The Pentagon January 2008.jpg

It’s that time of year again, when important bills are quickly rushed through Congress and people are told there is no time to think about it. So it was yesterday that the final version of the Defense Bill was unveiled with backers telling everyone there is no time to debate.

The House and Senate Armed Services leaders unveiled their final Defense bill on Monday, urging their colleagues to quickly pass it and arguing there were no other alternatives.

“This is the only way we can pass a bill this year,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said at a press conference where the committees released details of the $607 billion Pentagon policy bill.

$607 billion? How much is the Soviet Union spending this year? Oh, they no longer exist. So what enemy or enemies justify an annual $607 billion appropriation?

Of course the military-industrial-(congressional) complex has bi-partisan support because when it comes to the war economy both parties get a taste of the goodies.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) joined Levin and Inhofe on the floor to push for passage, while Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) issued a statement with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) urging the Senate to pass the bill and its “dozens of historic provisions to protect and empower victims of sexual assault, boost prosecutions of sexual predators, and hold military commanders accountable.”

Interesting given that Senator Gillibrand’s sexual assault reform measure is not actually in the bill. Though some reforms did reportedly make it through.

In the age of austerity with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, early education, and all sorts of other social programs on the table we are spending over $600 billion on the military? What’s left of Al-Qaeda is scattered throughout North Africa and that which remains in the Middle East we have a less than clear relationship with.

This is an obscene waste of money.

Photo by Patrickneil under Creative Commons license.