Since 2003, the Department of Homeland Security has grown into a miniature Pentagon. But unlike the Pentagon, it draws no attention whatsoever—even though this country has spent an amount of money equivalent to more than one and a half New Deals on “homeland security” since 9/11.
It couldn’t be a sadder thing to admit, given what happened during the Cold War, but—given what’s happened in recent years—who can doubt that the America of the 1950s and 1960s was, in some ways, simply a better place than the one we live in now?
Does the Defense Department’s budget make the Pentagon look fat? Some officials believe so, as political and economic pressure to cut the U.S. military’s bloated spending habit has stirred the first serious debate on the Pentagon’s budget since 2001’s terrorist attacks.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen, expects the Pentagon to request emergency financing for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Bush-era tactic that uses “supplemental funding” to flesh out the already massive Pentagon budget to pay for the conflicts.
A hawkish speech by President Dmitry Medvedev may signal a massive overhaul and escalation of the Russian military. Fears of a growing threat posed by NATO have pushed Russian officials to plan a modernization of the country’s conventional and nuclear forces by 2011.
Unnecessary and extraordinarily expensive, the once-green-lit controversial KC-X midair refueling tanker program has stalled, according to the Pentagon. Any movement on the $40 billion contract to purchase new Air Force tankers will have to wait for the next U.S. administration, a clear sign that military-industrial complex spending is an institutional, rather than administrative, problem.
Boeing has friends in high places, as evidenced by the congressional Government Accountability Office siding Wednesday with the U.S. aviation giant in a protest against a multibillion-dollar refueling tanker contract that was awarded earlier this year to a U.S.-Europe team.
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Philip Coyle knows a thing or two about the “staggering” amounts of money the U.S. funnels into the military-industrial complex, and why it is so difficult to stanch the profiteering.
President Bush’s outrageous military budget has nothing do with fighting terrorism but everything to do with pumping up the profits of the administration’s generous political donors in the defense industry. So, the question is: Will the Democrats have the guts to stop this betrayal of the public trust?