Cutting the War Budget

We need McGovern-size cuts to America’s bloated war budget

W.J. Astore

This week, Congress will attempt to override President Trump’s veto of the NDAA, the national defense authorization act, which in 2021 provides $740 billion to the Pentagon and its wars. As usual, there is strong bipartisan support for this massive war budget. Democrats will join Republicans in bowing and scraping before the military-industrial complex, even as they frame it in terms of “supporting” the troops and defending America. In short, Trump’s veto will not stand.

I’m so fed up with Democrats serving the war party, denying health care to all Americans, and so on that I finally changed my political party designation in my home state. I am now a no-party independent instead of a registered Democrat. (My wife joined me as she’s no fan of “handsy” Joe Biden and the refusal of “centrist” Democrats to help people in meaningful ways.)

Perhaps that’s what we all need to do. Reject the Republican and Democratic parties and fight for a political establishment that would put people first rather than billionaires and corporations. Short of revolution, I don’t see other options that promise meaningful change.

To my knowledge, the last major party presidential candidate who called for meaningful reductions in war spending was George McGovern. For example, McGovern called for a defense budget in 1975 of $54.8 billion, roughly $32 billion less than what the Nixon administration had proposed. McGovern, of course, had to couch this in terms of America still being a superpower with a nuclear arsenal that would be second to none, but at least he had the courage to talk of peace and of new approaches to foreign policy that would put diplomacy first instead of weaponry and war. What a loser he was, right?

If we applied a McGovern-size cut to today’s NDAA, we’d be talking about a “defense” budget of roughly $470 billion a year, still plenty of money, one would think, for the Pentagon to defend America. The $270 billion in savings could and should be applied to stimulus checks for Americans desperate for help in these Covid-disturbed times.

Imagine Americans getting a check from the government — a rebate of sorts — as a peace dividend! What would Americans rather have: a bunch of expensive F-35 jet fighters; ultra-expensive newer nuclear weapons on top of the ultra-expensive older ones; or some cash in pocket to buy groceries and pay their rent? I don’t know about you, but more F-35s and more nuclear bombers and missiles are not helping my bottom line.

To return to my changed political party affiliation: When a Democratic president-elect nominates a retired general and board member of Raytheon as the best person to exercise civilian oversight over the Pentagon, you know the Democratic party is a toady to the military-industrial complex and devoid of integrity as well as fresh ideas.

War? What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Time for some peace dividends, America.

59 thoughts on “Cutting the War Budget

  1. Good personal choice WJA! And your wife too. Congrats!

    But, as much as I admire these personal choices that matter (and more people should be making them), I am disheartened by the stranglehold the military-industrial complex has on your society and, as a knock-on effect, the rest of the world including my country, Canada. How to wrest control from these huge self-interest groups that are co-mingling between the political and private industry (military but also environmental and industrial interests)? It will take another revolution I’m afraid…

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    1. Absolutely, a genuine revolution would be required, and it’s nowhere on the horizon. A note on terminology: Hannah Arendt correctly observed that a revolution implies a complete “turning of the wheel,” 360 degrees, which brings one right back to the starting point. [And a Pop Music note: soured by the betrayal of the working class by the sellout “Labour Party” in the UK, Pete Townshend of The Who wrote “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” observing that “the new Boss” seems very much like “the old Boss.” And so it is here in the US, when the White House changes hands between the Dems and the GOP.] So what is a better term? “Semi-revolution” doesn’t seem appealing. I would substitute the longer, but accurate, “overthrow of the Established Order.”

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  2. On the subject of the Peace Dividend that never happened, I am forced to now deliver on a promise made weeks ago to transcribe some comments by Gore Vidal and Mikhail Gorbachev that appear in the documentary portrait of Vidal called “Gore Vidal–The United States of Amnesia.” [Bullfrog Films, 2013 DVD; written & directed by Nicholas Wrathall; highly recommended by me!] Vidal made the following comment in Venice, Italy at a global conference on media influence on public opinion in 1986, with Gorbachev in attendance.
    GORE VIDAL: “For much of my lifetime the American media has been tightly controlled by a handful of corporations whose main task, since 1945, was to terrify Americans into believing that the Russians were coming, and so we needed ever more missiles, and nuclear warheads, and submarines. They’ve had decades to create a false reality for a citizenry largely uneducated (sic) in public schools that teach conformity, with an occasional advanced degree in consumerism. (…) It was as if a prosperous, victorious nation–which we were–had been bitten by a werewolf, the werewolf of empire, and so became rabid.”
    In a private meeting some years later (date unspecified in the movie), also in Venice (Vidal resided in Italy many years) after Gorbachev left office, the following exchange takes place:
    VIDAL: “You were the architect of what looked like a new world for your country, and gave an opportunity to our country to fit into this new universe….”
    GORBACHEV: “When the Soviet Union ended, the West said ‘Why change anything?’ I believe the US had the impression that they had gained a total and complete victory and they caught this terrifying disease–the victory complex.”
    VIDAL: “The sense of irreality (sic) is too powerful in the United States.”
    GORBACHEV: “We thought things were getting better and we felt that we could do business with the United States. I think many Americans are starting to realize that strategic mistakes have been made, and that this focus on a new militarization won’t be good, that we’ll all lose–the United States and the whole world.”
    The latter exchange was probably in the early 1990s. Likely neither participant would be shocked, though likely nauseated, to see the totally obscene level to which the US military budget has swollen in the intervening years.

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  3. I take note of several assertions via naming, e.g., the “war party” and the “peace dividend.” Frankly, both parties are war parties and the peace dividend is a little like seeking a discount on already inflated prices. The metaphors we use shift all over the place. However, considering Eisenhower asserted via naming the military-industrial complex, which was revealed to be accurate, it’s agreed at the very least that the renaming of the Dept. of War to the Dept. of Defense some decades ago was entirely false. Further, if a fair comparison were made regarding how much government money is spent incarcerating Americans, prosecuting wars abroad, and maintaining overwhelming military superiority (despite an apparent inability to win or end wars, not that either is the true objective behind warmaking) vs. actually investing in and contributing to the common good (domestic or international), I daresay the balance runs heavily toward an vindictive, destructive approach.

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    1. Orwell’s “1984” was published in 1948, after the change of name to “Dept. of Defense.” I’m not sure if it’s been documented that George (born Eric Blair, BTW) was directly influenced by that to make his brilliant observations, in guise of fiction, on the perversion of language. Sad to say, I have never read actual essays he penned on that topic. This trend was already firmly established in Germany prior to outbreak of actual hostilities on the European continent. The ministry famously run by Herr Goebbels incorporated a phrase like “Public Enlightenment” into its rather cumbersome official name (especially when viewed in the original German!).

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    2. “Frankly, both parties are war parties and the peace dividend is a little like seeking a discount on already inflated prices.” Agreed!

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  4. The root of our trouble is unlimited private money in politics. If that were stopped, the MIC along with Big Pharma, the insurance industry, the medical industry and on and on down a very long list would be in a real pickle because corporate lobbying could no longer provide contributions that fund campaigns. Corporate welfare, which is what the military budget is all about, would end as there could be no reward for it in votes. The Supreme Court pointed us in the wrong direction with Citizens United, making the situation worse.

    Glenn Greenwald mentioned in his column today the study that shows how the interests of wealth are what direct Congress far more than the will of the people.

    Power, like grass, has to be periodically cut back as it will grow without limit otherwise and its top priority is to entrench itself. Because Congress is bought, the chances of it passing legislation limiting private money in politics is essentially nil and that means the war/welfare budget will go on growing. Trump, who has opposed it, is doing so for a reason that has nothing to do with the glaring impropriety of the budget itself so the current uproar means nothing in the way of change.

    I can’t neglect to mention the foundation that allows Uncle Sam to spend without limit – the fiat money system with the dollar as the international unit of exchange. America alone can print money and run up any debt it wants without fear of anyone demanding payment, because the payment would only be an exchange of one kind of US debt (Treasuries) for another (dollars). Unless this economic regime is overthrown, crazy spending will continue with no penalty unless inflation hits, not a problem in our COVID devastated situation that has destroyed Joe Sixpack’s wealth to a degree Uncle Sam’s printing press has not been able to offset (not much of the print shop output going to Mr. Sixpack, anyway).

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    1. Perhaps the only “miracle” I’ve observed in my lifetime has been the Federal Reserve’s ability to “kick the can down the road” and delay the collapse of the buying power of the $US. This cannot possibly continue forever, and when the bill comes due for the reckless waste in allocation of tax revenues all these decades, consumers’ heads will be spinning at the rise in price of basically everything. The price inflation of the early 1970s will be something to be desperately longed for, a trip down Warm Nostalgia Lane.

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    2. ‘The root of our trouble is unlimited private money in politics.’ It’s refreshing to see that at least a few Americans recognise this. Democracy? What democracy? It’s almost as bad in the UK though not ‘unlimited’ (except when it’s hidden!). Obscene amounts of money spent on ‘lobbying’, bank and ‘consultants’ fees for subverting democracy.
      But the American system seems to make it much worse.
      ‘Free Speech’? What a joke. Free Assange now!
      nb. ‘recognise’=UK spelling!

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      1. As a Canadian, I’m not affected by the US Supreme Court declaring Corporations are People and can spend money to support particular Politicians and the Corporate Policies they endorse.

        It’s just too bad the People can’t get the same Tax Deductions Corporations get. They would then be able to deduct some Interest Payments and the Costs of Food, Clothing and Shelter and so many other Tax Deductions corporations get.

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        1. I noticed your ‘After 45 years of looking for God WITHIN, and OUTSIDE, I still have a way to go to know the Patience of Job. Not in the Name, but in the Work, as we take Job to mean in our TIMES.’ too and so change my link URL!

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          1. Interesting link in your Name, Trevor.
            I would fit in with the Quaker Nontheists, Theists, and Atheists, since the Royal Law of Love applies to All!

            The Eternal Spirit God of my Faith is still bigger than I have imagined all these 45 years later, believing as Jesus taught, a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without God knowing it.

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        2. At least in some states among the 50, groceries are still exempt from sales taxes, plus clothing up to a certain price point (though that might be unique to my own state of residence, I’m not sure), etc. When the massive AUSTERITY that I guarantee awaits us hits, we should not be in the least surprised if the exemption on groceries evaporates overnight. Also, there is the “Standard Deduction” on income that is meant to partially allow for purchase of necessities like food, shelter and fuel.

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      2. Here in the US we are raised to believe we live in a “democracy.” This is sheer poppycock. The word “republic” appears right there in the “Pledge of Allegiance” we of a certain age were drilled into reciting at start of each schoolday. The “democratic rights” angle enters the picture in that we are allowed the privilege of choosing between Tweedledum and Tweedledee candidates in “open, fair” elections. (UK also is limited to two major parties, Labour and Conservative, of course.) The absurd shenanigans of our current incumbent Fearless Leader in trying to discard the results of last month’s election don’t merit comment. And as for rights like “freedom of assembly to present grievances, free speech,” etc., they’ve always had real-world limits. Under present regime, trying to exercise them has cost some individuals their lives and left others with gruesome injuries from “rubber” bullets, riot gas canisters, etc. In a real nationwide crisis of civil unrest, such rights would disappear in a flash. Half the populace would applaud that, and most of the rest would be too paralyzed with fear to fight back. But our average citizen, if we may imagine such a beastie, is unaware and/or unconcerned.

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  5. >> War? What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. <<
    Say it again!

    It is bad that the US spend too much on weapons, but even worse that we spend so much on weapons that are badly designed. There is plenty of evidence that the f-35 isn't a good fighter plane. What, short of a lost battle in which the F-35 failed will sway the American voter?

    Can this be resolved short of a tremendous military defeat? What if Arthur C. Clarke's great short story, "Superiority" was made into a Netflix series starring, oh, Scarlett Johansson?

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    1. As Orwell pointed out, the aim of Perpetual War is precisely to waste maximum resources that otherwise might improve the proles’ lives. Quite sad that the only thing that (temporarily) “unites” US citizens these days is the onset of new military hostilities overseas. Keep those “Support Our Troops” car magnets handy, y’all! [insert disgusted-face emoji]

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      1. Of course! For a while during the Vietnam War, GM had a contract to manufacture the M-16 rifle. Troops in the field reported issues with jamming. Was GM ever “punished” in the least for this failure? Hell no!!

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        1. I’m ignorant about most military/weaponry specifics, but many years ago, I saw a report on the Osprey, I believe, a VTOL craft. The report (possibly on 60 Minutes?) revealed that the prototype craft had failed all trials, but the military was nevertheless going to pursue its manufacture. If my recollection is correct, it would seem that untold billions are wasted on such boondoggles. Like Ronnie Raygun’s Star Wars technology, which I understand has never been brought to a state of effectiveness. Point being that even the “defense” rationale is blatantly bogus.

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          1. I’m not aware that Trump’s insisted-upon “Space Force” has gone beyond initial phase of appointing command structure. New hardware development? Haven’t heard a word (of course, work could be Top Secret). I also haven’t heard a peep from Biden about what he’ll do with this boondoggle. Kill it or continue it, perhaps scaled down? Only time will tell. Perhaps resources would be better spent protecting gov’t computers from hackers, domestic and foreign? Again, only time will tell what damage may have been done. Like if the Pentagon goes “dark” (which would be okay by me!), or the Treasury’s systems all crap out, etc.

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        2. Ironically, the AR-15 was a good weapon that rarely jammed. The Army got a hold of it, changed the specs and ammo, made it the M-16 and turned it into an unreliable rifle that jammed in combat. James Fallows in “National Defense” has a good summary of this.

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        1. Btw, read the short story you mentioned. Thanks for bringing it up. Gotta say, it’s a spot-on summary of the status quo. There’s a similar scenario included in the book, “Ecotopia,” in which the military might of the rest of the U.S. is pitted against the West Coast section of the country, which has seceded from the Union. Spoiler alert: the lightly-armed Ecotopians prevail.

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  6. Keep it going retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) Astore!
    It’s not so different here in the UK – think we are about the second largest exporter of Arms (for example to the Saudis and other murderous dictatorships). Hope we free our political prisoner Julian Assange next week. Eisenhower warned us, is it possible for the people to take back control? See blistering review of Obama’s ‘beautiful writing’ in Consortium News.

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    1. Hello in the bleedin’ UK! Is there some lawsuit coming to a head to try to block extradition of Assange to the US? Haven’t seen a word about such a matter here in the States. Not surprising, perhaps?

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      1. Lawyers, celebrities, petitions, twitter and street protests are doing their best unlike the Australian government.
        We shouldn’t be holding any political prisoners in the UK, let alone an Australian held at the behest of the war-mongering US to cover up its war crimes!

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  7. Check out Andrew Corkery and Christian Sorensen on our wildly expensive and extremely dangerous nuclear weapons programs. As Sorensen notes:

    “we have thoroughly corporatized the nuclear triad to the point where the profit motive is really the impetus for nuclear weapons production and development, as well as military products more generally. That’s incredibly worrying—and every global citizen, including every citizen and resident in the United States, needs to be aware of that.”

    https://therealnews.com/holding-humanity-hostage-dangerous-prospects-for-bidens-nuclear-weapons-policy

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  8. Bill, I just listened to the 1 hour, 20 minute, ‘Fortress On A Hill’ Podcast with you and Danny Sjursen. It added depth to my appreciation of what I see you doing in your writing learning to your illustrious Military-Educational background.

    I was especially glad to hear you bring up the ‘Cross of Iron’ speech of General-President Eisenhower, the last REAL Commander-in-Chief, fresh off his Military-Political Experience of Life.

    It is hard to penetrate the MSM I see as Propagandists for the US Military-Industrial Complex, Number 1 in proliferating the Weapons of Death and Destruction to THIS World and the Flesh.

    To me it was a Milestone of History, the Night of the 1976 Academy Awards, with the 1st Live, Trans-Atlantic TV broadcast with Diana Ross Live in Amsterdam.
    That marked Humanity entering the Age of the Global Village.

    As a Montrealer enjoying my 1st Winter in the Warm Sun, I was watching it in Venice Beach, just miles away. I wrote of that Night here for those Interested
    https://rayjc.com/2011/02/28/oscar-and-the-idols-of-the-people/

    But reaching that Global Village Awareness, you should take up Danny’s suggestion of another Podcast on Military History from McGovern, Eisenhower, General Butler and all of History Past, from Jesus the Christ to the Old Testament Prophets.
    Most Christian America does not see it, so it does not register, these Lines from the Book they dismiss so easily, because of MSM Propaganda omitting the Facts. Is War Secular, Political or Religious?
    ‘Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts, to, he shall judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore, to, Blessed are the Peace Makers for they shall be called the Children of God, to, the Son of Man is not come to destroy Lives but to save them.

    Even with all the technological marvels of the level of Media not known for most of Human History Word of Mouth, still is the most effective and as transferable faster than Covid, if learned to convey in the right way.

    Conveying at the street level, anyone can do with Family, Friends, Co-workers and strangers, citing General-President Eisenhower’s Statistics from his Cross of Iron speech at the Beginning of his Presidency to his MIC speech at the End of his Presidency, eventually it will reach the MSM and they will once again become Propagandists for the Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, abandoning their Political Agendas.

    I recommend listening to this Podcast to all the others. Peace
    https://www.fortressonahill.com/2020/11/30/bill-astore-ep-86/

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      1. After 45 years of looking for God WITHIN, and OUTSIDE, I still have a way to go to know the Patience of Job. Not in the Name, but in the Work, as we take Job to mean in our TIMES.
        Otherwise, I would not have to clarify this sentence, ‘It added depth to my appreciation of what I see you doing in your writing, learning OF your illustrious Military-Educational background.’
        Also, I’m 77, experiencing visual Dyslexia with the Keys of the Keyboard too often as I get older. More Patience on my part would stop that!
        My Spellcheck doesn’t underline Words spelled right, but out of context.

        A small word, making the difference in the expression of “thoughts and prayers” of support for your Efforts!

        Happy New Year of Jesus the Christ 2021 to All!

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  9. Excellent reference to Townshend’s work. You’ve nailed it. In historical terms, we’ve actually come full-circle in the U.S., if you consider the near-monarchical power of the President, and the current propensity for extending it as much as possible.

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    1. I’m hoping we can go for a while without another Severely Mentally Deranged individual capturing the White House. This presidency has been a genuine aberration in that regard. But the “Trumpites,” unfortunately, will still be with us after Jan. 20, likely getting more angry and insane with the passing years.

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      1. Yes, that persistence of insanity is alarming. Was speaking with someone over the weekend who offered the opinion that Biden will not serve out his term, that he will be declared mentally incompetent. I said, “If the 25th amendment couldn’t be used to oust Trump, it certainly couldn’t be used on Biden.” My friend’s response was, “Well, but if there was a diagnosis on Biden….” I replied that no mental illness could be more blatant than Trump’s. But no….the friend thinks Trump is far and away more stable than Biden. And so it goes.

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        1. Well, there are two separate issues here: “cognitive ability” or whatever the term is (which would address age-related dementia), vs. sheer derangement. Trump claims all his cognitive checks were passed with flying colors (ha, ha, ha!!). But to anyone not a Trump supporter, he clearly IS deranged, and I’ve been saying that from the outset. In the final weeks/days of the presidential campaign, I thought Biden was coming thru reasonably clear-mindedly. If he goes downhill rapidly, there’s a remedy for that: it’s called VP moves up to the top slot. Which would make Pelosi VP! Wouldn’t the GOP be thrilled with that?!

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          1. Harris, as VP, would become the president. Pelosi would be next in line as Speaker of the House. But I think Harris and the Democrats would nominate a new VP (I doubt it would be Pelosi), like Nixon nominated Ford to replace Agnew. Congress approves the new VP.

            If President Harris had to nominate a new VP, who would it be? Cory Booker, perhaps?

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          2. I think you err here, Perfesser. Agnew already was gone when Nixon resigned, so Ford had moved over from being Speaker of the House to the VP slot, the standard Constitutional succession. What went off the rails was Nelson Rockefeller becoming VP under Ford, never having been a Member of Congress. I don’t even recall what dicey rationale was applied for that!

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          3. I think the Speaker of the House 1973 was Democrat Carl Albert. Ford was appointed by Nixon on advice of the Speaker and others in Congress since they had to approve the selection.

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          4. According to Wikipedia, you are correct. My memory must be slipping. They say none other than the 25th Amendment gave Nixon the authority to make this appointment. I suppose the situation was deemed extraordinary because VP had to be replaced rather than POTUS at that moment. And I suppose Rockefeller stepped in on same argument. It’s all a buncha hogwash in my book!!

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  10. Gotta love that insane Joker laugh of hers whenever she doesn’t want to answer a ques., or even normally– getting her Covid 19 Vaccine today… I’d like to see her pick Pete as her Vice.

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    1. There was a great Show on CNN over the past Weekend on Vice Presidents if you haven’t seen this Show already I heartily recommend it… I found out many stories, tidbits of info., & just amusing anecdotes of the Job of V.P. plus how V.P. Fritz Mondale came to define the modern Vice Presidency plus the History of our Veep’s in it!

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      1. It takes someone like a Spiro Agnew (convicted of corruption while Gov. of Maryland) to really “leave a mark [stain!]” on office of VP. And of course he had help from Wm. Safire, who penned the phrase burned into my own mind–“nattering nabobs of negativism”–for an Agnew speech. Nixon’s own second-banana role under Eisenhower had some notable moments, like when his motorcar was stoned in Latin America, the Great Kitchen Debate with Nikita K., etc. Plus the dirty work behind the scenes, which included laying the plans for invasion of Cuba which blew up in JFK’s face. But largely, the VP is supposed to keep a relatively low profile, just waiting in the wings, “a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

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        1. Wow, my mind is clearly preoccupied! I neglected to mention the “minor matter” of one Dick Cheney having served as the real POTUS on Dubya’s terms!!!

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  11. The war/welfare machine is awesome, spreading the wealth put into weapons programs nationwide. Let me note two examples.

    I had a high school friend who ended up in Dayton, OH (big Air Force town) working on the F35 doing inventory and parts management, keeping up on supplies of every nut and bolt, that kind of thing. He was not surprisingly a big fan of the F35. There are tens of thousands like him around the country doing similarly mundane work and being well paid for it.

    In my town in Illinois, there are a few light industrial areas. As I ride by them on my bicycle I enjoy noting the names of the companies then when I get home I look them up to see what they do. One in particular that seems to be doing well and has a big loading dock and a good sized property caught my interest. I looked it up to find that it makes electric generators for the military. Again, this is reproduced all over the country and by design when military contracts are let so that the bucks are widely distributed with the votes in Congress that those bucks produce following on.

    Everyone knows we cannot fight another war like WW2 or Korea as going up against Russia or China is not possible with everyone nuked up. Vietnam had China and Russia hovering over it in the minds of the war directors in DC who were obsessed with going only so far and no further, though only so far was far more than enough to devastate that little country. Russia and China must be talked up as threats, of course, but that’s for Joe Citizen who loves to rally ’round the flag. The military budget is the biggest fraud of all time, funding a money distribution scheme that because it would be absurd on the face of it now requires the US to deploy to every nook and cranny around the world under the title of national defense but in reality being a business insurance plan.

    We are in a military fantasy world where every threat must be met in production but none can be met in action. All we can do is pound helpless adversaries. This doesn’t prevent big upgrades such as the one recently completed to our huge fleet of M1 tanks. Fighter planes can’t be used against similar fighter planes but they can be endlessly upgraded for the fight that will never happen.

    And while this goes on, proven planes like the A-10 Warthog are designated for the boneyard against the strong protests of those that have flown them with great success. The venerable B-52 survives because it is a great stand-off weapon, deployed directly above enemies that have nothing to bring it down. They can’t even bring down our slow, low flying drones. But even our state of the art weapons are called on only for “ducks in a barrel” missions.

    Moral of the story – it isn’t whether a weapons system is useful or effective, because it never goes up against what it is supposed to be able to take on. What counts is whether it is new and can provide jobs for the industry. Leave no defense contractor or engineer behind and subcontract to every single state in the union while signing up foreign countries so they are dependent on us for the gear while we take in the dough. Jared Kushner has been on a whirlwind tour doing exactly this under the heading of peace for Israel.

    We’ve come up with a perfect defense system for the defense budget.

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    1. Yes, this is precisely why “my” Dem. House Rep. is a total toady of the War Industry. Vindictive POTUS or Chairs of war-related Congressional committees can also use distribution of contracts to punish a district viewed as “liberal” (oh horrors!). The whole situation proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. King understated his case in April 1967. This country lost whatever semblance of a “soul” it may have had, i.e. suffered spiritual death, long, long ago.

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  12. I’m reminded of a quote by Gen MacArthur.

    Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear — kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor — with the cry of grave national emergency… Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.

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    1. Say what? When did MacArthur make such a statement?? He was a key figure in propagating the notion that the “threat” of “Red China” was best dealt with by full nuclear attack!! Got his ass fired by ‘Give ’em hell’ Harry Truman! Did he become publicly critical of US policies after that??

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  13. WJA – you know you’re making WAY too much ethical, economic & military sense to be taken seriously in the current zeitgeist, right?

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    1. To paraphrase Margaret Mead, only a handful of seeming nutcase weirdo “outsiders” become the ones to trigger something like real societal change. In terms of political mainstream, Donald Trump was and is certainly an “outsider.” And look at the marvelous changes he’s brought about! [insert Puking Face emoji]

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  14. I was thrilled to see Fareed Zacharia of CNN quote from Eisenhower’s Cross of Iron speech this morning, what was posted here December 17, and in The Washington Post a few Times since then.

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      1. Ah yes, the wheels of the bureaucracy turn slowly! Especially when there was never a smidgen of intent to actually deliver on such a thing. Peace? It’s viewed as a money-loser! (Obviously, the opposite is true, in terms of welfare of the citizenry as a whole.)

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