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PAPERS ON WAR

By Daniel Ellsberg

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Time to Cut the Military Pork

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Posted on Dec 13, 2008
F-22
AP photo / Gary C. Knapp

The F-22 Raptor costs upward of $140 million per plane. The U.S. Air Force is seeking $9 billion to produce at least 60 more F-22s over a three-year period, expanding its fleet to 243.

By Titus Levi

(Page 2)

Other nations have hardly fared better, and many much worse. Civil and border wars in Africa, such as those in Angola, Darfur, southern Sudan and most of all Congo, have cost at least 5 million lives. The long Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s cost a million fatalities with no discernable gains on either side. Various civil conflicts in Latin America killed hundreds of thousands. Border skirmishes between China and Vietnam, as well as between India and Pakistan, have settled little. The spectacularly brutal wars involving the Soviet Union and, later, Russia—in particular the Afghanistan incursion and occupation and the Chechen war—accomplished next to nothing other than visiting abundant death, destruction and misery upon millions. This says nothing of the futures demolished and lands wrecked through war. The long trail of destruction and pain outweighs whatever glory victory once held; in fact, the very notion of wartime victory now seems more like a myth than a reality.

Certainly we can find exceptions. For instance, the Six-Day War concluded with Israel enjoying a stunningly lopsided victory. That country gained territory and seemingly improved its security. But over the 40 years since that war, the West Bank has become a rotting albatross around Israel’s neck. Israel’s relinquishing of much if not all of the territories seems likely, provided that a politically viable means for doing so can be identified and implemented.

In short, while we may quibble over the details of the military budget, cost overruns and effectiveness of the latest technology, we need to remain firmly focused on the elephant in the room: Traditional military spending fails any kind of serious cost-benefit analysis.

In spite of this, appeals for military cutbacks encounter howls of criticism. Those calling for a change in DoD budgeting get slapped with all sorts of invective: words such as naive, idealistic, unpatriotic and cowardly. But given the evidence, who is being naive about the value and possibilities of success that might be enjoyed from massive spending on military procurement?

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Even though the military may fall short in effectiveness in the field, many claim that massive expenditures produce a worthwhile deterrent function. Being armed to the teeth certainly dissuades virtually any national power from conducting a frontal assault on the United States. However, the kinds of hit-and-run or suicide terror attacks that Americans experienced on Sept. 11, and before that at American embassies and military installations in Africa and the Middle East, continue to be effective. Traditional military spending, even massive amounts of it, will not deter such attacks.

The old head-to-head nation-state threats seem less compelling as well. The only nations regarded as serious potential opponents, China and Russia, seem unlikely to tangle with the U.S., even if we cut DoD expenditures. Despite overwrought rhetoric regarding tensions between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, the two countries have strengthened their ties, and the general trend has been toward greater cooperation and openness. This development militates against a full-scale U.S. military face-off with China, which in turn suggests that much of the hardware we build may not have a real use. China has very little motivation to engage the U.S. in direct conflict beyond the Taiwan Strait. Even Russia seems unlikely to find a compelling reason to get into a war with the U.S., even a U.S. with more limited forces. And provided that the problems plaguing the DoD can be ameliorated, a cut in expenditures may not result in a commensurate reduction in combat readiness.

The effect of cutting America’s expenditures can be softened by charging the Oval Office and key diplomats with the task of persuading other major powers to cut their military outlays in lock step with our cutbacks. Given the severity of the current economic crisis, this may be possible: Everyone wants to save money and to find ways of supporting fiscal stimulus plans. G-20 countries could implement an across-the-board cut of 25 percent on military spending, which falls in line with Rep. Barney Frank’s recommendation. This would yield savings of about $400 billion globally, with about $250 billion of the savings being enjoyed by the U.S. These savings could be used to cover some of the financial bailout’s costs and spending on fiscal stimulus packages in G-20 countries.

While a 25 percent cut might be considered too ambitious, a more modest cut of 10 percent across the G-20 countries would be more easily attained, although with a proportionately smaller impact on deficit reduction and fiscal stimulus. Savings for the U.S. would decline from over $250 billion to about $100 billion; the cut on baseline defense spending would decline to about $61 billion, down from $152.5 billion of savings under the 25 percent scenario.

Beyond the cost savings, why might other countries in the G-20 sign on for such a scheme? First of all, soon-to-be President Obama currently enjoys tremendous symbolic popularity around the world; a bold plan from the new president would probably have considerable sway with citizens in many countries. While I don’t expect other national leaders to simply roll over, they would respond to constituent pressure. Two possible exceptions stand out: the increasingly right-leaning and nationalistic Russians, and the Chinese, who see themselves as playing catch-up to the other great powers and would be reluctant to derail efforts that expand their military capabilities. Tough negotiations could yield substantive cutbacks. Given that we have a considerable cushion to work with, we could give up considerable allocations without injuring our military preparedness. Willingness to engage on spending would signal the world that we wish to cooperate and demonstrate global leadership on reducing military threats.

Creating a mechanism for sharing the benefits of cutbacks could provide an incentive for balanced multiparty cutbacks. This capital pool could be applied to producing global benefits that could jump-start productivity by improving green technologies and bringing them to market, expanding ecological preservation efforts, ensuring food and water supplies, improving global health delivery and providing real funding to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. This would spread benefits widely. Although the G-20 is not directly beholden to U.N. directives, pressure from a large number of developing countries could prod larger countries to cooperate, especially if the U.S. supported such an effort through a strong commitment from a credible and effective ambassador to the U.N.

Global spending on development does not help the U.S. directly, but it would vastly improve labor productivity in the faster-growing developing economies. This would help to energize the global economy, which indirectly benefits the American economy. At the same time, living conditions for millions would improve. Taking these steps would not defang those most radically opposed to American policies, ideals and power, but it would probably erode the support and cover that such individuals and organizations rely upon for money, moral and ideological support, safe havens and so forth. In short, military cutbacks would not erode American security. We would still be the dominant power, but we would step away from being, as Colin Powell first put it in 1992, the “bully on the block.” It is high time to craft a new ethos to serve as our cynosure on military policy.

Cutbacks in spending could actually improve global security. In particular, putting a zero-nukes policy at the center of cuts could help to move civilization off the nuclear precipice. The North Koreans would have far less latitude for continuing their equivocations over nuclear weapons and energy development. A zero-nukes policy would back the Iranians into a corner that would undermine their rationale for wanting the bomb. It would also prod the Israelis to come clean on their nuclear weapons program, which would pick a thorn from the side of future efforts to negotiate in good faith over the Palestinian issue.

This still leaves the question of political considerations. Many Americans regard international policy as somewhat remote and uninteresting, so the strategic element seems unlikely to overcome the impact of cutbacks on jobs. Policymakers and Congress could solve this problem by redeploying military funds locally. That is, funds removed from a given military procurement project should remain in or near the district of that project, provided this didn’t fundamentally undermine productive efficiencies. Adding this wrinkle to a cutback in military spending would take pressure off congressional representatives to protect jobs. This turns the pork-barrel process on its head by working against ballooning military budgets.

In short, cutting the military budget makes sense, and for the first time since the start of the Cold War in 1947, we finally have the chance to push back against the military-industrial complex—or military-industrial-congressional complex, given the powerful effect of pork-barrel politics on the perpetuation of this system—which has been murderous and wasteful and is past due for being brought to heel. And while I’m no fan of Grover Norquist, I will borrow a turn of phrase from him here: I don’t want to destroy the military or the DoD, but I wouldn’t mind cutting it to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub one day. Now’s the time to get started.

Titus Levi, Ph.D., is an economist and media consultant. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications. He blogs at http://www.thatscapital.net.


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By KDelphi, December 20, 2008 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

What do you think of the Dept of Peace?

I meant that Offensive spending could have a double meaning…I guess..

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By cann4ing, December 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Better that we eliminate the nomenclature, Department of Defense and restore what it really is, The War Department.

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By KDelphi, December 20, 2008 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

How about OFFENSIVE spending??

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By Folktruther, December 20, 2008 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

I usally capitalize Defense, Cann4ing, to indicate its Orwellian implications.

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By cann4ing, December 17, 2008 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, we need to get away the notion of “defense” spending.  The post WW II change in nomenclature from the aptly named War Department to the Department of Defense is Orwellian.  There is very little in the U.S. arsenal that is truly designed to defend our nation; a great deal that entails offense as part of the extension and maintenance of imperialism.

I think it beneficial for progressives to refer to “military” spending whenever addressing this subject.

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By Ethan Boger, December 17, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When DoD, DHS, DE, VA and intelligence operations white and black are rolled up we ARE spending over one trillion $ on defense. And who said it was “only 4% of GDP”. What GDP? When sham financial sector revenues are zeroed out, the “real” economy is probably about $13 trillion, so defense spending is closer to 7 or 8% of GDP, a dangerous and unsustainable level. And the most amazing thing is that the DoD admits that its spending is unauditable.

I don’t like to rant, but here we are spending 8% of GDP on defense and 17% on health care. That’s one quarter of the entire pie. Other industrialized countries are spending about 2% on defense and about 8% on healthcare and devoting the difference to infrastructure improvement and technological R&D;to create societies that will eventually out-compete us. Our bridges, dams and sewers are near collapse, our educational system is falling behind and we are not spending hardly enough to solve the real problems the world is facing - climate change, resource depletion, pandemics…yet we cannot seem to overcome the entrenched interests that are driving these seemingly insane budgets.

The high level of defense spending has one rational explanation. The US, with about 4% of the world’s population, owns about 30% of its wealth. We are surrounded by the poor of the world and we think, consciously or not, that we must spend a lot to defend our property and way of life. The US in microcosm is Israel, where Jews living in Mcmansions and driving BMW’s are separated by a wall and $3 billion a year in US arms aid from an Arab world living in hovels on $5 a day.

It is probably simplistic to assume that the insane defense budget is solely the work of special interests and their lobbyists. More likely it is the result of a risk-averse political leadership that believes it is acting in the best interest of the country and thinks it has the means to perpetuate the US security state. Yet the current economic collapse may be a warning sign that this is not so. It has been said that the New Deal saved the American so-called “democracy”. What really happened was that Roosevelt, at the time considered a traitor to his class, saved the system that enriched it by preventing a socialist revolution. Unfortunately, it took an economic catastrophe for the power class to actually make changes. It seems like we are rapidly headed in that direction.

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By Glendon Wayne, December 16, 2008 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pass the Turkey Pray for War

The business of war is booming
brave buttered futures are looming

The market’s self corrective hand
knows war’s bread is spread hand to hand
to the greed is God gangsters who own the land
the plutocrat pushers our mushroom masters of small change
as might gangs up on right
and negative equity rains down on the needy
while the gobble up creed and the gusher of plunder
collapses the umbrella of red ink
a subsidiary of nuclear Inc.
who play Christmas Carols
for pre-emptive peace and good will and joy to the world

So say grace and pass the turkey…

The business of war is booming
brave buttered futures are looming
for….
greed is good… fraud is better… and war is best
to grease our master’s hands
those of the meltdown plutocrats and their puppets
like goofy cartoon dogs and demoted planets
but mostly…. demented dogma
like market rule
while the hand dives into the public purse
for a billion grand
hush… that’s the market corrective hand!

Did we say grace?
Pass the turkey and pray for war.

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By Folktruther, December 16, 2008 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

And this Defense spending has been conducted under both the Dems and the Gops, increasing the size of the US debt, which accrews interest which in effect takes the population’s taxes to pay the rich holders of US bonds.  Much of which is foreign held.

This this is a bipartisan historical position, which Obama appears he is going to continue. it is necessary to oppose the leaders of both the Dems and Gops, an anti-bipartisan movement. As Sam Smith has reported, there appears to be a strirring of such a movment, since Obama sold out so massively and so quickly.

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By cann4ing, December 16, 2008 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Levi’s description of simply “tightening” the Pentagon budget vastly understates the problem of a military budget, little of which has any bearing on the “defense” of this nation.

As Dr. Helen Caldicott pointed out in 2004:  “At the height of the cold war, the U.S. spent an average of 3.8 billion dollars a year on nuclear weapons design, testing, and manufacture.  Now, more than twelve years after the end of the cold war, it is spending 5 billion dollars annually over a ten-to 15-year period on a project that will violate both the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty” —this despite the fact that “overkill” far exceeds that which had existed when Melman published Pentagon Capitalism.  Although 1,000 nuclear bombs striking 100 cities would be sufficient to end human existence on this planet, the “U.S. currently has 2000 intercontinental land-based hydrogen bombs, 3456 nuclear weapons on submarines…, and 1750 nuclear weapons on intercontinental planes….Of these 7206 weapons, roughly 2500 remain on hair-trigger alert.  Russia has a similar number of strategic weapons, with approximately 2000 on hair-trigger alert.”

Dr. Caldicott’s brilliant analysis reveals that the military-industrial complex has not only served to siphon-off the best and the brightest from the civilian sector, but that the cream of this crop, the nuclear scientists consisting of “thousands of physicists, chemists, and engineers…recruited from U.S. colleges over a period of sixty years,”  have become a cult-like force onto themselves who could not permit the 1996 adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to get into the way of their livelihood .  The scientists at the three major nuclear weapons labs—Los Alamos, Sandia and Lawrence Livermore—and their overseer, the Department of Energy, developed the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program as a cover for “actually designing, testing and building a variety of new nuclear weapons…”  In June 2005 the New York Times reported that the Bush administration now plans to produce Uranium 238 for the first time since the Cold War at a cost of $1.5 billion.  Uranium 238 is hundreds of times more radioactive than the Uranium used in nuclear weapons and is said to be so dangerous that inhaling even a speck can lead to lung cancer.

These weapons are but a part of an ongoing development of a technological terror—a “full spectrum dominance” in which complete and unchallenged power is exerted by the US over land, sea, air and space in order to assure global protection for the American corporate Empire.  Indeed, it is the avowed purpose of the U.S. Space Command, created by the Joint Chiefs in 1985, to dominate “the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interest and investment.”

The crown jewel of Full Spectrum Dominance is “Star Wars” which, while unworkable as a defense shield and useless in the face of a terrorist with a suitcase-sized dirty bomb, is designed for offense—it includes both sophisticated, space-based surveillance that would permit world-wide, pinpoint tracking and targeting together with an array of weaponry which, per a 1996 air force board report entail “new technologies [that] will allow the fielding of space-based weapons of devastating effectiveness…These advances will enable lasers with reasonable mass and cost to effect many kills.  This can be done rapidly, continuously and with surgical precision…Force application by kinetic kill weapons will enable pinpoint strikes anywhere in the world.”

David Ray Griffin concludes that the more than $1 trillion the system is expected to cost is designed to insure the commercial interests of America’s corporate elite.  Griffin quotes Richard Falk:  “The empire-building quest for such awesome power is an unprecedented exhibition of geopolitical greed at its worst, and needs to be exposed and abandoned before it is too late.”

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By cann4ing, December 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

The answer to Jeff29’s misguided GDP argument has been around for quite some time.

Published in 1970, Seymour Melman’s “Pentagon Capitalism” noted that the alignment of the military-industrial complex under the state-controlled Pentagon system directed a major portion of the nation’s resources to “parasitic growth.”  The Pentagon system produced products that do not enter the marketplace and cannot be used for future production.  Sixteen years later, Gore Vidal would analogously observe:  “The Pentagon is like a black hole; what goes in is forever lost to us, and no new wealth is created.”  The enormous size of today’s “black hole” is perhaps reflected in a 2006 study released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute that revealed that global military spending has topped $1.1 trillion and that the “United States accounting for nearly half of the world’s spending.”  The U.S. spends $1,600 for every American; China, just $31/person.

Melman disputed the notion that America could afford both guns and butter.  “While the United States is rich, it is not inexhaustibly rich.  A massive Gross National Product…tends to overshadow the fact that an important part of this money is payment for economically parasitic activity rather than for productive growth….The contrast is with productive growth: producing goods or services that can be used for further production or for the present level of living.  Thus, a printing press or a loom multiplies its worth.”  Melman expressed alarm, noting that irrespective of the “spillover” of some military technologies into the civilian sector, the U.S. was placing itself at a competitive disadvantage in which, “for the first time, mass produced durable goods…are designed, produced and marketed outside the United States.”

For Melman, it was not enough to simply focus on how many billions of dollars were being expended on the military and its increasingly sophisticated weapons systems. His concern focused on the degree to which expanding Pentagon investment into research and development acted to deplete scientific and engineering talent from the civilian sector.  “The concentration of skilled brains and hands in the United States on parasitic growth explains why there is deterioration in many facets of life…”  He concluded that “concentration on military priorities, with the proliferation of military research activity, threatens the integrity of the university…”  35 years later, Carl Boggs would inform us:  “since World War II upwards of 70 percent of all resources devoted to research and development, combining efforts of the armed forces, corporations, and higher education, has come under the auspices of the Pentagon.”

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By Spiritgirl, December 16, 2008 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

I think “Defense” needs to be the first slashed for “pork projects”!  Not to mention, it will keep a shorter leash for the next crop of idiots that want to wage a war!  Let us put everything on the table, the infamous “Star Wars” that hasn’t worked and takes up how many dollars, to soooo many other weapons systems that DOD officials don’t even want. 

The amount of money that is for “Defense” spending doesn’t even count those “supplemental” monies that get spent!  This nation spends more on “defense” than most other nations altogether! 

As we are in this crisis we desperately need to reevaluate our priorities to the working people of this nation, not the corporate leaches that have been feeding off of us!  Wasn’t it Truman that talked about the “Military-Industrial-Complex” - well he warned us, and no one paid any attention, I think it is time that we seriously start!

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By Jim C, December 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

WelshTerrier2 , yours is easily the best post on the thread , my hats off .

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By GaryA, December 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Observers who actually believe that the USA spends but 4% of its GDP on defense are living in an alternate universe. As others have pointed out, the defense establishment is genius in hiding its true outlays in categories that aren’t called “defense,” but are defense nonetheless.

One of the best explications of this comes from someone writing from “the right,” Hoover Institute scholar, Robert Higgs. In an essay he wrote last year for the libertarian “Independent Institute,” he lays out the details, to devastating effect. And one can safely assume that today it’d be fair to add $300 or $400 billion to the totals he gives.

It’s quite likely, in other words, that we’re spending upwards of 11% of GDP on defense, which is MORE, much more, that the entire rest of the world spends.

See: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1941

GaryA

The Trillion-Dollar Defense Budget Is Already Here
March 15, 2007
Robert Higgs

When President George W. Bush presented his budget proposals recently for the fiscal year 2008, he emphasized that the nation’s security is his highest priority, and he backed up that declaration by proposing that the Pentagon’s outlays be increased by more than 6 percent beyond its estimated outlays for fiscal 2007, to a total of more than $583 billion. Although many Americans regard this enormous sum as excessive, hardly anyone appreciates that the total amount of all defense-related spending greatly exceeds the amount budgeted for the Department of Defense. Indeed, it is roughly almost twice as large.

In the fiscal year 2006, which ended last September, the Pentagon spent $499.4 billion. Lodged elsewhere in the budget, however, other lines identify funding that serves defense purposes just as surely as—sometimes even more surely than—the money allocated to the Department of Defense. On occasion, commentators take note of some of these additional defense-related budget items, such as the Department of Energy’s nuclear-weapons programs, but many such items, including some extremely large ones, remain generally unrecognized.

Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, many observers probably would agree that its budget ought to be included in any complete accounting of defense costs. After all, the homeland is what most of us want the government to defend in the first place.

Other agencies also spend money in pursuit of homeland security. The Justice Department, for example, ...

See: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1941

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By welshTerrier2, December 16, 2008 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

These “4% of GDP” arguments are pure nonsense for a number of reasons.

First, the US is not “bleeding red ink” only because of military spending. The US economic crisis is the result of many factors. A bloated military budget combined with two ill-conceived wars is certainly among them.

Even if the “4% of GDP” arguments were statistically valid, and they are not, using GDP to justify budget priorities is not valid to begin with.  To argue spending has gone down is not the point at all. Military spending, like all spending, must be compared to other spending (or saving) alternatives and not to the historic level of spending or to the current relationship to GDP.

So, for example, if the US were in the middle of a world war, perhaps higher military spending would be justifiable. If the US were facing an economic catastrophe, lower military spending, perhaps much lower spending, might be the appropriate course.

One argument presented in this thread suggested that US military spending is only 50% of what it was 50 years ago. Well, in this article:  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19144.htm, Chalmers Johnson makes a strong case that the real level of military spending is some multiple of the stated budget. Specifically, he states that for fiscal 2008, DOD requested “$481.4 billion for salaries, operations (except in Iraq and Afghanistan), and equipment” while the “real” military budget exceeds $1.1 trillion by the time you start including other military expenditures tucked away in various budgetary nooks and crannies. Read the article for the details.

At massive cost, the US maintains more than 760 military bases around the world. The US military is used as a private security force to procure and protect private corporate interests around the world. These are the very same corporate interests that offshore their headquarters to skirt around the US tax laws, outsource jobs to cheaper foreign labor, and lobby the US government to maintain a status quo energy policy that is bankrupting the country and hastening the onset of global warming.

The issue, again, is NOT the percentage of GDP but rather what is the right policy for the country and how do we prioritize our spending priorities. Current military spending is nothing short of madness.

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By BCC Meteorites, December 16, 2008 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

By Jeff29, December 15 at 8:46 am #

It is interesting to me that military spending is to blame for “the U.S. budget bleeding red ink by the buckets” when it is currently around 4% of GDP.  This is lower than the 45 year historical average and is 50% lower than it was 50 years ago.  That means that as a percentage of GDP the Bush military budget is lower than during the administrations of Carter, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman and Roosevelt.
_______________________________________________
Are you saying the combined above mentioned administrations percentage is higher than the current administration? I don’t think so. You’re mixing apples and oranges here and calling it all the same. I spoke with an employee if the GSA (General Services Administration) here in Fort Worth, Texas (10 or fifteenth residence for lmco.com) and he disagrees. He says their accounting work for middle east conflict is the most mind-boggling and worst financial disaster he has ever seen. Things paid for in the millions with poorly drafted invoices or no paper trail, scribbled on paper or worse. No way (intentionally) to track or confirm almost anything. He said, “fraud wise the public has no clue how bad the situation is over there”.

http://www.bccmeteorites.com/misconduct-planetary.html

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By musicrider, December 16, 2008 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

I heard this interesting comment on Grit TV:
“A stealth bomber costs three times its weight in solid gold.”

Then again because we spend so much on the military we are effectively bankrupt so gold is going up and the ratio might soon be twice its weight in gold.

On 9/10/2001 we spent over double what the rest of the world combined spent on military and intelligence. Yet the next day happened.

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By Ebinezer, December 15, 2008 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I want to talk to Bobby about his anticipation of an alien occupation of earth. But first I’ve got to point out to the author that the F-22 Raptor illustrated actually jumped in price from $149 million to $345 million in 2005.  Cool.

Now Bobby, the space aliens would need to have a good reason to invade. It may be something as simple as a request for us to stop broadcasting images of Texas line-dancing. The good news is, for a young man like you, that in 40 or fifty years our own machine creations will have discovered the joys of being in charge.  So just have fun and know that by then you will be either an android’s pet or a vessel for the propagation of the tentacled menace from space.

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By tommy_slothrop, December 15, 2008 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Jeff29

There is no reason to increase military spending with increasing GDP.  It’s not like insurance; I don’t buy insurance to keep people from stealing my stuff, although I might buy insurance to replace it if it is stolen.

The activities of the current military have nothing at all to do with defending the country or our freedoms.

Or is it that you think of our prosperity as plunder that we have extracted from the rest of the world by force of arms?

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By samosamo, December 15, 2008 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

Why worry about Jeff29 or desertdude so much? If they aren’t neocon subservients to irritate you and me then they are really ignorant as alot of us still are about the military/industrial/congressional/complex(MICC) which is obviously a way to channel money by use of the idea of fear and security using imperialist wars and invasions to maintain the grand larceny. One other point that should very well be taken is the use of lobbyists to further this idea into reality, you know, those people that are now allowed to bribe our congress and our military traitors for financially benefitting corporate america.
They are all tied together and for me their biggest treason to this country and the people is the conscienous disregard of the constitution’s requirement that every tax dollar taken from the people is to be accounted for to the public. But once they were able to subvert that with the making of the atom bomb then the creation of the CIA, non-accounting for the money is mandantory for everything governmental just about, and everything illegal and worth prosecution and impeachment can be taken from this point.

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By KDelphi, December 15, 2008 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Oh, how i hate statistics…sigh..

http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending#InContextUSMilitarySpendingVersusRestoftheWorld

http://www.cdi.org/adm/1224/

—you shoudl REALLY read this document—it sounds almost incalculable..http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=4199.

Jim C—Yes, I see that you are correct. Jeff29 is obfiscating. If he really wants detais, these links will provide them. As I have saidk it looks almost incalculable.I suspect that he wants nothing of the kind…

It is nearly the “opposite” of “estimating GM laborers salaries” (at $79 a hour). They include everything—the cost of clocking in, probably…

The US Defnse “Budget” LEAVES OUT everything, by contrast!

“The $518.3 billion is incomplete; it does not include $70 billion requested to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But that number too is inaccurate.  It does not include enough money to fight the wars for more than a few months in 2009.  If the violence in Iraq stays at its recently reduced levels – or even declines – that $70 billion should be about doubled to get through the entire year.  If things fall apart in Iraq and continue to deteriorate in Afghanistan, as is very likely, that $70 billion should be about tripled.  In either case, the amount requested in the budget for the wars is off by $70 billion to $140 billion…..”


This barely scratches the surface of the numbers in the Pentagon’s budget that are cooked by the military services, civilian managers, and budget personnel.  But, to add to the confusion and obfuscation, there are other national security costs, and uncertainties, in other agency budget requests


Truly unbelievable…sorry about typos…have to go take an NSAID..sigh

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By Jim C, December 15, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Jeff29 , uh , dude , so your argument is that we should keep military spending at the levels it was during WW11 , Vietnam and the cold war ? You of course realize that chimpy and his merry band have kept these ongoing fiascos out of the general budget with continuing resolutions , much less allow the costs to be reflected in the defense budget . You also understand that we’ve already spent more on this ill conceived disaster than we did on Vietnam ? I also question your numbers , 4% of GDP , how can you pull up a number like that when the occupation ( the wars long been over ) is off budget ? The true cost since 03 is probably approaching 3 trillion and counting . Now ,  2) ” The U.S. ranks 28th in the world in spending related to GDP “. whats that mean ? We spend more on healthcare , the military , elections and energy than anybody else . We have a larger military than the rest of the world combined , spend twice as much on healthcare and rate 38th in outcomes , we also consume 25% of the worlds energy . We produce next to nothing except military hardware . And what ” stuff ” are you referring to we have so much of to protect that we need this massive military , debt maybe , we’re number one baby . Who are you so afraid of , Mexico , Canada , those are the only countries that border us . I guess you feel we need the worlds largest military to fend off future attacks by guys who live in caves and wield boxcutters , quick , build more high tech aircraft , submarines and nukes , the mexicans are coming the mexicans are coming , oh no it’s an arab with a knife run run call in an airstrike , launch a nuke , do something . My man , anybody who can’t figure out that this bloated ridiculiously oversized military we have isn’t a serious drain on our economy isn’t figureing , period . You might also want to remember the old adage ” when liars figure figures lie ” . Explain how when the defense budget consumes 40% of the total budget it’s a good thing , it produces nothing except debt and the tendency to get into messes like the ones we’re presently in .

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By Jeff29, December 15, 2008 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

You going to back that up with any substance, Folktruther?

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By Folktruther, December 15, 2008 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Jef 29 is using the officially emphasized figures, which are massively deceptive.

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By Jeff29, December 15, 2008 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

It is interesting to me that military spending is to blame for “the U.S. budget bleeding red ink by the buckets” when it is currently around 4% of GDP.  This is lower than the 45 year historical average and is 50% lower than it was 50 years ago.  That means that as a percentage of GDP the Bush military budget is lower than during the administrations of Carter, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman and Roosevelt.  In addition, as a percentage of discretionary spending, military spending has declined over 30% in the last 40 years.  So please explain, how is the bleeding red budget the fault of military spending?

Finally, to those who argue that U.S. military spending is more than all other nations combined, consider two points:  1) If you have more stuff, you spend more to protect it (every one of you does this with insurance).  2)  The U.S. ranks 28th in the world in spending related to GDP.

Your arguments make great headlines and stir great emotion on sites like this, but do not hold up to logical scrutiny (unless, or course, you are one of those “enlightened” individuals who believes we don’t need a military at all).

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By Jim C, December 15, 2008 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

KDelphi , we actually spend more on the military than the entire rest of the world combined , not just the next ten countries . We need to simply order the defense budget cut in half and tell the military to adjust to that , we would be just fine and still have the largest military in the world by a considerable margin . But don’t hold your breath , not only would the military contracters never allow it but we appear to be a nation of cowards and bullies , sad but true . Enjoying the weather ?

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By prole, December 15, 2008 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

There is simply no will in Washington or other centers of imperial power to carry out any significant checks, let alone substantial cuts in warfare spending. It’s a pipe dream. Military power - or the appearance of it -is all a crumbling and corrupt American empire has left to sustain even an illusion of grandeur. American economic might has been frittered away, American moral standing willfully hurled away, and there’s nothing else left to fill the void but a decrepit military monstrosity. And we can largely thank ‘progressive’ Democrats. That great liberal icon JFK got the ball rolling with his infamous missile gap election stunt, after the more sober-minded and principled Eisehhower - ironically, perhaps the most ‘progressive’ president of the post-War era - warned against it. Kennedy’s Camelot chimera was in fact based on the premise of overwhelming American military might, a vision shared by every Democratic president since, all of whom have upped the military budget, and the next joker promises to be no different. Did Obama re-appoint Gates to cut the warfare budget? Will James Jones or Erik Shinseki be urging him to do so? Or Rahm Emanuel? Let alone Joe Biden? Not to mention Ms. Strangelove, Hillary? The Democrats are a lost cause! It’s not just “xenophobes, military contractors and many members of Congress will scream bloody murder at the prospect, cutting the military budget”, it’s most members of the incoming administration! At no time did Obama Copacabana promise more ploughshares. He said quite specifically that he wanted to increase Army troop levels by up to 95,000, double military R & D, open a new front in Afghanistan & Pakistan,etc. His chief ‘defense’ adviser, Richard Danziger was quite clear in a Wall St.Journal interview before the sham election that he didn’t contemplate any major changes in the current military budget. Creating “a commission to assess the state of the military, including the efficiency of spending” is the kind of thing they love to do in Washington, especially when it includes “former presidents, senators, representatives, diplomats, defense secretaries, etc.” because they’re all establishment types who are pleased to engage in PR charades to give the surface appearance of reform, while leaving the underlying tenets of the military-industrial culture untouched. To preserve it, not to overturn it! “G-20 countries could implement an across-the-board cut of 25 percent on military spending, which falls in line with Rep. Barney Frank’s recommendation. This would yield savings” ...that “could be used to cover some of the financial bailout’s costs and spending on fiscal stimulus packages”. So the U.S. could still maintain a proportionately larger quantitative military edge over the rest of the world,while at the same time having more funds available for corporate welfare programs. That’s what you get for listening to Barney Frank. But don’t expect the new president “to simply roll over”, despite the misplaced yearnings abroad, the ‘hope and change’is all strictly “symbolic.” “Although the G-20 is not directly beholden to” U.S. directives, “pressure from a large number of developing countries could prod larger countries to cooperate, especially if” the U.N. supported such an effort, no matter how much Susan Rice objects.
“Taking these steps would not defang those most radically opposed to American policies, ideals and power, but it would probably erode the support and cover that such individuals and organizations rely upon”...so -
here comes the punch line: “We would still be the dominant power”. But do it a little cheaper, i.e.‘soft power’.“Cutting the military budget makes sense” and we’ve had “the chance to push back against the military-industrial complex”... all along, ever since Eisenhower first warned of it - and Kennedy and his ‘progressives’ ignored him. Just as Obama and his ‘progressives’ threaten to do again now.

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By prole, December 15, 2008 at 2:17 am Link to this comment

This almost reads like a left-handed compliment to American miltarism than a critique of it. We’re reminded of “spectacularly brutal wars
involving the Soviet Union and, later, Russia”. Wheras America’s invasions are recalled in more morally neutral terms, so that “The Korean War, which cost over 2 million lives, ended in a stalemate, The Vietnam War ended in
an American retreat after more than 3 million lives had been sacrificed. Although the Persian Gulf War, which cost upward of 100,000 lives”, etc. No one, of course could remotely suggest that those American assaults were “spectacularly brutal” now, could they? Let alone “spectacularly” unjustifiable? “Retreat from Vietnam” is a curious construal of a stinging defeat of a massive invasion that never should have been carried out in the first place. Carried out, it should be noted again, mainly by liberal policymakers. But you can hardly retreat from someplace you had no business being to begin with; unless you’re planning on renewing the battle? And speaking of being someplace you have no business being, “the Six-Day War concluded with Israel enjoying a stunningly lopsided victory. That country gained territory and seemingly improved its security”..it “gained territory” the same way the Axis did. And further,“the West Bank has become a rotting albatross around Israel’s neck. Israel’s relinquishing of much if not all of the territories seems likely”.  In fact, it seems more remote than ever, especially with Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel and Hillary on the the way. And the West Bank was turned into a “rotting” concentration camp by Israel’s illegal continuing occupation.There’s nothing to “relinquish”, since it was never their’s to begin with. As far as the most recent spectacularly brutal invasion of Iraq goes, the ridiculously low figure of 90,000 deaths is used, even though most careful estimates place it as much as ten times higher. “Civil and border wars in Africa”, such as those in Angola, Darfur, southern Sudan and most of all Congo” have been exacerbated by American covert actions. “The long Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s cost a million fatalities”...egged on by the U.S. “Various civil conflicts in Latin America killed hundreds of thousands”...with the U.S. and Israel, once again, deeply implicated. “Border skirmishes between China and Vietnam” also, were abetted by the U.S., seeking to punish Vietnam. “The military may fall short in effectiveness in the field”... because of indigenous resistance movements. “Tough negotiations could yield substantive cutbacks” from Obama and his cabinet hawks. “Two possible exceptions stand out”... the Russians could insist the U.S refrain from more destabalizing missile defense deployment and China could insist the U.S. stay as close to home with it’s military forces as they do. Say, a commensurate distance as China is from the straits of Taiwan. Obviously, “putting a zero-nukes policy at the center of cuts could help to move civilization off the nuclear precipice.” But while ‘we’ want to “back the Iranians into a corner”, we simply have to “prod the Israelis to come clean” which has never really stood in their way in negotiating “in good faith over the Palestinian issue” ;which is separate process, where they’ve also been gently “prodded” but never “backed into a corner” - with the current situation to show for it. The ruling class would prefer, of course, that “Americans regard international policy as somewhat remote and uninteresting” so that they may continue such policies unimpeded. Cutting the “murderous and wasteful” military budget certainly makes sense alright but there’s no better chance now of doing it with the new incoming, ‘inclusive’  imperialists than there has been at any other time since Eisenhower issued his prophetic warning and the earlier ‘progressives’ followed through on it.

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By KDelphi, December 15, 2008 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

The US spends more than the next ten countries combined on military. It is f*cking ridiculous! It endangers us further us, not protects us at all.

If Obama is going to listen to Gates and the Center for American Progress, and , continue the worse than useless, non-existent, “war on terror”, we will have no cuts in military spending, and, our economy will sink futher.

US Imperialism and Emnpire will destroy us.

Honestly , I’d rather be blown up than die in the streets. US “foreign policy” is insane, and, it is time for, at the very least, a multi-polar world. I do not know if we will be part of it, if we keep this up.

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By BOBBY, December 14, 2008 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dr KNOWITALL—you got it—that is exactly what I meant. They are WITHIN—US

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By G.Anderson, December 14, 2008 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think that the military budget will ever be decreased.

Sadly Warfare, is about the only product that America produces at this point in our history.

Also America has been made weak, both internally, and externally by the failed delusions of president Bush and the Neo con’s..so weak that we and our allies are quite likely to be challenged by the coutries we have made strong by outsourcing our jobs and our technology. 

During the next decade of our struggle to try and regain our economy, America is quite vulnerable.  It is also very probably that at least some elements of the financial crisis could have been used as a way of weakening us for a cous de gras.

The only way we can succeed at all, at this point is to elminate our dependence on foreign energy sources, foreign labor, and stop outsourcing our technology and jobs, this is the only way we can make the world more secure and someday reduce the military budget.

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By samosamo, December 14, 2008 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

By desertdude, December 14 at 7:27 pm

Alas, nothing is ever learned.
Yeah, buddy, I am hunkered down here at home shaking in fear at all those high tech muslim fundamentalist speeding their way over at this very moment in their B2 bombers, F-22 raptors and nuclear submarines with nuclear missiles and all those rows upon rows of intercontinental nuclear ballistic missiles heading this way. And all those fundamentalist troop carriers with their soldiers on their way to kill, rape and rob us. Oh, I’m sorry, I really seem to be describing the american military which has already illegally invaded more than 1 country in the name of money and are in the process of coming home to manhandle this robust population of intelligent and subversive people in this country.
Help us desertdude, save us from the total devestation about to hit us from them high tech muslims freakniks.
Bet you never ever have thought that the worst terrorists in the world already occupy the US and are destroying it from within, they go by the name of the current government and would you not agree that the financial disaster that has hit us is because of them and do you think in will not get worse? Sounds more like you will miss your congressional pork barrel funds and earmarks more than anything.

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By desertdude, December 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

and down the road there wll be no way to defend ourselves from the Muslim Jihad that is coming. Wake
up people Islam is not a religion it is a political
movement bent on world domination. Ah, but nobody listens.

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By jr., December 14, 2008 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The one major problem with futher cutting of defense spending is that that need would be further privatized.  Unfortunately, when security goes into the hands of private industry, a real psychopath by nature, it then becomes necessary that there be conflict simply inorder to keep that company’s stock value up.  I’ve seen it already in many places.  Like las vegas where innocent people are being harrassed for “looking” suspicious, even though in that particular instance the alleged criminal was doing nothing more than reading a book under a shade tree in a public park in 95 degree weather.  Another time the innocent was riding a bicycle on the sidewalk which really isn’t yet illegal there yet, but the poor sap was even arrested and held in jail for two days for that.  The case was eventually dismissed later, but the victim still had to suffer the humiliation of it all and was recompensed in no way, just expected to suffer it to be so; sady, the bicyclist falsely accused didn’t have a thousand dollars to retain an attorney and was not able to seek Justice.  These are just some of the problems with money being an incentive and requisite to self- defense.  I can empathize with what the article is suggesting, even the department of interior, quite the militia, has plenty of money to comb the deserts of vegas everynight in very expensive choppers with lights bright enough to light-up half the desert looking for would-be campers.

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By hippy pam, December 14, 2008 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

Give the MONEY to President OBAMA so he can put us to work…....

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By samosamo, December 14, 2008 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Careful here. Cutting the military budget would be one of those things that would get america attacked again by the same people the did it on 9/11. Our own filthy rich traitors.

****Loren B. Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a research group, added that “the Air Force is dominated by fighter pilots and they would give up anything to keep the F-22.”
****

Would that include flying more planes into other buildings here in america?

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By Folktruther, December 14, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Military expenditures have been instumental in turning the US into a Securuty State.  Its aim is to protect the security of the power structure NOT the security of the American population. The most ideologically organized and powerful fraction of the power structure supports the imperialistic interests of Israel to the intersts of the American people.

The pretense of the mainstream American truth tradition is that the US has been the overwhelmingly the most powerful world power. This is largely ideological bullshit.  The US cannot even defeat countries with a tenth the population and a hundredth of the economic development.  The US military can certainly kill a lot of people, millions of people, but it can’t defeat a determined enemy who is willing to die in order to rid their countries of the US occupier.

The US spends more money on its military than most other countries put together.  But that alone does not buy military strength.  Any more than spending huge amounts on health buys an effective health system.

Soldiers must believe in the cause they are fighting for to be effective fighters and only the deluded ande braindead, outside the power structure, believe in American imperialism.

The US militry consists mostly of mercenaries, and increasingly not even US mercenaries, but those from other countries.  Just as the Roman Empire eventually was supported by German mercenaries.  They are fighting because it is their job, against enemies who believe in their cause and are motivated to die for it. The Western and American belief in individualistic selfishness does not go to make up dedicated fighters in a common cause.

So the US emphasizes material and technique, as Rumsfield did in invading Iraq, rather than soldiers and morale. This was the most effective act in REDUCING US world power, including military power, since it demonstrated that the US power system could be defeated on the ground.  It could be counted on to eventually withdraw because noone believed in its mission but the US power structure and those who identified with it.

Increasing the military has threatened to bankrupt the Amererican power system.  This was partially its purpose by the Bushites,  since military expenditures prevented population expenditures, a Gop aim to increase class inequallity. As Chalmers Johnson stated, the most likely historical outcome of the huge military expenditures, whcih are disguised, concealed and reduced inthe offical figures, is effective bankruptcy.

Obiden is continuing the policies of the Bushites.  And therefore the Security expenditures, which can’t be reduced if the policies are not changed. But this reduction of military expenditurres is not the Change We Can Believe In.  By ruling from the center of the Elite political consensus, he is ruling from the right of the population consensus.  And conseuqently does not have the support to signifiicantly slash the military.  Which in any case he needs for use against the American population, should they rise up against the power structure protesting their impovrishment.

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By welshTerrier2, December 14, 2008 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

See if you agree with the following math regarding military spending.

The “real” US military budget is more than $1.1 trillion (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19144.htm).

The current US population is just under 306 million people.

Dividing 306 million into $1.1 trillion means each US citizen, on average, is financing this year’s military budget in the amount of roughly $3,667.

Taking an average life expectancy of 80 years, this means, at current spending levels, each US citizen will chip in almost $300,000 for military spending during their lifetime.

Finally, taking an average family of four, the average American family will make a contribution to military spending of about $1.2 million.

No wonder the US and its citizens are bankrupt.

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By irspariah29, December 14, 2008 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Perhaps the most beneficial event would be a breakup of the United States into several competing economic regions. At least that way you wouldn’t have that collective ability to marshal so many resources that have caused so much harm world wide.

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By Fadel Abdallah, December 14, 2008 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Shrinking the budget and expenditure of the military industrial complex is not only necessary for fiscal reasons, but also for preserving the little of what is left of American moral fabric.

Along with cuts to the military pork domestically, we should not forget to cut the billions of dollars in cash and tax-deductible funds to the Zionist entity that’s contributing a great deal to the enmity and security dangers that America continue to face from many parts of the world, and in particularly the Middle East.

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By hark, December 14, 2008 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It just won’t happen.  The military budget will continue to expand until the last starving dog is dead and can’t pay any more taxes to support it.

Look at it this way:  military spending is nothing more than a perpetual bailout of the defense industry, which is too big to fail.  So we should be happy bailing them out, crying for it, demanding it.  How many jobs would be lost without them?  And certainly their products are no more useless than Detroit’s automobiles.

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By nrobi, December 14, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

Don’t you mean the Department of WAR!  America has no Department of Defense, it has always been a Department that goes to the fight, rather than defending America from outside aggressors.

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By Jim Yell, December 14, 2008 at 7:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A very large part of what is said to be defense spending is actually graft on an enormous scale. Lawmakers love these projects as they can trumpet the jobs they brought to their district. Industry loves these projects because even with exposure they still pay 100 to 1000 times and more for material than they could get away with if it were a rail or highway project. Which by the way creates wealth as opposed to the military that only consumes wealth.

How many of us have heard anthing more about the decades long developement of the Ospery a plane that is so dangerous it can not be flown in missions. I seems to remember that when it was in the news we were assured it would be sent to Iraq for duty. I also seem to remember that they were so timid about using it that the plan was, like missle defense to only use it in carefully managed none combat rolls. As I haven’t heard of the Ospery killing anyone recently I can only suppose it is parked on a tarmac somewhere hoping no one asks what it is there for.

This reflex reaction to anything called defense is just why we don’t have the defense we think we do. The money has been wasted. I will say once again Patriotism is not the same thing as militarism. And militarism is not the same thing as defense. Most of the countries that spend large for military can only use it to corrupt and abuse their own citizens.

The birth of our country was given by people who understood the need for defense, but understood the mischief of militarism. Too bad our leaders have forgotten this responsiblity to be thoughtful in the use of the same.

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By Robert, December 14, 2008 at 6:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Defense spending must be reduced.  I read recently that our military superiority is 25 years ahead of the next strongest country in the world, China.  We spend more on weapons each year, than the rest of the world together. 

This has to stop.  It is unnecessary. 

We cannot remain strong militarily if our economy is in ruins.  We must stop our addiction to military spending to save the economy, and in doing so, that will allow us to remain the world’s strongest military power.  Because once the economic front is secure, we could, if needed, ratch up the spending on defense again.  I don’t think we’d need to do that, but…. 

After every war, America returned to ‘peacetime’ footing.  Reagan came in and increased defense spending to wartime levels, and it has never stopped.

I’ve been saying for years that military spending has to be reduced.  I was glad to encounter this article.  I was dismayed during the campaign to hear Obama say he won’t reduce military spending.  He cannot take the chance, apparently, of having the right label a Democrat as ‘weak on defense.’ 

But reality is what it is…  and maybe this crisis will sober him up to the fact that reducing military spending is what we need to do first…

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By Joe, December 14, 2008 at 6:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article states:“All told, this year we spent over $750 billion on military goods and services” 
So we are now giving the people who got us into the wall street mess about the same amount of money as it takes to run the entire military.  How can this be true?  Seems like a bad dream.

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By John F. Butterfield, December 14, 2008 at 4:44 am Link to this comment

This is the best written article I have read in a long, long time. I might suggest though that the paragraph about the six-day war be left out. It’s final consequences are still unknown.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, December 14, 2008 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

Bobby, if the Aliens are smart enough to invade us from outer space, then they’re not so stupid as to want anything we have.  The closest heavenly body that could support life, I hear, is a few light years away.  To make that trip would require unimaginable intelligence/knowledge.  If they do come to get me, I think I’ll go without putting up a fight.

For some time I have been asking that the Department of Defense go back to its former moniker: The War Department.  It’s the “war” part that is so costly.

We now know that capitalism and democracy may not be worth the gargantuan cost to US taxpayers to promote and save them, especially when they are being taken down from within.

Oh!! I get it Bobby: we have met the Aliens and they are US?

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By Arius, December 14, 2008 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

This liberal would not like to see the military budget cut at this time in unrest around the world (and a world economy going in the gutter could add to the problems).

I would like to see the gov be more spend thrifty, though we all know that will never happen.  As in stop the pork-

As for the tax cuts, your Obama will do nothing with those, and it makes me laugh. You all fell for his bullsh’t just as sheep fell for Bush’s bullsh’t.

Obama is going to let those tax cuts expire- he won’t touch them.  and it amuses me because his bots were adamant he’d jump on that issue immediately and take them away.

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By BOBBY, December 14, 2008 at 1:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Forget all enemies here on this PLANET—the Invaders from OUTER SPACE are the most dangerous threat to the world. It will happen in the future,EARTH will be invaded by ALIENS from another PLANET. The date will be no later than-12/21/2012

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By JOHNDICKERSON, December 14, 2008 at 12:58 am Link to this comment

FROM AN INTERESTING 9/28/06 NYT ARTICLE ON THE F-22:

.....Since coming into office, Mr. Rumsfeld and the administration have tried to rein in the costs of the $65 billion fighter jet program, which has been two decades in the making and has suffered one cost overrun after another…..

.....The plane’s “fly-away” cost, equivalent to the sticker price in a car, is $130 million. But if development costs are included and spread over the 183 planes in the program, the total cost to the government rises to $350 million per plane…...

.....“The F-22 lobby is an extraordinary juggernaut and they fought to the death on this one,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington research group. “It is astonishing in that the lobby can take on the most powerful in Washington, including the president, and win.”

Loren B. Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a research group, added that “the Air Force is dominated by fighter pilots and they would give up anything to keep the F-22.”

The Air Force would like to see scores more F-22’s than the 183 it has been promised — it says it needs at least 381…..

ENTIRE ARTICLE -
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/28/business/28plane.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all

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By CJ, December 13, 2008 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment

Well, it could be argued that we’ve certainly worked hard enough at creating that many enemies out there. Though not so many as DoD procurers would have us believe. No one or place ever had THAT many enemies, not even in the wildest of contractors’ dreams.

Guns v. butter comes to mind, but it seems that choice was made some time ago. And so, so much for so-called “peace dividend.” (Incidentally, doesn’t GM build tanks too? I was just trying to picture workers at auto plants in Japan building them for us. Which would be something of a historical irony. Not to get into whether or not what goes around comes around.)

I was interested to learn, though should not have been surprised, that Congress allotted $50 million for parts to create four more truly beautiful F-22s. Just look at it. Isn’t it magnificent? What a specimen. It does indeed look a little like the Raptor from recent “Battlestar Galactica.” And “Raptor” is an interesting moniker. Is reference to raptors’ agility or to fact they hunted in groups, or to both?

A fine, phallic example of WMD if ever there was one.

Jesus, this stuff is wearying. I don’t know how terrorists on either side can maintain such enthusiasm. One would think they’d get tired, wear down, give it up already.

I’ve been waiting almost 60 years for WMD to be beaten into plowshares. I don’t believe it will ever happen. Levi’s argument here is eminently sensible, and so, so much the more irrational according to the truly irrational—xenophobes, military contractors and members of Congress Levi mentions.

What in the hell would any of them have to do were it not for hoping to make or already making war—in their capacity as front-persons for constituents, some of whom would be engineers who might indeed be better employed, but won’t be. Certainly not when Barack Obama too insists on waging war wherever. And what with making war being the most reliable of businesses, always to be counted on for profits even during economic “downturns.” And that fact that parts by which to perpetrate obscenity are made in all 50 states.

I mean the thing is beautiful the way Paul Newman as Fast Eddy Felson says that of Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats after Fats freshens up for all-nighter. Fast Eddy thinks HE’S “The Hustler,” when it’s Fats who’s the real deal all along. Finally, Fast Eddy prevails, after which Fats couldn’t care less, since for Fats it’s just business. Fat’s is the cool one.

Not so different here. The thing is beautiful. And colder than cool, man. The intent is business—in a couple different but connected ways. Hustle too. Other media made no mention of $50 million. Naturally.

Just a few days ago some top-gun kid lost control of his F-18 directly above the heads of four females residing more-or-less in peace in San Diego residence just below. All four were killed.  They too were victims of war.

I suppose real enemies exist out there, but it seems to me that they needn’t necessarily exist. Except they that DO necessarily need to exist if business is to continue as usual. We do know that Obama believes that as much as does Bush. A system of capitalist nation-states (by definition an irrational arrangement) cannot but result in enemies and then in what follows from “enjoying” (business-friendly) enemies: war, along with profits derived from waging it. All of it ideologically justified according to some irrational, collectively egotistical bit of nonsensical belief or other, the insisting upon which serves to create enemies—us for them, them for us. Alas, there’s no sign humanity’s had quite enough fun.

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By coloradokarl, December 13, 2008 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

Everyone needs to take a hit during this economic downturn,Everyone!  Our City,County,State and Federal Governments are bloated with tenured positions and waste. The DOD has allot of areas that need cleaning up. The sub-contracting has to stop!  “Guarding” Gates at military basis by Chenaga security services while thousands of soldiers run around inside is Insane and a rip-off of our money. Six Military basis in Germany is a senseless and outdated relic of the Cold War. I believe in a strong military and the DOD has been VERY good to my community. As I said ” Everyone Has To Make Sacrifices” Bill Gates has the proper character to trim the Fat from DOD. We need a Lean and Mean fighting Machine!!

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