During President Trump’s first speech before Congress, in which one could discern a ramping up to increase spending on the military, the new President prominently featured — called out in the modern, “story-time segment” that Obama had made de rigueur — the wife of the slain Navy SEAL who died in an incursion into Yemen. It was a moving moment, but no one that I follow mentioned that the United States has not declared war on Yemen.
Also not mentioned? The fact that the Pentagon cannot (or will not) provide an accounting of the money it spends. It seems to me that before we throw more billions at the secretive institution, we should have a thorough audit in hand.
Correction. I saw one discussion of all this . . . by Paul Jacob, today .
Now would be a good time to not only rethink Middle East policy, but to re-consider our expensive role as world policeman. . . . During the campaign, Trump was criticized for questioning our alliances and demanding more of our allies. But he was right. I hope he’ll get tough in prodding our allies to ultimately provide their own defense.
Even more basic? Demand an audit of the Pentagon before new funds are thrown into the five-sided money pit.
U.S. military spending can be summed up in one word: overkill. Mr. Jacob calls America’s longstanding foreign policy as the “overkill always” strategy, and explains it like this:
Two truths: national defense is a necessity for a republic; national defense is a racket.
The latter is the case because the former is the case. Big spenders rely on “better safe than sorry” to always push the envelope, over-investing rather than under-investing.
Jacob identifies this as a “trap,” betting that Donald Trump “knows this.”
Before Trump ran for office, he said that sequestration cuts to the Pentagon budget had not gone far enough. But when he threw his hat into the ring, he promised to “make our military so big, so powerful, so strong that nobody — absolutely nobody — is going to mess with us.”
President Trump now proposes over fifty billion dollars in new defense spending. More soldiers, more ships, more fighter jets.
Donald Trump’s excuse for this nonsense? Well, he has followed the neocon line, claiming, contrary to all evidence, that U.S.military spending was gutted under President Obama. Further, he seems to be leaning neocon by holding to the common charge of Republican politicians to the effect that Barack “Drone-killer” Obama has not done enough in the mid-East.
The truth? That conservatives cannot handle? That even a Democratic war-hating president (who nevertheless was a war president for every day of his two terms, a new record) can do too much.
Killing innocents along with alleged bad guys in other countries that we have not duly declared war upon is one sure way to stir up resentments in those countries. And breed international terrorism.
It does not look like President Trump will bring any clarity or rationality to military spending — or coherence to foreign policy.
But I have to ask: why would Trump, who was such a skeptic of American imperial management before the election prove such a chump for the military industrial complex Official Story now?
A number of theories could be advanced. Maybe he knows that, before being sworn in, he was just talking out of his rectal region. Now he has real responsibility, and, seeing that he knows nothing, he goes along with his neocon advisors.
Or maybe he has been threatened by said complex. The military industrial complex is the strongest sector of the Deep State. They are the real rulers, and have been for some time. Perhaps we could send Gandhi into the White House and he’d quickly be seen towing the line.
How would this work? On his first or second day in office, men in black walk into Gandhi’s office unannounced, and hands the Mahatma a folder. What is in the folder? If I knew I’d tell you. But it is damning.
The folder Trump (may have) received? It could have been damning of Trump himself — it could be that he’s being blackmailed. It could be damning of the U.S. Government (the war crimes and power structure are too terrible to speak aloud). Or it could be damning of humanity itself!
Maybe the Lizard People. . . .
Or it could be all very simple. Might not Trump be caving to the military-industrial complex simply to establish another base of support?
Trump, after all, is not an idiot. He knows he needs supporters. He probably had intended to unite the country after election, but the Democratic nutball response has been so loud and divisive, any tendency he had to move to the Center (which is where I think he’d prefer to be, as I’ve written about before) has been scuttled by a lack of reason to do so. The Left and Center-Left has all but declared war on him. He gets death threats. The major newspapers have columnists and reporters who have publicly discussed assassination — and get away with it! Major Democratic figures talk about impeachment, no matter how groundless. The desperation to the left of center is palpable, and that means that appeasing them will not be a good bet.
So Trump goes the other direction.
He plays up to his core constituency. And he reaches out to the Deep State.
That would be an unfortunate consequence of the whole “Not My President” movement. But a typical unintended consequence of tribalism and overkill. Par for the political course.