By Trevor Timm
The Guardian (9/20/17)
When Bernie Sanders released his much anticipated healthcare plan last week, countless pundits and members of Congress asked why the government should pass such a bill given its potential cost. Now that Congress on the verge of sending a record-setting $700bn Pentagon spending bill to Trump’s desk, you can bet those deficit scolds will be nowhere to be found. [Editor’s Note: When black operations, veterans programs and intel operations are taken into account, the US actually spends more than $1 trillion on war each year. – Mark L. Taylor]
On Monday evening, the Senate passed – in bipartisan fashion – a policy bill that set the parameters for military spending in 2018 that tops $700bn, including tens of billions in spending for wars Trump has been expanding in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Amazingly, the bill far exceeds even the increase in spending that the Trump administration was asking for, and as the Associated Press reported, it would put “the US armed forces on track for a budget greater than at any time during the decade-plus wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Remember this vote the next time some congressman or political prognosticator on television says that the United States can’t “afford” to help its most needy.
Only eight senators voted against the bill – three Republicans and five Democrats. It passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority. Even in a time of hyper-partisanship, you can always count on Congress to come together and spend hundreds of billions of dollars to build weapons and bombs for killing people overseas, even as our infrastructure crumbles at home and thousands of people die each year without healthcare.
At the same time, Republicans in Congress are also engaged in a last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act before their deadline to do so expires on 30 September. If they succeed, they will likely force millions of Americans to lose their health insurance, and they will make the case that they did so in part to save money and lower the deficit. The Republicans’ shamelessness, as always, knows no bounds.
But why wouldn’t Democrats put up even a modicum of a fight against this gargantuan National Defense Authorization Act? Given that Trump has been ramping up US wars across the Middle East, civilian casualties have been exploding, and the administration can’t even give a legal explanation for its strikes in Syria, you’d think this would be a good time for Democrats to take a stand against the Forever War posture now engulfs the Trump administration as it did the two administrations before him.
Only five Democratic senators voted against the bill. All of them – Gillibrand, Sanders, Wyden, Leahy and Merkley – deserve to be commended, but it’s embarrassing that so many others would go ahead and vote for this. [Including both Wisconsin senators. Call it bipartisan betrayal of America. – Ed.]
Sadly, we know why. …
- The Deceitful U.S. War Budget Is the Work Of True Scam Artists & Con Men – Now you see it, now you don’t. Think of it as the Department of Defense’s version of the street con game, three-card monte, or maybe simply as the Pentagon shuffle. In any case, the Pentagon’s budget is as close to a work of art as you’re likely to find in the U.S. government—if, that is, by work of art you mean scam. The United States is on track to spend more than $600 billion on the military this year [2016, a year later it’s more than $700 billion. -Ed.] —more, that is, than was spent at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War military buildup, and more than the military budgets of at least the next seven nations in the world combined … Read the Rest