Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Calling a Spade a Spade

No, I am not referring here to using “Spade” as a euphemism for Black people, although that would be an interesting topic for a future blog. That is, an analysis of all the code words, innuendos, and racial slurs being employed by Republicans and other racists for President Obama, would be, I am certain, quite revealing. No, here I am referring to what is euphemistically referred to as the “Defense Budget.”

When you realize the Defense Budget of the United States exceeds that of all other major nations combined it makes you wonder how that can truly be merely for defense. Indeed, even for a know-nothing like me, that would seem a really enormous amount merely for defense. And when you also learn that the Pentagon rather routinely loses a billion here and a billion there with no apparent accountability it makes you wonder even further. Similarly, when you begin to question just who we are preparing to defend against, as there seem to be no serious or major threats to our country anymore, it becomes even more difficult to justify this enormous budget. The major threat to our country seems pretty clearly to be terrorists. No amount of tanks, submarines, aircraft carriers, howitzers, nuclear bombs, and such military hardware will do anything to protect us from terrorists, so who needs all this massively expensive stuff? Then, finally, when you learn that much of this equipment is not actually requested by the military, and not even wanted, the truth begins to dawn on you. This defense budget actually has little or nothing to do with defense.

You might note also that Mitt Romney has indicated he wants to increase the military budget by two trillion dollars over the next ten years. This apparently is to include three new submarines that have not been requested and apparently not even wanted, to say nothing of who-knows-how-much new military hardware pretty obviously not needed for the actual defense of our country. This kind of behavior is all too characteristic of Republicans who have long prided themselves on being really strong on defense. Even my ignorance of foreign affairs, of serious threats to our country, of the basics of military hardware, possible invasions from outer space, communists in Congress, the appalling ignorance of our legislators, the albatross of Israel making our nation a rogue state, our dysfunctional political system, even the continued advice of John McCain and John Bolton, does not keep me from proclaiming that in my opinion we could cut the Defense Budget in half and it would make no difference whatsoever in our ability to defend ourselves. It might render our far-flung “empire” less far-flung, less plush, less grandiose, but I doubt it would affect our defenses even one iota.

And so it is I am suggesting we stop using the term “Defense Budget” to describe our obscene waste of money on the pretense of defense. I think we should consider an acronym instead, perhaps something like IMPOBB (the Industrial/Military/Political Ongoing Budget Boondoggle). It seems perfectly clear to me the Defense Budget has much less to do with defense that it does with keeping the corporations that manufacture all this basically useless junk (increasingly sold for scrap in Army Surplus Stores) in business. Of course every state that has companies that participate in this scam will resist giving up their cannonball- making jobs and profits no matter what, which seems to be near the heart of this absurd farce.

If you have an enormous military budget and a military machine said to be the best in the world you must, of course, find something to do with it. Nowhere is it more true, I guess, that “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” I mean, we have all these young men and women trained to kill and capture, with all this state-of-the-art technology, they can’t just sit around with nothing to do. Let’s find some little more or less defenseless country to conquer, especially if they have oil or other resources we covet, let’s show them who’s the boss, the shining beacon on the hill, the home of the brave and the used-to-be land of the free.

By all means let us not cut the vital Defense Budget. Instead let’s cut Medicare and Medicaid, Pell Grants, Public Broadcasting, Planned Parenthood, Food Stamps, Aid to dependent children, school lunches, teachers, firemen, policemen, education, all that unimportant stuff. As Madeleine Albright warned us, the black helicopters are coming to steal our lawn chairs! And as I learned in the Army, “There’s fungus among us,” and “Malaria in the area.”

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.

Albert Einstein (attributed)

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