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Funding Wars Is Good for Babies and Your Garden

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David Swanson
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The executive director of something called the National Security Network, named Heather Hurlburt, offers -- I kid you not, and that's really her name, so try not to hurl -- Six Reasons to Love the Supplemental and Celebrate Progressives in Government.

Hurlburt begins with her own warning not to vomit:

"Usually, there are lots of reasons for progressives not to love supplemental spending bills. And I won't argue that this one is perfect. But before you get too queasy, consider six ways that progressives in Congress and the man at 1600 Pennsylvania turned 'more of the same' into 'change.'"

Oh thank goodness! What a relief! For a minute there I thought we might have to consider breaking out some... well, frankly, some mild criticism of the new emperor. I know, I know, it's not appropriate. But I was thinking, you know, another $97 billion off budget for wars, more dead bodies, more displaced families, more people who hate America, more debt for our grandkids, plus $108 billion for European banksters stapled onto the same bill. I mean, I was almost ready to suggest possibly, I don't know, phoning the White House to ask for the best talking points on this one. But Heather has saved us. THANK YOU, Heather! I suppose we should at least read the six reasons after Hurlburt finishes her prefatory remarks:

"Perhaps most important, the bill offers shifts in momentum that progressives can build on -- prioritizing economic support for poorer countries, even in an economic downturn; stopping the advance of the conservative effort to turn back the closing of Gitmo and ending of torture; and ending the apparently ceaseless expansion of defense budgets. It also marks various brands and blocs of progressives coming together to promote each other's goals -- i.e., successfully managing American's security and international engagement. And that's worth showing a little love."

Jackpot! That's six bonus reasons before we even get to the six reasons. We're home free! Wake me when it's primary season.

Except, I'm wondering why the word "war" hasn't come up yet, and I'm not actually totally sure of that very first reason, once I've put my beer down:

"shifts in momentum that progressives can build on"

What IS that, exactly? Maybe I need MORE beer. Or maybe the other reasons clear it up. Let's see.

"prioritizing economic support for poorer countries, even in an economic downturn"

Now, I'll admit this SOUNDS good. But isn't Afghanistan the third poorest country on earth, a place where people fight because it's the only available career move? And doesn't this bill prioritize bombing those people's houses with unmanned drones? And doesn't that make everything worse in every possible way? I mean, am I supposed to believe Heather Hurlburt or my own eyes? Now, the bill does contain funding for the financial overclass in European countries, but aren't European countries, even in the east, richer than Afghanistan or Iraq, the places we're focused on bombing and shooting? And doesn't the IMF have a tremendous record of leaving nations around the world worse off than it found them? If we wanted to provide aid to poor countries couldn't we simply stop bombing and occupying them and instead, you know, provide aid?

"stopping the advance of the conservative effort to turn back the closing of Gitmo and ending of torture"

You know, these look like two more reasons to vote for war funding that have nothing to do with war funding. If the war funding is not a good thing, and all these other proposals are, why not just do them without the war funding? The thinking cannot possibly be that all this other stuff does more good than the war funding does harm. Can it? Hurlburt never makes that claim. But then, surely she can't just be picking out the smaller supposedly good reasons to vote for something she knows stinks to high heaven. Can she?

In any event, this bill does NOT close Guantanamo. Nor does it do anything to end torture. In fact, it funds the expansion of massive military bases where hundreds, if not thousands, of people are imprisoned by our nation completely outside the rule of law, virtually guaranteeing that torture will continue, as reports - keep - telling - us - it is.

"ending the apparently ceaseless expansion of defense budgets"

If you're like me, this was where you really tossed your tamales. Think about this. At the request of President Obama, the 111th Congress just recently passed the largest military budget in the history of the known universe. It had virtually nothing to do with "defense." And now an "emergency supplemental" based on no emergency whatsoever is supposed to be added on top like icing. This is $85 billion that Obama wants for wars that have been dragging on for the better part of a decade, plus $12 billion Congress wants to generously pile on for things like airplanes the Pentagon has no use for. And yet, by passing this disgusting swill and shoveling it onto Obama's desk for his signature, Heather Hurlburt tells us we are ending the expansion of "defense" budgets. And you thought the age of miracles had ended long ago!

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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 http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
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