Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

House Approves $649 Billion Military Budget as Austerity Measures Loom

tomahawk factory

Forget the sick and elderly, we have wars to fight:

The US House of Representatives has approved a 649-billion-dollar military spending bill, increasing the Pentagon budget while the country is facing austerity measures and huge debt crisis.

The bill, passed with an overwhelming vote of 336-87 on Friday, boosts the Pentagon budget for the 2012 fiscal year beginning on October 1 by some $17 billion compared with the current spending, Reuters reported.

The measure, which was about $8 billion less than what President Barack Obama had sought, would provide $530 billion for the Pentagon’s primary budget and $119 to cover the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The approved bill excludes funds for US nuclear programs or military construction which will add another $33 billion to military spending in later bills.

The increase in military spending comes while huge budget reductions are expected in other agencies, affecting food aid for low-income women, health research and energy efficiency.

And while Barney Frank is a bit of a tool, he really nailed it on this one:

“The military budget is not on the table. The military is at the table, and it is eating everybody else’s lunch, “Frank said.

There’s not much more for me to say about this, folks.  This is a theme I have pounded into the ground over and over again, but nothing ever seems to change.  It’s a bit nauseating to observe the American public fervently buying into the fabricated budget crisis, arguing about arbitrary debt ceilings and deciding which important social services should be cut, but the military machine churns on unhindered all the while.

Why does any American consider five concurrent wars to be a necessity?  Why is it we can’t afford universal health care and financial security for th elderly, but we can afford to routinely drop million dollar bombs on Muslim nations half-way around the globe?  What do we have to gain by sending drones into Pakistan and Yemen, or amassing troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?  How is cluster bombing innocent civilians in Libya going to help ordinary Americans find suitable employment to pay the bills and care for their families?

The lack of critical thinking throughout the mainstream corporate media and, apparently at least, among the masses of the American people is utterly mind-boggling.  Sure, Americans might be shallow, consumeristic beings obsessed with buying the latest gadgets and vicariously enjoying the thrills of others through modern voyeuristic television programming, but are we really as stupid as our irrational political leanings seem to imply?

Why is it that critical thinking skills seem to be tossed out the window the  moment politics enters the equation?  People can have highly intelligent conversations about football stats and technological specifications, yet when it comes to political and social issues, we are often capable of little more than spewing out trite catch-phrases that we caught on our favorite corporate media outlet.  “Der, socialism is bad!”  “Uhhh, Republicans love big business!”  “Err, I’m pro-life!”  Beyond these vacuous platitudes, meaningful dialogue is never attained.

It is difficult to comprehend how ordinary, seemingly rational Americans can go from, “Something needs to be done about the national debt,” to “We must therefore sustain our five concurrent wars and divert hundreds of billions to the military-industrial complex, but health care and social security have gotta go.”

In the end, it all boils down to a culture which has been carefully indoctrinated into corporate ways of thinking through generations of exposure to the most complex propaganda machine in the history of civilization.  We’ve been conditioned to value superficialities over substance, style over meaning, and brawn over brains.  To engage in careful, reasoned dialogue is somehow deemed a sign of weakness, and intellectual engagement is considered a hobby of the nerdy and the effete.

Americans adopt a certain political and social world view at an extremely early age, and the notion of shifting ones ideals based on rational debate is an impossibility; to do so would reflect some sort of personal deficiency which runs counter to the clichéd notion of the strong, independent American.  Being open to altering one’s views is a sign that one hasn’t quite figured it all out, which, in a society founded on the capitalistic principles of social Darwinism, amounts to a grave demonstration of personal vulnerability.

And so the wars go on, the Pentagon continues to sap us of our national wealth, the elderly and sick remain uncared for, and the rich and powerful enjoy their view from the ever rising top.

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3 responses to “House Approves $649 Billion Military Budget as Austerity Measures Loom

  1. Pingback: Fanatical and Obsessed? Now Little Timmy Agrees With Me « BuelahMan's Revolt

  2. Randy Converse October 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I too scratch my head wondering why the people in this country don’t look at military spending as a major source of our budget woes, if not THE major source!
    I think the reason is that they have not been presented with a cheaper alternative. We all want to be safe. The one I am most intrigued with is the nonviolent one articulated by Gene Keyes (rhymes with “guys”) in his essay “Force Without Firepower” (www.wholeearth.org/Force Without Firepower). Gene Sharp and others have advocated a civilian based nonviolent national defense system. Mr. Keyes is the only one I know of who has detailed a military one.
    I encourage all who read this reply to check out Mr. Keyes’ essay so a dialogue can begin on concrete ways to end the “military madness” we all are victim to!

    Randy Converse

  3. Anonymous October 15, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Thanks for the link, Randy. Interesting concept.

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