Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dems Take Advantage in War Bills

Meanwhile, The Boston Globe's Derrick Jackson eviscerates his fellow liberals serving in Congress with a much justified verbal spanking the likes of which I've not seen in quite some time. He correctly points out that many, if not most of the Democratic war critics (such as Senators Kennedy & Levin) not only voted for the war, but are stuffing their home districts and states full of Pentagon spending goodies.

"But the Globe recently reported that Kennedy slid $100 million into the 2008 defense authorization bill for a General Electric fighter engine that the Air Force said it did not need.

It gets worse in a defense budget that is zooming to $648.8 billion. The nonpartisan budget watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense last month analyzed 309 Senate defense earmarks. Four of the top five "earmarkers" were not Republican hawks but centrist and liberal Democrats.

Levin led the way with 44 earmarks. Clinton was second with 26. Reed was fourth with 23, one behind Republican John Warner of Virginia. In fifth place was Charles Schumer of New York with 21. When asked if she saw any change in defense earmark behavior since the Democrats took back the House and the Senate, senior analyst Laura Peterson of the Taxpayers for Common Sense said over the telephone, "No."

More proof the swamp is still full is the fact that only four of the top 10 senators in defense campaign contributions in the 2006 election cycle were Republicans. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Democrats Kennedy, Clinton, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Dianne Feinstein of California, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut collected 60 percent of the $1.4 million the industry lavished among the top 10."

He also points out that US defense spending is nearly half the total for the world, and that the US and Russia together account for nearly 60% of the world's arms shipments, that the US shipped arms to 18 of the 25 current nations in conflicts around the globe, and that 20 of the 25 nations receiving arms from the US were classified as either undemocratic or having poor human rights records by our own US State Department.

OUCH, that's got to smart.

Personally, I'd like to see us tie our aid (economic as well as military) more closely to the behavior and actions of the governments involved, and I certainly don't like to see the scale of weapons proliferation that is currently being conducted. Of course, each individual case of these nations should be judged on its own merits, within the confines of US foreign policy, but when it's presented in the way Jackson does, it's pretty damning.

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