The 1.2% Problem

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budget.gif
If one wants to make the comparison even more striking, current spending on all “international programs” – that is, all U.S. non-military engagement with the world, accounts for 1.2% of the federal budget. That includes humanitarian relief, diplomacy, international organization funding, poverty and disease programs, U.N. peacekeeping, and a number of other critical international initiatives.
House and Senate conferees are meeting this month to figure out if even that paltry number can be agreed to or if it will be cut by about $1 billion. The Senate conferees have the better, higher number, thanks to the leadership of Sens. Dodd and Smith.
There’s nothing sexy about this battle, but its moral, economic, and national security imperatives couldn’t be more clear.
— Scott Paul

Comments

36 comments on “The 1.2% Problem

  1. David N says:

    I have only one reaction to this post:
    Well, Duh.
    This is not news. This was true twenty years ago, thirty year ago, take your pick. It is true about the current threat, about the last threat, about the next threat, take your pick.
    And it leaves out a big component of national security that NOBODY talks about, because nobody believes in it. Ideas.
    I hate to do this, because it sounds self-serving, and maybe it is, but what’s left out is what I did — badly — for my twenty-seven years working in the U.S. Information Agency.
    We used to cite the fact that the entire Agency budget, funding all the scholarships and fellowships and concerts and libraries and lecturers and visitors and everything else in the intire world, was the equivilant of the cost of one B-2 bomber. And then it was abolished. And then we were attacked.
    Remember Zell? Remember that spittle-spewing tyrade Zell Miller ejected in the 2004 Republican National Convention saying that Kerry voted against all those weapons systems? Remember how much good F-16s did us on 9/11? Or that the vote he was talking about was a confirmation of the recommendation of the then-SecDef, Dick Cheney?
    Remember how much coverage that got?
    The fact is, no amount of military is going to make us safe. We all know that. But say that on national television, and hear the howls from not just the wing nuts, but from the keepers of the “conventional wisdom.”
    The fact is, no amount of foreign aid is going to serve us, unless we do it right, which we have, as several said, never done. I remember sitting in the bubble as the embassy debated the proposal from USAID in Nepal on what to do with their year-end surplus — air condition all staff housing. In a place at 5,000 feet above sea level, and a max temp of eighty degrees!
    I can go on about the money we wasted. About the money I wasted, in my work with USIA. I can also talk about the work I was a part of thinking about it, thinking about how to do it right, with focus, with intelligence. Then USIA was abolished, and I remember sitting in a meeting reviewing country plans, and we read the first line of the annual Country Plan for India:
    “We will focus on everything.”
    I was the only one in the room who laughed.
    Long before then, it was clear. I couldn’t wait to get out. And what a shame, because real education — but first we have to rescue our own schools — and real ideas — but first we have to rescue our own government — are the only things that will give people an alternative and a life, and prevent them from even thinking about bringing the vial of anthrax over the border.
    Not only will it never happen. No one is even giving it consideration.
    Before that happens, the storms will come and blow us all away.

    Reply

  2. erichwwk says:

    Sorry for the nonsense, as i grope past barriers. Thanks POA for tips.
    Carroll wrote:
    Ike was right.
    So what are we going to do about it?
    Will we end up crumbling like Russia with nothing but stockpiles of nukes and weapons left over?
    My $0.02 worth:
    It looks more and more that we are going this way.Sad. I am hedging my bets, with a backup overseas living plan. We have a serious divergence between public costs-benefits, and private costs benefits. Fareed Zakaria often raises the point that 12 hrs of Iraq military expenditures would fund the standing up all 48 former state owned businesses under the Iraq Ministry of Iraq, putting 150,000 Iraqi’s back to work. Last year we admitted 400 Iraqi refugees, and the expenditure by the US on real reconstruction is dwarfed by Halliburton’s profit. ( at the end of the Vietnam War we admitted ~138,000 refugees in 8 months). The surge is really all about running out the clock, past the 2008 election, in the hopes of a Hail Mary and cramming the Oil and Gas Law demanded of the Malaki govt through the Iraqi parliament. But guess what, the populace aren’t buying and hence the Sadr demonstrations to unite against the US. With all the vogue at Bush bashing, let’s not forget that ObL’s Number#1 complaint was the death of innocent Iraqi children as the result of Gulf War I. Yes, mostly a GHB, Dick Cheney, and Colin Powell fabrication(packaged as a good deed by Hill and Knowlton, as much nonsense as Gulf War 2 from the ME perspective) but the deaths occurred mostly during Clinton’s watch.
    I would venture that a majority on the Hill recognize that the nuclear weapons program is essentially 100% pork; by the same token they recognize the patronage it offers. Parts for the B52 are manufactured in EVERY state, to make sure there is buy in. Steve asserts Jeff Bingaman is one of the more astute Senators, a claim I would support, but even Bingaman fights every reduction in military expenditures (eg BRAC of Clovis AFB)that impacts NM, rather than make the effort to assist in the transition to socially useful endeavors. When you allow the pig ( the Trillion $US/yr military) to get that fat, feed so many politicians, putting the pig on a diet is immensely difficult. Folks would rather play it safe, go with the crowd and continue the military solution, than take the chance of doing the needed work, and not getting the benefits. Few politicians are willing to bite the hand that feeds them.
    PS one other issue with foreign aid is the history of using aid to support authoritarian leaders and weaken the purchasing power of the working class. The IMF and WB has essentially been an arm of DOD (force privatization/foreign resource ownership, and debt as dependence)and why Paul Wolfowitz is where he is. Check South American economic growth for the last two decades, for which we are also experiencing blowback. While Cheney, Bush, and Rumsfeld are especially culpable (check out Team B and Operation Artichoke in Wiki), the problem is MUCH deeper than the current administration. The neocons, after all, were originally all Democrats.

    Reply

  3. erichwwk says:

    The Washington Note
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    In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I’ve enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.
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  4. Carroll says:

    Ike was right.
    So what are we going to do about it?
    Will we end up crumbling like Russia with nothing but stockpiles of nukes and weapons left over?
    BWTTGASO

    Reply

  5. Bobby Corcoran says:

    Most Americans do not think in terms of the economic opportunity costs of decisions they make, and they think even less about the economic opportunity costs of the decisions made by their local, state, and federal governmental units.
    It is a mystery to me why economic education is not more heavily stressed in our various educational systems.
    Your post today is especially appreciated.

    Reply

  6. Marcia says:

    “Are readers here not also dismayed about the other side of the equation – how little we spend on international programs besides the U.S. military?”
    I read sometime back but do not have the reference that a poll showed Americans have only a vague idea of the amount affected to international aid, especially as compared to that of other industrial countries and are convinced we are overly generous, many considered it should be reduced.
    Much of the aid is affected to military purchases from us, the money is returned to the US, so to speak of aid is hardly accurate.
    Impoverished peoples are no more “aided” by the purchase of tanks and and weapons that our own population is by siphoning the budget into armement, wars and permanent bases world-wide.

    Reply

  7. JohnH says:

    Scott,
    In principle, I agree that we should be spending more on international affairs–if the funds were used constructively.
    Unfortunately, much international aid is an extension of war funding but directed to civilian projects. Much of the funding goes to buying products and services from US corporations and contractors and does little to develop local economies or support long term healthcare and education initiatives (we saw how “reconstruction” money in Iraq was wasted on Bechtel, Halliburton, etc.)
    The US government has little interest in understanding the needs of other countries (witness Iraq), except perhaps for those linked to America’s dominant European heritage, which has come to include not only Brits, Germans, Irish and Italians, but also Ashkenazim.
    Until the government changes its attitude toward foreign countries and decides that their prosperity helps make America more secure, it doesn’t make sense to spend a whole lot more on international affairs.

    Reply

  8. erichwwk says:

    Part 5.
    Check out figure 2 and remove transfer payments (SS, subsidies-income stability) and allocated debt to its sources(mostly military spending) and the magnitude of the problem is self evident.
    http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/figure2.htm
    Hope to hear more from you and Steve on this issue. Thanks again Scott!
    In the meantime Scott asks: Are readers here not also dismayed about the other side of the equation – how little we spend on international programs besides the U.S. military?
    ABSOLUTELY. However, I assert the REASON we spend so little on international programs is that they do not fund politicians, ie they are contrary to the notion of Adam Smith�s creation of wealth- by consensual, mutual cooperation. Peace is not the commodity war is. Violence is the ONLY resource rationing mechanism that does not require mutual consent. See eg A Theory of Property Rights by John Umbeck, or his �Might Makes Right� in either the Western Economic Journal or Economic Inquiry. I have argued for years that what is needed is REAL economic analysis, where we balance the marginal product of international relations to the marginal product of military expenditures. Doing that in an honest way would KILL the cash cow that funds the political class, and has always been fought tooth and nail, especially in the case of the most ludicrous of all expenditures, nuclear weapons, where the marginal product of the 6001 atomic weapon is clearly negative
    Again, Scott, kudos for the courage to raise the issue. But you will get nowhere unless you address military expenditures. As DDE said, every bomb, every ship is essentially theft from the people�. International programs undermines this opportunity to steal.
    Gorbachev and Hitler did not recognize this until it was too late, whereas the Chinese did. It remains to be seen which by the US tilts.

    Reply

  9. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, we know what the war profiteers get from our tax dollars. But heres what the Iraqis have gotten…….
    Red Cross warns of ‘ever-worsening’ crisis for Iraqi civilians
    Wed Apr 11, 6:06 AM ET
    GENEVA (AFP) – The Iraqi people face an “ever-worsening crisis,” the International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday in a report highlighting the growing suffering of civilians four years after the US-led invasion.
    “The suffering that Iraqi men, women and children are enduring today is unbearable and unacceptable. Their lives and dignity are continuously under threat,” said the ICRC’s director of operations, Pierre Kraehenbuehl.
    “It’s clear for us that the humanitarian situation is steadily worsening and affecting in one way or another, directly or indirectly, all Iraqis today,” he told journalists.
    He was speaking at the launch of an ICRC report entitled “Civilians Without Protection — The Ever-Worsening Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq,” which focuses on the plight of civilians four years after the regime of Saddam Hussein was toppled.
    The ICRC urged all those involved in the conflict, both state and non-state actors, to urgently respect international humanitarian law and not target civilians.
    US President George W. Bush’s “surge” strategy of sending thousands more troops to Baghdad to boost security has yet to yield any noticetable improvement for civilians, Kraehenbuehl said.
    “We’re certainly not seeing an immediate effect in terms of stabilisation for the civilians currently,” he said.
    continues at……
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070411/wl_afp/iraqicrc_070411094950

    Reply

  10. erichwwk says:

    Part 4.
    For a sense of what has been spent on what is essentially corporate and political welfare, especially on obsolete nuclear weapons, the Brookings study http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/figure1_6.htm by Stephen Schwarz is still relevant, and the fact that it is almost ten years old is evidence for the reluctance to do any real research in this area.

    Reply

  11. Scott Paul says:

    I agree with nearly everything written here on this comment board. In particular, I had a really interesting conversation the other day about what a shame it is that arguments about the military-industrial complex are dismissed and tuned out in DC.
    I’m also struggling to understand something, though, so help me out. Nearly every comment on this board touches on U.S. military spending and how enormous it is. Are readers here not also dismayed about the other side of the equation – how little we spend on international programs besides the U.S. military?

    Reply

  12. erichwwk says:

    Part 4.
    For a sense of what has been spent on what is essentially corporate and political welfare, especially on obsolete nuclear weapons, the Brookings study http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/schwartz.htm by Stephen Schwarz is still relevant, and the fact that it is almost ten years old is evidence for the reluctance to do any real research in this area. Check out figure 2 and remove transfer payments (SS, subsidies-income stability) and allocated debt to its sources(mostly military spending) and the magnitude of the problem is self evident.
    Hope to hear more from you and Steve on this issue. Thanks again Scott!
    And apologies for the 4 part post (I had thought the filter block may prohibit more than one hot link, but this post received a block msg suggesting I try a bit later)

    Reply

  13. Pissed Off American says:

    My experience is that this is an absolute filter, and the comment triggering this block is NEVER posted. WHAT’s UP?
    Posted by erichwwk
    It happens to me for one of three reasons;
    1) I am attempting to put too many links in a post, and Steve’s spam filters are blocking it. Two links seem to be the limit.
    2) I have mis-typed the numerical Security Code.
    3) An occassional and rare glitch on Steve’s end.
    note..
    …sometimes, also, if it takes me a while to compose a post. When this happens, I copy the post into my mouse, go back to Steve’s homepage, re-open the comment section, and paste my post into the fresh box, then go through the regular process for sending the post. Usually, this cures it.

    Reply

  14. erichwwk says:

    Part 3.
    However, the figures you cite just expose the tip of the iceberg, and are understated. For a fuller accounting of military expenditures see the calculations by Greg Mello and Damon Hill
    http://www.lasg.org/USMilitarySpending.pdf

    Reply

  15. erichwwk says:

    Part 2.
    I live in Taos, NM, surrounded by Rumsfeld properties on both sides, with Cheney reported to have bid on a major land holding (Rio Costilla) to the north. Los Alamos has more millionaires per capita than any other place in the US, primarily becoming an illegal nuclear weapons production facility. The major University (UNM, like the University of California System) is primarily funded by DOD and DOE military contracts. Just yesterday a resolution was presented to the Regents to at least open up the research and grant process as a first step to returning the University to the mission of educating students, and away from being a support center for war crime production. (In addition to being the PR arm for the new generation of weapons, it also is the major institution in the weaponization of space). Why am I mentioning this? As POA notes in his discussion with the almond grower, we are trading our REAL SECURITY, the education, free markets, individual initiative, for what is essentially a communist, centrally planned model, one doomed to failure. Individuals can indeed steal and cheat themselves to relative wealth, but it is at the expense of the society at large. If our military were a country, it would rank as the 12th largest economy. And rather than being market driven (as the pseudo conservatives would have you believe), it is a centrally planned economy, ala the former USSR, whereby those who gain the most are those that benefit directly from the military-industrial-congressional complex.
    Investors in Lockheed, Northrop, Exxon-Mobil, Raytheon, gain in purchasing power, at the expense of those that produce real wealth. If we measure National well-being, not in what is expended (eg, cash shrinkwrapped and given to terrorists or Halliburton) as a FLOW (income, wages), but in terms of what is ACCUMULTED (ie relative changes in health, education, infrastructure) or STOCKS, it becomes obvious that we do not have a healthy economy, but rather a sick or failing one.

    Reply

  16. erich says:

    Part 2.
    I live in Taos, NM, surrounded by Rumsfeld properties on both sides, with Cheney reported to have bid on a major land holding (Rio Costilla) to the north. Los Alamos has more millionaires per capita than any other place in the US, primarily becoming an illegal nuclear weapons production facility. The major University (UNM, like the University of California System) is primarily funded by DOD and DOE military contracts. Just yesterday a resolution was presented to the Regents to at least open up the research and grant process as a first step to returning the University to the mission of educating students, and away from being a support center for war crime production. (In addition to being the PR arm for the new generation of weapons, it also is the major institution in the weaponization of space). Why am I mentioning this? As POA notes in his discussion with the almond grower, we are trading our REAL SECURITY, the education, free markets, individual initiative, for what is essentially a communist, centrally planned model, one doomed to failure. Individuals can indeed steal and cheat themselves to relative wealth, but it is at the expense of the society at large. If our military were a country, it would rank as the 12th largest economy. And rather than being market driven (as the pseudo conservatives would have you believe), it is a centrally planned economy, ala the former USSR, whereby those who gain the most are those that benefit directly from the military-industrial-congressional complex.
    Investors in Lockheed, Northrop, Exxon-Mobil, Raytheon, gain in purchasing power, at the expense of those that produce real wealth. If we measure National well-being, not in what is expended (eg, cash shrinkwrapped and given to terrorists or Halliburton) as a FLOW (income, wages), but in terms of what is ACCUMULTED (ie relative changes in health, education, infrastructure) or STOCKS, it becomes obvious that we do not have a healthy economy, but rather a sick or failing one.
    However, the figures you cite just expose the tip of the iceberg, and are understated. For a fuller accounting of military expenditures see the calculations by Greg Mello and Damon Hill
    http://www.lasg.org/USMilitarySpending.pdf For sense of what has been spent for what is essentially corporate and political welfare, especially on obsolete nuclear weapons, the Brookings study http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/schwartz.htm by Stephen Schwarz is still relevant, and the fact that it is almost ten years old is evidence for the reluctance to do any real research in this area. Check out figure 2 http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/figure2.htm
    and remove transfer payments (SS, subsidies-“income stability”) and allocated debt to its sources
    (mostly military spending) and the magnitude of the problem is self evident.

    Reply

  17. erichwwk says:

    Part 1.
    Thank you Paul, for your thoughtful and “right on target” post. Military spending, enabled by the disabling of the Constitution (it’s just a goddamned piece of paper”- GWB) is indeed the elephant in the room. While it is vogue to blame the current administration, military spending is what makes outlaw regimes viable. Special kudos to a reader for the overall view:
    http://www.sensiblepriorities.org/budget_analysis.php

    Reply

  18. erichwwk says:

    Another try:
    Thank you Paul, for your thoughtful and “right on target” post. Military spending, enabled by the disabling of the Constitution (it’s just a goddamned piece of paper”- GWB) is indeed the elephant in the room. While it is vogue to blame the current administration, military spending is what makes outlaw regimes viable. Special kudos to a reader for the overall view:
    http://www.sensiblepriorities.org/budget_analysis.php
    I live in Taos, NM, surrounded by Rumsfeld properties on both sides, with Cheney reported to have bid on a major land holding (Rio Costilla) to the north. Los Alamos has more millionaires per capita than any other place in the US, primarily becoming an illegal nuclear weapons production facility. The major University (UNM, like the University of California System) is primarily funded by DOD and DOE military contracts. Just yesterday a resolution was presented to the Regents to at least open up the research and grant process as a first step to returning the University to the mission of educating students, and away from being a support center for war crime production. (In addition to being the PR arm for the new generation of weapons, it also is the major institution in the weaponization of space). Why am I mentioning this? As POA notes in his discussion with the almond grower, we are trading our REAL SECURITY, the education, free markets, individual initiative, for what is essentially a communist, centrally planned model, one doomed to failure. Individuals can indeed steal and cheat themselves to relative wealth, but it is at the expense of the society at large. If our military were a country, it would rank as the 12th largest economy. And rather than being market driven (as the pseudo conservatives would have you believe), it is a centrally planned economy, ala the former USSR, whereby those who gain the most are those that benefit directly from the military-industrial-congressional complex.
    Investors in Lockheed, Northrop, Exxon-Mobil, Raytheon, gain in purchasing power, at the expense of those that produce real wealth. If we measure National well-being, not in what is expended (eg, cash shrinkwrapped and given to terrorists or Halliburton) as a FLOW (income, wages), but in terms of what is ACCUMULTED (ie relative changes in health, education, infrastructure) or STOCKS, it becomes obvious that we do not have a healthy economy, but rather a sick or failing one.
    However, the figures you cite just expose the tip of the iceberg, and are understated. For a fuller accounting of military expenditures see the calculations by Greg Mello and Damon Hill
    http://www.lasg.org/USMilitarySpending.pdf For sense of what has been spent for what is essentially corporate and political welfare, especially on obsolete nuclear weapons, the Brookings study http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/schwartz.htm by Stephen Schwarz is still relevant, and the fact that it is almost ten years old is evidence for the reluctance to do any real research in this area. Check out figure 2 http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/figure2.htm
    and remove transfer payments (SS, subsidies-“income stability”) and allocated debt to its sources
    (mostly military spending) and the magnitude of the problem is self evident.
    Hope to hear more from you and Steve on this issue.

    Reply

  19. erichwwk says:

    Anyone willing to advise on the troll filter, resulting in:
    The Washington Note
    Thank You for Commenting
    Your comment has been received. To protect against malicious comments, I have enabled a feature that allows your comments to be held for approval the first time you post a comment. I’ll approve your comment when convenient; there is no need to re-post your comment. Return to the comment page
    CLEARLY THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME I HAVE RECEIVED THIS BLOCK, NOR IS THIS THE FIRST ATTEMPT AT A POST.
    My experience is that this is an absolute filter, and the comment triggering this block is NEVER posted. WHAT’s UP?

    Reply

  20. erichwwk says:

    Thank you Paul, for your thoughtful and ‘right on target’ post. Military spending, enabled by the disabling of the Constitution (it’s just a goddamned piece of paper”- GWB) is indeed the elephant in the room. While it is vogue to blame the current administration, military spending is what makes outlaw regimes viable. Special kudos to a reader for the overall view:
    http://www.sensiblepriorities.org/budget_analysis.php
    I live in Taos, NM, surrounded by Rumsfeld properties on both sides, with Cheney reported to have bid on a major land holding (Rio Costilla) to the north. Los Alamos has more millionaires per capita than any other place in the US, primarily becoming an illegal nuclear weapons production facility. The major University (UNM, like the University of California System) is primarily funded by DOD and DOE military contracts. Just yesterday a resolution was presented to the Regents to at least open up the research and grant process as a first step to returning the University to the mission of educating students, and away from being a support center for war crime production. (In addition to being the PR arm for the new generation of weapons, it also is the major institution in the weaponization of space). Why am I mentioning this? As POA notes in his discussion with the almond grower, we are trading our REAL SECURITY, the education, free markets, individual initiative, for what is essentially a communist, centrally planned model, one doomed to failure. Individuals can indeed steal and cheat themselves to relative wealth, but it is at the expense of the country at large. If our military were a country, it would rank as the 12th largest economy. And rather than being market driven (as the pseudo conservatives would have you believe), it is a centrally planned economy, ala the former USSR, whereby those who gain the most are those that benefit directly from the military-industrial-congressional complex.
    Investors in Lockheed, Northrop, Exxon-Mobil, Raytheon,halliburton gain in purchasing power, at the expense of those that produce real wealth. If we measure National well-being, not in what is expended (eg, cash shrinkwrapped and given to terrorists or Halliburton) as a FLOW (income, wages), but in terms of what is ACCUMULTED (ie relative changes in health, education, infrastructure) or STOCKS, it becomes obvious that we do not have a healthy economy, but rather a sick or failing one.
    However, the figures you cite just expose the tip of the iceberg, and are understated. For a fuller accounting of military expenditures see the calculations by Greg Mello and Damon Hill
    http://www.lasg.org/USMilitarySpending.pdf For sense of what has been spent for what is essentially corporate and political welfare, especially on obsolete nuclear weapons, the Brookings study http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/schwartz.htm by Stephen Schwarz is still relevant, and the fact that it is almost ten years old is evidence for the reluctance to do any real research in this area. Check out figure 2 http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/figure2.htm
    and remove transfer payments (SS, subsidies-‘income stability’) and allocated debt to its sources
    (mostly military spending) and the magnitude of the problem is self evident.
    Hope to hear more from you and Steve on this issue.

    Reply

  21. Pissed Off American says:

    Good God.
    Imus, Imus, Imus….
    A couple of days ago, the Vice President of the United States, completely detached from reality, tells the American people that Al Qaeda was active in Iraq prior to our invasion. A bald faced lie, that is widely recognized as a bald faced lie.
    Imus, Imus, Imus…….
    Our President, obviously thinking we are damned fools and ignorant morons, tells us his border policies are working because “we are arresting fewer illegals”.
    Imus, Imus, Imus…
    I talked to an almond grower today. I’m doing the finish carpentry in a house he is having built. HUGE money. Third generation almond grower. Also corn, alfalfa, cotton, pecans. Thousands upon thousands of acres, throughout Central California. The worry on his face is palpable. The bee colonies are dissappearing. Pffft. Gone. No bodies. The hives just suddenly empty out. Do you know what an almond grove is worth without bees? (Whats firewood going for?)
    Yet…
    Imus, Imus, Imus.
    Welcome to Bushworld.

    Reply

  22. bAkho says:

    That’s what I mean Sticker. “Not leaving until the job is done.” What is the job? It keeps shifting. WMD, Saddam, Democracy, Terrorists, Iran…. If it ever calms down, we will need to stay “in case in flares up again” or to protect American oil companies. So occupation in perpetuity? or until the oil runs out?
    I read pundits all the time who talk about Bush getting out of Iraq. Where is the evidence that Bush has a policy to get out? Steve, Is there evidence that Bush has a plan to leave Iraq?

    Reply

  23. Linda says:

    Thanks, LM, for linking people to Eisenhower’s Farewell Address from January, 1961. I’ve referred to it several times when posting here.
    My other favorite of his speeches is Chance for Peace in 1953. The rest of this posting are quotes from it that sadly show how little progress has been made in the past 50 years:
    First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.
    Second: No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.
    Third: Any nation’s right to form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.
    Fourth: Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.
    And fifth: A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.
    In the light of these principles the citizens of the United States defined the way they proposed to follow, through the aftermath of war, toward true peace.
    This way was faithful to the spirit that inspired the United Nations: to prohibit strife, to relieve tensions, to banish fears. This way was to control and to reduce armaments. This way was to allow all nations to devote their energies and resources to the great and good tasks of healing the war’s wounds, of clothing and feeding and housing the needy, of perfecting a just political life, of enjoying the fruits of their own free toil.
    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
    This world in arms is not spending money alone.
    It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
    The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
    It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
    It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
    It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
    We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.
    We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

    Reply

  24. beth says:

    Thanks for this post. So obvious, but yet overlooked.

    Reply

  25. stickler says:

    Has Bush ever mentioned leaving?
    Sure he has; dozens of times.
    It’s just that he mentions it in something like this format: “We’re not leaving until the job is done…”
    Emphasis on the “not leaving”, of course.

    Reply

  26. bAkho says:

    I was listening to David Ignatius on Diane Rehm this morning and he seems to think that Bush policy is to leave Iraq (sometime). Is the conventional DC wisdom that Bush wants to leave?
    In the Midwest, we don’t think Bush has any intention of the US ever leaving Iraq. Bush only talks about “victory and permanent bases and stand down”. Has Bush ever mentioned leaving?

    Reply

  27. bAkho says:

    We could have bought Iraq for 1/10th of what the military occupation is costing.

    Reply

  28. ... says:

    Reader – thanks for posting that link.. very educational and informative.

    Reply

  29. Jon Tupper says:

    That is a shocking chart.
    It states clearly what our society is about.
    Atlantis, Babylon, Greece, Rome, Britain all fell.
    Are we joining the troupe?
    It certainly looks that way.
    Perhaps that is the way of the world.
    Life is truly a spiritual adventure in a
    physical vehicle.

    Reply

  30. RonK, Seattle says:

    And last time I wrung out that $1.2B over the years, much of it was devoted to immediate hotspot buyoffs of one kind or another — “paramilitary aid”, if you will.

    Reply

  31. Reader says:

    Relevant:
    http://www.sensiblepriorities.org/budget_analysis.php
    This group will be hosting a conference concerning these issues on April 17th on the Hill.

    Reply

  32. Jim DeRosa says:

    We need Al Gore to run. He at least read Dean Acheson.

    Reply

  33. LM says:

    Scott – others:
    Question: I re-read the military industrial complex speech by Dwight D. Eisenhower (see below) and wondered why it is not used more by those wishing to push back against such flawed budget allocations.
    http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

    Reply

  34. JohnH says:

    Kudos to Tom Englehardt for explaining the purpose behind all that military spending: energy security. http://www.tomdispatch.com/
    In an attempt to control the world’s energy heartlands, the administration put its military “footprint” onto the region, turning the so-called “arc of instability” into a self fulfilling prophecy. Now that the region is indeed unstable, the administration needs more money (much of it for inappropriate, large weapons systems) to make it stable. Meanwhile investment in new oil & gas production and pipelines has been scared off, making long term supply ever more problematic.
    Bush and Dick have really screwed us. (Or could it be their remedy for global warming?)

    Reply

  35. Maarcia says:

    It would be enlighting to have the same breakdown of the entire budget over a ten year period concerning the increase of the Military budget and related spending. The percentage transfer of civil manufacturing to the military domain would also be of interest.

    Reply

  36. Pissed Off American says:

    Gee didn’t ya know??? A whole new generation of nukes and bombers is EXACTLY what we need to fight some wacko wading the Rio Grande with a vial full of Ebola.

    Reply

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