Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

They’re breaking out the champagne again at the War Department:

House passes $106 billion war funding bill

(AP) — War-funding legislation survived a fierce partisan battle in the House on Tuesday, a major step in providing commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan the money they would need for military operations in the coming months.

The $106 billion measure, in addition to about $80 billion for military operations, provides for an array of other spending priorities, including $7.7 billion to respond to the flu pandemic and more than $10 billion in development and security aid for Pakistan and Iraq as well as countries such as Mexico and the nation of Georgia.

The bill also extends credit to the IMF and contains a so-called “cash for clunkers” provision, “which gives people vouchers of up to $4,500 to trade in their old cars and buy new ones with higher fuel efficiency…”

So, when you trim away all the fat, it’s only $80 billion for the military. But remember, this is a supplemental spending bill, which means it’s not part of the Pentagon’s normal budget. In essence, it’s an $80 billion dollar bonus.

Does the Pentagon really deserve a bonus? Let’s take a look at its record over the past sixty years and see. Bear in mind, I’m only counting the ‘big’ wars, not all of the ‘peace-keeping’ or ‘humanitarian’ missions, or silly show biz bombings like Libya or Sudan; nor am I making any judgment about the morality or necessity of these wars. I’m just viewing them from a simple standard of win or loss. Here goes:

Korea, tie; Vietnam, loss; Panama, win; Iraq War I, win; Serbia, win; Afghanistan, loss; Iraq War II: This Time It’s Personal, They Tried To Kill My Daddy, loss.

By my reckoning, that makes the War Department 3-3-1 at the very thing that justifies their limitless funding, fighting wars. Given this record, I think all talk about supplemental spending increases is, to use the Pentagon’s own style, highly premature at this stage of operations.

And it gets even worse:

Passage of the bill, which provides funds through the end of this fiscal year on Sept. 30, would bring to nearly $1 trillion the amount spent on the wars and other security matters since the Sept. 11 attacks. More than 70% of that has gone to Iraq, the Congressional Research Service said in an analysis.…

The Pentagon has said that without the bill the Army could start running out of war funds as early as July.

One trillion dollars over eight years and it’s still not enough, the Army could start running out of funds … They should move the Pentagon to Wall Street.

Cash for clunkers indeed.

Fortunately, the House debate over the bill wasn’t totally devoid of statemanship. Here’s what Dennis Kucinich had to say about it: “Another $106 billion, and all we get is a lousy war. Pretty soon that’s going to be about the only thing made in America: war.”

To which I can only say: Kucinich in 2012!


Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

It would be a great idea to exchange gazz-guzzlers and clunkers for more efficient machines.

The problem is that you gotta be 'credit-worthy' to get in on the deal. And the Clunkers will go on the used-car market, where they'll be sold to people who cannot afford NOT to drive 'em, if they wanna drive at all...

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Oh, and you forgot our courageous invasion and conquest of that caribbean giant, Grenada (win).

Did you include the barracks that blew up when Raygun tried to stabilize Lebanon? another unqualified FAIL!

Since 1789, there have only been about six, discontinuous months when the USofA has NOT been engaged in some kind of colonial/imperialistic military action...