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Pentagon's Global Reach: Around The World In 12 Days

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Headlined to H2 11/16/09

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Pentagon's Global Reach: Around The World In 12 Days
Rick Rozoff

On January 20 a changing of the guard occurred in the United States White House with two-term president George W. Bush being replaced by former freshman senator Barack Obama.

Bush had continued the policies of his predecessor Bill Clinton in relation to the Balkans, Iraq and Latin America - with troops and a massive military base in Kosovo, regular bombings of Iraq and a monumental expansion of military aid to Colombia - and in addition launched two wars of his own, those against Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq two years later.

Obama, so thoroughly does U.S. polity predetermine individual administrations' policies, entered office by intensifying the deadly drone missile attacks in Pakistan begun by Bush in late 2008 and announced that he was doubling the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

Already presiding over the world's largest military budget, officially 41.5% of world expenditures in 2008 and far larger with non-Defense Department spending factored in, in April the new president requested from Congress an additional $85 billion in supplemental funding for the war in Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq.

U.S. lawmakers were more than accommodating and on July 24 Obama signed Iraq and Afghanistan War Supplemental Appropriations amounting to $106 billion.



On October 28 he signed the $680 billion 2010 National Defense Authorization Act which includes another $130 billion to fund what his administration now calls overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

With the authorization of $106 billion in July, the last official supplemental appropriation for the wars, and $130 billion last month for Afghanistan and Iraq the combined official spending for both wars will exceed $1 trillion. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 2009 Year Book, total international military spending for 2008 was not much more than that: $1.464 trillion.

Eight days after the authorization of the $680 billion Pentagon budget for next year, the New York Times reported that the top American military commander, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, said "he expected the Pentagon to ask Congress in the next few months for emergency financing to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," with the newspaper estimating the size of the demand to be $50 billion. [1]

Despite the Obama administration's pledge to the contrary, July's war supplement may not be the last one. It will simply be renamed an emergency appropriation. The first of many more to come.

Not only does one country account for the overwhelming plurality of world military expenditures, but that nation also has troops and bases on all six habitable continents (as well as a 54-year military mission in Antarctica, Operation Deep Freeze) and eleven aircraft carrier strike groups and six navy fleets that roam the world's oceans and seas at will. It is also expanding a global interceptor missile system on land, on sea, in the air and into space that will leave it invulnerable to retaliation.

Reports from the first twelve days of November indicate the global scope of the first attempt in history by one nation to achieve uncontested worldwide military power.

A survey of that period will trace recent trends across the globe with the alphabet as a compass.

Afghanistan

Any day now Washington may announce plans to add 40,000 or more troops to the 68,000 already there. [2] Plans are underway to accommodate that influx.

The American military compound at and fanning out from the Bagram Air Field has been expanded from 3,993 to 5,198 acres since 2001 and is in the process of further enlargement. It already hosts some 25,000 U.S. troops and contractors and "a new parking ramp supporting the world's largest aircraft is to be completed this spring....[I]t is continuing to grow to keep up with the requirements of an escalating war and troop increases." [3]

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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