Thursday, February 08, 2007

Budgeting for a Permanent Occupation

"Bush's new budget asks for an astounding $745 billion in defense spending. Will Congress give it to him?"

I've decided to stay.Continuing on our occupation theme, Ari Berman at The Nation magazine has written a very relevant piece about the new budget released by His Majesty this week.

Need proof that George W. Bush is not planning to withdraw US troops from Iraq on his watch? Just look at his latest budget.

The Bush Administration will ask Congress for
$100 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan this year--on top of the $70 billion already allocated--and $145 billion for 2008. Why ask for the money if you're not planning to use it?

Administration officials, according to the Washington Post, "warned that
even more money will probably will be needed." The Los Angeles Times says the military wants "even larger defense budgets."

Are you kidding me?

The costs of Iraq and Afghanistan aren't even included in the $481 billion the Pentagon demands for 2008, a 10 percent raise over this year. Total these figures up and Bush is asking for roughly $745 billion in defense spending, a higher number, when adjusted for inflation, than the entire cost of the Vietnam War.

Just pause and consider the size of that number.
Three-quarters of a trillion dollars and Osama bin Laden is still at large, the Taliban are regrouping in Afghanistan and the US military is stuck in a civil war in Iraq.

"We have the largest Pentagon budget since World War II, but we are losing to an opponent in Iraq that spends less over an entire year than what we spend in one day," says Winslow Wheeler, a longtime defense expert at the Center for Defense Information.

That sounds about right to me. They're budgeting for increased expenses over the next 2 years while, at the same time, telling us that "the surge" should improve things within 60-90 days and allow us to begin drawing down troops by the summer.

Why is that? Maybe it has something to do with the part they're not telling us. This couldn't have anything to do with the PNAC-inspired "core mission" of fighting and decisively winning "multiple, simultaneous multi-theatre wars" (Iran anyone?), could it? It wouldn't have anything to do with an "essential element of US strategy" that "transcends the issue of Saddam Hussein" would it? Hmmm....

Yeah, I think it does.