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Up Is Down: The Military Budget

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The largest military budget in the history of the world is being increased. Certain weapons are being cut back, others expanded. But the overall budget is going UP. However, you don't need me to tell you that. You've learned it from these fine news sources:

"With Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposing broad cuts in Pentagon spending, a new war over the president's budget has begun. While critics already are warning that the plan could compromise U.S. security, the greater resistance appears to be coming from lawmakers worried that the cuts threaten thousands of jobs in their states."

There really are cuts and critics and chicken littles, but nowhere does Fox tell you that the overall budget is INCREASING. Then again, if Fox didn't lie, how would we know what was true?

Rachel Maddow:

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates today proposed a massive overhaul of Pentagon spending. Since the year 2000 the already huge defense budget has risen 72 percent. Gates' new budget would pry the Pentagon away from its preparations for big conventional you-line-up-here we'll-line-up-here wars ... Anticipating criticism that he is making too big a change away from things that the Pentagon has traditionally LOVED spending money on, Mr. Gates said this: 'Every defense dollar spent to to overinsure against a remote or diminishing risk ... is a dollar not available to take care of our people.' ... And that was the head of the Pentagon acknowledging that there isn't infinite money available for his department, that there have to be tradeoffs. And that thump-thump-thump sound that you heard in the distance as he was talking was the sound of executives at all the big defense contractors passing out."

Love ya three-quarters of the time, Rachel, but you really should have waved blue pom-poms for this one. As noted below, many "defense" contractors are cheering for Gates' budget.

The New York Times:

"WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced a major reshaping of the Pentagon budget on Monday, with deep cuts in many traditional weapons systems but new billions of dollars for others, along with more troops and new technology to fight the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. … Representative Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, reacted strongly against Mr. Gates’s proposal to end spending for the F-22, which employs 25,000 workers in Georgia and across the country. 'It's outrageous that President Obama is willing to bury the country under a mountain of debt with his reckless domestic agenda but refuses to fund programs critical to our national defense,' Mr. Price said in a statement. In addition, a bipartisan group of six senators urged Mr. Gates not to make large cuts in missile defense programs. In a letter to Mr. Obama, they said the reductions 'could undermine our emerging missile defense capabilities to protect the United States against a growing threat.'"

If the New York Times didn't use "objective" (quote one war monger and a second war monger) reporting to back militarism, how would we know we weren't dreaming?

Air America:

"Regular Army No More? (Audio)
"By Ana Marie Cox
"Defense Secretary Robert Gates builds in unprecedented cuts to defense spending, especially on experimental and "next generation" weapons like the F-22 and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. What's next? Lower-tech, proven options such as intelligence and counter insurgency. What it has in common with the rest of the Obama program may surprise you."

I love Air America and was on it yesterday, but fluff is fluff and some of it I'm allergic to.

Center for American Progress:

"Gates Reins In Bloated Defense Budget
"Yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced his recommendations for the department's 2010 budget, offering 'deep cuts in many traditional weapons systems but new billions of dollars for others, along with more troops and new technology to fight the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.' The Los Angeles Times described his proposal offering 'the most sweeping changes in military spending priorities in decades.' The Wonk Room's Matt Duss wrote yesterday that Gates's recommendations represent 'an appreciable shift in the way that the United States approaches the issue of military acquisitions.'"

This went on at length without ever mentioning that the budget was going UP not DOWN.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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