Thursday, April 15, 2010

war machine spending

One more time, the glaring contradiction in the tea party: this anti-state, anti-tax agitation is at the same time militarist fan-club of the imperialist war machine.

Let’s see how much of a contradiction this is, for it also exposes the real social problem, one of the main threads of these posts.

In Washington the proposed 2011 budget is on the table. A tally put up on Counterpunch reckons that, leaving out Social Security (which returns to citizens money they’ve already paid into a dedicated fund), it will add up to about $3 trillion.

Of that, military spending will account for about $1.5 trillion – shockingly, a full half of real public spending, broken down thus:
    Pentagon spending                       $708 billion
    Extra allotment for overseas wars       $200 billion
    Surveillance and spy agency spending    $ 40 billion
    Other non-Pentagon military spending    $ 94 billion
    Interest on debts for wars              $400 billion
(I’ve left out veterans’ benefits and health costs, which no one should object to but add up to another $100 billion.)

Dave Lindorff comments: “The 2011 military budget is the largest in history, not just in actual dollars, but in inflation-adjusted dollars, exceeding even the spending in World War II, when the nation was on an all-out war footing.”

And this budget for the US state’s war machine, ostensibly "defending" 5% of the world’s population against the other 95%, will account, as it has for years, for about half of all global military spending.

So that's the picture, behind all the distracting garbage, there it is: permanent war, but no money for health care, education and culture, public transportation and basic services. Decided de facto: war machine rather than all that reduces misery and makes life better and more humane.

The spectacle of politics in the US remains a lethally childish cartoon until this reality is confronted.

The contradiction around which the tea party marches exposes that manipulated movement for what it is: a lynching machine aiming to lever Republicans back into power.

The larger contradiction, operating globally, continues to kill. It points to the real social function of the US war machine, which enforces not just US dominance but a whole system of rivalry-within-dominance, the rule of antagonism, a planetary order of exploitation and oppression.

Call that into question and you call everything into question. 
on tea partiers

Dave Lindorff, “Where Your Taxes Go,” Counterpunch, 13 April 2010.
Running tally of the costs of the wars from National Priorities Project.

No comments:

Post a Comment