What a great headline.
The attached article comes from Veronique de Rugy, unabashed advocate of free markets, liberty, and fiscal sanity. It goes nicely with our previous post.
Yeah, Senator Graham somehow inserted himself into this story.
This has been one weird day in the Senate and this is the 3rd post we’ve done today on Rand Paul and his military funding proposal.
Though we have said that we were not pleased with Rand Paul’s amendment, at least it called for cuts (if future cuts) to other spending. Rubio just wanted to spend money on defense whatever the cost to taxpayers and future generations. Cruz sided with Rubio. But in the end neither Rand’s or Rubio’s proposals got past the Senate floor.
Nick Gillespie is a great writer and advocate for liberty. Here he analyzes Rand Paul’s proposal in the Senate which will increase military spending by billions. Something which has disappointed many small government conservatives and libertarians.
I am disappointed to see this, but presidential politics are presidential politics. Overall what he is proposing is a large overall net decrease in expenditures which is excellent. His amendment reduces the size of government which is the point. Still, I hate to see more bloat at the Pentagon.
No big deal. What could terrorists possibly do with $500 million in US weapons?
I’ve noticed a pattern and it goes like this:
We engage in some desert state chock full of terrorists and soon to be terrorists. We engage militarily via different means. Sometimes we invade. Sometimes we arm the local “government” army. Sometimes we start droning bad guys from the sky. Usually it’s a combination.
Then at some point we pull out for whatever reason. Or the local government forces are defeated. Either way we leave behind plenty of high powered playthings for our enemy.
Some within the GOP will always want more military spending. Whether in peace or during times of war their bias is always toward MORE. This disposition is not good for the Republic as President Eisenhower in his farewell speech explained.
Remember, this guy led our forces in World War II as a five star general, was a Republican president, and has an aircraft carrier named for him.
For far too long conservatives have given the military the equivalent of a blank check. Through the Cold War and in the years since the budget has ballooned. It takes a huge piece of the federal pie and it is filled with waste and flat out fraud. The Pentagon wastes BILLIONS in taxpayer dollars.
Some of the “fraud” is entirely legal. Overpayments for this, a sweetheart contract for that. Perhaps a deal for a weapons system which makes no sense but is a government works program for some congressperson’s (often a Republican) district.
The military, though expressly enumerated in the Constitution for the defense of the US, is in many respects big government too. It is also rife with crony capitalism. Conservatives need to come to terms with this.
A few weeks ago we wrote about the “mandarin class” which populates official and think tank Washington DC. We argued that many of the people making important policy decisions are dangerously out of touch with the real “blood” of America, the grit, the nuts and bolts. Many of this group of folks come from the same northeastern schools and have similar political dispositions (which is to say establishment liberal). This wonky concentration has only increased over the years.
In our prior post the emphasis was on domestic policy technocrats. But many of the same things can be said for some at Defense as well. “War mandarins” move up through the ranks of academia to find perches within official “Defense.” It is there that their theories can be executed on the world stage. Where they can play Risk with real armies and with real lives. Often with disastrous results.
These “friends and allies” supported (support?) ISIS because they are a Suni counter to Hezbollah, the Shiite army controlled by Iran.
So now we have to go in and spill American blood because the nutbar brush fire got out of hand? (And by extension help Iran and Hezbollah?) We’ve spilled enough blood for very questionable reasons in the Middle East.
By the way, if you want to read an absolutely fantastic article on the radical Islamic group Clark says our “friends” enabled I suggest What ISIS Really Wants in The Atlantic.
Oh Senator Graham. When he’s not shilling for his new sponsor and head of Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson he is doing his dance for the Military Industrial Complex.
Yeah, let’s send 10,000 ground troops back into the Middle East. Great idea. The crony birds continue to fly.
What’s up South Carolina? You guys had a chance to take this guy out last go’round.
As I have said many times, I grew up a Navy brat. I have great respect for the military and its culture. The sound of an F-14 screeching as it comes in for a landing is deeply ingrained in my subconscious and in my heart. I am a Navy Football fan. But conservatives (at least modern conservatives and of course neoconservatives – who are not really conservatives) give the military far too much credit, literally.
I am sure some people will be surprised by this which is why it is news. But they shouldn’t be. The Kochs are for the most part libertarian. The Center for American Progress is full of “progressives.” Progressives have historically liked war.
I was recently talking with senior wonk in Washington DC about this very issue. Why was it for all the think tanks, all the white papers, all the fits and crying in the media about this issue and that, that policy on the big issues hardly ever changes to reflect the will of the American people?
My friend thought basically the same as the author interviewed in the attached article. There is a surface level government and then there is the “deep state,” a place where massive power is housed, and wielded by largely faceless and mostly unaccountable managers who have agendas which are often very different from what you and I might want.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Indeed, it’s long past time.
Well that’s great. The question is how useful will this audit actually be, and how truthful? In the 3 years since the birth of this site we have chronicled plenty of examples of waste in the military. It is PERVASIVE. The level of waste speaks frankly to a culture of accounting negligence at the Pentagon which is perhaps only rivaled by the chicanery at the Federal Reserve. Heads (and many many heads at all levels) should have rolled long ago. But, because a large portion of the American people have given the US military a pass on waste (Republicans) nothing has been done for decades – really ever.