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MONEY FOR JAM May 30, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Peace, US Politics.
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Spending on the military is supposed to make people safer. Implicitly it presupposes a rationale of fear, violence, cowardice and domination. For example, the war of terror and the military occupation of Iraq has not made Americans safer, if anything the opposite. And yet that spending is increasing with little opposition or accountability. In perhaps the classic Catch 22, the resources allocated to budgetary oversight are insufficient. The US military budget is $515 billion with an addition $200 billion spent on the Iraq occupation and $16 billion on nuclear weapons.

The politics of the war of terror proceed apace for several reasons. I think at least three factors are involved.There is the self interest of the military-industrial complex, whose profitability cannot be explained by market forces. Consider the specific example of the F22A Fighter. As Senator Bernie Saunders (Independent, Vermont) noted in The Boston Globe:

The F22A Fighter (globe staff photo illustration)

The total cost for the F-22A fighter program, a Cold War legacy, amounts to an astronomical $65.3 billion, so large that the Air Force has been forced to reduce its buy from 648 to 183 aircrafts. Still, that amounts to about $355 million a piece.*

Defence spending has increased considerably under the Bush Administration, and despite the examples of waste and fraud by contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Democratic controlled Congress continues to approve the budget allocation. There is a combination of the politics of fear and the self interest. Naturally, this is such as scam that others want in.

The corporate media it turns out are owned by the corporations that manufacture the mechanisms of human death, destruction and suffering, adding a new element to Eisenhower’s depiction of the Military-Industrial complex. When Congress and the media are in control, there is little wonder there is no accountability. These causes are in essence political, and not economic determinations. The question arises whether there will be such an legislative and media oversight when the foreigners get into the picture, as the European Airbus Company is seeking to do now that the exchange value of the dollar has declined in relative terms.

Still Eisenhower’s observations made fifty-five years ago still hold true:

EVERY GUN that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

Just imagine if the same level of waste could be attributed to spending on social and infrastructure programs what the outcry would be?

One thing that nonviolence theory (or is it science?) can do, is challenge the assumptions that underly such spending and allocation of resources. War is almost never the last resort despite just war theory.

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