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When Will It Be Time to Cut Military Spending?

On Tuesday, April 12, people in more than 35 countries, as well as Columbus, Dallas, Kansas City and dozens of other cities throughout the United States participated in the first Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

In DC, they most definitely are sitting this one out.

In fact, after weeks of budget brinksmanship,  Congress emerged with a tentative so-called compromise that was unable to get a single cut made to spending on the US military.

Christopher Hellman at TomDispatch recently added up all the hidden military-related spending in the budget and came to a startling number for fiscal year 2012. Something like $1.2 trillion dollars. That's trillion with a T.  In this year's budget they admit to $670 billion or so, plus another $41 billion for Homeland Security and $76.6 billion for "military construction" and Veterans Affairs--an INCREASE over last year.

After the long search for ways to shrink government spending, the compromise brings us a 16 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency but NO cuts to the military?

The departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services -- which represent only about 15 percent of the budget -- are taking about 52 percent of the cuts.

The Institute for Policy Studies estimates it costs taxpayers $1.2 million a year for each soldier in Afghanistan. To make up for the $141 million cut from Fish and Wildlife services, say, you'd only have to bring 117 soldiers home.

The missiles that fell on Libya in the first day of the supposed “peacekeeping” mission cost the US over $100 million—and that was March 19. As of yesterday, the estimated cost is $608 million. Tomahawk missiles alone cost $1 million apiece.

We knew that governors like Scott Walker were helping to manufacture a deficit to cut programs they wanted to target, even as they cut taxes for billionaires and the rich. Our Democratic president has given in to deficit hawking too. But to not make a single cut to so-called defense spending while attacking desperately-needed funds for jobs?

Some call the budget deal a compromise. It is. But not a compromise between the parties. The killer compromise we should be talking about is the compromise both parties make with the war profiteers - to keep their cash coming and the killing and dying continuing, while people and all things public line up for the chopping block.

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Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders is a best-selling author and broadcaster who hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at or via Twitter @GRITlaura

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