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The Defense Industry Is Pleased with Obama | The Nation

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The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

The Defense Industry Is Pleased with Obama

Who says the president is failing to show leadership? In one area at least, there's no sign of flag or falter. If anything, the administration's only becoming more forthright. Sad to say, that area is military build-up.

Last year, the White House made a big deal of cutting a weapons program -- the F-22 fighter jet -- and the cuts conveniently obscured the growth in spending on unmanned aircraft or drones (the weapons that Pakistanis say killed a record 123 civilians in twelve attacks last month; 41 for every alleged Al Qaeda operative.)

This year, the president dispensed with the window dressing. No big deal about cuts -- except on the domestic side. While the administration's record $3.8 trillion budget cuts or freezes spending on domestic programs, it requests $708.3 billion for war. That's $14.8 billion more than we're spending now.

The total includes $548.9 billion for "regular" war, plus $159.3 billion for special spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh yes, the administration's also asking Congress to increase spending on new nuclear weapons by more than $7 billion dollars over the next five years -- despite that peace prize-winning pledge to cut the US arsenal and seek a nuclear weapons-free world.

The quote of the day comes from the CEO of a military contractor-funded policy group called the Lexington Institute. Loren Thompson tells Tuesday'sNew York Times, "The defense industry is pleased but bemused... It's been telling itself for years that when the Democrats got control it would be bad news for weapons programs. But the spending keeps going on."

Take that you Nobel committee!

And to think some whiners complain about Democrats suffering from a lack of direction.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.

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