Sunday, May 21, 2017

22.7 - Outrage of the Week: militarism as national policy

Outrage of the Week: militarism as national policy

One area which I have felt for a few years that the Congressional Progressive Caucus has downplayed in its budget is war spen - excuse me, military spen - excuse me, "defense" spending. They used to be clearer and harder on the need not just to contain expansion of our various wars but to turn them back and indeed to slash the size of the military budget, which takes up half of all discretionary spending in the federal budget.

The proposed military budget - not, I note just the Department of Defense budget, but the entire military budget, including the parts stashed in the Departments of State and Energy - the proposed military budget for Fiscal 2018 is $824.1 billion, including $76 billion for our various wars.

I said about a month ago that what we are seeing with TheRump's administration, more than with previous ones, is a free hand being given to the military; what we are seeing is, I said, "militarism unleashed as national policy." I declared it the Outrage of the Week.

The weeks since have given me no reason to change that judgement and so it is again the Outrage of the Week.

We have deepening involvement in fighting in Syria, with maybe 1000 more ground troops to help with the fight to take ISIS's self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, along with a new agreement to provide arms to the Kurdish forces taking the lead in the fighting.

Note well: The idea of arming the Kurds was something the outgoing Obama administration wanted the incoming TheRump administration team to sign off on. Reports are that Michael Flynn, TheRump's former national security adviser, rejected the idea and some say it's because Turkey is opposed to arming the Kurds and Flynn is a registered foreign agent for Turkey. But whether or not that is true, the point here is that arming the Kurds is not a TheRump policy, it's a Pentagon policy.

And then there is the fact that
President Trump's most senior military and foreign policy advisers have proposed a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban.
It would add 3000 troops to the 8400 already there, authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop levels in Afghanistan, and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes at times and on targets of it's choosing.

In other words, it is again, as it is in Syria, as it is in drone strikes, as it is in North Korea, as it is in Iraq, it is let the military, whether it's the Pentagon, the CIA, or whoever, it is let the military do what it wants.

I say it again: It is militarism unleashed as national policy.

It's time the progressive left stopped ignoring military spending, stopping ignoring weapons spending, stopped ignoring the constant background drumbeat of death. Because that drumbeat and even more ignoring it is an outrage.

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