In 1981, when cold warrior Ronald Reagan was president, total military spending ( I refuse to call it ‘ Defense Spending ‘ ) was 158 billion dollars. Each year in office, Reagan coerced the Congress to continually increase it. By 1988, his last year as president, the total was 290 billion. If you recall, by 1988 the Cold War was officially over. The Berlin Wall came down, and Russia and most of the former Soviet Union became our trading partners. Remember? No more threat of Russkie Nukes flying down from the Arctic circle into our towns and cities. Peace! They even talked of a Peace Dividend when Bush 1 came into office. Well, that all changed in 1991 when Iraq went into Kuwait ( after getting the unofficial ‘ Who Cares ‘ by the Bush 1 crew ) . You know the rest. We had Desert Storm and lots and lots of our tax money being spent on War Industries , or as Eisenhower labeled them in his 1961 Farewell Address: The Military Industrial Complex.
That was then….. Let’s look at the Cheney gang’s New American Century. Under Bush 2 & Cheney our military spending in 2005 was…… 493 billion dollars! After all, they did use 9/11 as a pretext to accomplish two things: A) Begin a new era of perpetual war ( to quote Gore Vidal ) under their trademark War On Terror and B) Invade and occupy Afghanistan and then Iraq. Regardless of who is in the White House, your tax dollars now go to a military budget of around 700 billion. What have we gotten in return for such spending increases? Our nation has invaded and occupied ( for nearly 10 years ) two sovereign countries. We have destroyed hundreds of thousands of their citizens, over four thousand of our own, and totally disabled the infrastructures of those nations. So much so that last night Mr. Obama used what Orwell called Doublespeak once again about our mission being completed in Iraq and how they are now free . Apparently the Iraqis are not free enough to watch him on television! You see, after eight years of invasion and occupation, they still have only four hours daily of electricity in Baghdad. So, at four o’clock AM their time last night, they could not see Mr. Obama spinning his tall tale. We are literally hated as an arrogant empire throughout the world….. By the citizens of the world. Most important for all those Tea Party advocates and Democratic Party apologists , our nation is…..broke! The Iraq and Afghan missions, as the hypocrites in government and media purposely and inaccurately label them, have cost our taxpayers in excess of one trillion dollars ( that’s a thousand Billion for you layman out there ). Whoever said ‘ War Is Hell ‘ knew what he was speaking about.
So, we have 50 million of our fellow citizens now on Medicaid…. That’s 1 in 6 of us. We have 40 million on food stamps. Cities are broke. States not much better. They are laying off workers all over the spectrum. Longer lines in stores as staffing is trimmed. Longer waits for help anywhere you turn. Libraries will be either closing or cutting back drastically. In the schools in my Florida county, they resorted to placing locks on the thermostats so as to save on air conditioning. Teachers have had to light candles by the thermostat to kick start the air. Really! Small businesses are closing faster than you can bat an eyelash. The pizza guy near me, who made the best pizza in the area…… Just closed shop, with no note, no notice. Just gone. The cabinet makers nationwide who I sell sanding belts are either shut down or operating part time. When I call them on the phone to discuss things, I no longer hear anger in their voices ……. Simply resignation! Fifty million of us have no health coverage….. another 100 million have inadequate coverage. The so called Health Care Reform bill was a lie and a con job. All it did was give more power to the private insurers. We have a nation ( this writer included ) of Americans walking around with more and more teeth missing. Why? Who in the hell can afford $ 2000- $ 2500 dollars ( for root canal and a crown ) to save a tooth?! Imagine what even a pittance of the 1 trillion plus wasted on phony wars & occupations would have accomplished? Each of us could have had Medicare for All and National Dental Coverage. Think of that for a second.
So, what we have are Tea party minions running around and shouting about Big Government Spending. Then we have Democratic Party apologists defending a President and Congress who continue the ‘ Business as Usual ‘ policies of the Neo Con gangsters before them. The Tea Party folks shout about how entitlements are destroying our economy. Well, with 1 in 6 Americans on Medicaid now ( entitlement ) and 1 in 7 using food stamps ( entitlement ) , logic dictates that someone in their extended family is receiving this aid. What will they say to their son, daughter, grand kid, niece or nephew at the next holiday dinner: You are the enemy! The lazy one who is spending my tax dollars! What about those Democratic Party fools who are lead by their noses into the voting booth each election cycle ? You say you are against torture, yet your President and Congress gave a pass to the Bush crew who orchestrated it. You say you were against our invasion and occupation of Iraq, but now you support our mission…… To the tune of 100 billion a year that could go , should go, to save the state and city where you live. To add insult to injury, I found it obscene that Mr. Obama would actually mention Bush 2 in his talk last night. To portray this man , who lied our nation into phony wars of empire, as a patriot who cares about our troops, was the final straw! A president who actually pushed for funding cuts for veteran’s benefits, and whose evil deeds wasted so many lives……….. ‘ Fool me once, shame on you….. Fool me twice, shame on ME!!! ‘
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is an activist leader and free lance columnist. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 150 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at www.dandelionsalad.wordpress.com, or at his own blog at www.opensalon.com. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.