Tuesday, October 23, 2007

White House War Funding Request Highlights Skyrocketing Pentagon Spending

Yesterday the Bush Administration announced that it needs an additional $42 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year. Together with the more than $140 billion that the White House has already requested for this year’s military operations, and the $481 billion requested to fund the Pentagon’s regular annual budget, projected U.S. military spending for Fiscal Year 2008 (which began on October 1) will exceed $670 billion.

On National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” today, I noted that at that level “we're spending more than the Cold War average at this point, and, in terms of the high point of the Cold War, yes, we're exceeding that." [Listen to NPR’s story “Bush Wants $46 Billion More for Iraq, Afghanistan.”]

By comparison, that $670 billion (which doesn’t include roughly $16 billion that the Pentagon spends on the nuclear weapons-related activities of the department of Energy), puts U.S. annual defense spending at its second highest point, historically, exceeded only by defense budgets during World War II.

In addition to being higher than at any other time since World War II, current annual defense spending:

• Is 14% above the height of the Korean War
• Is 33% above the height of the Vietnam War
• Is 25% above the height of the “Reagan Era” buildup
• Is 76% above the Cold War average

In fact, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the annual defense budget – not including the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, has gone up 34%. Including war costs, defense spending has gone up 86% since 2001.

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