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How We Learned Not To Care About America's Wars and the Trillion-Dollar National Security Budget

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  • Part 1: Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, How We Learned Not To Care About America's Wars
    • A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.
  • Part 2: The Trillion-Dollar National Security Budget
    • So the next time you hear the president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or a hawkish lawmaker claim that the U.S. military is practically collapsing from a lack of funding, don’t believe it for a second. 

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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Part 1: Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, How We Learned Not To Care About America's Wars

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.  But don't expect your neighbors down the street or the editors of the New York Times to lose any sleep over that fact.  Even to notice it would require them -- and us -- to care.

Andrew Bacevich, TomDispatch

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Andrew%20J.%20Bacevich%20%7C%20America%27s%20War%20for%20the%20Greater%20Middle%20East%20jacket%20illus.jpgOctober 8, 2017 | Consider, if you will, these two indisputable facts.  First, the United States is today more or less permanently engaged in hostilities in not one faraway place, but at least seven.  Second, the vast majority of the American people could not care less. 

Nor can it be said that we don’t care because we don’t know.  True, government authorities withhold certain aspects of ongoing military operations or release only details that they find convenient.  Yet information describing what U.S. forces are doing (and where) is readily available, even if buried in recent months by barrages of presidential tweets.  Here, for anyone interested, are press releases issued by United States Central Command for just one recent week

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author, most recently, of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

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Part 2: The Trillion-Dollar National Security Budget

So the next time you hear the president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or a hawkish lawmaker claim that the U.S. military is practically collapsing from a lack of funding, don’t believe it for a second. 

William Hartung, TomDispatch

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/William%20Hartung%20%7C%20Prophets%20of%20War%20cover%20illus.jpgJuly 25, 2017 | In May 2012, TomDispatch featured a piece by Chris Hellman and Mattea Kramer, both then analysts at the National Priorities Project, headlined “War Pay: The Nearly $1 Trillion National Security Budget.” The two of them ran through the figures for the cumulative annual budget for what we still mysteriously call “national security.”  In other words, they looked beyond the monumental Pentagon budget and found that the total for all such funding was at the time closing in on a trillion dollars a year. ($931 billion, to be exact.)

Strangely, though, in mainstream reportage while you’ll see discussion of what Congress is likely to pony up in any given year for the Pentagon and some associated activities, I doubt you’ll ever find a figure for total national security expenditures.  In fact, I’m ready to make a modest bet that, outside of the technical literature, in the five years since the Hellman-Kramer article, you would have a tough time finding such a cumulative number in the mainstream world for what we (that is, “we the people”) actually spend to support an ever more powerful national security state.  Meanwhile, that state within a state continues its relentless post-9/11 expansion, as it officially girds itself for the eternal fight against a single threat to American “safety,” one that holds only the most modest of actual dangers for Americans: terrorism.

William Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.  His most recent book is Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

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