FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush’s New War Budget

by FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY

The President’s FY 2009-13 budget plan, which he will submit to Congress next week, includes $70 billion to cover only the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through the first four months of Fiscal Year 2009, which begins next October 1. This budgetary legerdemain is indeed a fitting memory pill encapsulating both Bush’s reckless philosophy of governance and his callous disregard for the sacrifices of the troops he asked to fight his wars.

By asking for $70 billion to pay for only that part the of war that remains during the last four months his tenure (October 2008 thru January 2009), the “war” component of Bush’s Fiscal 2009 defense budget request is understated by at least two-thirds or $140 billion. This is like funding only the first four months of the missile defense program and is logically inconsistent with the other parts of his defense request, especially high-pork wish list of cold-war inspired weapons programs, which I can assure you are all fully funded for full 60 months between Fiscal 2009 and 2013, which is the time that will be covered by his budget message to Congress.

Bush’s four-month “war budget” is also logically inconsistent with the entire federal budget that he is submitting to Congress next week, not to mention Bush’s economic assumptions and deficit projections, all of which assume a full five years or 60 months of expenditures between FY 2009 and 2013. These long term projections lie at the heart of Bush’s budget message to Congress. They are intended the tell the Congress and the American people what the future consequences of his current policy decisions would be if his program was put into place. The future consequences of Bush’s “decisions” may be expressed in dry statistics, but in fact, they are the definitive statement of tradeoffs embodied the self-styled “Deciders” practice of decision making. Put another way, these tradeoffs are the definitive statement of the values he holds dear and wants to see perpetuated as his policy legacy.

How these future consequences are stated is also central to the principle of accountability that is the bedrock of our Constitution.

So, what does this partial funding decision of the war budget say about the “Decider’s” values. Logically, it tells us one of two things: Either

(1) Bush has a plan to end the war and terminate all expenditures by early February 2009 or

(2) that Bush care nothing about the war or the sacrifices of the troops he asked to fight it and intends to dump the whole mess on the next administration without even providing the funding needed to carry out his legacy.

Option 1 is obviously impossible. Moreover, there have been recent reports of an effort by Bush to forge a long-term mutual defense defense pact with Iraq in a way that would not require the consent of Congress — itself a grotesque usurpation of the treaty making powers assigned to the Congress by the Constitution. So, one must conclude by process of elimination that Bush’s values include the “value” to walking away from a mess of his own making and possibly a cynical political value setting the stage for shifting the blame for failure, should the next President fail to “fully fund” the victory Bush is bequeathing, which may include the cost of the open-ended military presence of an unconstitutional mutual defense pact.

Bear also in mind, that this is but a one example of the kind of “values” which are reflected by the shortsighted recklessness that landed America in its current mess skyrocketing debt, a collapsing dollar, and a horrific trade balance, while it was perfectly clear during Bush’s entire presidency that long-terms trends needed to be addressed by a real deciders making real decisions (eg., soaring entitlements, crumbling infrastructure, deteriorating schools, a growing medical insurance crisis, an aging population, and a mass of shameful social statistics that are often among the worst in the “developed” world).

Bear also in mind, that Bush is also calling for a “short-term” $150 billion stimulus package consisting of targeted tax cuts and increased government spending over the remaining 8 months of this fiscal year (FY 2008) to deal with the clear and present danger of a recession. But these “stimuli” will increase the deficit and raise requirements for borrowing while the Fed is making dollars less attractive to lenders by lowering interest rates and indirectly putting pressure on the price of the dollar, the effects of which will surely spill over into the next fiscal year.

But, don’t worry, because, as Bush incessantly says incessantly to the troops, “I appreciate your sacrifice.”

FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY is a former Pentagon analyst and whistleblower. His writing on defense issues can be found on the invaluable Defense in the National Interest website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He be reached at chuck_spinney@mac.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail