report on one thing the Republicans will absolutely not accept cutting back - the US military budget.
“Decline is a choice” is the mantra many conservatives are chanting to oppose any cuts to the defense budget as part of a deficit reduction deal. Reducing defense spending, they say, will drastically imperil the security of the United States even though defense spending is higher in real terms than at any time since World War II. But they are fine with cutting investments in infrastructure, education, and science and technology that make us a stronger nation.
Conservative members of Congress have vowed to “draw a line in the sand” against defense budget cuts, while former Bush administration Defense Department comptroller Dov Zakheim would rather the United States go into default than see the defense budget trimmed beyond the president’s proposals. The common conservative belief, summarized by Max Boot, is that “eviscerating” the defense budget will do the same for “the role of the United States in world affairs.”
"Eviscerating" the defence budget? This is a defence budget funded virtually entirely on money borrowed from foreign lenders. It is a defence budget that is greater than the total military budgets of every other nation on earth.
The American far right openly links their country's place in the world to its killing power. They think that maintaining that killing power is the best, possibly only, way to avert their nation's decline. It apparently hasn't occurred to them that their defence budget has been insanely bloated for a decade now but that hasn't prevented their steady decline one bit.
As Andrew Bacevich and others have chronicled, the 21st Century has been marked by the militarization of American foreign policy, evidenced by the ascendancy of the Pentagon and the decline of the State Department. This was all in keeping with the delusional vision of The Project for the New American Century, which formulated the Magna Carta of Neo-Conservatism. Yet America's "muscular foreign policy" (a term regrettably parroted by Harper and Ignatieff) was tried out and proven a failure in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The world's sole superpower with its unrivaled military machine was brought low by primitive villagers armed with Korean-war vintage assault rifles and rocket launchers.
The trillions expended on America's military ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have purchased miserable failures, the prospect of perpetual blowback and other undesired consequences. As if there was any shortage of proof for this, an article from today's Guardian reveals how the most influential leader in Iraq today is an Iranian general, Qassem Suleimani. America's greatest enemy in the region has been the greatest beneficiary of America's military and political stupidity.
Unfortunately, facts are no longer relevant to today's Republicans for whom government itself has become "faith based." Theirs is a dogma of beliefs fiercely upheld regardless of reality. After three decades of repeated and utter failure, they still maintain that tax cuts for the rich stimulate their economy, are a vital key to America's wellbeing. They believe that public healthcare is a fanciful, totalitarian notion. They believe that the very engorged and out of control military/industrial machine that saps their strength actually makes them stronger, safeguards their place in the world, forestalls their decline. They believe the mountain of scientific research and analysis on anthropogenic global warming is a hoax.
It's more than fair to say that today's Republicans exist in an alternate universe, one entirely independent of logic or reason. Yet theirs is the hand that insists on steering their Thunderbird to the cliff, just like Thelma & Louise.