America’s Post-9/11 Wars Have Cost $5.9 Trillion

Source: The Nation

Not to mention 240,000 civilian deaths and 21 million displaced. And yet a congressional commission is urging yet more money for a bloated Pentagon.

Just in time for next year’s Pentagon spending debate, a new report is calling for a huge increase in the Defense Department’s budget, which is already at one of the highest levels since World War II. The document was produced by the National Defense Strategy Commission, a congressionally mandated group charged with assessing the Trump administration’s new national-defense strategy.

The premise of the new report is that America faces a “national security emergency” that leaves its ability to defend “its allies, its partners, and its own vital interests” increasingly in doubt.

As its solution, the commission calls for an increase in Pentagon spending of 3 to 5 percent above inflation for at least the next five years. According to calculations by Taxpayers for Common Sense, the high end of this range would mean an annual Pentagon budget of an astonishing $972 billion by 2024—a potential boon for Lockheed Martin and its fellow weapons-makers, but a disaster for US taxpayers. It is unlikely that Congress will sign off on such a hefty increase, but the fact that it has been put forward at all will provide more rhetorical ammunition for the hawks on Capitol Hill, making it all the harder to rein in runaway Pentagon spending.

It’s not as if the Defense Department is starved for funds. The United States spends more on its military than the next seven countries in the world combined (five of which are US allies). The increase in Pentagon spending in the past two years alone is greater than the entire military budget of Russia. And that’s before the massive increases proposed by the strategy commission.

Perhaps this proposal shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the source. The commission was co-chaired by Eric Edelman, an Iraq War supporter and former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, and Gary Roughead, the former chief of US naval operations and a current board member of Northrop Grumman, the fourth-largest weapons contractor in the United States.

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