The Incredible Evil of Omnibus Defense Appropriations Bills

So in a way, the whole indefinite detention of American citizens thing was actually a distraction away from the sheer evil of the monstrous overall defense spending bill.

Take it away, David Swanson:
It's a bill to dump over $650 billion into wars and aggressive weaponry, continue the slaughter in Afghanistan, ramp up the creation and use of drones, and expand U.S. military bases around the globe.

When these bills move through the Congress, they are so enormous and yet so routine that almost all attention is drawn to one or more peculiarly putrid or pretentiously benevolent little attachments. Either the bill simply must be passed because it contains hurricane relief or veterans aid or unemployment insurance or because it finally allows GLBT Americans to join in our crusades of mass murder. Or, alternatively, the bill desperately needs amending because it sanctions torture or lawless imprisonment or expands an especially hated war or an especially transparent investment in unwanted weaponry manufactured by some campaign donor. But the underlying insanity of the bill itself never makes it into the corporate conversation.

In the case of this latest National Defense Authorization Act, there has been a toothless rhetorical amendment passed asking the president to end his warmaking in Afghanistan in something less than three years if it's not too much trouble. But that positive measure has been absolutely overwhelmed in what little discussion of the bill exists by a section of the bill giving presidents and the military the power to lock you away without any of the process guaranteed you by the U.S. Constitution. Now, President Obama may veto the bill because he would prefer that section to be even worse than it is. He has expressed concern that it limits, rather than expands, his options. He should veto it because it rips out the heart of our Bill of Rights and grinds it into the dirt.

But a bill like this should not be passed simply because the latest erosion of our civil liberties is removed and the even worse un-codified understanding and practice is left to continue. A bill like this one should be rejected in its entirety. This bill kills human beings in large numbers, endangers us all through encouragement of foreign hostility, contributes to the development and proliferation of genocidal weaponry, creates massive environmental destruction, advances a foreign policy built around an unsurvivable energy policy, funds both sides of an unending Afghan occupation, funds prisons where we already hold many hundreds of men behind bars without charge or trial, and gives presidents de facto power to ignore our rights for the duration of a global war that has no end. And this bill destroys our economy through unfathomable wasteful spending in the midst of a manufactured deficit crisis and an actual humanitarian crisis at home and abroad.

Military spending is worse for job creation and retention than any other kind of spending or even tax cuts. Jobs is not the silver lining in militarism. There is a choice that confronts us between militarism or jobs, militarism or human services, militarism or a safety net for the ill and the elderly and the impoverished. We're dumping over a trillion dollars a year into "security" spending in "defense" and other bills combined, well over half of discretionary spending. The deficit "crisis" is not the creation of sick people getting old and multiplying without having had the decency to bribe their way into major government contracts or bailouts from the Federal Reserve. Single-payer health coverage, not cuts to Medicare, is the solution there. The deficit is not purely the result of the Obama tax cuts (sorry, Bush is gone now) or of the bad economy. There is a way to improve the actual economy by spending existing public dollars in different ways.