Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cuts in military spending? Don't get your hopes up

"The Pentagon is bracing for spending cuts far deeper than what it was expecting just a few weeks ago," screams the lead of this Washington Post story, bringing tears of joy to anti-American zealots like your humble blogger who would like nothing more than to see the U.S. empire go the way of its Roman predecessor. Alas, as is often the case with articles in the corporate media, the full truth, if its reported at all, is buried at the bottom as an afterthought. What matters to inside-the-Beltway readers is not the facts, but the narrative.

So, before getting to the truth -- which I too am burying, though if you were able to figure out that the circle goes in the round hole I'm sure you've already guessed it -- the Post goes to all the usual, outraged suspects for some choice quotes about how, gosh darn it, no one in Washington is standing up for the military-industrial complex.

“Who knows where the needle will end up?” Thomas Donnelly of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute tells the paper. “Nobody has defense as a high priority. It’s increasingly looking like everybody wants to toss the military overboard.”

So how 'bout that truth, huh? While some lawmakers are indeed talking of cutting defense spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, if only, as I suspect, to deflect attention from the obvious outrage of slashing the relative pittance spent on social programs to deal with the supposed debt problem, the Post waits until paragraph 16 -- one six -- to inform us that the massive, sky-is-falling cuts talked of in the lede aren't really cuts at all.

Indeed, while the "cuts" discussed in the article may "sound like big numbers, some analysts said they represent a reduction in projected spending only and that the Pentagon’s budget would actually continue to grow slightly, about at the rate of inflation."

That's Washington: not increasing war spending by as much as once projected, but still in fact increasing it, is what constitutes a "cut." Actually cutting programs like Social Security and Medicare, on the other hand, is called shoring them up. Isn't politics fun?

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