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It's Time to Take Away the Toys

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Okay, now here's a really bad idea. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that the U.S. needs a bigger Army and a bigger Marine Corps. Much bigger.

Why? For "future wars," he says.

Let's think about this. Supposedly, this current escalation--you know, the "surge"--in Iraq is supposed to make it possible to start bringing the troops from Iraq home. That, at least, is the official argument. It's certainly the argument of Sen. Joe Lieberman, Bush's official pet Democrat in the Senate.

So if we're bringing soldiers and marines home, why do we need more of them?

All having a bigger Army and Marine Corps does is encourage our leaders to use them. Especially our current leader.

Does anyone really think this is a good idea?

It's like giving a 12-year-old a gun. You know the kid's going to do something stupid with it.

Instead of talking about bigger military budgets (and can we stop calling them "defense" budgets please?), we should be talking about smaller military budgets. The latest one looks to be close to $800 billion, which is about double what it was when Bush first took (there's a well-chosen word) office in 2001.

If we had smaller military budgets, the nuts wouldn't be able to have their way with pre-emptive wars of aggression around the globe, and we'd have money to solve all the nation's pressing problems, like educating our kids, getting healthcare for 40 million people who don't have insurance, taking serious measures to combat global heating, and doing something about the shameful spectacle of millions living in poverty in the wealthiest nation in the world.

Imagine what $400 billion, spent on those kinds of things instead of bombs, bullets and military wages, could do! We could even have a Manhattan or Apollo Project to find solutions to climate change.

Well, if you're having a hard time imagining that, then listen to what spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a doomed war effort and on American imperialist activities around the globe is doing:

Claiming the federal till is empty, Bush is slashing funding for child health programs. Education funding is being short-changed. The Social Security Trust Fund is being sucked dry, critical satellites to monitor the earth's climate are being cancelled from the NASA budget, Veterans programs are being gutted.

Still want a bigger military?

For what? Fighting terrorism? The world's mightiest military is doing a pretty poor job of that as it is, and the billions of dollars of good money they want to throw after bad isn't going to help a bit. In fact, America's enemies don't need to attack the U.S. Bush and the DemPublican War Party in Congress is doing such a good job hollowing the country out and bankrupting us, they can just sit back and watch us shrivel up like a dried husk.

From now on, no candidate gets my support who isn't for an immediate pull out from Iraq, and a 50-percent reduction in the military budget.

 

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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