Friday, December 21, 2007

Pentagon living from paycheck to paycheck

Imagine: according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Pentagon is running out of money:
He said Congressional funding for the wars was inadequate and budget constraints were undermining planning...."Funding the war in fits and starts is requiring us to make short-term plans and short-term decisions."
Seems that $500 billion just doesn't go as far as it used to in my grand-pappy's day. Maybe because the war in Iraq is a gaping money pit? Thanks to the Cost of War website, we can actually watch the dollars roll before our eyes:

Cost of the War in Iraq
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But wait ...the Secretary said something else that has been hailed as "uncommon sense" by the Los Angeles times: allocate more money to diplomatic efforts. It seems that we spend
only $36 billion a year on the State Department to win friends and defang enemies. That's "less than what the Pentagon spends on healthcare alone," Gates said. He called for a dramatic increase in spending on "the civilian instruments of national security: diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action and economic reconstruction and development."
Well, Mr. Secretary, money doesn't grow on trees, as my mom used to say. Unfortunately, we just heard the speechifying this week, as the question of funding for the war was considered in the Senate. The very idea of tightening the Pentagon's budget is enough to unleash the rhetorical fury and patriotic fervor of some of the members of the Millionaires' Club. Limit the Pentagon's spending? Are you on al Qaeda's side or something?

...What could you do with 500 billion dollars?

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