From AlterNet yesterday:
Will Clinton and Obama Continue Bush's High-Priced Militarism?
By Robert Scheer, Truthdig - Posted on February 6, 2008
Will your favorite Dem challenge the bloated military budget Bush proposed for 2009?
Curb your enthusiasm. Even if your favored candidate did well on Super Tuesday, ask yourself if he or she will seriously challenge the bloated military budget that President Bush has proposed for 2009. If not, military spending will rise to a level exceeding any other year since the end of World War II, and there will be precious little left over to improve education and medical research, fight poverty, protect the environment or do anything else a decent person might care about.
You cannot spend well over $700 billion on "national security," running what the White House predicts will be more than $400 billion in annual deficits for the next two years, and yet find the money to improve the quality of life on the home front.
Which one of the likely winners from either party would lead the battle to cut the military budget, and where would the winner find support in Congress? Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have treated the military budget as sacrosanct with their Senate votes and their campaign rhetoric. Clinton is particularly clear on the record as favoring spending more, not less, on the military.
John McCain, who previously distinguished himself as a deficit hawk and was almost in a class by himself in taking on the rapacious defense contractors, has thrown in the towel with his inane support for staying in Iraq till "victory," even if it should take a century. It is simply illogical to call for fiscal restraint while committing to an open-ended war in Iraq that has already cost upward of $700 billion.
The U.S. already spends more than the rest of the world combined on its military, without a sophisticated enemy in sight. The Bush budget cuts not a single weapons system, including the most expensive ones, those designed to combat a Soviet military that no longer exists. Those sophisticated weapons have nothing to do with combating terrorism and everything to do with jobs and profits that motivate both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
It is not known whether Osama bin Laden even possesses a rowboat in his naval arsenal, but that won't stop Joe Lieberman from pushing, as is his habit, for an increase in the defense budget to double the funding for the $3.4-billion submarines built in his home state of Connecticut. Nor does the collapse of the old Soviet Union -- and with it the need for enormously expensive stealth aircraft to evade radar systems the Soviets never built -- dissuade congressional supporters of those planes from pushing for more, not less, than Bush is requesting. Nor does wasting an additional $8.9 billion on ICBM missile defense have anything to do with stopping terrorists from smuggling a suitcase nuke into this country.
The centerpiece of the Bush legacy is a "war on terror" based on a vast disconnect between military expenditures and actual national security requirements that the presidential candidates all fully understand. The question is whether the voters and media will force them to face that contradiction or whether we're in for more of the same -- no matter how much the candidates go on about change.
No matter who occupies the White House on January 20, 2009, chances of a reduction in military spending are slim and none.
"The more things change", and all that . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moving to Vancouver)