Battle for Idlib, Armageddon coming

By Christopher R Rice

“I think it’s a very sad situation in Idlib, the province, what’s going on there,” Trump told reporters in the Oval office on Wednesday as he met the emir of Kuwait. “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”

Russian and Syrian warplanes resumed airstrikes against insurgents in the densely populated enclave.

The bombardment began just hours after Trump warned on Twitter that Assad “must not recklessly attack Idlib Province”.

“Let us be clear, it remains our firm stance that if President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its Allies will respond swiftly and appropriately,” the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

Trump on Wednesday also denied that he wanted to assassinate Assad – one of the many shocking claims made in a new book by the acclaimed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.

“That was never even contemplated,” Trump said.

Trump Escalates Syrian Proxy War: At the start of the Trump presidency, it looked like the U.S. covert “regime change” war in Syria might be ending, but it has returned, zombie-like, in a slightly different form.

The parallel measures by the U.S. and Russia signify a race between the two major powers to capture as much territory as possible from the Islamic State before the other side is able to do so.

Under the guise of “defeating ISIS,” both powers are essentially carving out their own spheres of influence throughout the country, dividing it between U.S.- and Russian-backed regions, leading to an inevitable showdown between the two sides over the fate of the country and its territorial integrity.

Today in Idlib, where the FSA is being supported by the CIA, al-Qaeda and its coalition completely dominate the rebel forces. Rebels routinely pass at least half of their U.S.-supplied weapons to Nusra while the U.S.-approved “moderates” only operate under license from al-Qaeda.

It is important to realize the true history of this failed CIA program and the terrorism it has wrought on Syria. It’s also important to understand how the fight against ISIS is currently being utilized to potentially fracture and partition Syria under the guise of eliminating the threat of terrorism.

Syria says it’s been warned that Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorists brought in chlorine containers to a local village, where they aimed to work with the White Helmets to stage “a provocation.”

A chemical weapons provocation, currently being prepared by terrorists in Syria, is aimed at allowing France, the United Kingdom and the United States to carry out a full scale invasion on Syria before the November elections, in the US.

For this purpose, USS The Sullivans destroyer with 56 cruise missiles on board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago, while a US В-1В bomber carrying 24 air-to-surface AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles was deployed at Al Udeid air base in Qatar.

Who’s who: Sunni Islamic fascist militias control Idlib. Sunnis make up 90% of all Muslims in the world. 95% of all terrorist organizations are Sunni. The Sunni under Saddam ruled Iraq and killed millions of Shia, Kurds and Christians. It is the Sunni Saudis that are killing Shia in Yemen. It is Sunni ISIS and al Qaida that have committed genocide against Shia, Kurds, Druz and Christians in Syria.

Salafists are radical Sunnis and an offshoot of the Saudi’s Wahhabi sect.

The rebels (ISIS, Al Qaeda, Alawiyat al-Qasioun, White helmets, Grey wolves, Muslim Brotherhood, and all the rest) are not the good guys.

At least Russia has provided a humanitarian corridor before bombings begin. The US never did this in Mosul with an over two million civilian population and then the US cut off their water supply, cell phones and utilities! The US has no morals to be telling Russia how to fight their moderate rebels!

No mention of the thousands of civilians killed in Raqqua by US bombing, as the world inches closer to World War III.

TheAmericanConservative: On August 9, a Saudi airstrike hit a school bus and killed dozens, including many children. The Saudis have also bombed Yemeni schoolsweddings, and hospitals.

It’s a human rights catastrophe that—despite the fact that America has no quarrel with Yemen or the Yemeni people—President Trump is subsidizing. With its most recent deal to arm the Saudis costing the U.S. over a billion dollars, small government conservatives should be much more concerned about the price tag of this bloody foreign intervention.

Recent events in Syria indicate that “the United States [is] seemingly looking to cement a north-south ‘Sunni axis’ from the Gulf states and Jordan to Turkey,” Fabrice Balanche, a French expert on Syria and a visiting fellow at The Washington institute for Near East Policy, wrote recently.

Iran defeats ISIS: Without the work and help of Iran, ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorists would take over many countries. The root of all Arab terror groups is in Saudi Arabia teaching of Wahhabi savages. Just like in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the Arab world.

I want to thank Iran for being the first and only country fighting ISIS in Iraq when Obama denied its existence. I want to thank Iran and Russia for defending a non religious government in Syria from the jihadists fanatics backed by America, Israel, Saudi Arabia that want to impose a Sharia regime.

US interference: Idlib is the last strong hold of Western/Saudi backed Sunni Islamic-Fascist thug militias. Once they have been destroyed peace can return to Syria. The Syrian government has offered to evacuate any civilians that wish to do so.

Hillary In Leaked Email: Saudi Arabia And Qatar Are Funding ISIS (DailyCaller)

The United States is providing de-facto cover for Islamic State units in Syria and only pretending to fight terrorism in the Middle East, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said the U.S. air force had tried to hinder Russian strikes on Islamic State militants around the Syrian town of Albu Kamal.

“These facts are conclusive evidence that the United States, while imitating an uncompromising fight against international terrorism for the global community, in fact provides cover for Islamic State units,” the defense ministry said.

Government watchdog Judicial Watch published more than 100 pages of formerly classified documents from the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department.

The documents obtained through a federal lawsuit, revealed the agencies earlier views on ISIS, namely that they were a desirable presence in Eastern Syria in 2012 and that they should be “supported” in order to isolate the Syrian regime.

The U.S. intelligence documents not only confirms suspicions that the United States and some of its coalition allies had actually facilitated the rise of the ISIS in Syria – as a counterweight to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad- but also that ISIS members were initially trained by members and contractors of the Central Intelligence Agency at facilities in Jordan in 2012.

‘CIA created ISIS’, says Julian Assange as Wikileaks releases 500k US cables (YahooNews)

Former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.”

The large scale air campaign which has resulted in countless civilian casualties has been routinely misreported by the mainstream media. According to  Max Boot, senior fellow in national security at the Council on Foreign Relations. ”Obama’s strategy in Syria and Iraq was not working… [ because] the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS has been remarkably restrained”. (Newsweek, February 17, 2015, emphasis added).

The evidence confirms that the Islamic State is not the target. Quite the opposite. The air raids are intended to destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria. (In comparison, the NATO bombing raids of Yugoslavia in 1999 lasted about three months (March 24-June 10, 1999).

The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.

The Global War on Terrorism is a fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN. (CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

Confirmed by media reports, the illustrious pro-democracy former LIFG leader Abdelhakim Belhadj (alias Sadeeq), who worked in close liaison with US-NATO in 2011 has now (February 2015) joined the leadership of the Islamic State in Libya, thereby facilitating the extension of the Islamic State project into the Maghreb, on behalf of his US-NATO sponsors.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the IDF field hospital in the occupied Golan heights.

This hospital was set up to treat wounded Al Nusrah mercenaries, who are directly supported by the Israeli military operating out of the Golan Heights. The JP acknowledges that the hospital is being used to support the jihadist insurgency.

Syria’s not the target but a stepping stone

As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in 2010, the Saudis “want to fight the Iranians to the last American.” Why the Saudis would see this as attractive is clear. Why Netanyahu would like to go along with this also follows a certain logic. That is not the mystery in this drama. The mystery is why the president of the United States would go along with something that so clearly contradicts U.S. national interest.

“American unwillingness to confront Iran and its proxies in Syria, if obliged by circumstances, is a thing of the past,” Frederic Hof, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and a former State Department liaison to Syrian opposition forces, told The Christian Science Monitor.

“And Moscow would now have to anticipate with high likelihood aerial combat with US forces should it elect to provide tactical air support to Iran and its proxies on the ground,” Hof added.

“Our people are gathering in the Tanf area right now, so a clash is definitely coming,” a Hezbollah unit commander in Beirut, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Monitor.

Turkey said the United States has 13 bases in Syria and Russia has five. The U.S-backed Syrian YPG Kurdish militia has said Washington has established seven military bases in areas of northern Syria.

U.S.’s Mattis says ‘zero intelligence’ that rebels in Syria’s Idlib have chemical weapons capability By Idrees Ali

New Delhi (Reuters) – There was “zero intelligence” of chemical weapons capabilities possessed by groups opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the province of Idlib, U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said, adding that the facts did not back Russian assertions.

Syrian government forces plan a phased offensive in Idlib and surrounding areas held by rebels opposed to Assad, who has been backed by both Russian and Iranian forces in the country’s civil war.

Russian and Syrian jets hammered the rebel stronghold on Tuesday, days before the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey meet to discuss the expected Syrian government offensive that could spark a humanitarian disaster.

In the past few days, Russian officials, cited by Russian media, have said there was a plan by “militants” to stage a false chemical weapons attack in Idlib province to frame Assad.

“We have zero intelligence that shows the opposition has any chemical capability,” Mattis told reporters traveling with him to the Indian capital of New Delhi for a high-level dialogue on Thursday between the south Asian nation and the United States.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said he had told U.S. officials that Moscow was concerned over signs the United States was preparing new strikes on Syria and warned against “groundless and illegal aggression against Syria.”

“We have made very clear that by putting out innuendo that somehow any chemical weapon use coming up in the future could be ascribed to the opposition, well, we want to see the data,” Mattis said. “We cannot see anything that indicates the opposition has that capability.”

He said instead there was a history of Assad’s government using such weapons.

U.S. President Donald Trump has twice ordered U.S.-led strikes against targets in Syria in response to what Washington called the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians.

On Tuesday the White House said that if Assad used chemical weapons “the United States and its allies would respond swiftly and appropriately.”

Asked if he saw indications of the Syrian government preparing to use chemical weapons in Idlib, Mattis said, ” I think the best answer to that is, we are very alert.”

Sputnik, a Russian state-owned news outlet, said recently the White Helmets rescue service had delivered a large shipment of toxic substances to “local armed militant groups.”

The Pentagon said the Russian government was using a “concentrated disinformation campaign” to discredit the United States and its allies.

“That Russia is seeking to plant false lies about chemical weapons use suggests that Moscow is seeking to deflect from its own culpability when these heinous weapons are used,” Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

Maj. Gen. Alexei Tsygankov, head of the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, said on Sunday that the White Helmets group in Syria plans to film videos for Middle Eastern and English-language media outlets after staging a false-flag chemical weapons attack aimed at sharply destabilizing the situation in the war-torn country.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stressed that the Nusra Front terrorist group, which now refers to itself as the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group, was plotting a very serious provocation in the Idlib area with the use of chemical weapons. According to the deputy minister, the White Helmets group in Syria will film a video of the “chemical attack,” and the provocation might be used as a pretext for massive strikes on Syria.

A phone call from a resident of the village of Serakab in Idlib province about the planned incident.

According to the source, on the afternoon of February 12, rebels from the Jabhat Al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) terrorist organization brought three cars packed with more than 20 cylinders of chlorine along with personal protective equipment to Serakab.

The White Helmets have been long hailed by the Western media as “peace-bearing heroes” who save human lives. However, the group has been dogged by allegations of having ties with terrorist groups.

Swedish Professors & Doctors For Human Rights (SWEDHR) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization engaged in the research and reporting on the effects of war-crimes, torture and human-rights transgressions on civilian populations or on individuals.

Actor George Clooney knew that the organization Swedish Doctors for Human Rights had cited the “White Helmets” as child killers when he produced the Oscar winning propaganda video.

Moreover, Google itself is involved, at war with this group and others, censoring them from their search engines.  The information here will be new to Americans.  

Please note that at no time has the White House or any western media acknowledged the controversy regarding the White Helmets, which we allege is part of al Qaeda’s propaganda operations.  Nor is any mention of the dozens of proven gas attacks by FSA, ISIS and al Nusra which are suddenly “forgotten” as though by magic.

The White Helmets, supposedly an independent NGO, receives up to $100m from the CIA and UK Foreign Office, “dark project” funding.  Murdering children is their stock and trade as we will prove.  Sharing headquarters with Turkish Intelligence in Gaziantep, Turkey this organization is far more “death squad” than civil defense.

The Chairman of the association, Professor Prof. Marcello fer rada de Noli, published at the beginning of March 2017 a first article with an analysis of the case: “Swedish Doctors for Human Rights: White Helmets video, macabre manipulation of dead children and staged chemical weapons attack to justify a” No-fly Zone “in Syria”.

Hundreds of Syrian White Helmets evacuated to Jordan through Israel By CBSNews

The Israeli military in coordination with its U.S. and European allies evacuated hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets from near its volatile frontier with Syria, in a complex and first-of-a-kind operation. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Sunday that 422 White Helmets volunteers were evacuated, instead of the initial 800 cleared for the operation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a separate video statement, said U.S. President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others had asked him to help evacuate the group’s members.

“We renew our call on the Assad regime and Russia to abide by their commitments, end the violence, and protect all Syrian civilians, including humanitarians such as the White Helmets, in areas formerly part of the southwest de-escalation zone and throughout Syria,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The White Helmets have enjoyed backing and received finances and training from the United States and other Western nations for years.

The White Helmets have been called “terrorists,” accused of being “agents” for foreign powers, and of cooperating with radical insurgent groups. The White Helmets have been accused of staging rescue missions and chemical attacks to blame on the government.

Syrian lawmaker Khaled Abboud said that “foreign powers are pulling their agents out of the battlefield” because of the Syrian military victories that have quashed the “aggression” against Syria.

Separately Sunday, al-Ikhbariya TV quoted a military official as saying that a military post in the town of Masyaf in Hama province was hit by an Israeli airstrike. The area houses several defense ministry facilities.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

PREPARING FOR WORLD WAR 

New satellite images appear to indicate that Iran is building a new ‎surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria, raising ‎fresh concerns in Israel over the extent of the two ‎countries’ military cooperation across from Israel’s northern border, Channel 10 News recently reported.

Israel has mounted several airstrikes against ‎Iranian assets in Syria in an effort to stave off ‎Iran’s attempts to entrench itself ‎militarily in war-torn Syria.‎

Newsweek: The U.S. has also repeatedly accused Iran of supplying ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebels—known as Ansar Allah or the Houthis—and currently engaged in a war against a Saudi-led coalition trying to reinstate the country’s government. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Tuesday that “Iran has been put on notice” due to their support for Assad, the Houthis and threats regarding the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil chokepoint. On Thursday, Iranian military general staff chief Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri warned that no oil would pass through the crucial shipping lane should the U.S. succeed in cutting Iran’s oil exports to zero, an initiative that has earned Trump widespread international criticism.  

Citing three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Reuters reported Friday that Tehran has begun supplying Shiite Muslim paramilitary groups in neighboring Iraq with short-range ballistic missiles. The missiles were identified as Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zulfiqar models with ranges varying from 124 to 435 miles, making Riyadh and Tel Aviv viable targets should the weapons be fired from western Iraq.

Bloomberg: Over the coming weeks, both NATO and Russia will launch a series of super-high-end war games. These games are hardly for fun — rather, they are deadly serious practice sessions for hundreds of thousands of soldiers, thousands of combat aircraft, and flotillas of combat ships. While no one will die (other than by accident, a not uncommon occurrence in such exercises), the messages going back and forth are crystal clear: We are prepared for war.

Russia’s exercise is called Vostok — which means “east” — and will be held principally east of the Ural Mountains. It is the largest military exercise by Russia since Soviet times (in 1981) and will deploy 300,000 troops and more than 1,000 military aircraft. Of note, China will participate with thousands of its troops operating alongside the Russians (there will also be a token contingent of troops from Mongolia, which has been a partner to both Russia and NATO at times).

NATO will conduct its own huge military exercise, named Trident Junction 2018. It will take place on the northern borders of the alliance and will involve 40,000 troops from all 29 nations, a couple of hundred aircraft and dozens of warships. While not as spectacularly large as Russia’s Vostok, it will serve as a “graduation exercise” for NATO’s new Spearhead Force, a serious, highly mobile capability that can put NATO combat troops into the Baltic states to repulse a Russian invasion within a matter of days.

Finally, it is worth looking specifically at the maritime dimension of both the Russian and NATO exercises. It is not a coincidence that the NATO operation will be commanded not by a general, but rather by a four-star U.S. admiral, Jamie Foggo. A former commander of NATO submarine forces and the legendary U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, Foggo has thought deeply (and frequently published) about maritime operations in the current NATO-Russia environment. There will be significant maritime groups both from NATO and Russia operating in the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, eastern Mediterranean and even the Arctic.

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War-on-Terror a $20 Trillion Failure

Hamza’s speech was released yesterday by al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, As Sahab. It is the latest speech by Osama’s heir, who was given a starring role in al Qaeda’s productions last August.

At the beginning of the 9/11 wars, Hamza says, the “mujahideen were besieged in Afghanistan.” But today the “mujahideen are in Afghanistan and they have reached Sham [Syria], Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, Somalia, the Indian Subcontinent, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Mali, and Central Africa.” With the possible exception of Iraq, al Qaeda’s official branches and affiliated groups have a presence in each of the areas listed by Hamza.

Osama’s son taunts President Trump and his new administration, claiming that former President Obama “declared that he will end the wars, and that his era is an era of peace, and that he will close the open files that his predecessor left for him,” meaning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other issues. But Obama “has now left the White House and has also left open files for his successor,” Hamza says, because he was “incapable” of solving them and “because the force of the mujahideen stands before him.”

The ‘War on Terror’ has cost US taxpayers at least $1.46 trillion since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense’s cost of war report has revealed.

The 74-page DoD dossier was obtained by the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News. It breaks down the cost of the US’s various conflicts and reveals the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq account for the greatest chunk of change.

Operation Enduring Freedom (the name given to the ‘War on Terror’ between 2001 and 2014), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq War) and Operation New Dawn (past operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011) made up the biggest expense. They cost a combined $1.315 trillion.

Current military operations cost $147.6 billion. This includes $102.9 billion for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the name given to the ‘War on Terror’ by Barack Obama at the end of 2014, and Operation Inherent Resolve, the US’s operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria which started in 2014, and has cost $17.1 billion.

Operation Noble Eagle, the US’s domestic air defense operation has cost $27.6 billion.

The report only includes direct war-related expenses, such as equipment, operating bases, training, paying troops as well as the costs related to feeding, housing and transporting them.

COST OF WAR NOT INCLUDED

The numbers don’t include veterans’ expenses, or the amount racked up by intelligence agencies in their war on terror. The numbers also don’t take into account the cost involved in rebuilding and post-conflict programs.

VETERANS

The Veterans Benefits Administration’s latest annual report found 1,060,408 veterans are receiving benefits, at an average of $15,907 each per year.

Veterans of the War on Terror’s benefits’ are costing $16.8 billion a year, and 1 million are receiving benefits at the moment.

According to a 2011 Harvard Kennedy School study, Afghanistan and Iraq veterans’ benefits were estimated to cost between $600 billion and $1.3 billion over 40 years.

The report found that $31.3 billion had been spent in the 10 years since 2001 on medical care and disability for almost 500,000 vets. It also found that Afghanistan and Iraq veterans were applying for benefits at far greater rates than previous wars.

The report found the “cost of caring for war veterans rises for several decades and peaks in 30-40 years or more after a conflict.”

(Un)INTELLIGENCE

The CIA’s classified operations, along with the NSA’s efforts to combat terrorism aren’t included in the total.

The report includes the total amount of funding given through war related-requests between 2001 and 2017, which is $1.7 billion and includes war spending, non-war spending on fuel and the cost of running the Noble Eagle base. It also includes an $83 billion in funds marked as “classified.”

US Intelligence agencies receive upwards of $66 billion budget to play with annually, a significant fraction of which goes to foreign operations.

The intelligence budget request for 2018 was $57.7 billion for the National Intelligence Program, which includes all programs, projects and activities of the intelligence community, and $20.7 billion for the Military Intelligence Program, which includes military intelligence operations. The NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency fall under both programs.

Despite the staggering amount spent on defense, President Trump has promised to “rebuild” the military which he says is “depleted.” He proposed a $603 billion budget for defense spending in March.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives have voted to pass $696 billion and $696.6 billion defense budgets, respectively.

In Trump budget, Lockheed gets almost as much as the State Department

The Washington Post

Of Lockheed Martin’s $51 billion in sales last year, nearly 70 percent, or $35.2 billion came from sales to the U.S. government. It’s a colossal figure, hard to comprehend.

So think of it this way: Lockheed’s government sales are nearly what the Trump administration proposed for the State Department next year in its recently released spending plan. Or $15 billion more than all of NASA. Or about the gross domestic product of Bolivia.

With a White House proposal to spend a massive amount on defense next year in what one consultant called an “eye-watering” budget for the defense industry, Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, could get even more.

Over the past decade, Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed, which employs 100,000 people across the globe, has averaged about $38 billion a year in federal sales, a reign during which, year after year, Lockheed has received more federal money than any other corporation.

Boeing is in second place with annual sales of $26.5 billion in 2016, a year in which the top five defense contractors — including General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman — had total sales of nearly $110 billion to the United States government, according to federal procurement data. The five biggest defense contractors took in more money from the U.S. government than the next 30 companies combined.

But no one can touch Lockheed, the manufacturer of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The company is so big that some have likened it to a government agency and have quipped that Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed’s chief executive, is as powerful as a Cabinet secretary — or higher. When she gives her annual state of the company speeches, flanked by a pair of flags — one American, one with the company logo — she looks, well, presidential.

President Trump has opened the floodgates for defense spending, proposing $716 billion for the Pentagon, a 13 percent increase. And the defense industry is poised to profit, with Lockheed in the lead.

Contrary to the promised “peace dividend,” the U.S. has maintained its military arsenal and used it to enforce its agenda with successive and intensifying military interventions–from the use of conventional troops in Iraq, to “humanitarian intervention” in Haiti, to drone wars in Central Asia.

US MILITARY SPENDING (Follow the money)

Let’s look at how the federal government spends our money…

The pie chart below shows the distribution of the total federal budget spending for FY 2013.

The “Social Security & Unemployment” and “Medicare & Health” take on a major fraction of the federal spending, amounting to about 58% of the total outlays, whereas “Military” spending appears to amount to just 18%. The problem with this representation is that the Social Security & Medicare are parts of the mandatory spending directly financed by the dedicated revenue raised from payroll taxes, as imposed by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), not through the Federal income tax and thus represents a different Treasury account.

If we separate the mandatory spending and look only at the discretionary spending component appropriated by Congress on an annual basis and for which all the federal programs compete, a very different picture arises.

The Military (“National Defense” budget function 050) consumes nearly 57% of the discretionary budget in comparison to Education (6%), Science (3%), Energy & Environment (3%), etc. Military spending has sharply risen since the beginning of the War on Terrorism, from $294b in FY 2000 to $705b in FY 2013 (data from Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2013, Table 6.1).

Military spending in inflation-adjusted dollars is now greater than at any time since World War II — even greater than during the peak spending years of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the Persian Gulf War (figure credit: RandomNonviolence).

A large portion of this spending goes to the military contractors, companies whose profits and viability critically depend on the size of the military budget. Defense contractors actively lobby and donate campaign money to the members of Congress who sit on the Armed Forces and Appropriations Committees which oversee military spending. The table below shows the amounts of federal contracts awarded to the five largest defense contractors, and the corresponding expenses on lobbying and political campaign contributions for 2011.

Sources: Center for Responsive Politics, FedSpending.org – a project of OMB watch

You can see that these companies are having an excellent return on their investment. To be fair we must also mention that defense companies do employ many workers across the country who are reminded by their bosses of potential job losses if spending decreases. Undoubtedly, the Military budget can be reduced at such a rate as to allow for natural job attrition from the defense sector to avoid the defense contractors having to fire their employees, but this is never discussed. Instead we hear that cuts to the Military budget will result in huge job loss for the economy; however, research shows otherwise. The Political Economy Research Institute conducted a study of “The U.S.

Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities” concluding that $1 billion spent on domestic priorities will create substantially more jobs within the U.S. economy than would the same $1 billion spent on the military: 1.5 times more in Clean Energy and 2.4 times more in Education. Therefore, spending shifted from the defense to the domestic sectors of the economy will actually create jobs not the other way around. You can watch interview with the institute’s co-director: Military spending: Bang for the Buck?

Similarly, reductions in the Military budget should be accompanied by a natural attrition of military personnel toward a more sustainable, leaner size for the Armed Forces. Veterans for Peace does not support pay cuts or forced lays offs of military personnel in order to balance a federal budget.

Reduction in the Military budget does not threaten our national security. Even if defense spending were reduced by half, the US would easily remain the world’s strongest military superpower. The figure below shows how the US military spending compares to the rest of the world. The US spends almost 5 times more than China on the military, 10 times more than Russia, and 95 times more than Iran!

And do not expect the DoD to be careful with that money. In 2001 the US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that the DoD cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions, supposedly because of the complexity and the multitude of accounting systems which do not conform with each other. Read Rumsfeld’s entire speech.

The DoD continues on the goose chase after the loose money preparing for its first audit by 2017 amidst the Government Accountability Office’s sobering assessment of the department’s accounting issues.

The defense contracting systems is ripe with fraud and abuse and according to a DoD report hundreds of defense contractors that defrauded the U.S. military received more than $1.1 trillion in Pentagon contracts during the past decade.

Proponents of high military expenditures commonly emphasize that military spending as a percentage of GDP has considerably declined since the end of the WWII as shown in the figure below suggesting that military spending is already at historically low levels.

The problem with this argument is that military spending as a percentage of GDP represents the burden such spending puts on the entire economy, but does not indicate the burden military spending places on the taxpayers. The general decline in military spending as a percentage of the GDP is a testament to economic growth, not to a reduction in military appropriations, which have continued to increase since the end of WWII even when adjusted for inflation as was previously shown. The accurate measure of the burden military spending puts on the taxpayer is the percentage of the discretionary budget spent on the military as shown below.

This fraction has changed significantly since the end of the WWII and does not manifest a consistent downward trend. On the contrary, since the beginning of the War on Terrorism the fraction spent on the military is on the rise.

In any case, the US spends more of its GDP on the military than any other major military power as shown below, and far surpasses those nations in spending when looking in absolute amounts. 

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