Earlier today, President Obama joined Secretary of Defense Panetta at the Pentagon to announce the administration’s new national security strategy. Speaking at the formal release of “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” the president wanted everyone to know that the new strategy did not mean a cut in defense spending. In fact he assured the gathering of reporters and military brass that under his watch the Pentagon budget will continue to grow:
“Over the next ten years, the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this—it will still grow.”
The President’s declaration of support for yet more Pentagon spending increases – while everything else in the federal budget gets sliced and diced – is an indication that the White House believes that its political interests are best served by bowing to pressure from right-wing hawks. The relentless attacks on the administration from all but one of the Republican presidential candidates on its “weak” or “soft” national security policy is clearly having an impact. When every corner of government is being decimated by extreme cuts, when Social Security and Medicare are under threat, and when the economy remains fragile and struggling, everyone outside of the military-industrial complex has now become even more at risk.
What’s next? The intensifying drum beat for war against Iran from the neo-con right and leading presidential candidates like Rick Santorum should make us all nervous.
There could not be more compelling proof of the need for strong, sustained pressure from OUR side of this debate. The multi-million dollar lobbying and PR campaign of military contractors and their right-wing allies is clearly paying off. Calls for war with Iran and the dire consequences of “losing” Afghanistan are getting more and more shrill.
The stakes for the rest of us could not be higher.
That’s why we have already begun to fight back. With our allies we are highlighting ways to save hundreds of billions of dollars of wasteful Pentagon spending that does nothing to keep America safe. Working with our allies in Congress, we are pushing to save $2 billion every week by ending the war in Afghanistan. And above all, we are fighting to make sure that the American people – who do not want more war or wasteful military spending – have their voice heard throughout this national debate.
In the coming weeks and months we will be sharing more ways for you to help in this fight. And, we will give you updates as details of the administration’s new national security strategy are revealed.
There is a lot of work to do and a lot at stake.