On December 22 both houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a bill authorizing $725 billion for next year’s Defense Department budget.
The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, was approved by all 100 senators as required and by a voice vote in the House.
The House had approved the bill, now sent to President Barack Obama to sign into law, five days earlier in a 341-48 roll call, but needed to vote on it again after the Senate altered it in the interim.
The proposed figure for the Pentagon’s 2011 war chest includes, in addition to the base budget, $158.7 billion for what are now euphemistically referred to as overseas contingency operations: The military occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.
The $725 billion figure, although $17 billion more than the White House had requested, is not the final word on the subject, however, as supplements could be demanded as early as the beginning of next year, especially in regard to the Afghan war that will then be in its eleventh calendar year.
Even as it currently is, the amount is the highest in constant dollars (pegged at any given year’s dollar and adjusted for inflation) since 1945, the final year of the Second World War. With recent U.S. census figures at 308 million, next year the Pentagon will spend $2,354 for every citizen of the country at the $725 billion price tag alone.
Last year’s Pentagon budget, by way of comparison, was $680 billion, a base budget of $533.8 billion and the remainder for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In July of this year Congress approved the 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act which contained an additional $37 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Next year’s defense authorization of $725 billion compares to, according to the Center for Defense Information, a Pentagon budget of $444.6 billion in 1946; $460.4 billion in 1968, the highest yearly amount during the Vietnam War; and $443.4 billion in 1988, the highest during the eight years of the Ronald Reagan administration’s massive military buildup. (Numbers in 2004 constant dollars.)
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates American military spending for 2009 to have accounted for 43 percent of the world total. Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives, earlier this year estimated the 2010 U.S. defense budget to constitute 47 percent of total worldwide military expenditures and to amount to 19 percent of all American federal spending.
In addition, Pentagon spending has increased by 100 percent since 1998 and “the Obama budget plans to spend more on the Pentagon over eight years than any administration has since World War II.”
With 2.25 million full-time civilian and military personnel, excluding part-time National Guard and Reserve members, the Defense Department is the U.S.’s largest employer, outstripping Walmart with 1.4 million employees and the U.S Post Office with 599,000.
“Add in what Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and the Energy departments spend on defense and total US military spending will reach $861 billion in fiscal 2011, exceeding that of all other nations combined,” according to Todd Harrison, senior fellow for Defense Budget Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
In April Robert Higgs of The Independent Institute advocated that the budgets – in part or in whole – of the departments of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Energy, State and Treasury and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) should be calculated in the real military budget, which would in 2009 would have increased it to $901.5 billion.
“Adding [the] interest component to the previous all-agency total, the grand total comes to $1,027.8 billion, which is 61.5 percent greater than the Pentagon’s outlays alone.”
It's nice to know that, even in tough times when kids are asking Santa for winter coats instead of Barbie dolls, old Saint Nick still finds the time to be generous to our bloodthirsty hired kill...oops...I mean our saintly freedom defending boys in uniform.
Thankfully this bit of HOLIDAY CHEER came to my attention just as the last microscopic shred of Christmas spirit in my possession threatened to die an ignominious & solitary death.
Now I feel that I can HO HO HO with the rest of the Christams whores, and I can do it with enthusiasm & heartfelt gusto.
So here's a big holiday cheer for the Pentagon.
But, most importantly of all, an ear drum shattering YOWZA for the biggest ho of them all:
Afghani insurgents roasting on an open fire,
Depleted Uranium nipping on your nose,
Funerealtide wailings being sung by the bereaved,
And teenagers dressed up like Rambos.
Everybody knows a drone and a missile too,
Help to keep the population slight.
Tiny tots with their dads freshly slaughtered,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.
They know that Santa's on his way;
He's loaded lots of weapons & black ops on his sleigh.
And every mother's child is going to spy,
To see if their neighbors wave their Stars & Stripes on high.
And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you