Last month, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the US House of Representatives “approved a $636 billion bill to fund the Pentagon through the remaining 10 months of fiscal 2010, completing the last piece of must-pass spending business that had to be finished before the end of the year. The House vote was 395-34.” That doesn’t include funding for the Obama administration’s surge in Afghanistan, nor does it include our nuclear arsenal.
In a year in which health care reform was compared to death panels, and there was plenty of posturing from many different quarters, the multiple hundreds of billions of dollars we continue to devote to war (as we have for decades) went largely uncontested.
Journalists Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse have reported on this and other aspects of our military activities. One note I found especially interesting is our increasing use of drones, machines that can be flown from thousands of miles away.
They note, “Globally, we have become the world’s leading state assassins—a judge, jury, and executioner beyond the bounds of all accountability. In essence, those pilot-less planes turn us into a law of war unto ourselves. It’s a chilling development. Watch for it to spread in 2010, and keep an eye out for which countries, fielding their own drones, follow down the path we’re pioneering, for in our age all war-making developments invariably proliferate—and fast.”
It makes me wonder where the real death panels are.