Iraq War & Wars

Military Budget should be cut
The Deal for Permanent US Presence
Iraqi War Costs
Oil, Iraq War, & Neoliberalism
Zionism: history and roots of Muslem hatred
10-Reasons to leave Iraq
DEATH COUNT 650,000--Oct 06
CIA Confirms War spawns Islamic Radical
Iraq for Sale--Edward Kennedy
Iraqi Unions fight new oil law
Iraq government death squads
Opium, Afghanistan, Bin Laden, & U.S. Policy
Democracy in Iraq
Cause of Iraq War--gen. William Clark
Marjority of the troops favor rapid exit
Milirary Base Building Reveals U.S. Plans to Stay
Iraq war costs $440 Billion
No Chance of Victory U.S. General Admits
Iraq war and imperialism
reconstruction? who stold the funds?
Iraq history from WWI to present
OIL-WAR PLANS BEFORE 911--document
War, Another From of Corporate Welfare
Iraq, Sunni, Shiite Struggle
General Odom on Iraq War and Isreal
Iraq War Stimulates Our Economy
U.S. Policy of Delay brought on the insurgency--Palast
Military Budget should be cut

From in These Times a monthly, pro-labor news magazine also on the internet at 

Shape Up and Ship Out

How the Pentagon can cut the military budget and still keep us safe

By John Cavanagh, Anita Dancs, and Miriam Pemberton

April 2, 2008

A year after former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigned, someone dumped at the Washington Post’s door an avalanche of his “snowflakes”: his term for the multiple memos he circulated within the Pentagon during his tenure. One flake in particular rises to the top of this heap. In April 2006, Rumsfeld advised staffers to respond to the growing calls from retired generals for his resignation in this way: “Talk about Somalia, the Philippines, etc. Make the American people realize they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists.”

Goosing fear with menacing—and vague—portraits of global terrorist threats has worked remarkably well to buttress the Bush administration’s militarized foreign policy, especially since 9/11. This policy, as enshrined in the current National Security Strategy and articulated by National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, is based on the “ability to act militarily anytime, anywhere to defend our global interests.”  

Though fear remains a powerful force in American politics, large majorities of Americans are no longer buying what the administration is selling. They are no longer equating the presence of violence-minded groups in Somalia and the Philippines with the idea of an America “surrounded in the world by violent extremists.” According to a Pew Research Center study, one-third of Americans believed in 2006 that military force can reduce the risk of terrorism, down from half in 2002. 

The budget to finance the administration’s military aspiration is larger than any previous budget since the end of World War II. The newest Pentagon request, including war spending, tops $650 billion—twice what it was, measured in 2007 dollars, in 1960[i].

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was willing to try to match our military spending. Now, no country even thinks of trying. “Half a trillion dollars is more than enough,” says Richard Betts, an adjunct senior fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.  Yet neither Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.) nor Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) is challenging the need for such a massive global U.S. military presence—or the budget to pay for it. McCain wants to add 150,000 troops to the overall force, Obama calls for 92,000 more troops and Clinton wants to, as she says, “expand” the military.

The upcoming election is our best chance in years to demand a new foreign policy, one that puts the terrorist threat in proportion and engages the world differently. Under this policy, the military would assume its rightful role as a tool of last resort.

The necessary shifts

As terrorism has replaced the Cold War as the new focus of our foreign policy attention, the United States has neglected four equally urgent security challenges: climate change, nuclear weapons, regional conflicts and growing global inequality. None of these requires a military cure. A foreign policy that refocuses its attention on these challenges would involve major shifts in our foreign policy budget.

A $213 billion cut in military spending is possible almost immediately, according to a preliminary analysis at our organization, the Institute for Policy Studies. This would include ending the expensive Iraq occupation, closing many U.S. overseas military bases, eliminating weapons systems that are redundant and economically inefficient, and cutting military assistance to other countries. First, we must end the immoral and counterproductive Iraq War. A small fraction of the $99 billion that the United States is likely to spend on the war in 2008 could be used to bring the U.S. troops home.

A larger amount would be needed to help those troops transition into civilian life, similar to the post-World War II GI Bill. To that end, troops brought home from Iraq—as well as from other bases overseas—could be retrained to help create a clean energy and energy-efficient infrastructure in the United States to stave off the disastrous effects of climate change. This kind of investment could generate millions of new jobs retrofitting U.S. buildings and constructing solar, wind and other clean energy infrastructures.

Second, we must cut the sprawling network of U.S. bases around the world, many of which are relics of the Cold War. Today, nearly 700,000 military and civilian personnel are stationed overseas or afloat. Closing just a third of the more than 1,000 overseas facilities would save taxpayers $45.9 billion—but it’s an issue that none of the U.S. presidential candidates dares touch.  Most of these facilities are located in three countries: Germany (302 bases), Japan (111) and South Korea (106). These nations should top the list if, and when, the United States starts the rollback. But we also need to stop the new U.S. Africa Command and close U.S. bases in the Caspian Sea region, where our interests are tied to our fossil-fuel energy past rather than our clean energy future. What’s more, shutting down bases would remove targets of anti-Americanism overseas.  Like our allies, who remain secure without a network of bases around the world, the United States should put more foreign policy priority on engaging with other countries culturally, diplomatically and economically.

Third, at least 11 areas of unnecessary weapons spending could be cut from the budget without decreasing U.S. security—saving another $43.9 billion. These include the F/A-22 “Raptor” fighter jet, which was originally designed to counter a Soviet aircraft that was never built; the Ballistic Missile Defense, a system that doesn’t work for a threat that doesn’t exist; and the C-130J transport plane, a costly item that has 168 documented deficiencies that could pose illness, severe injury or death.

Fourth, and finally, we can cut several smaller budget areas that include military assistance to countries that frequently enable human rights abusers, fuel conflicts and strengthen the military of countries at the expense of civil society.

More than $1 billion, for example, goes toward the so-called “drug war” in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru—roughly 70 percent of which funds military approaches that have increased violence and killings, yet done nothing to decrease the drug trade.


The United States currently spends nine times more money on its military forces than on all other security tools, including diplomacy, nuclear nonproliferation, peacekeeping, foreign aid and homeland security put together. And no candidate talking about “change” should be taken seriously unless she or he is serious about doing something about this fact.

The American people know this over-militarized approach has not made them or the rest of the world safer. In an October 2006 Angus Reid poll, 65 percent said the country has been “too quick to get American military forces involved” in conflicts. Instead, the public supports more “preventive” measures. According to a November 2007 World Public Opinion poll, for example, 78 percent of Americans “believe that all countries should eliminate their nuclear weapons” through a well-established international verification system.

Our diplomatic mission requires more resources, particularly to address shortfalls in staffing and to upgrade antiquated information and communications systems. And even after 9/11, the Bush administration continues to shortchange the very programs that experts believe are needed to protect against terrorist threats—such as increased funding for our first responders and public health system. Such improvements would help us deal with other hazards and emergencies, as well.

Major deficiencies in our rail, transit security procedures and cargo screening also exist, according to the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, the successor organization to the 9/11 Commission. In each case, the main obstacle has been a lack of money.

Writing a new book

In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down and the world celebrated the end of the Cold War, a number of military experts and U.S. generals suggested that the United States could slash its defense budget without jeopardizing the country’s security.

“I’ve been maintaining for some time now,” former CIA Director William Colby said in 1993, “that our defense budget could safely and modestly be cut to one-half what it was in the later days of the Cold War.” At the time, the military budget stood at $300 billion.

Fifteen years later, the Cold War is long over and the U.S. military budget has more than doubled—and that’s without taking inflation into account.

Voters—Republicans and Democrats alike—have been telling pollsters they want not a modest course correction, not a turned page, but a whole new book. With a new president as the author, let’s hope the book rewrites our country’s wildly unbalanced security policies.




The military budget accounts for more than half of the U.S. federal discretionary spending.  In 2004 the U.S. spent 47% of the world’s total military spending of $910 billion according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.  The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are largely funded through supplementary spending bills outside the Federal Budget, so they are not included in the military budget figures.  In addition, there is black budget  (kept secret) military spending also not listed.  These include expenses related to military research, Area 51 (an experimental weapons testing facility in Lincoln County, Nevada).  It is estimated at $32 billion, up from an estimated $14 billion in 1998.  Excluded are:  spending on the nuclear arsenal and the global war on terror, and spending by the CIA, Coast Guard, & Veterans Affair department.  (Information found in Wikipedia, correlated by JK).  Also excluded is the interest on the federal debt of which military spending has contributed the largest portion—estimated at $390 billion or 80% by the War Resistor’s League.



[i]   There is every reason to believe that the real amount is at least $100 billion above the official $650 billion government figure.  First our government current government views numbers as a way effect opinion, with the current administration setting new standards.  One example is their expansion of manufacturing jobs by including those who work in the fast food industry filliping burgers.  They spending over $1 billion per year to buy media time to influence contents.  Budgets figures should include all related expenditures, such as research with a military application, pensions, etc.  In 1998 the government released a figure of $27,000 per year for warehousing inmates.  I calculated it to be S$45,000 by dividing the BOP’s budget by the number of inmates.  

War Resistor’s League


The pie chart of spending is available at their site 


Total outlays of federal funds is $2,650 billion (military $1,449 billion 54%, non military $1,210 billion 46%).  The U.S. GDP as a share of the world’s is 21% while it share of the world’s military spending is 47%.  For a audio video song



The single greatest waste of human resources is war related activities.  In the period from 1945 until 1985 the United states had consumed through its military expenditures enough to build a second United States—from factories, roads to homes and consumer items.    


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