petraeus and o’hanlon

The Unbearable Awesomeness of the Pindo Military
David Swanson, Counterpunch, Aug 19 2016

Unrepentant, always wrong, Pindo warmongers Michael O’Hanlon and David Petraeus have authored “Pindostan’s Awesome Military And How to Make It Even Better” to explain to the rest of us that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the greatest Pindosi frack-yeah military ever AND that it is in such a pitiably weak state that if trillions more aren’t wasted on it we’re all going to die. Remember, this is the same military of which a single branch has just recently misplaced $6.5 trillion. And it needs more money. Why? Because it’s soooooooooo damn awesome! In fact it’s about to win the wars it’s embroiled in in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Libya, but if you don’t fork over trillions more it will lose badly and it’ll be all your fault and the ghosts of the betrayed and sacred troops will haunt you instead of haunting the admissions offices of broken down VA hospitals. Meanwhile Bill McKibben wants, as we’ve all long wanted, a “war” against the danger of climate destruction, only without taking the money out of the only place it can come from, the preparations for actual wars, and while hyping the awesomeness of the military to make sure the money stays there. But, back to our favorite warmongers. Petraeus and O’Hanlon fill us in on the following secrets (and we didn’t even have to have sex with them!):

Pindostan has the best military in the world today, by far. Pindo forces have few if any weaknesses, and in many areas, from naval warfare to precision-strike capabilities, to airpower, to intelligence and reconnaissance, to special operations, they play in a totally different league from the militaries of other countries. Nor is this situation likely to change anytime soon, as Pindo defense spending is almost three times as large as that of Pindostan’s closest competitor, China, and accounts for about one-third of all global military expenditures, with another third coming from Pindo allies and partners vassals.

This understates Pindo spending, while overstating the idea that it serves some purpose other than ginning up terrorism and suffering, but you get the idea. Here comes the “nevertheless”:

Nevertheless, 15 years of war and five years of budget cuts and Washington dysfunction have taken their toll. The military is certainly neither broken nor unready for combat, but its size and resource levels are less than is advisable given the range of contemporary threats and the missions for which it has to prepare. No radical changes or major buildups are needed. But the trend of budget cuts should stop and indeed be modestly reversed, and defense appropriations should be handled more rationally and professionally than has been the case in recent years.

This is based on the lie that Pindo military spending has been decreasing. It has not. It’s also based on denial of the existence of arms races and reverse arms races. Global spending follows Pindo spending up and could as easily follow it down. This is also based on denial of the Pindo role as not just far and away top spending on weaponry but also far and away top dealer of weaponry to the rest of the world, arming the hatred its own wars fuel, generating opportunities for more wars.

Most major elements of Pindo defense policy are on reasonably solid ground, despite innumerable squabbles among experts over many of the details. Through­out the post–Cold War era, some variant of a two-war planning framework (with caveats) has enjoyed bipartisan support and should continue to do so for many years to come.

Good thing that Pindostan is only in seven wars!

Those who worry about a Pindosi military supposedly in decline should relax. The current Pindo defense budget of just over $600b/yr exceeds the Cold War average of about $525b/yr in 2016 dollars and greatly exceeds the pre-9/11 defense budget of some $400b/yr. It is true that defense spending from 2011 through 2020 has been cut by a cumulative total of about $1 trillion, not counting reductions in war-related costs. But there were legitimate reasons for most of those reductions, and the cuts were made to a budget at a historically very high level.

Note that $1 trillion over 10 years is, in plain English, $100 b/yr, and in plainer English, false. Note also that the $600b/yr leaves out the Dept of so-called Homeland so-called Security, the Dept of Energy, the State Dept, the Veterans Administration, etc, etc. But why are we back to not worrying again? Can we just stop with that half of the propaganda and not switch back to fearmongering?

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