defense spending


A neat column from the Web site antiwar.com encapsulates a lot of my feelings on Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas reaffirms his longstanding opposition to this affair and offers a good critique of the spending bill passed last week by the House, which added more than $120 billion in spending to the mess. (more…)

An article by James Rosen of the McClatchy Newspaper Company, reports that the United States is currently spending the most money on defense as it has since the days of Adolf Hitler and the Victory Garden. This fiscal year, American taxpayers are ponying up as much as $630 billion to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress may put a maraschino cherry on the top afterall, and approve nearly $100 billion more in cash supplements.

The reasons for the increases abound and are not simply due to the current conflicts. Despite the increase in military pensions to men my father’s age, the greatest reason reason the budget is increasing is due to the Pentagon replacing weapons programs in all three branches of the military (I don’t include the Marine Corps for obvious reasons).

 

Not being an expert on military spending, I can only say from analysis that I think it is fair to say that the although many of us oppose greater military spending, there are certainly people and who benefit from it immensely.

 After reading this article, and the captivating blog about the Blackwater security group that has gotten so much attention, I remembered an interesting site I visit occassionally out of some perverse interest in how much money we spend in this nation. The Web site is called defenselink.mil. Mostly it is just press releases to tell us how well the war in Iraq is going and how we are winning the so-called War on Terror.

 An interesting section of the Defense Link is devoted to military contracts.

Far from a scandal, I noticed that I Tuesday, the Pentagon made $12,550,000  in payments to Bath Iron Works Inc., of Bath, Maine. The payment is a part of a larger contract with the firm, owned by defense giant General Dynamics, to assist in the development of the DDG Zumwalt Class Destroyer. If you look at the thing, it’s kinda creepy. It looks as if it were some type of foreign space craft or futuristic science fiction machine. What I find confusing is that the project appears to be lead by another defense company, Northrup Grumman. The wording in the government press release announcing the Bath Iron Works contract and the the press release from Northrup Grumman both say the same thing:

 Pentagon: “The mission of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class of Destroyers is to provide affordable and credible independent forward presence/deterrence and to operate as an integral part of the naval, joint, or combined maritime forces. A DDG 1000 will provide advanced land attack capability in support of the ground campaign and contribute naval, joint, or combined battle-space dominance in littoral operations”

Northrup Grumman: “The ship’s mission is to provide affordable, credible, independent forward presence/deterrence and to operate as an integral part of naval, joint or combined maritime forces. DDG 1000 will provide advanced land attack capability in support of ground campaigns and will contribute naval, joint or combined battlespace dominance in littoral operations.

Probably not a big deal, I suppose, but as a former reporter I once had to deal with Northrup Grumman and I found their press office obnoxious to say the least and dismissive. Maybe that’s because they have an intern there who is so lazy she lifts the language from government press releases to her own.

 I guess the last thing I figured I’d mention is the advertising campaign going into Northrup Grumman’s end of the DDG Zumwalt program.

 It’s kinda creepy, actually considering that whatever this thing is–and I’m sure there are people who follow this and have written blogs about it–it’s a killing machine and they’ve got kids posing as if they operate it. Do defense companies always market this shit to kids. Oh well. Nothing I can do about it, I suppose.