The Defense Budget Keeps Growing

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The much-anticipated Senate debate on Iraq remains a non-starter as Democrats and Republicans squabble over the ground rules. Meantime, the Bush Administration is asking Congress to increase defense spending to near record levels, with the Pentagon ready to ask for still more. As proposed by the President, the 2008 defense budget would be 20% of all federal spending, with a total of $623 billion--8% more than this year, including $142 billion for the war in Iraq. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls it "a huge number."  The military agrees it'll take years to catch up with repair and replacement of basic equipment, but it still wants new, hugely expensive high-tech systems. The US already is spending more than the rest of the world combined on preparing for warfare. Does it get what it pays for? What are the tradeoffs in domestic services and alleviation of global problems?




Warren Olney