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Feb 24

The Great War Machine Rolls On Under Obama

By Sherwood Ross

Under President Barack Obama’s new budget for fiscal year 2012, the Great American War Machine just rolls on and on. “As it is, we’re pumping…money into sustaining a fighting force that’s orders of magnitude larger than anything retained by any other country,” observes Ezra Klein of The Washington Post February 14th. So when Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that major cuts in military spending would be “catastrophic,” Obama settled for chopping $78 billion in cosmetic cuts Gates recommended over the next five years, Klein wrote, adding, “I bet there are more than a few Cabinet secretaries who wish they had that kind of power over the president’s recommendations.” Some observers, by the way, think the Pentagon is, in fact, already running the show. Chalmers Johnson wrote in “Blowback”(Metropolitan/Owl) that the Pentagon is “close to being beyond civilian control; that it “more or less sets its own agenda” and that it “monopolizes the formulation and conduct of American foreign policy.”

So in FY 2012 the Pentagon will just have to struggle along with $719 billion while the president calls for a five-year freeze on “non-security” discretionary spending such as—in the words of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich—”programs the poor and working class depend on—assistance with home heating, community services, college loans, and the like.” Mr. Obama will get a lot of help from the GOP, which, of course, will not rein in spending for unjust wars but in a fit of what AFL-CIO’s Manny Herrmann calls “budget insanity” plans to chop up Head Start, Pell Grants, food and job safety inspections, eliminate “hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs,” cut investment in infrastructure, and even cut the money needed “to send out Social Security checks.” Herrmann might have added Obama also seeks to slash nearly half the Federal funds to help low-income families heat their homes.

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Bill Bard says:

Of course it does.