In the News March 21
U.S. War Budget Increased
One aspect of the continuing U.S. provocations against Russia and instigating the current conflict is to unite the military bureaucracy and vying factions among the rulers. Ukraine is being used in part for this purpose. One immediate result, much demanded by the military oligopolies and the military, which serves these private interests, is yet more billions for the Pentagon.
Congress has now passed a Pentagon budget of $782 billion, a 42 percent increase over last year, for this fiscal year October 2021-22. The budget also includes an additional $13.6 billion for Ukraine, mainly for more troops, weaponry and enforcing sanctions. This is an increase from the $10 billion U.S. President Joe Biden had asked for, and an additional increase from the $6.4 billion reported February 25. The final bill removed all funding for COVID, which initially was $30 billion, then $15.6 billion and now, because of resistance in the Senate, both the House and Senate agreed to reduce it to zero.
In total it is a $1.5 trillion budget bill — more than 2,700 pages. It likely was not fully read by those voting as the final version was not released until March 9 when the House voted, and the Senate followed March 10.
Up until now, Congress had been unable to pass the budget, due last October and instead used three “continuing resolutions.” A government shutdown threatened again March 11. “Continuing resolutions” serve to provide just enough funding to keep government offices open. Each one has meant great uncertainty and insecurity for the hundreds of thousands of federal workers and those depending on social security, welfare, etc.
In this situation, pro-war forces insisted the budget be passed by March 11 with Ukraine as justification and Biden pushing for all to unite. This is what occurred.
In addition to securing these additional funds, there is now a push for an increase to at least $800 billion for war in 2022 and Biden reportedly will likely ask for that. This does not include the increased funding for nuclear weapons, so the yearly war budget is already more than $1 trillion.
Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, speaking of the fiscal 2022-23 Pentagon budget, said on March 3, “Without question, it’s going to have to be bigger than we thought.” He was speaking at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) event. AEI is considered a conservative think tank. Smith continued, “The Russian invasion of Ukraine fundamentally altered what our national security posture and what our defence posture needs to be. It made it more complicated, and it made it more expensive. I don’t see much way to argue” against raising it.
The White House budget director said, “These resources will mean additional defense equipment for Ukraine, lifesaving humanitarian assistance — such as emergency food assistance — for the Ukrainian people, stronger sanctions enforcement, a dedicated task force led by the Department of Justice to go after the ill-gotten gains and other illicit activities of the Russian oligarchs, and additional support for U.S. troop deployments to neighbouring countries.”
This shows that however the current conflict goes, there will be more funding for sending more U.S. troops and weapons to the region. This includes $300 million for Poland and other countries in the region for military buildup. The U.S. already has 100,000 troops in the region, including more than 40,000 in Poland.
As well, according to Todd Harrison, director for budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which is influential in deciding foreign policy, additional 2022 funding will also go to buy more weapons, aircraft, ships, and submarines to contend with both Russia and China.
“Now, Congress and DOD [Department of Defense], instead of looking at the overall force structure in terms of being able to meet one major theatre [of] war at a time they’re now forced to look at two almost simultaneous wars and that is going to drive a lot more of an increase in demand for force structure.”
(TML Daily, posted March 21, 2022)