) and Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron-Standard, and British Petroleum, and Halliburton, and all the others I’ve missed, paid damn good US tax dollars for that submarine.

Now I know you mentioned that these things are useless without any persons to man them, and of course I’d agree. But, let’s force ourselves to consider the reality of that as well. Those flying machines that leveled the WTC weren’t ‘manned’. At the very least, the operations of them were certainly NOT under the control of any presumed cockpit members.

So, as long as the CIA operates in the shadow of the DoD, carrying out their most heinous crimes, these humongous pieces of equipment are still widely used.

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By Maani, April 3, 2008 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

Not sure if this has been posted yet, but here is the link to the primary PNAC document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.”  You may want to print it out (it is a total of 78 pages).  It is VERY scary reading, and is the document that includes the notion of a “new Pearl Harbor” in order to get the American public to accept the neocon agenda.

Happy reading!  LOL.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

Peace.

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By Louise, April 3, 2008 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

“Example: the $81-billion submarine pushed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, presumably to fight al-Qaida’s navy.”

Now lets not be to hasty.

After all, everybody knows Lieberman has a special “in” with the Bush. Maybe Iraq has an underground navy. I mean there’s just got to be something underneath all that sand, right?

Maybe Lieberman knows something we don’t.
[I doubt it, though wink ]

Maybe his submarine has invisible paddles equipped with feet to gallop across the shimmering sand.
[following those underground pings!]

Maybe it’s actually equipped with secret things that pop out of the hull and bore into the sand.

Maybe there’s method to his madness.

No. More likely there’s just madness to his method.

Meanwhile, it’s good to know the military/industrial complex, with the emphasis on corporate/government, still hasn’t managed to provide all the up-armored vehicles they promised so long ago. I understand the biggest stumbling block is ... drum role please ...
we closed all our steel mills a few years back. Duh ... damned service economy.

Seems to me the only reliable war contractor we have is the guy who ships the tin caskets!

What I want to know is when is congress gonna start firing these free-loaders? Or actually put them to work for their money?

How about we send them out into the real world and let them start rebuilding the bridges and highways! I think we can still get concrete and rebar. And if the gas is too expensive, we can furnish them with wheelbarrows.

Now I think that’s a smashing good idea!

On a more serious note, I agree we do need a strong navy with the right equipment. And we do need a strong Air Force, and Army. All with the best equipment. I think what this article points out is overall bad management, waste, unnecessary duplication and taxation without representation. ‘Cause when the DoD cant account for, or properly manage the money, obviously there is no representation!

And something few, if any, in the DoD ever think about is the cannon fodder. They grab it and use it and abuse it, and they will soon just plain lose it!

Thanks to the most corrupt administration in the history of the United States, our military, both man-power and the real time equipment they all need every day, is in critical straits.

And all the big subs and new fighter jets in the world wont mean squat if there’s no-one to man them!

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By Inherit The Wind, April 3, 2008 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

I just KNEW we need subs for the war in Afghanistan!

How many hundred of miles is it from any ocean????

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By cyrena, April 3, 2008 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

WOW!!

You sure hit this right dab square on the head masmanz!!

Doesn’t get much more astutely accurate than this.

EVERYBODY should just re-read the PNAC documents.

Needless-to-say though, I have to wonder if they ever even considered what they would do about China.
Did they REALLY intend to actually STRENGTHEN China to tune of restoring that once great Imperial Dynasty, which lasted several centuries longer than the US Imperial Dynasty?

By the way, ‘they’ (rather than we) DO own Dubai at this point, and it is really something to behold. Just 5 years in the making, and it’s like something one could never imagine.

By ‘they’ I don’t mean China necessarily, since Cheney et all, and the Carlyle Group, and multiple others have a hand in it.

Still, you get my point..It too (DUBAI) is part of the PNAC.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2008 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

There could be something to this Bill Blackolive.

I just tried to post a response that ‘wouldn’t take’. Humm
So, I’ve not visited the website there at ‘patriotsquestion9/11’ in many months, though I’ve certainly been a patriot questioning 9/11 myself, at least since…well, 9/11/2001.

So, I’ll have to check out the site, and see what’s going on. I suspect I know what ‘clamoring’ you’re speaking about, (it happens here as well, every time the subject comes up) but I’m not sure that ‘schizophrenia’ is the word that applies. I think you might mean ‘paranoia’ which happens to be one of the first elements that develops in a society under fascism. It’s just a result of the created chaos, (intended or otherwise) that keeps the masses confused and nobody knows anything, or can trust anything/anyone.

This isn’t new. Remember the Nazis and the Communists. People were turning over their own family members. That’s what happens in these highjackings of formerly democratic societies.

To tie that in with the topic of this piece, MILITARISM is always at the heart of it.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2008 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

Bill,

Who’s worried? What’s going on at patriotsquestion9/11?

I haven’t visted there for a long time. I’ve been a patriot questioning 9/11 since, well…9/11/2001.

So, what am I missing over there? Maybe I need to check for myself, eh?

Now I’m not sure that schizophrenia is the word we want here, (but I could be wrong). I think the word though is PARANOIA, and that is the first thing to be established in the created chaos of a totalitarian/fascist takeover.

It requires that the public at large become paranoid of everything and everyone. I think they’ve done a very successful job at creating that.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, April 3, 2008 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Mike Gravel has made a new video about the military-industrial complex.  It’s interesting.  Beneath it is some footage of the anti-war demostrations in D.C.

http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2008/04/01/helter-skelter/#more-1867

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By xhidarta, April 3, 2008 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was being pleasantly educated with all these thoughtful comments ‘till I got to yours.
Instead of rebutting Abdallah’s argument you had to have the typical knee jerk reaction.
You are both an asshole and you can’t handle the truth.

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By Gumwars, April 3, 2008 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You’re either a troll or ignorant.

If some other country had been screwing with your way of life for the past 50 some odd years I think you might consider geting a little payback too.  If they don’t have a right to fight for half a century of American imperialism then we don’t have a right to a free nation. 

I do not condone terrorism.  A criminal act is a criminal act no matter what the purported justification may be.  However, it would be foolish to assume the motive for Islamic extremism is a hatred for our way of life and how we treat our women.

If all you care about is your own backyard and to hell with the death carried out by our government then by all means, be happy and enjoy your pork sandwich.

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By Gumwars, April 3, 2008 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scheer is talking about taxation without representation.  The government has only one purpose (that I can find in the Constitution) and that is to defend and perserve our freedom. 

Last time I checked, the cold war was over and China was a major economic trade partner with the US.  So why is our defense budget larger than the next 5 superpowers combined?  What “threat” are we lined up to take out now?  We’ve declared war on things (drugs) and tactics (terrorism) with no positive results.  Unless 1.4 million dead Iraqis and the US leading the planet in prison populations are to be counted.

Wake up dude.  We are all unwilling pawns for the neocon agenda.

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By darryl, April 3, 2008 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the jews have been kicked out of every country in the world except the united states are you beginning to see why

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By 'Uigi, April 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Purple Girl,

Had Truman NOT used the atomic bomb to ABSOLUTELY END (as in, really drive the point home to the bone-headed toadies of the Emperor of Japan)
the war in the Pacific, you would have never been able to post your response…because ...you never “were”.

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By jimmyjam, April 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Now that is funny

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By 'Uigi, April 3, 2008 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I suppose Mr. S has never heard of China and their blue water navy ambitions?

I can hardly wait to see their antic once the pesky Olympics thing has been chased out of town.  Any bets?  Fools hand if you take it.

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By patrick miller, April 3, 2008 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This submarine should be able to deal with those anti-facists as well….

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By Miragex485, April 3, 2008 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Yea what about Japan? and looked what happened, millions killed, but we were never attacked again, until 2001”

See, this is what amazes me.  You think from World War II until 2001, we were attack free,  nothing that constituded an act of war against us ever happened?  That’s what that statement leads me to believe… (P.S.  We were attacked, even by our “ally” Israel: see USS Liberty.)  It really astonishes me how little critical thinking goes on.  It usually depresses me more to read the inane comments of these hopeless articles, than it does the articles themselves.  Mainly because it casts out all my doubts about truley dire situations for all of us to come.  Best of luck to you all… We’re going to need it.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 3, 2008 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

In union apprenticeship you learn the word journeyman means “for a days pay” as in soup de jour. The pay was structured as a journeyman can be working 3 days a week as I have on numerous occaisions when I was starting out.  Layoffs are frequent and companies hire as contracts allow, once the contract is over, you go.

If contracts at electric boat are curtailed there will be alot more travelers within the U.S. and abroad. These are electricians, plumbers, welders, pipe fitters, tradesmen who can build other things besides submarines.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 3, 2008 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

“Semper fi” means always faithful, the motto of the U.S. Marines. 

A strong military can be a good thing unless it is used to meddle in other nations affairs as it has done in the case of Iraq, immoral war I believe it it is called.  Having our flotillas crusing the worlds oceans does not create good will amongst nations, in my view it is wastes expensive oil, accomplishes nothing and actually acts counter to our nations interests unless scaring the bejeezus out of others is in our nations interest.

Chosin reservoir, Lebanon during Reagan, Iranian U.S. embassy takeover, there are plenty of instances of the U.S. being attacked prior to 9/11 and our “big stick” didn’t do any good then either.

The reason alot of these “Black” programs are secret and the budgets are kept from the public domain is that the U.S. government doesn’t care about Russian and Israeli spying, but it does care about what the U.S. public deems as excessive waste and the less the public knows how the money is being wasted the better.

I do believe in the 2nd amendment and my at home weapons are my ultimate guarantee against all enemies foreign and domestic.

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By Markov, April 3, 2008 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Funny.. Carlyle Group spun off all their bad debt into a company called Carlyle Capitol, which they are sinking. CALPERS is heavily invested in Carlyle Group, and I wonder if that’s being deliberately sunk too.
It’s funny that investors in Carlyle Group can make 30 or 40% on their money every single year, while simultaneously their subsidiary goes bankrupt, but that’s how cheating us works for the investor class.

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By Markov, April 3, 2008 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually, we’re *all* feeling the enormous military expenditures.
Do you know what real inflation was last year in US dollars compared to, say, the Euro?
It was 15%.
Did you make 15% on your 401K last year? No??!?
Then you *lost money*.
All of us worker bees are getting stomped into poverty by the outrageous military spending and even more outrageous borrowing done in Washington D.C.

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By Bill Blackolive, April 3, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scheer ought to speak with who is doing this work for him because somebody is so worried with my 9/11- coverup clamor that sometimes is listed at patriotsquestion9?11, that it gets ever harder for me to get in here.  Ok, submarines and schizoprenia while the US loses, ho hum.

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By t-bone, April 3, 2008 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ike warned of the MIC, not Truman

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, April 3, 2008 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

This is the perfect weapon to take out those 3rd graders in GA who were plotting to kill their teacher.

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By masmanz, April 3, 2008 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Robert Sheer should read PNAC again, the so-called war on terror is just a side show. Afghanistan and Iraq were the first two targets because they were the weakest. If it were not for the quagmire the ventures turned into we would be a proud owner of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and with any luck even Pakistan or Egypt. The real test of PNAC will come when we will eventually run into conflict with Russia or China and then we will need all these fancy gadgets.

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By Laney, April 3, 2008 at 8:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Navy’s planning is based on the belief that China is the long term enemy.  This has been true for a long time.

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By bags, April 3, 2008 at 8:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

you commies think the united states runs on horse puckie. we are a military opressive democracy. your food, everything comes from the war machine. yes the world will catch up and get better. that is the objective, not to have great militaries fighting to take over oil or gold but to have all people equal. england has 10.00 diesal and you complain. go live in in israel where you have to carry an uzi to go to market or iraq where everyone has an ak-47 to survive and thank GD you live in AMERICA.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me

Chorus

I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

Chorus

The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me

Chorus

As I was walkin’  -  I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin’
But on the other side .... it didn’t say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

Chorus

In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.

Chorus (2x)

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By Buck, April 3, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Virginia class boats cost about $2bn, not $81bn per hull.

The contract was for 5 Virginia class boats, not 60.  Congress told DoD to come up with a plan that would include 18 Virginias through 2015 by the Clinton administration.

The first Seawolf attack sub was named Seawolf.  The third and last was named Jimmy Carter.

There’s no need to use hyperbole to shock readers.  It’s already clear that the Pentagon and Congress prefer a few expensive big-ticket ‘initiatives’ to many smaller, less glamorous utilitarian efforts.

The US _is_ spending too much on its military, and spending it in the wrong places.  We don’t need a billion dollar bomber, we need 10 hundred-million-dollar bombers instead.  Clearly, 10 bombers can cover more missions than one, especially counting maintenance time into the mix.  This is true for all the big-ticket programs.  Because these things are so expensive, we can only build a few of them, and that decreases our military capability.

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By Bob Melley, April 3, 2008 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I tripped over this piece on a sub web site…..The author should spend a little time doing the same thing….The scope of the ignorance demonstrated herein, belies the unfortunate but necessary facts the US must consider with regards to military spending.
The 21st century version of the Cold War has already started…..The “other” side being China and a Putin ruled Russia. Both of these potential enemies are building modern nuclear and diesel powered submarines,and plan to build smaller carriers and well armed DDG type escorts for their new “downsized carrier strike groups.” Russia has been developing a new solid fuel SLBM, the Bulava, which will be installed on her new SSBNs. China has her newest nukes, the project 093 SSNs and Project 094 SSBNs.
The latter being equipped with the JL-2 SLBM. In addition, both Russia and China are pushing back hard at what they see as an attempt to thwart their on-going territorial expansion plans….In Russia’s case, she wants some of her former soviets back under
her thumb…and since she has cash, she’ll work very hard to keep the US and Europe at bay. China, on the other hand, wants to control the vital sea lanes she needs to gather natural resources from around the globe to feed her dreams of expansion. The western
north Pacific, the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca and open sea lanes in the Indian Ocean to the Persian gulf for oil. Her success at building her island defense chain or “String of Pearls” defense lines is meant to keep US carriers well away from “her” territory.
Therefore, the US needs new subs, i.e., The USS Virginia class boats which will REPLACE the older LA class SSNs…..30 Virginia’s coming over the next 15 years will cost approximately $2 billion dollars each. The USAF needs new F-22 Raptors,, new stealthly, high speed interceptors to replace their aging F-15 Strike fighters, etc… Yep…..this all costs hundreds of billions of dollars…What would ten or 15 more World Trade Center attacks cost the USA in lives and treasure?
We in a new century and in a war against both terrorists and hostile nations. It may not be fun, but we have to make serious decisions to protect out children, grand children and our nation. With all her warts, the USA is still man’s best hope for the future.

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By jimmyjam, April 3, 2008 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

my point is if you shut down these programs you will put thousands of people out of work,yet the dems say they are pro worker , so shut them down,and watch the unemployment line fill up.

A job is a job
I am Union local 134 IBEW
the union is only worried about who gets elected, so they can get more money for the Union officials. if it was the union the way the union was intended I would support every thing they do, but it isn’t. the union is about keeping people fat. ,good example Child molester teacher protected by the union, she should have been fired on the spot, but the union protected her. so fuck your unions until they clean their own house. The only reason we have not gone into a nuclear war is not because of the pusses crying about war, it’s because of M.A.D

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By Marc, April 3, 2008 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just a suggestion - if the Virginia-class sub pictured in the article remains on wheels it might be more effective against the unseen enemies and tactic that our elected “Idiot Kings” have been suckered into fighting with useless and insanely expensive weapons systems. The best defense for America, and one that is never mentioned, would be to simply remove our unwanted
imperial presence from their soil.

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By jimmyjam, April 3, 2008 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

You are Semper fie to your ways correct, Marines are Semper fie to the Marine Corp, no difference, you have your belief which is pacifist, which in itself is great, but not every one is like you, nor do we want to be. A lot of people myself included feel like a strong military is a good thing.I dont care what any of the peace folks say, because we have a strong military we have not been attacked, I know someone will say, Yea what about Japan? and looked what happened, millions killed, but we were never attacked again, until 2001, it could have been over a long time ago, but the people trying to get elected and the peace people are afraid of hurting someones feelings. Politicians and Lawyers should be concerned about politics and Law. Let the military do what they do fight wars, sure there will be atrocities and the military will deal with those that commit crimes while on duty. Remember Haditha, all the press had was 30 second sound bites, “sound familiar” Now that fair trials have been conducted you dont hear much about the Marines that allegedly committed crimes, because they have been proven innocent, but that is good news ,so the press shy’s away from it. and by the way Semper fie.

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By lokis, April 3, 2008 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this area of technology is practically the only one that maunfactures goods that are prized by others.  Most Amerikans are too fat or stupid to join the chosen who work here. Let this begin the ending of what could have been greatness.

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By lifewriter, April 3, 2008 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Although much of our US economy’s taxes go to military spending, a large percentage of this cache was never designed to thwart off terrorist armies, or fight rogue elements abroad.  These are the vehicles of international blackmail.  These are the delivery systems that make good on threats to nations that don’t happen to see things the way the US does.  The sub was commissioned under Clinton’s watch, and dates back to a decades-old Pentagon directive that claims the US must maintain military superiority in order to preserve national stability.  But where has that notion really carried us as a nation?

The US develops and delivers more cluster bombs land mines than any other nation on the planet, save for Russia and China.  More than 80 % of the casualties resulting from these weapons are civilians.  (see http://www.landminesurvivors.org/what_landmines.php)  We’re arming currently allied nations not only with F-15s and high tech naval frigates, but also with small arms, and it’s those small arms, believe it or not, do much of the killing, maiming and destroying of families, villages, and countries around the globe.

And if you trace the cash, if you are savvy enough to understand those cryptic lines in the Military Appropriations Budgets and related atrocities, you’ll find that the majority of the monies denoted for military expense are intended for use in highly classified projects, some of which rise like a viper on the prowl in the desert, out in the vast expanses of the Nevada night. (see http://www.rules.house.gov/110/text/110_hr2764_samndtohamnd.pdf and good luck getting through the staggering double talk)  Remember that the above referenced document is an Amendment, not the real bill, and it’s worth trillions of your US tax dollars.  Note how the tremendous sums stated in this document are placed in the hands of a few men.

Quietly, our overtime hours, our daily wages, the very pennies we drop each time we buy a candy bar filter to these ends, and we’re left to imagine that, for reasons of national security, non-disclosure of appropriations a is better alternative; trust in the bloody hands of the men that run our military.  They’ve done us well so far, right?

If you have not yet read The Road, by Cormack McCarthy, do so. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_(novel)

Militarization of close earth orbit is not a Star Wars fantasy, it’s a covert and real-time objective of today’s Pentagon.  Atomic submarines are armed satellites lurking under sea.  So go back to your computer, surf the web for the next big gubernatorial sex scandal…and pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.  Or show up at the next protest against the war, make a poster that suits you, and tell the world that this is not a government of the people, by the people, or for the people.  It’s a government that is designed to nullify human rights, strangle independent thought, quash any and all resistance towards its self serving interests.  At the end of the day, this is a government blinded by it’s own weapons systems, and the collateral fallout, the blowback if you will, that results.

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By Thomas George, April 3, 2008 at 6:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah its all a problem Typical, But the part I don’t get is- why is it better, as you seem to infer, for the “rats” to build stuff we do not NEED that makes the world MORE dangerous, than to pay them for doing nothing?  “and the best thing is they are very effective” Actually, they are TOTALLY OBSOLETE….New radar/laser technology makes the oceans transparent, so these slow moving technological COWs are easy to slaughter.  Like you point out, they are feel-good job programs.

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By Howard M K, April 3, 2008 at 6:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So Lochheed Martin’s contract runs until 2034?  Put that one in the “win” column for us taxpayers.  Because we’ll run out of money long before 2034.

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By robertsgt40, April 3, 2008 at 5:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are going the same way the Rooskies did.  We will collapse under our own weight. All empires have a shelf life. Most die of indigestion. Couldn’t process all their illgotten gains.  Welcome to 1938 germany and 1989 Russia.

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By Greg Bacon, April 3, 2008 at 3:57 am Link to this comment

There’s two subjects that politician’s in D.C. never ask questions about, not unless they want the lobbies of those two sacred cows to come down on them like a ton of bricks.

One of the two is our over indulgent military spending for weapons we never use, they just get built, then shipped to the scrapyard—remember the long range bomber called the “Valkyrie?”

The other taboo subject is Israel.  Our subservience to that country’s ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians is causing the U.S. immense problems abroad.

Right now, it’s a race to the bottom to see which one of these sacred cows will be the ones that destroys our country. The ungodly amount of military spending, which is bankrupting our country from within, or the slavish devotion to Israel, which is tearing up our nation from without.

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By srelf, April 3, 2008 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

A little Astroglide and that sub and somebody’s gonna have some fun!
Well, maybe more than a little Astroglide…

Hope George doesn’t have hemorrhoids again.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 2, 2008 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

It seems that it’s part of human nature to be a warrior for the causes one believes in. This is why I do come as a strong combatant when I write about issues of concern for me. However, my warrior spirit is limited to the weapons of the words and the pen, for I am, on the other hand, a pacifist who abhors all symbols of militarism at both the personal and the national levels. I consider myself very lucky not to have been forced to serve or enlist in any military, or to receive any type of military training or even ever feeling a desire to buy a gun for sport or what’s called self-defense. The ideal society for me is a society where no weapons are manufactured, where there is no formal military, where there is no military-industrial complex and where there is no class of merchants of death.

That’s why very often, especially lately, I feel that I got more than I bargained for when I came to the US thirty years ago as a graduate student, but the circumstances of life and fate made me stay permanently as a tax-payer citizen, contributing, against my choice, with my tax money to militarism and worse to unjust wars.

What is mysterious to me as a pacifist civilian about the military is the Semper Fidelis part, the artificially-enforced and brain-washed discipline to march into extreme danger to kill with the potential of being killed, and to carry out wholeheartedly a mission about which one might be deeply skeptical. “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die,” as Tennyson wrote, of the Light Brigade that rode into the valley of death on the orders of an arrogant idiot. And men have been riding off to death fields on behalf of many arrogant idiots since, including the ones who are in the White House at the moment. This is a presumed “heroism” that is not expected from peaceful pacifists.

As a result of this misperceived “heroism” “patriotism” or “service to one’s country,” many men and women have been carried prematurely to the cemetery, with honor guards and rifle salutes, who, if the truth be known, knew their missions were not worth the price, but had to go anyway. In that sense, many of our honored dead were dissenters.

For a peaceful pacifist, what makes no sense at all is when the arrogant idiot leaders expect us civilians to support their unprincipled policy as a way of “supporting our troops.” That’s why I do not believe in the military, I do not believe in just wars, and I do not support the troops. As a normal human being, I am supposed to love my homeland of birth or my adopted homeland. That’s why I want to live to enjoy the best of what my homeland has to offer. It’s not patriotism to be sent to die half way around the world to kill and be killed, and more so when the one who gives the orders to send me is a criminal idiot who bought his way into being the so-called Commander-in-Chief through a stolen and manipulated election. Even if this was not the case, I am against all militarism leading to wars, for wars are evil through and through, and everyone one is a looser in wars. And it is my birth right to refuse to be among the losers.

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By A 15 year old kid, April 2, 2008 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Al-Qaida doesn’t have a navy!!!! If they do then its a canoe and a 12 gauge the US government wastes so much money when we could be spending it on healthcare but you wouldn’t want to help anybody!!!!

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Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, April 2, 2008 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

One thing you never hear from any of the presidential candidates is a defining, coherent vision of what our foreign policy should be (Ron Paul was the only exception to this, articulating a policy of non-interventionism).

Without that vision, the government inevitably gears up for war after war. It has long been US military doctrine to be able to fight two major wars on two fronts, simultaneously. The cost of this doctrine is ruinous.

The foreign policy role of a free country is to provide for its own defense, to stay out of entangling alliances, and otherwise promote the exchange of ideas and products with other countries. It is not the role of a free country to referee squabbles between rival countries; this inevitably makes things worse.

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By Maani, April 2, 2008 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Remember the $650 toilet seat and the $450 wrench?

Here is the NYT editorial on this issue:

WASTING AND WANTING AT THE PENTAGON

If ever there was an indictment of the wanton ways that the Pentagon wastes money, a new report by government auditors is it. Dozens of the Pentagon’s most costly weapons programs are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

President Bush and a far-too-compliant Congress have already wasted more than $600 billion on the disastrous Iraq war. Since Mr. Bush took office, the Pentagon’s weapons acquisition budget has doubled from $790 billion in 2000 to $1.6 trillion last year.

Now, in stark terms, we see that an unseemly percentage of that money has gone to wasteful cost overruns and delays. Even when weapons systems are finally delivered, investigators say, far too many fail to deliver the capabilities promised. One example: the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile recorded four failures in four flight tests in 2007.

Figures compiled by the Government Accountability Office showed that 95 major weapons systems — including ballistic missile defense, the Joint Strike Fighter and the Littoral Combat Ship — have exceeded their original budgets by a mind-numbing total of $295 billion in the past seven years. In 2000, new weapons were running 6 percent over initial cost estimates; by 2007, that figure had skyrocketed to 26 percent.

Not only did Mr. Bush and his former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, allow contractors to run amok in Iraq, they let them run amok in the halls of the Pentagon. The G.A.O. cites the Pentagon’s heavy reliance on contractors as one reason for the gross mismanagement of acquisition programs. The Pentagon also let contractors submit unrealistically low cost estimates, rushed development of new systems — causing costly mistakes that had to be fixed — and made too many changes after projects were under way, according to the G.A.O. and other experts.

Soldiers on the battlefield pay a huge price for this incompetence when needed weapons don’t arrive on time or malfunction, or when vital purchases must be delayed because cost overruns devoured available funds. So, too, do financially imperiled domestic programs, which have been shortchanged again and again by this White House.

The current defense secretary, Robert Gates, and his team have made a start on fixing acquisition policies, mulling such ideas as establishing review boards to monitor changes in weapons system programs. The problem will far outlast this administration. We would like to hear what the presidential candidates will do. Ending the war in Iraq is a start, but it won’t be enough.

Whoever wins the election will have to keep asking for large budgets to repair the damage from this disastrous war and to ensure that the country is ready to face new dangers. That would require a lot more vigilance about cost overruns on big-ticket weapons systems. It would also require the courage to scale back or cancel expensive — and heavily lobbied — acquisition programs that don’t meet today’s threats or tomorrow’s.

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By Frank, April 2, 2008 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Virginia class submarines are intended to counter China’s developing Navy as well as the resurgent Russian navy, among other things, and cost about $2 billion each, so who knows what the hell Scheer is talking about.

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By jimmyjam, April 2, 2008 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

They dont have the potential to be human, let alone having a navy. 3 nukes clean it right up. Damn my pork sandwich is almost done.

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By jimmyjam, April 2, 2008 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

you miss the point, I will agree with the contract thing though ,it is not an 82 bilion sub, this was done when Lieb was a dem and during the clinton admin

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By Josh, April 2, 2008 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

are you serious?

So, by your logic, we should continue to elect warmongers because they will keep jobs for the arms industry?

What a joke.

Then saying that 1) It costs too much because of those annoying unions and then turning right around and saying 2) take the jobs away and the hundred bucks of unemployment won’t make them happy, because they are being paid too much already… What?

So, what is it? Take away the unions and force them to work for less? If there weren’t unions and they weren’t paid very much, THEN it would be ok to shut down a program that has no real use? But since they DO have a union and get paid well, then it is wrong… By God your post doesn’t make any sense. I can’t even write a coherent response.

I think you missed the point about the whole article.  The US continues to spend entirely too much on it’s military. I’m sorry if you get all warm and fuzzy inside when you see us spending billions of dollars on new equipment that isn’t designed for todays form of combat. The rest of us see it as a waste of money, especially when a small fraction of the money we are spending to KILL (you can argue to deter, but if that was so we could build FAKE things to scare people) could be spent helping others LIVE. If we helped others LIVE we might not see them hate us as much as they do.

1- They owe their good pay to unions, which you don’t like
and
2- They owe there jobs to people like you who continue to be stuck in some old fashioned way of looking at the world.

Mind telling us who we are going to use these weapons against? If you say China, Russia, the EU… anyone with a nuclear arsenal I would beg to differ. There won’t be a war with any developed nuclear power because of the exact same reason why we never went to a real war with the Soviets.

...Spend my tax dollars somewhere else. I wish we could just check a box that says “no money to the military’s crazy projects.” Wonder how many people would do that and see their money invested in something worthwhile. Let the rest of you warmongers fit your own bill.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 2, 2008 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Electric boat doesn’t get paid if the contract isn’t fulfilled.  The government has multiple reservation of right to terminate clauses in their contracts.

DCAA would be conducting the audit of the century. 

I smell Lieberman all over this.  I hope they kick him out next election.

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By Shillum, April 2, 2008 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think the real problem is that at one time these things seemed like they were needed.  Now, no one has the guts to shut them down because a few hundred thousand people would threaten to kill the ones who dare take their jobs away.  it is simply the act of doing for one’s self.  People like money, and they will continue to do things to make themselves money whether they are needed or not. 

It takes courage to lead the nation.  We don’t have people capable of that.  We simply have photo op people who can lie the best as presidents of the nation.  What they do is what they are told to do.  No one dare take away the profit of the one’s who actually pull the strings.

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By Stan Mizgala, April 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As long as the military-industrial-congressional complex remains the most significant funding machine of federal elections, the military waste MUST continue. The problem is that war is your only “credible” justification for ever-escalating defence(sic) expenditures. Too bad for you - and too bad for the rest of the world.

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By felicity, April 2, 2008 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Indeed, for millenia kings, emperors, sheiks… have waged wars to fatten their own coffers.  It has been only when the ones fighting and financing their battles - nobles or tradesmen or peasants - have realized that the monetary and life sacrifices they’ve been asked to make have in the end only benefitted their rulers that they rise up in protest.  It’s an age-old story that only ends when the victims decline token hand-outs or metals for valor and demand a part of the spoils.

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