Rather overlooked in all of the hubbub about the “fiscal cliff” is that President Obama recently signed the latest bill for the most bloated, wasteful, and destructive corporate welfare sugar-teat in the history of humankind, namely, U.S. military spending. What all is in this vile monstrosity?
It includes $527.4 billion for the base Pentagon budget; $88.5 billion for overseas contingency operations including the war in Afghanistan; and $17.8 billion for national security programs in the Energy Department and Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
The bill authorises $9.8 billion for missile defence, including funds for a Pentagon feasibility study on three possible missile defence sites on the US East Coast.
It also extends for one year the restriction on use of US funds to transfer Guantánamo inmates to other countries, a limitation critics say marks a setback for Mr Obama’s efforts to close the detention centre.
You may recall that plans for closing Guantanamo were publicly floated back in 2009. The backlash was substantial, as corporate media gleefully amplified claims that such a process would lead to terrorists coming soon to a prison near you.
Despite the extraordinary quantities of waste embedded in modern American military spending, polls typically show about 50-55% of the public opposed to any cuts. A public education effort could begin with discussion of the high-on-the-hog lifestyles indulged in by senior members of the bloated officer corps. You may well note parallels to how big-time CEOs clean up in civilian life, also at everyone else’s expense.