The Senate recently approved 80 billion dollars in new military spending. Only eight Senators voted against the measure. In a nearly unanimous display of bipartisanship, the new spending increases the United States military budget to 700 billion dollars. Many Democrats who call themselves “the resistance” voted in favor of the spending increase. Once again, the only bipartisan consensus that Washington will stand by is endless war.
In a vote of 89-8, the Senate handed Donald Trump further funds to continue American interventionism. Most key Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill. Only five Democrats who voted against the bill. They were Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Patrick Leahy, Ron Wyden, and Jeff Merkley. They were joined by three Republicans, Bob Corker, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul. It’s discouraging to note that progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren voted in favor of the bill.
On the heels of the bill’s passage, Donald Trump gave a bombastic speech at the UN. Trump declared that North Korea would be “completely destroyed.” Iran was also threatened directly in Trump’s speech. Rather than appeal to diplomacy, Trump threatened other nations in a brash display of brainless jingoism.
How can you “resist” Trump and hand him billions more in funds to attack other countries? Trump is a supposed to be a mad fascist, after all. Is it rational to then give a mad fascist more ability to wage war? It seems that most Senate Democrats are more concerned with being “tough” on foreign policy than oppose an unstable fascist.
A report by The Intercept paints a painful irony here. While Congress approved 80 billion dollars in additional military spending, Bernie Sanders’ plan for universal college would have cost far less. Universal Public College was scoffed at by neoliberal Clinton supporters as impossible. Concern of cost was always brought up. Bernie’s universal college plan would cost somewhere around 47 billion dollars. We were told that this was unaffordable. Somehow, though, Congress just magically pulled 80 billion extra dollars out of their proverbial asses to spend on warfare.
No major media figures have raised questions about cost when it comes to military spending. There was been more coverage of Trump tweeting a joke gif of a golf ball hitting Hillary Clinton than the new military spending bill. The corporate media is partly sponsored by the military-industrial complex that benefits from the increased war spending.
The US now spends more on its military than its next 10 competitors combined. The budget is now three times higher than China, and 10 times higher than Russia. Where is the outrage from corporatists and fiscal conservatives about reckless spending?
American tax dollars are readily available for use in death and destruction. Endless war is grandfathered in to every budget. There is never a time where less war seems an option. Progressives are considered radical when single-payer healthcare or universal college is proposed. How is it radical to propose spending tax dollars on the welfare of the American people rather than on endless war?
The issue is not that America doesn’t have money for single-payer healthcare or free college. America has plenty of money. The money is allocated mainly for the military empire the US maintains around the world. There are nearly 1,000 US military bases worldwide, and at least seven active military campaigns. A story reported in The Nation details that the US likely has more bases than any other empire or military power before it in history.
These bases and interventions cost money, far more than an average American taxpayer can fathom. Arming a single American soldier for combat costs roughly one-million dollars. Ironically, nowhere near as much is spent on veteran’s care than on weaponry, equipment, and infrastructure. The military is also rife with extreme waste and contract corruption. The Pentagon buried a study showing over 125 billion dollars in wasted spending. Hundreds of billions of dollars to waste, but not a cent for healthcare or public college.
This is our great “resistance” from Democrats. The Washington Consensus still rules. The Democrats have largely caved to Trump’s militaristic ambitions, just as they did for George W. Bush when he was president, and Barack Obama as well. You can’t call yourself the resistance and then give Trump a blank check for endless war. It seems counter-intuitive to give a maniacal fascist the ability to wage death and destruction. With neoliberal Democrats, however, this is merely politics as usual.