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Archive for the ‘war funding’ Category

Militarized Conservatism and End(s) of Higher Education

Tuesday 5 April 2011
by: Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

The Pathologies of War

There can be little doubt that America has become a permanent warfare state.(1) Not only is it waging a war in three countries, but its investment in military power is nearly as much as all of the military budgets of every other country in the world combined. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute states, “The USA’s military spending accounted for 43 per cent of the world total in 2009, followed by China with 6.6 per cent; France with 4.3 per cent and the UK with 3.8 per cent.”(2) The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans a staggering $1 trillion to date, second only in inflation-adjusted dollars to the $4 trillion price tag for World War II.”(3) Pentagon spending for 2011 will be more than $700 billion. To make matters worse, as Tom Englehardt points out, “We dominate the global arms trade, monopolizing almost 70% of the arms business in 2008, with Italy coming in a vanishingly distant second. We put more money into the funding of war, our armed forces and the weaponry of war than the next 25 countries combined (and that’s without even including Iraq and Afghan war costs).”(4) Moreover, the United States maintains a massive ring of military bases and global presence around the world, occupying “over 560 bases and other sites abroad”(5) and deploying over 300,000 troops abroad, “even as our country finds itself incapable of paying for basic services.”(6) In spite of how much military expenditures drain much-needed funds from social programs, the military budget is rarely debated in Congress or a serious object of discussion among the public. Rather than avoid squandering resources and human lives on foreign wars, we avoid “the realities and costs of war.”(7)

War is now normalized even as the United States becomes more militarized, moving closer to a national security state at home and an imperial/policing power abroad. Military historian Andrew Bacevich is right in arguing, “The misleadingly named Department of Defense serves in fact as a Ministry of Global Policing.”(8) War has become central to American character, but what is often unacknowledged is that its perpetual wars abroad are increasingly matched by a number of wars being waged on the domestic front. Such a disconnect becomes clear in the refusal of politicians, anti-public intellectuals and the general public to acknowledge how the federal deficit has been run up by our military adventures. As Frank Rich argues, “The cultural synergy between the heedless irresponsibility we practiced in Iraq and our economic collapse at home could not be more naked. The housing bubble, inflated by no-money-down mortgage holders on Main Street and high-risk gamblers on Wall Street, was fueled by the same greedy disregard for the laws of fiscal gravity that governed the fight-now-play later war[s]” in Iraq and Afghanistan and more recently in Libya.(9) Similarly, as the spirit of a hyper-militarized America bleeds into everyday life, politics increasingly becomes an extension of war, and right-wing, liberal and conservative politicians eagerly embrace a militaristic approach to policy and the need to cleanse the social order of any institution, mode of dissent, social group and public sphere willing to question its state of permanent war and its militarized and unchecked embrace of economic Darwinism. These foreign and domestic wars are not unrelated, given that they are waged in the interests of right-wing militarists, neoconservatives, liberals and corporate moguls – all of whom have a political and economic stake in such military incursions abroad and wars at home. Wars make the economic elite even richer just as they undermine civil liberties, public services and public dissent. A hyper-militarized America has not only fueled violations of executive power, it has also promoted armed conflicts that are directly related to an economic crisis that has produced a wave of political extremism in the United States, while furthering the rise of a punishing state that places the burdens of the current economic crisis on the backs of the poor. We seem to have no trouble in spending money for the production of organized violence designed to kill people, but we have little money to spend on education, health care, or other serious social problems facing the United States. As one educational journal pointed out:

This juxtaposition of robust war spending and inadequate support for education highlights the moral bankruptcy of political and economic leaders who seem to find endless piles of money to kill people abroad but not much to educate them at home. And, of course, the relationship is plain: The more dollars spent on war, the fewer available for human needs – whether alternative energy, food stamps, in-home elder care, public libraries or keeping teachers in their classrooms.(10)

MORE HERE

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By Rick Rozoff, opednews.com, Dec 23, 2010

On December 22 both houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a bill authorizing $725 billion for next year’s Defense Department budget.

The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, was approved by all 100 senators as required and by a voice vote in the House.

The House had approved the bill, now sent to President Barack Obama to sign into law, five days earlier in a 341-48 roll call, but needed to vote on it again after the Senate altered it in the interim.

The proposed figure for the Pentagon’s 2011 war chest includes, in addition to the base budget, $158.7 billion for what are now euphemistically referred to as overseas contingency operations: The military occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

The $725 billion figure, although $17 billion more than the White House had requested, is not the final word on the subject, however, as supplements could be demanded as early as the beginning of next year, especially in regard to the Afghan war that will then be in its eleventh calendar year.

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by Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe, The Huffington Post,  Dec 5, 2010

When asked by USA Today‘s pollsters last week, sixty-eight percent of Americans said we worry that the cost of the Afghanistan War hurts our ability to fix problems here in the U.S. This week, we learned just how right we were about that. Friday’s terrible jobs report shows that a crushing 9.8 percent of us are unemployed. And, millions of us are about to lose our lifeline because Congress refuses to extend unemployment insurance benefits. We’re spending $2 billion per week — per week! — in Afghanistan while millions of people face going hungry during the holidays.

Do our elected officials not get it? We’re drowning out here, and the administration is throwing money that could put Americans back to work at a failed war on the other side of the planet. In fact, that’s where the president was when the jobs report came out this morning — in Afghanistan, talking about “progress” again.

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Join Peace Vet-Led Protest at White House on December 16th

by Kevin Zeese, Dissident Voice,  December 9th, 2010

The White House is in the midst of a strategic review of Afghanistan. This review is coming at a time when the reality is hard to ignore: Afghanistan cannot be won, the cost is escalating at a time when the U.S. economy is in collapse and the war is undermining U.S. national security and the rule of law.  It is time to end the war-based foreign policy of the United States.

Opposition to war is growing. Sixty-one House members wrote president Obama last month calling for an end to the Afghan war. The letter was co-signed by 57 Democrats and 4 Republicans.  They wrote: “This has become the longest war in US history. The rate of casualties is at an all-time high. And we have already spent $365 billion on this unwinnable war.”  This reflects the views of Americans.  A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 50 percent of those surveyed said the United States should not be involved in Afghanistan, compared to 41 percent who opposed the war in September.

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Statement by Law Professor Peter Erlinder of the ICTR
by Ann Garrison
Global Research, March 26, 2010
KPFA News

Law Professor Peter Erlinder, Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, says without hesitation that the UK and the US have financed Central African wars in which eight million Africans have died.

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Pakistanis skeptical about a new one billion dollar US embassy

By T9 Times Articles

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 at 1:18am GMT

The Pakistani government is suspicious of a nearly one billion dollar U.S. plan to expand the American embassy in Islamabad, a senior Pakistani official told The Media Line.

Following reports earlier this week that the scheduled $945.2 million expansion of the U.S. embassy in Islamabad was to include the deployment of up to 1,000 U.S. Marines to the Pakistani capital, a highly-placed official in the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said the government is increasingly sceptical of the U.S. plan and intends to raise the issue with Richard Holbrooke, U.S. President Barack Obama’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Well, here we go again, the 2nd. largest embassy on the planet, only to be exceeded by “Fortress America” in Baghdad. I suppose that “suspicious” could be called a vast understatement, when considering the secrecy and then the final unveiling four years later, of an embassy that actually serves as a military installation.

The Military Petrochemical Agrocorporate Fusion Energy Complex is obviously still Hell bent on “the long war” and will go to any lengths to pursue their efforts to control Middle Eastern oil.

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Senate Beats Back Military-Industrial Complex In Historic Vote

First Posted: 07-21-09 02:40 PM   |   Updated: 07-21-09 05:32 PM

HuffPost- Ryan Grim

President Obama won a major victory in the Senate Tuesday in a dogfight that has major, long-term implications for his agenda.

The Senate, by a vote of 58-40, approved an amendment proposed by Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to strip $1.75 billion in funding for the F-22 fighter. Levin worked hand in hand to kill the F-22 money with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

“There was an extensive effort by the White House,” said Levin. “The president really needed to win this vote, not just in terms of the merits of the F-22 issue itself, but in terms of the reform agenda.”

The vote had become a proxy fight against the power of the military-industrial complex, a term coined by President Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell address.

“It’s What Eisenhower Warned us About,” tweeted McCain before the vote. The F-22s have not been used in Iraq or Afghanistan and military experts agree they’re not suited for American campaigns, yet lobbying and regional concerns have kept the program funded year after year. The victory over the military-industrial complex is arguably its most significant setback since World War II. For McCain, it was “probably the most impactful amendment that I have seen in this body on almost any issue.”

“Up until the last couple hours, this vote was in doubt,” McCain said. “And so I’d like to give credit to the president for being very firm on this issue and to the Secretary of Defense, who gave as strong a speech as I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Obama had threatened to veto any bill that authorized the F-22 funding.

Forty-two Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, joined 15 Republicans to defeat the F-22.

MORE HERE

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