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FROM THIS EPISODE

In the rage to cut spending and reduce the deficit, one department that's getting an increase is the Pentagon. But critics say it provides both too much and too little of what America needs. We look at the "Military-Industrial-Congressional" Complex. Also, Japan's nuclear accident is now rated 7 on a scale of 7—equaling Chernobyl in 1986. How are they the same? How are they different?

Banner image: US Marine Corps CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters arrive outside Combat Outpost Kharman, Afghanistan, to pick up Marines with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 and Afghan National Army soldiers to initiate Operation Watchtower on March 23, 2011. DoD photo: Cpl. Orlando Perez, US Marine Corps

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Andrea Brody
Katie Cooper

Reporter's Notebook Japanese Government Equates Fukushima Disaster to Chernobyl 4 MIN, 47 SEC

The explosion at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986 set the standard as the worst accident in the history of nuclear power. Today, the government of Japan officially upgraded the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster to equal Chernobyl, giving it 7 on a scale of 7. But comparison of the two accidents involves not just the amount of radiation released but the way the disasters have developed over time. Geoff Brumfiel, senior reporter with Nature magazine, has been covering the nuclear accident in Japan.

Guests:
Geoff Brumfiel, Nature

Making News Details of Budget Cuts Revealed 7 MIN, 31 SEC

The $38.5 billion deal to keep the government open was finally agreed to by the President and Congressional leaders only an hour before the midnight deadline on Friday. Not until 11pm last night were the details revealed. Dan Friedman is covering the story for the National Journal.

Guests:
Dan Friedman, National Journal

Main Topic Is the Pentagon Worth the Money? 38 MIN

Details of budget cuts that kept the government open are now being revealed. Despite some accounting gimmicks, reductions will cause real pain. Bus as the Senate and Congress decide whether to ratify Friday's budget deal, one department getting an increase spends some 20 percent of America's tax dollars. The Pentagon will net a $5 billion increase at a time when some insiders say it's more bloated and less accountable than ever before. On Capitol Hill, it's no secret that the defense budget is impossible to audit and that nobody knows what complex weapons systems really cost. Some insist that the US is preparing for past wars or for wars that will never be fought.  Whose interests does it really serve?

Guests:
Winslow Wheeler, Center for Defense Information
Mackenzie Eaglen, Heritage Foundation
Gordon Adams, American University (@Gadams1941)

The Pentagon Labyrinth

Winslow Wheeler

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