Trump’s New Era of Militarism and Mendacity
There is no better introduction to the militarism and callousness of the Trump era than the budget proposal for 2018. Much has been written about the miserly cuts to Meals on Wheels, housing aid, and other community assistance, but it’s just as important to examine the unjustified and unnecessary increases in defense spending. The Trump budget is clearly designed to enable another cycle of militarized national security policy and, in the words of Steve Bannon, to “deconstruct the administrative state.”
In April 1953, soon after the death of Joseph Stalin, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his “cross of Iron” speech, warning against “destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.” Eisenhower wanted to avoid the enormous domestic price that would accompany unwarranted military spending. And military spending, he emphasized, meant “spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” This is exactly what Trump is calling for in a federal budget that takes direct aim at scientific and medical research, the endowments for the arts and humanities, and the block grants for food and housing support. Even the Department of Energy’s tiny program to help insulate the houses of the poor would be eliminated.
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The USS Liberty: a Well-Planned Accident
Today marks the 56th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, which has been described by too many U.S. and Israeli accounts as an accident. In fact, the attack took place after eight hours of aerial surveillance by Israel, and it involved a two-hour air and naval attack that killed 34 sailors and wounded an…
The Mainstream Media’s Unwillingness to Challenge U.S. Militarization
The Post regularly states that the United States spends as much on defense as the next 10 or 11 nations combined, but the cruel fact is that we spend as much as all other nations combined. The global total for defense spending is around $2.5 trillion, and U.S. defense spending exceeds $1.2 trillion. The Pentagon’s budget for next year is $886 billion, but that is not the full extent of defense spending. The budget for the Veteran’s Administration is over $120 billion, which takes total defense spending to more than $1 trillion. There is significant defense spending in the budgets of the intelligence community, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Homeland Security, bringing total defense spending to at least $1.2 trillion.