...not one cent for sanity.
The proposed FY2009 budget has been sent to Congress by the barely functional lame duck Bush White House. You can read it here, or just read what others have been saying about it.
In my opinion it's a disaster, the most massive military budget since the Cold War. You all know my background: I'm not one to believe that "war is not the answer" - it depends on the question, and sometimes, as the Carthginians and the Nazis discovered, war IS the answer. But this budget is completely, moronically irresponsible, the final product of the past seven years of fiscal and geopolitical faith-based policymaking.And the real obscenity here is the comparison between the budget request and the global situation of the United States.
Twenty years ago we faced the Soviet Union; what at the time seemed to be a hostile colossus, bristling with attitude, angry over a defeat in the same Afghan mire we are now swamping in, armed and armored with nuclear missiles. Today we bestride the narrow world like a colossus, ourselves; our most "dangerous" enemy a band of raggedy-ass Islamic dreamers, nutjobs and theocrats. And yet, our Chief Executive and his band of jolly imperial starwarriors sends us this massive handout to the armed services and their remora school of contractors, advisors and lobbyists.It would be enough to make you laugh if it wasn't enough to make you weep.
This is madness. This is foolishness. This is the kind of thing that sends nations spiralling down to burn on the rubbish tip of history, that Paul Kennedy called "imperial overstretch": a common endstate of Great Powers, where military committments to geographically distant possessions or spheres of interest overwhelm the empire's economic strengths. Capital is poured into ever-decreasingly productive imperial wars, deficits become the standard, financial and rentier sectors replace production...finally the state declines into desuetude, defeated by the weight of its own hubristic ambitions.
Try as I might, I can't get this image out of my head.
Dubya as Philip II of Spain; on his knees on the Great Seal carpet in the Oval office, praying intently for the defeat of the heretics and infidels, as the economy craters, the other world powers, frightened and angry at the empire's military adventurism close 'round to harry and spoil...while in the cabinets of the capital the royal counsellors, desperately trying to keep the entire ramshackle edifice from collapsing, mortgage the country to the Rothschilds and the Lombards.
And what about us? What are we doing to shake the dreamers awake from their limitless dream of a new American Century? Will we, too, like the Romans before us, be caught rising too late from our entertainment and self-voted largesse as the first of the bloody-handed Goths swarms over the wall?
Or - a more chilling prospect - is the entire question immaterial, as the Goths are already within the walls, sitting in the curial chair..?