Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seize on Good News

I say grab onto it when you can. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates today announced that the Pentagon's gigantic, obscene, swollen, and fat-filled budget is going to slashed by $78 billion over the next five years. (See stories here and here.) That's about $15.6 billion a year, and for a budget of $553 billion--for FY 2012, and that doesn't include the special appropriations that pay for the obscene wars in the Middle East--that doesn't seem like much. At least not to me.

But, hey, it is in this time when the yahoos are taking over the House, the president is hiring a frigging banker as his chief of staff, and the country is about the be handed over lock, stock, and barrel to the corporations that we should be most grateful for the small favors.

These cuts are going to reduce the Army and the Marines. And they are going to also deep six several hugely expense and hugely unnecessary weapons systems.

So guess who's upset by the cuts? You guessed it. Those budget-cutting Republicans. What? they say. With China out there and Iran? and two wars going on? Why we need to keep the Pentagon bloated, they say. And so here we are. My guess is they are going to put as much of a monkey wrench in these plans as possible. Welcome to Republican rule, boys and girls. (And did you notice we already have potential enemies primed and waiting in the wings? This is why we will always be at war.)

Update I: Well, on second thought, I'm not all that thrilled. Oh, it's better than no cut at all, but it's really just a token. I discovered via an interview between SecDef Gates and Jim Lehrer on TV last evening that the Pentagon's budget, even with these cuts is still going to go up every year, just not by as much. And the troop level cuts, well, Gates says the number of troops are still going to be higher in both the Army and Marines than when he took over. So what this amounts to is a mostly-politically motivated move to forestall deeper cuts that would be required whenever this country decides it's time to get serious about saving its financial neck. And actually, it may never do that. I'm already sick of the Republican House and its posturing. What a crock!
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