Libertarian traitor Pat Buchanan never wastes an opportunity to blame the US military and the US defense industry for all of America’s problems.
Once again, he has been caught lying about military spending.
In his most recent article for the utterly-discredited HumanEvents magazine, Buchanan wrote:
“both the welfare state — the major entitlement programs, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — and the warfare state — the near $1 trillion we spend yearly on wars, 700 to 1,000 military bases in some 140 countries, foreign aid and the military industrial complex — have to be downsized.
We cannot make good on all the promises our politicians have made, and we cannot defend in perpetuity all the countries we agreed to defend in the Cold War.”
Buchanan’s claims are 100% wrong.
Firstly, the claim that military spending is “almost $1 trillion per year”. It’s totally false. America’s largest-ever military budget was the FY2010 budget, which consisted of $534 bn as a core defense budget, a $130 bn GWOT supplemental, and a $10 bn DOE budget for defense-related programs (USN nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons, the Defense Enviro Cleanup program, etc.).
This was a total sum of $674 bn for one fiscal year, WAY SMALLER than the $1 trillion per annum figure Buchanan claimed. During the post-WW2 era, America has never had a military budget larger than the FY2010 budget – neither before nor after FY2010.
The FY2009 military budget request (not fully approved by the Congress) was for ca. $660 bn. Previous budgets were even smaller.
The FY2011 military budget (the current budget), a part of the FY2011 ConRes, consists of a $525 bn core defense budget, a GWOT supplemental, and ca. $10 bn for the DOE’s defense-related programs. All of this amounts to much less than the $1-trillion-per-year-figure Buchanan claimed.
For FY2012, Obama is requesting $553 bn as a core defense budget and ca. $112 bn as a GWOT supplemental, plus peanuts for the DOE’s defense-related programs, all of which would amount to significantly less than $700 bn, and therefore much less than $1 trillion.
So Buchanan is lying. His figure is not confirmed by any credible sources. It’s his own fabrication, a lie deliberately invented to deceive the American people.
What about his claim that America has 1000 bases abroad? Again, it’s a complete fabrication. The real number is 700, and the vast majority of these “bases” are tiny military installations. Only a few dozen of them are large bases like Ramstein AFB, RAF Station Mildenhall, and Yokosuka NS.
What about his claim that the US has not only these military budgets and these 700 bases, but also wars and a “military-industrial complex”?
Wars are paid from the military budget, not some additional budget, so they are covered by the $664 bn FY2010 figure. Moreover, the US is now waging only ONE war – the Afghan war – against Al-Qaeda (the perpetrator of the 9/11/2001 attacks) and the Taleban. It’s a perfectly justifiable war. As for the “military-industrial complex” – it’s a blatant lie. It doesn’t exist. It’s an invention of the Soviet propaganda which Buchanan, as an enemy of the United States, happily repeats every week. And funding from wars and weapon programs – on which the dying defense industry makes profits that are vastly smaller than those of Walmart and ADM – comes from the same military budget I mentioned earlier. There’s no separate budget for the defense industry.
What about foreign aid programs? Sure, they’re oversized, they are often awarded to America’s enemies rather than friends, and they’re useless. But they are NOT paid from the DOD’s budget! They are paid from the budget of the Department of State, and are of civilian nature.
Likewise, Buchanan’s claim that America is a warfare state is also a blatant lie. America spends only ca. $660 bn (4.5% of GDP) per year on its military. Such a country is hardly a warfare state – 95.5% of the economy represents purely civilian spending. The “welfare-warfare state” is a popular libertarian lie designed to deceive the American people. It’s a lie, plain and simple.
What about Buchanan’s claim that the US is still defending every country it defended during the Cold War? Again, a lie. The US is no longer defending, and no longer stations troops in, France, South Vietnam, Thailand, Saudi Arabia (IIRC), and many other countries. Its contingents in Europe, South Korea and Japan have been dramatically reduced since the end of the Cold War. The Bush Administration conducted the largest reform of America’s global military posture, bringing 70,000 troopers and 100,000 family members back to the US from Europe, South Korea, and Japan. Today, there are fewer than 30,000 American troopers on the Korean Peninsula, meaning that if NK invades SK again, the South Koreans will be the principal actors defending their country.
And what if – as is likely – Buchanan meant that $1-trillion-a-year figure to cover all of the items he listed (the GWOT, foreign aid programs, 700 bases, and the mythical “military-industrial complex”)? He’s still wrong. America’s total military budget was $674 bn in FY2010 and is even smaller this fiscal year; the State Department budget for FY2010 was $26 bn and for FY2011, $53 bn. For FY2012, Secretary Gates has proposed $553 bn as a core defense budget and a $112 bn supplemental; the nuclear weapons budget of the DOE and the foreign aid budget of the SD are peanuts. Counted all together, they don’t even amount to $700 bn per year, let alone $1 trillion per year, so Buchanan’s claim is a blatant lie.
Buchanan should be ashamed of himself, and HE should be ashamed that it publishes the gibberish that he writes every week. It discredits itself irredeemably with every Buchanan article it publishes.