America's Outrageous War Economy!
Pentagon can't find $2.3 trillion, wasted on 'national defense'
Want peace? Work for justice, especially a fair spending of public revenue. Are there good subsidies and bad subsidies. or is the whole notion of discretionary spending by politicians -- instead of by citizens -- suspect? We trim this long 2008 editoral from the mainstream business press, CBS MarketWatch , of Aug. 18.
By Paul B. FarrellWhat's the answer to Jim Grant's thought-provoking question last month in the Wall Street Journal -- "Why No Outrage?"
Americans zone out playing video war games. We nod at 90-second news clips of Afghan war casualties and collateral damage in Georgia. We laugh at Jon Stewart's dark comedic news and Ben Stiller's new war spoof "Tropic Thunder" ... all the while silently, by default, we enable our rulers as they aggressively expand America's War Economy, a relentless machine that needs a steady diet of war after war.
Americans surrender 54% of their tax dollars to a war machine, which consumes 47% of the world's total military budgets.
There more civilian mercenaries working for no-bid private war contractors than the total number of enlisted military in Iraq (180,000 to 160,000), at an added cost to taxpayers in excess of $200 billion and climbing daily.
The Pentagon pays warriors $100,000-plus bonuses to re-up so they can keep expanding "America's Outrageous War Economy.
But isn't our $1.4 trillion war budget essential for "national defense" and "homeland security?" Don't we have to protect ourselves?
We are threatened more by internal fanatics than by external terrorists. They guide our elected leaders who terrorize us, brainwash us, so we let them take our money to finance this ultimate "black hole" of corruption.
Our honored principles are little more than flag-waving excuses used by neocon war hawks to disguise the buildup of private fortunes in America's war economy.
This ideology has been challenged in works like Craig Unger's "American Armageddon: How the Delusions of the Neoconservatives and the Christian Right Triggered the Descent of America -- and Still Imperil Our Future."
Where does the money go? Read Portfolio magazine's special report "The Pentagon's $1 Trillion Problem." The Pentagon's 2007 budget of $440 billion included $16 billion to operate and upgrade its financial system. Unfortunately "the defense department has spent billions to fix its antiquated financial systems [but] still has no idea where its money goes."
And it gets worse: Back "in 2000, Defense's inspector general told Congress that his auditors stopped counting after finding $2.3 trillion in unsupported entries." Yikes, our war machine has no records for $2.3 trillion! How can we trust anything they say?
In "Trillions for Military Technology: How the Pentagon Innovates and Why It Costs So Much”, John Alic, a former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment staffer, explains why it takes decades to get weapon systems into production even as innovation in the civilian economy becomes ever more frenetic and despite expenditures of many billions of dollars some of those weapons don't work very well.
Spineless Democrats let a blundering executive branch hide hundreds of billions of war costs in sneaky "supplemental appropriations", a la Enron's off-balance-sheet deals.
Washington's 537 elected leaders turned the governance of the American economy over to 42,000 greedy self-interest lobbyists.
The contrast between today's leaders and the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 shocks our conscience. Today war greed trumps morals. During the Revolutionary War our leaders risked their lives and fortunes; many lost both.
Today it's the opposite: Too often our leaders' main goal is not public service but a ticket to building a personal fortune in the war economy, often by simply becoming a high-priced lobbyist.
Read Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes' "$3 Trillion War." They show how our government's deceitful leaders are secretly hiding the real long-term costs of the Iraq War, which was originally sold to the American taxpayer with a $50 billion price tag and funded out of oil revenues. But add in all the lifetime veterans' health benefits, equipment placement costs, increased homeland security and interest on new federal debt, and suddenly taxpayers got a $3 trillion war tab! click here
Our commander-in-chief proudly tells us he is a "war president;" and his party's presidential candidate chants "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," as if "war" is a celebrity hit song.
Kevin Phillips in "Wealth and Democracy" warned, "Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out."
Before this massive war bubble explodes in our faces, get outraged -- rebel. Comments? Tell us: What will it take to wake up America, get citizens, investors, anybody mad at "America's Outrageous War Economy?"
The Voters Choose… but on the Basis of What?
The three trillion dollar war
Happy Birthday, DHS!
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