3.02.2011

Oh good grief, are we going to (another) war?

Two US warships have been deployed to the coast of Libya. Apparently we've also already landed troops with Britain (and possibly France) on Libyan soil. Didn't I just say that the last thing we should be doing is military intervention in Libya?

Not only has there been next to no discussion about whether or not we should go to Libya, but the answer should easily be a resounding no.

Nevermind the fact that our intervention is going to work against the people of Libya. When we're talking about shutting down government it can't be wise to bring our military into a third theatre. We already spend more than enough money on defense.

The white house recently published its proposal for the 2012 federal budget. In it includes nearly $700 billion dollars dedicated for national defense. Unfortunately, it's a misleading figure. There are a lot of dollars being spent in other budget areas that are effectively national defense budget items. Chris Hellman at Tomdispatch.com breaks it down. In summary, all of the following expenditures are excluded from the defense budget and essentially hidden within other areas receiving funds.
  • Counter-terrorism activities of the State Department
  • “Homeland security” funds for Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice.
  • National Intelligence Program (CIA, NSA, etc.)
  • Veterans’ hospital and medical care as well as retirement benefits and pensions 
  • Military aid to foreign countries
  • “International peacekeeping” operations, under "foreign affairs" budget
  • Interest on dept from prior wars paid for by the government credit card

All of this practically doubles the defense expenditure to over $1.2 trillion dollars. Take that in for a second. $1.2 trillion. That's comparable to the GDP of Canada, Australia and South Korea. Mean while our country is up to its neck in debt and we're threatening to shut down programs all over the place. Why does the electorate tolerate this? Why is the call to bring our war dollars home not unheard? Why is the defense budget untouchable? How can we call what we're doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and now Libya "defense?"

According to the National Priorities Project, the share of war expenditure for the state of Maine is $320 million. I wonder if we'd be worrying about whether or not Edward Little High School will lose accreditation because it's building is falling apart. Or my alma mater, Morse High School.

Imagine how "stimulating" it would be for businesses if the 1.3 million Maine residents got their $320 million back in taxes. 

1 Intelligent Comment(s):

Abner said...

I'm baffled by our continued desire to interfere with anything and everything that happens in the world. Let them revolt. Let them live. Let them die. Just leave them alone!

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