Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Military Might: The Booming Budget

It's a RECORD!!!

So ex-post State of the Union, Mr. Bush has offered up what he really wants and has really wanted all along - oh yeah, the biggest military budget ever. The dollars, in terms of almost anything a human could think of, are staggering: $439.3 billion for one year's worth of military might. And that's not even including the costs for the actual product of the military - the wars themselves, at an undisclosed cost of some more hundreds of billions.

This is personal, friends. When do YOU say "enough is enough"? Or better yet, "this is WAY too much." (Just think what we could do with $140 billion if we still kept the military to a $300 billion budget, which is what it was as recently as... 1999 (that year it was a measly $298.4 billion, to be exact) Seems we ought to get what we need for a bunch of hot heads and car bombers - even an actual military threat - for $300 billion. So I say, for starters, cut defense right now by $140 billion. Then we can talk.

As before, in the wake of this request, the Secretary of Defense has gone on the offense to defend those billions as a necessary cost of being a rich free nation: 'We need this, and we can afford this,' has been his line. Hell, we can't even afford all the holiday junk and Super Bowl-worthy big screen TVs we've just stacked up on our credit cards like jumbo jets circling over O'Hare in a sleet storm.

But then I suppose we Americans really think it's costing us all that much. Somehow, the government will figure out a way to take somebody else for the brunt of it. Take out another loan from China or Germany.

You know, speaking of the Germans, back in the 1930s they were a pretty well educated and worldly people, and they fell for it, too - a crazed, fear-fighting, patriot-driven military buildup. They read newspapers and saw things on newsreels and voted and let things get out of hand BIG TIME. It was pretty irration - as if even the brightest people wore blinders... like the blinders Americans seem to be have been slipping on themselves for some years now.

Sleep, eat, TV, sleep, eat, TV. A work a month of your year to pay for this horror? Me, I'm an American patriot, a peaceful citizen. I take President Bush at his word that we are a peaceful nation, that, as he said one week ago tonight in his second to last State of the Union Address, that we (even he?) "will renew the defining moral commitments of this land." Surely, the freedom to not participate in violence or war is an American right. So, peaceful I am, though I am NOT AT peace with any nation that thinks the armed forces are it's most important and most valuable and most necessary investment - not even my own.

The Germans learned their lesson the hard way. What will it take for us? I'd rather see a peaceful solution, and, at the very least, that will take more moral certitude and complaint from the American people. Too often, it seems, peace takes protest.


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