Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has made clear that he plans to fight any cuts to the Pentagon budget tooth and nail. We have every reason to believe Obama holds similar, even identical, views. As Glenn Greenwald has noted, this sets up a near-guaranteed gutting of American social programs if the so-called "Super Congress" has any teeth. Republicans will oppose any cuts to defense. Obama has pushed for cuts to social programs already. Now he makes clear his commitment to monstrous military extravagance. Panetta has gone so far as to assert that any possible cuts "would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military's ability to protect the nation."
The Orwellian doublethink in Panetta and the Pentagon's assertions is something to behold. Note that the Pentagon is also angling for more money on the grounds that there are new security threats in the form of climate change, among other things. This hopelessly expansive, all-encompassing, "everything is a national security issue" thinking will will swell to include economic issues. Indeed, it already has, as seen in much of the hysterical rhetoric about China.
Paul Krugman noted, again, the other day that the US is looking more and more like a banana republic. One of the features of those failed states is massive numbers of citizens working for the military. Going into the military in many of these countries was the equivalent of going into business in western Europe or North America.
Have Democrats settled on the military as the only social program Republicans will support? Or is Obama just as spinelessly militant as Joseph Lieberman and war-hungry Republicans?
The US patted itself on the back over the success of its strategy of forcing the Soviet Union to spend itself into oblivion on 'defense.' On the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Zbigniew Brzezinski told Carter, "We have given the Soviets their Vietnam."
The US is now doing the same . . . to itself.