“Measured in military dollars, the Democratic leadership is more warlike than the Trump administration.”
The top Democrats in Congress have transformed DACA, the effort to protect 800,000 childhood immigrants from deportation, into a gargantuan funding measure for the Pentagon. This past weekend, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer offered to fully fund Donald Trump’s border wall and boost defense spending “far above” what the White House requested, in a deal to end the government shutdown. The military budget signed into law in December was already $30 billion higher than the White House asked for, and $80 billion bigger than the previous year’s war spending -- an increase as large as Russia’s entire defense budget.
It is Democratic congressional leadership -- not Donald Trump and his mad generals -- that has been the driving force in this year’s military spending insanity. Back in July, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi pressured her party to back a defense authorization $57.4 billion bigger than the Pentagon requested. Only a minority of Democratic House members supported the measure, but a majority of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) followed Pelosi’s lead -- including all five of the newest members of the Black Caucus, elected in 2016. By inflating the war budget even beyond the Pentagon’s demands, these Pelosi-Schumer-CBC Democrats ensured that what remains of the social safety net will be slashed into oblivion by bipartisan forces of austerity in future Congresses.
“House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi pressured her party to back a defense authorization $57.4 billion bigger than the Pentagon requested.”
The Bernie Sanders faction of the Party is just as guilty, through its shameful silence on war. This group includes Our Revolution, whose purportedly “progressive” agenda suggests only that they would “take a hard look at the Pentagon’s budget and the priorities it has established.”
The imperial fist is inexorably crushing the domestic welfare agencies of government. The Democrats’ task in this infernal process is to coax their constituents to swallow the “Satan’s Sandwiches” that emerge from Congress -- as suggested by Black Kansas City Rep. Emanuel Cleaver back in 2011, when Barack Obama was presenting his “Grand Bargain” to the Republicans. Having put “all entitlements” on the table for cutting at the start of his presidency, Obama proceeded to wage expensive wars against seven countries. His Grand Bargain offered even larger social cuts than the Republicans demanded, before finally unraveling in the morass of Capitol Hill. Democratic leadership is still seeking that “bargain” with the GOP, knowing full well that it will be paid for by more austerity for people’s programs.
“DACA becomes the excuse to funnel additional tens of billions to the Pentagon.”
The result is both predictable and intended: the military budget expands to consume ever greater proportions of federal “discretionary” spending -- that is, moneys not locked into mandated programs like Social Security. Finally, the public is told there is “no choice” but to tap into Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare -- as Obama signaled at very the beginning of his presidency, and attempted to pull off in his first term in office.
Schumer and Pelosi have been throwing money at the Pentagon with abandon this year because both wings of the War Party (Democrat and Republican) are anxious to maintain the momentum of Obama’s global military offensive, after the unexpected defeat of the reliable warmonger, Hillary Clinton. That’s why, measured in military dollars, the Democratic leadership is more warlike than the Trump administration. Not trusting Trump to keep the pressure on Moscow, Beijing and any other “threat” to U.S. hegemony, the bipartisan political servants of empire flood the Pentagon with money and poison the political discourse with Russiagate. Although there are clear conflicts within the U.S. ruling class, in general the Lords of Capital appear at this juncture to be more concerned with terrorizing the world than maintaining domestic peace. Schumer and Pelosi were instructed, accordingly.
“Both wings of the War Party are anxious to maintain the momentum of Obama’s global military offensive.”
The Democrats’ cynicism is boundless. DACA, which has great political value to a key constituency but no monetary price tag, becomes the excuse to funnel additional tens of billions to the Pentagon -- on top of previous increases -- while enhancing Democratic election prospects in 2018 and 2020.
The Democrats can be expected to repeat the formula. If not DACA, any symbolic program will suffice as a political battle flag to rally the various Party constituencies while simultaneously boosting the flow of cash to the war machine.
And they’ll call it “resistance.” But it’s the kind of resistance that is useless when, as Dr. Martin Luther King observed, the “demonic destructive suction tube” of war spending comes to claim its ever-larger share of the budget.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].