Monday, August 09, 2010


Robert Gates: Less is more

It's not online yet (update: it is now), but I've just been watching U.S. Secretary of War "Defense" Robert Gates giving a major speech to a news conference announcing major "cuts" in the Defense Department. CNN's subtitle under him was interesting, though, and perhaps carefully chosen, because it referred to "major expense cuts," not "major budget cuts." Because, as Gates noted, although he's proposing billions of dollars in "savings" through the usual corporate means (eliminating redundancy, eliminating no longer needed functions, etc.), not only will 100% of those "savings" be applied to new expenses (more and newer weapons, etc.), but this is his way of "limiting" the increase in the DOD budget to "2-3% real increase" per year.

Less is more. Less bureaucracy becomes more war, and more misery for the people of the world, most assuredly including the people of the U.S., who suffer because some of them die or are injured in those wars, who suffer because some have family members or friends who die or are injured in those wars, who suffer because of the loss of freedom due to the "war on terror," and who suffer because social services are being shredded while more and more money, even if it will now be "only" 2-3% more each year, is funneled into war.

Update: In a trend which will no doubt be echoed by 100% of the corporate media, the New York Times headlines: "Making Good on Pledge, Gates Outlines Military Cuts." And in a sadder trend, 95% of the American public will believe that military spending is being cut.

Second update: The Washington Post doesn't even mention the 2-3% real increase each year promised by Gates. The San Jose Mercury News has a headline (different from the one online) which reads "Pentagon to cut jobs, budget" which is utterly false.

Last update: Link to the text of Gates' speech. Note that, despite the headlines and the "framing" of the story in the media, Gates specifically says: "Let me be clear, the task before us is not to reduce the department’s top line budget. Rather, it is to significantly reduce its excess overhead costs and apply the savings to force structure and modernization." and again at the end of the speech: "In closing and in summary, I want to re-emphasize that this agenda is not about cutting the department’s budget. It is about reforming and re-shaping priorities to ensure that, in tough budgetary and economic times, we can focus defense resources where they belong: in America’s fighting forces, investment in future capabilities and, most important on our men and women in uniform."

Why stop here? There's more...

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