Friday, August 19, 2011

Wars Budget: End Afghan, Iraq, and other Foreign Wars

Note on this Blog:   My intention was to provide another window into the Pentagon, but little research about the Pentagon itself exists.    $600 billion a year, yet few investigations--congressional or media--penetrate the sacrosanct Pentagon walls.    So am announcing here that the Blog is about the US National Security State, what Eisenhower labeled the military-industrial-(congressional) complex, now the Secrecy-Corporate-Pentagon-White House-Surveillance-Congressional-Mainstream Media-Education Complex.

"Super Committee" Should Cut the War Budget    8-19-11
Dear Dick,
Urge your representatives and the President to support an end to spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the debt deal.
Take ActionBy Thanksgiving, twelve Members of Congress are supposed to come up with a plan to reduce the government debt by $1.2 trillion over ten years. Cuts in projected military spending are on the table, and that's good! But so far, most of the discussion concerning cuts in projected military spending has been about the "base" Pentagon budget - not on what we are spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The "base" Pentagon budget certainly needs to be cut, but the wars need to end as well. Ending the wars must be part of the debt discussion.
Urge the President and your representatives in Congress to put ending the wars on the table in the debt discussion.
Representative Lynn Woolsey is circulating a letter to the Super Committee calling on them to zero out future spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the debt deal. [1]
Woolsey's letter calls for ending war funding starting in Fiscal Year 2013, providing $170 billion in Fiscal Year 2012 to fund redeployment.
According to how planned reductions in future spending are scored in the budgeting process - compared to current spending - this would save $1.8 trillion in spending over ten years - 50% more than the total debt reduction the Super Committee is required to come up with.
Some in Washington say savings from ending the wars would be "phony," because troops are being drawn down anyway, and no one expects war spending to remain at current levels for the next ten years, even if the Super Committee takes no action on the wars.
While it's true that troop drawdowns are "planned," these drawdowns are not guaranteed to take place; indeed, current "plans" call for the United States to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq by the end of this year, but the Obama administration is currently negotiating with the Iraqi government to keep U.S. troops in Iraq anyway. Establishing a plan for troop withdrawals as part of the debt deal would "lock in" planned drawdowns.
Moreover, the drawdown in Afghanistan that Rep. Woolsey is advocating is much quicker and more decisive than what the Pentagon has in mind. The Pentagon plans to withdraw "most" U.S. "combat" troops from Afghanistan by 2014, but, just as it is trying to do in Iraq, an as-yet-undetermined number of troops would stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. Woolsey's plan would zero out funding for the deployment of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in Fiscal Year 2013; so 2013 would be the end of these U.S. military occupations.
Including the war budget in the debt deal could very well end the wars more quickly than the Pentagon wants - and require the Pentagon to stick to a shorter deadline.
Right now, war spending is outside of the debt debate, even though some people are proposing to cut Social Security benefits and raise the Medicare retirement age. This is totally unacceptable.
Urge your representatives and the President to cut war spending as part of the debt deal.
Thanks for all you do to end the war and bring the troops home from Iraq,
Robert Naiman, Sarah Burns, Chelsea Mozen, Kate Gould and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy
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1. Read the Woolsey letter here:

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