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The US Senate has passed its National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) military spending bill for the fiscal year of 2022, setting the budget at an astronomical $778 billion by a vote of 89 to 10. The bill has already been passed by the House, now requiring only the president’s signature. An amendment to cease facilitating Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen was stripped from the bill.
“The most controversial parts of the 2,100-page military spending bill were negotiated behind closed doors and passed the House mere hours after it was made public, meaning members of Congress couldn’t possibly have read the whole thing before casting their votes,” reads a Politico article on the bill’s passage by Lindsay Koshgarian, William Barber II and Liz Theoharis.
The US military had a budget of $14 billion for its scaled-down Afghanistan operations in the fiscal year of 2021, down from $17 billion in 2020. If the US military budget behaved normally, you’d expect it to come down by at least $14 billion in 2022 following the withdrawal of US troops and official end of the war in Afghanistan. Instead, this new $778 billion total budget is a five percent increase from the previous year.
“Months after US President Joe Biden’s administration pulled the last American troops out of Afghanistan as part of his promise to end the country’s ‘forever wars’, the United States Congress approved a $777.7bn defence budget, a five percent increase from last year,” Al Jazeera reports.
“For the last 20 years, we heard that the terrorist threat justified an ever-expanding budget for the Pentagon,” Win Without War executive director Stephen Miles told Al Jazeera. “As the war in Afghanistan has ended and attention has shifted towards China, we’re now hearing that that threat justifies it.”
"For the last 20 years, we heard that the terrorist threat justified an ever-expanding budget for the Pentagon. As the war in Afghanistan has ended and attention has shifted towards China, we’re now hearing that that threat justifies it." https://t.co/GtBFUTRWmR via @AJEnglish
— Ali Harb (@Harbpeace) December 16, 2021
Upon the removal of US troops from Afghanistan, President Biden said the following in August:
“After more than $2 trillion spent in Afghanistan — a cost that researchers at Brown University estimated would be over $300 million a day for 20 years in Afghanistan — for two decades — yes, the American people should hear this: $300 million a day for two decades. If you take the number of $1 trillion, as many say, that’s still $150 million a day for two decades. And what have we lost as a consequence in terms of opportunities? I refused to continue in a war that was no longer in the service of the vital national interest of our people.”
You would think a government so grieved over the loss of “opportunities” for the American people due to Afghanistan war spending would be eager to begin allocating that wealth toward providing opportunities to Americans at the end of that war. Instead, more wealth has been diverted to the US war machine.
Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp reports:
The NDAA passage comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Russia, and the bill includes $300 million for military aid to Ukraine, $50 million more than what the Pentagon requested. According to The Wall Street Journal, at least $75 million of the Ukraine aid will be “lethal,” meaning it will be spent on offensive weapons, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles the US has already provided to Kyiv.
With the Pentagon focused on countering China, the NDAA includes $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI). The PDI is meant to build up US forces in the Asia Pacific to better confront China. Part of the plan is to establish a network of long-range missiles near China’s coast.
Senate Passes Massive $778 Billion NDAA
The bill was already passed by the House and will now be signed by President Biden to become law
by Dave DeCamp@DecampDave #NDAA #Pentagon https://t.co/nVYFGNHOga pic.twitter.com/DBvWDK24kE
— Antiwar.com (@Antiwarcom) December 15, 2021
Americans are being scammed.
A sane military (if there is such a thing) would be bolstered in times when a nation needs to defend itself and scaled down during peacetime. With the US military it’s completely backwards: it’s taken as a given that the budget must keep expanding, and then reasons are made up to justify doing so by making “peacetime” nonexistent. The military budget isn’t set to serve existing conditions, conditions are set to serve the military budget.
Before it was the Russians and the Chinese it was terrorists, and before it was terrorists it was the Soviets. After the fall of the USSR, there emerged a popular notion of a “peace dividend” in which defense spending could be reduced in the absence of America’s sole rival and the abundant excess funds used to take care of the American people instead. The only problem was that a lot of people had gotten very rich and powerful as a result of that cold war defense spending, and that money and power was used at some key points of influence. Less than three months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union we learned of the Wolfowitz Doctrine from The New York Times saying the US had resolved to prevent the rise of another superpower at all cost, and a few years later the neocons found their way into the George W Bush administration to usher in an unprecedented new era of military expansionism and wars of aggression.
The military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address as president became inevitable as soon as the US government espoused imperialist ambitions. War profiteering is what you get when you mix capitalism with a globe-spanning power structure that must labor continuously to maintain unipolar planetary domination, which can only be done with ceaseless violence and the threat thereof. It was inevitable that an industry would not only arise to meet that demand, but begin using the wealth it generates to push for more warmongering. The war industry surfs on the war-fueled empire like dolphins on the wake of a freight ship, except in this case the dolphins are also able to help propel and steer the ship.
One of the many disgusting things about the bloated $778 billion defense budget is next year anything less than that will be labeled "a cut to military spending" and the bi-partisan war hawks will end up increasing it again & again. Enough is never enough for the death merchants.
— Warren Gunnels (@GunnelsWarren) December 14, 2021
And meanwhile that insane, mindless juggernaut is hurtling toward a direct confrontation with Russia and China, who are growing increasingly intimate and unified against their common enemy. These are forming the head of a rapidly coalescing group of powers who have refused to be absorbed into the folds of the US-centralized power alliance, and you don’t have to be a historian to understand that world powers splitting into two increasingly hostile alliance groups can lead some very ugly places. Especially now in the age of nuclear weapons.
The human species has some very daunting tests ahead of it. I hope we pass.
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George Cornell / December 20, 2021
Don’t worry about overstating the money blown on Afghanistan. It’s near impossible to do, especially if you include the confrontation with the enemies of Domino’s pizza in Nam, and the depravity in Iraq. The long term recurring costs of the maimed, disabled and mentally broken plus the pensions bring some estimates up to as high as $21 trillion.
But no worries! No national health so private insurers, greedy hospitals and scumbag doctors can deliver service so bad American longevity is the worst in the Western world. But no worries! because as an American you get that for twice as much cost as in countries outliving America by several years.
Dollyboy / December 19, 2021
The fact that there is a “military budget” means you’re being scammed.
brian / December 18, 2021
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Tom / December 18, 2021
We’re much further along to an all-out WW3 scenario; Russia & China both—long ago concluded the US Deep-state cashiered Trump, in preparation for WAR. And that’s exactly what it’s going to be; (for Shits & Giggles) even the astrologers are warning of what lies ahead. https://www.julienaklei.com/2018/06/neptune-in-aries/
Johnny / December 18, 2021
Coming to a street near you soon.
cuffy / December 18, 2021
Christian J. Chuba / December 18, 2021
Caitlin, you are like ‘The Onion’, the headline is the story. Your headlines are certainly better than most stories I end up reading. I can’t get over your ability to summarize.
Johnny / December 18, 2021
So what’s new?
Handouts to billionaires.
The underclass screwed.
Ratchet up tension for WW3.
China, Russia the new enemies.
Maxwell doesn’t testify.
Johnny / December 18, 2021
Excellent analysis of the Maxwell’s bloody sledgehammers here:
K-Dog / December 17, 2021
I can’t agree that America is being scammed.
Why? Because all this shit is out in the open. Everybody knows the American military budget is huge and nobody in America outside of a few scattered malcontents gives a shit. Nobody cares.
Everybody else is down with murder and exploitation. As I wrote here today https://chasingthesquirrel.com/
“Getting a good perspective is a good idea anyway. Anything is better than the predominant zombie perspective America has now. The few who think they are virtuous and politically engaged let people get away with murder. Revolution interests few people and every hour of every day our taxes enable murder.
thorsjackhammer / December 18, 2021
It’s true, the ‘comfortable’ majority don’t give a shit, ‘the selfish gene’. Mainly, it’s the disenfranchised that give a shit. But, many of the disenfranchised are too busy struggling to keeping their heads above water to focus on giving a shit. Regardless, It’s still good to know what the sociopaths in power are likely up to.
Mary Wildfire / December 18, 2021
I disagree. Many are interested in revolution on both sides of the culture war. But Americans feel helpless to put a stop to this. And probably something like half actually swallow the lies put out continuously by the corporate media intended to justify wars and military spending. I have to admit I don’t understand this–how many times do you have to be scammed into condoning a war built on lies before you get it that the NEXT one is also built on lies? And you can talk about selfishness, and admittedly that’s built into the culture of the US, but the enormous spending on the Pentagon means we can’t have healthcare or student loan forgiveness, etc.
Em / December 17, 2021
The endless climate of war and destruction has brought us to where we stand now, facing the total destruction of our home.
Take a look at these global activists, younger and older, born leaders, speaking in unity about global solutions, and think deeply about the U.S. unconscionable year in and year out unilateral Military Budget Increases, to the detriment of all planetary life:
Pascal / December 17, 2021
The international tensions should decrease now that the fox has gone out of the hen house with a rubber stamp on his budget proposal :o)
Ishkabibble / December 17, 2021
Here is the most important question of all. Just exactly WHAT do people do after they’re all woke up — pick up a gun?; guillotine some VIPs?; march hand in hand down Penn. Ave. forever and demand, demand, demand that the Elite behave better, or else? (or else WHAT?)
Here’s what you are eventually going to HAVE TO DO because
there. is. no. other. way.
If you do not want More Of The Same that you’ve gotten after every election in the past, do not vote for another R or D, ever, no matter what an R or D promises! Jimmy Dore explains EXACTLY why.
tjrich / December 17, 2021
The problem as I see it is the more people who don’t vote. The more Republicans rub their hands together with glee at being able to do exactly what the elite want them to do with No repercussions.
If zero people voted republican state reps would award a victory to the Republican candidate.
Less voting means more Republican wins and that means and even more, misery is inflicted on people who work for a living.
If every American who had the right to vote voted – right-wing douchebags would never win another election and the douchebags know it.
JONATHAN PRATT / December 17, 2021
As the Republicans become a ‘bad look’ to the young, the important Republican Lobbying and the important Republican policies just end up in the hands of Republicans with D’s by their name.
You get folks like Biden, a voting record on the wrong side of literally nearly every progressive or liberal issue for his entire life, with an actual responsible hand in the legislation incarcerating millions of Blacks and leading to the BLM protests.
Or situations like 2016 where you had a hard-right wing conservative war hawk with a near perfect pro-war record up against Donald Trump.
At this point, to butcher a Lincoln Quote, I would sooner just vote for an actual Republican with some modicum of principles. At least then I can have my despotism pure and without any base alloy of hypocrisy.
JONATHAN PRATT / December 17, 2021
To put it Bluntly, Biden started blowing the crap out of some Syrians within days of his inauguration, before even getting little CARES act checks out to people.
No matter which letter is by their names on the ballot, they all have their bread buttered on the same side.
hodgicus / December 18, 2021
The problem is that powerless peons who are given colored pom poms to wave for “their” candidate think that surely waving their pom poms harder Next time will bring about the change they seek.
We do not live under a representative system of government. If you think this government represents you, or anyone you care about, I am starting a new crypto called Shitcoin, and I guarantee you a million percent on your first thousand dollar investment.
There is No political process that will result in the will of the American people being represented by those for whom they vote: Not voting smarter, not protest, not revolution: Nothing will change while we are buying into the system’s fake change mechanics. It is a rigged game.
If you want to live free, you have to start doing it right now, right where you are, and stop fantasizing about how forcing regime change on your countrymen will make everything okay. Regime change would make everything worse. At lease smug condescending asswipes like Pelosi et al are too arrogant to believe they can ever be called to account; not so the next junta boosted up by dupes like us.
You know why the corporapists are whining about how “no one wants to work?” Because Dad and Mom WorkingClass spent the last 20 months finding out they don’t need a mortgage, they don’t need car payments, and they don’t need straight jobs in the above ground economy.
Turns out the change we want is not political but social change.
Political change is a misty daydream that happens to us all at once on some golden future day.
Social change is you and me deciding that today is the day we stop cranking the money machine for our predators.
thorsjackhammer / December 22, 2021
hodgicus – “Nothing will change while we are buying into the system’s fake change mechanics. It is a rigged game.”
100% – The Great Reset, the ‘new’ fake change.
At this point, I won’t be surprised if after the planned-demic we do get the fake alien invasion, or, war on the last truly sovereign nations, followed by a ‘unified’ one world government that save the day. And de-pop inserted in there somewhere too. No more need for large masses of wage slaves when they have A.I., computers and robotics to do most of the work.
Eddy / December 18, 2021
My thoughts exactly, been saying this now for many years, sadly collective deafness ensures continuation of the same.
Antonio Veblen / December 17, 2021
Do not hesitate to believe that the neocon warriors in control of the US war machine will “accidentally” destroy the world as we know it to maintain US hegemony. After all, “who could have known?” has worked well for them so far.
Em / December 17, 2021
The Soviet Union magically disappeared thirty years ago this coming Boxing Day, Sunday 26th December, yet the U.S. hegemon has always to immediately find a replacement for their traditional inspirational boogeyman, which had been keeping them motivated, since the collapse of Czarist feudalism, more than a century prior.
On today’s menu, China is top choice, with Russia as a secondary entree’.
Psychosis is always able to justify its own insanity!
Censored / December 17, 2021
“Americans are being scammed” as “[all] intelligence and facts [are still] being fixed around the [‘New Pearl Harbor’] policy.” (Forgive the POS Keith Olbermann aspect.) https://seaclearly.com/2020/10/26/i-was-raised-in-babylon
Censored / December 17, 2021
For clarity (if needed): “POS” = piece of shit.