As the right wing continues to absolutely freak out about those “deep cuts” to “defense” spending that are allegedly being proposed by the Obama administration, Eric Stoner points out the absurdity of those claims at Alternet, noting that there are no real cuts and that our real defense spending is actually much higher than the Pentagon’s budget.
Not only does this budget allocate a mere $420 million less than the Defense Department received from Congress this year, it represents just a fraction of the actual amount that will go towards maintaining the massive U.S. security apparatus. To get a more accurate picture of the true cost of the American empire, various programs and line items that do not fall under the Pentagon’s base budget must be included in this tally.
1) War spending: Despite the fact that Obama still officially plans to end combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of the year, the budget includes $79.4 billion for the war in 2015. Granted, that is only a placeholder. The actual figure will be decided on later, but it does give a sense of what is to be expected, which is essentially a continuation of the tragic status quo.
2) Veterans: To take account of the total price tag of the many wars that the United States has fought — and continues to fight — the long-term cost of providing for veterans should be included. To meet these needs, $68.4 billion has been requested for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
He also points out that much of the intelligence budget should be counted, since the CIA runs the drone strike program, as well as a portion of the budgets for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons programs.