War: Where 69¢ of Each of Your Tax Dollars Goes
The Nobel Peace Laureate President Barack Obama, the guy who once campaigned claiming one US war -- the one against Iraq -- was a “bad” one, and the other -- against Afghanistan -- was a “good” one, turns out to be a man who, once anointed commander-in-chief, can’t seem to find a war he doesn’t consider to be a “good” idea.
Obama turned out, on taking office, to have a hard time saying good-bye to the occupation of Iraq, only leaving when he was forced out by an Iraqi government that refused to continue giving US forces legal immunity for killing Iraqi civilians. In Afghanistan, he decided to copy the same “surge” -- a massive increase in targeted assassinations and violence -- that he had once condemned in Iraq. Then he stepped up drone-launched rocket attacks and bombings in seven other countries.
More recently he has begun an air war against Syria (okay, he says it’s against the so-called Islamic State, but the whole world, with the exception of a lot of ill-informed US citizens, knows it’s ultimately against the Syrian government), and now his Secretary of Defense (sic) Ashton Carter and his Secretary of State John Kerry are pushing for sending heavy arms and, inevitably, US “advisors” to Ukraine to escalate US involvement in the civil war there. What makes that latest war particularly dangerous is that all the while, Peace Laureate Obama makes it clear that the “enemy” is Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian military.
Never mind that it is the US that originally orchestrated and encouraged the fascist coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine, setting in motion a huge pogrom against ethnic Russians in the east of that country and provoking the current armed conflict, and never mind that Russian concern about the Ukraine stems from a decades long history of the US pushing NATO ever closer to Russia’s western border, with Ukraine kind of the last straw.
Anyone looking objectively at the warmaking and war-promotion of this administration would have to conclude that President Obama is one of the most bellicose Chief Executives in the history of the United States.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the US military budget President Obama has proposed for FY2016. At $585.3 billion, it would if approved by Congress represent an increase in spending of $24.9 billion, or about 4%, over the 2015 budget, and that is despite a decline in what, since the Bush/Cheney years, has euphemistically been called Overseas Contingency Operations spending, or spending on actual wars. The proposed OCO budget for 2016 in this “peace” president’s budget is “just” $50.9 billion, down about $13.3 billion from 2015 thanks to what the president, in one whopper offered during his State of the Union address, called the “end of combat” in Afghanistan (that war is actually continuing, with some 12,000 US troops expected to remain stationed in that country indefinitely).