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General News    H2'ed 3/11/12

U.S. Is An Empire In Decline, Yet Military Budget Grows, Magazine Says

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The U.S. is "an empire in decline," making its record levels of defense spending "simply unsustainable," an editorial in "The Nation" magazine charges.

Even though Defense Secy. Leon Panetta announced billions in military cuts last January, "the bloated Pentagon budget isn't shrinking," the magazine charges.

Rather, as President Obama himself said, "Over the next ten years, the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this: it will still grow. In fact, the defense budget will still be larger than it was toward the end of the Bush administration (and) larger than roughly the next ten countries combined."

Since the late 1900s, Pentagon spending has roughly doubled, and that's not counting the vast sums spent on misguided wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the publication charges.

"Without any changes, military spending over the next decade or so would surpass $6 trillion. The administration has already conceded that about $450 billion of that will be cut, and the Congressional supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement last fall means that another $600 billion in military cuts is looming. But that's not nearly enough," the editorial in the January 30th issue points out.

"Not only can Washington no longer afford them but Americans are tired of war, and public support for vast military budgets is evaporating...There's a growing realization in Washington that deeper cuts will have to be made in 2013 and beyond, just as post-cold war military spending declined by more than a third in the early 1990s."

The editorial reasons that major weapons systems will have to be eliminated and the size of the Army and Marines "will have to be dramatically reduced and America's vast network of overseas bases must be slashed..."

" The Nation" noted that the U.S. has set in motion an effort to beef up air and naval operations in the Pacific region to counter China. This strategy, it said, is "a surefire recipe for confrontation, since Beijing's Communist leadership increasingly rests its legitimacy on returning China to its historic status as a major world power."

The magazine called on those seeking to reduce the U.S. military budget "to come up with practical ways to convert military-industrial plants to civilian uses," adding, "in a Washington obsessed with deficit reduction, they'll have to fight just as hard to make sure that any savings are used to shore up Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."  #

(Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based media consultant and director of The Anti-War News Service).

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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
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