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Dana Milbank had a good story in today’s Washington Post about Congress larding up the defense bill:
This meeting of the Senate Military-Industrial Caucus will now come to order. The chair recognizes the senator from Northrop Grumman for a question.
“We’ve noticed the increase in the amphibious ship fleet needs that go beyond traditional military missions,” said Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). “Do you see a continuing need for shipbuilding in the amphibious area?” Of course, Senator. Nobody will hurt the DD(X) destroyers they build in Pascagoula.
Does the senator from General Dynamics have a question? “Littoral combat ships,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “Do you believe that this program will play a vital role in our Navy’s future fleet?”
Certainly, Senator. Tell the folks in Mobile that their shipbuilding operation is safe. The chair now recognizes the senator from Boeing. “I wanted to ask you today if you can tell me how you are taking into account the health and longevity of our domestic industrial base,” asked Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
Worth a read, but Milbank still propagates the myth that the Obama administration is seriously seeking to revolutionize and modernize defense spending:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, attempting a bold reshaping of the military-industrial complex to meet the changing nature of war, pleaded with the lawmakers to rise above the powerful contractors that fund their campaigns and influence their elections. “The responsibility of this department first and foremost is to fight and win the nation’s wars,” Gates reminded them. “I know that some will take issue with individual decisions. I would ask, however, that you look beyond specific programs and instead at the full range of what we are trying to do.”
Yes, someone, especially Milbank and the rest of the media, really should take a look at what the administration is doing. Its recently released and much-hyped defense budget didn’t challenge any of the fundamental assumptions of American foreign policy or the matter of why we need to spend so much money — more than the rest of the world combined and four percent more than last year — and “defend” so many regions. It proposed killing a few of the most egregiously stupid weapons programs, but preserved many more, such as the unneeded, overpriced, deeply flawed F-22 fighter (which the Pentagon still hasn’t deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, and which has no utility against groups like Al Qaeda) and left $7.8 billion for the dregs of Star Wars, aka ballistic missile defense. And in the end, Congress will reverse the few minor positive changes that Gates is proposing, and the administration will go along.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Number of Turkish college students detained in the last year for requesting Kurdish-language classes:
Turkey was funding a search for Suleiman the Magnificent’s heart.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”