Sunday, January 9, 2011

America’s no-holds-barred attitude when it comes to funding war

In light of the narcissistically high opinion we have of ourselves, it is incongruous, but also immoral, that America can always find the money to fund innovative ways to destroy lives and to kill human beings but cannot find the moral imperative or the money to solve America’s problems at home.

Despite a growing deficit and debt; high unemployment, underemployed American workers, and scant employment; increasing homelessness, poverty, and hunger impacting more and more lives; inferior schools, high education costs and a failing system of education; deteriorating economic conditions; an aging and rotting infrastructure; failure to solve our energy problem; exploding health care cost and the threat by republicans to repeal recent healthcare legislation; and threats to reduce or even abandon social security, the American taxpayer continues willingly and unabatedly to fund its war machine.

For example:

It’s been reliably reported that America’s annual military expenditure exceeds $1 trillion; the United States is spending $120 to $160 billion a year on the Afghan war; in 2011, we will spend $11.6 billion on training and equipment for the Afghan military and police force, and we will continue to spend on Afghan’s security forces to the tune of around $6.2 billion a year through 2015. Furthermore, these expenses are just a drop in the bucket in consideration of the added expense of maintaining a military presence in Iraq, and military and civilian subcontracting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

On 1/11/2011, President Obama signed a $725 billion National Defense Authorization Act into law. The bill includes funding of $73 million to train and equip Yemeni fighters. And it includes funding of $205 million to develop the “Iron Dome,” a short-range rocket and missile defense system for Israel.

Among the innovations, America has come up with is a new weapon: Prompt Global Strike. It is “a new class of weapon capable of reaching any corner of the earth from the United States in under an hour and with such accuracy and force that would greatly diminish America’s reliance on its nuclear arsenal,” meaning it is designed to kill and destroy with the same “localized destructive power of a nuclear warhead.” The Obama Administration has asked Congress for about $250 million for research and design of this new weapon, “one that uses some of the most advanced technology in the military today as well as some not yet even invented.” A version of the system is targeted for deployment by 2014 or 2015. Its cost are unknown, however John McCain said that the system would be “essential and critical, but also costly.”

It is reported that America’s Afghanistan forces has a new futuristic rifle that fires radio-controlled 'smart' bullets. The XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System with a range of roughly 2,300 feet, fires bullets that can be programmed to receive a radio signal from the weapons gunsight that measures the precise distance to the target so that when fired will explode one meter past the target with the force of a hand grenade. They will cost up to $35,000 each with each smart round costing $25. The Army plans to buy 12,500 of the XM25 rifles this year: That’s $435 million dollars, not including the radio-controlled ‘smart’ bullets.

If one were to trace and calculate every military and nonmilitary expense, of which this article or any article could never cover in its entirety, to the cost of a burgeoning National Security operation, the price tag would be unfathomable.

Since this is financed with borrowed money, just where are these folks -- the tea party, republicans and others -- who are concerned with unfunded spending and deficit spending. Why aren’t they speaking out as they did when they were so concerned with finding funding for unemployment extensions or funding healthcare for Americans here at home.


Sources:

Tom Engelhardt, The Urge to Surge: Washington’s 30-Year High, TomDispatch.com

Stephanie Chen, The new hungry: College-educated, middle-class cope with food insecurity, CNN

Daily mail reporter, No hiding place from new U.S. Army rifles that use radio-controlled smart bullets, Daily Mail OnLine

Joshua Rhett Miller, U.S. Army Unveils 'Revolutionary' XM25 Rifle in Afghanistan, Fox News

Josh Gerstein, Obama signs defense bill that could cripple his Guantanamo policy, Politico.com

David Sanger and Thom Shanker, U.S. Faces Choice on New Weapons for Fast Strikes, The New York Times

Dana Priest and William Arkin, Top Secret America, The Washington Post

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