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The Military Is More Important Than You
Posted by Steve Hynd on February 2nd, 2010

Click here for more information about the Afghanistan war.

Kevin Drum has a chart via Spencer Ackerman.


There are two interesting things about this chart.

Firstly, Kevin writes: “What is that makes us think our national security needs are going to get more and more pressing but not our domestic needs?” The base Pentagon budget this year is already as much or more than the rest of the world spends on their militaries and has been for years. No possible enemy is going to catch up in any kind of forseeable future. So Kevin wants to know why the Obama administration doesn’t just freeze the military budget at 2010 levels – which would save $274 billion over the next five years. It can’t be about threats – so it must be about welfare for the military-industrial complex and the howls of bipartisan protest their corporatist shills would send up if such a thing were floated by the White House.

Secondly, as Donald Snow points out at ACUS today:

Both Afghanistan and Iraq are arguably strategically marginal operations, but they are expensive. Does anyone seriously believe that the return the United States will reap from these wars will even approximate the costs? Shut them both down and then look at the deficits (they don’t disappear, but they certainly shrink).

Shutting both occupations down in 2011 would save at least $200 billion over the following four years – and the Pentagon itself admits that that figure is a wishful-thinking one, which presumes that fighting in Afghanistan will largely stop in 2011, combat troops can be withdrawn, and we’ll be down to a residual occupation like the one planned for Iraq. If fighting continues, you can add another $60-70 billion a year to the bill. All deficit spending.

So why is Obama looking at a measly $20 billion saving from a discretionary spending freeze when he could save twenty or thirty times that by freezing military adventurism and expansion?

The answer is that you, the people, are less important than that “perfect predator” of budgets, the military and the industrial complex that backs it. The beast must be fed.

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