Obama to Ask Congress For $33 Billion More to Fight Wars

Apparently, $708 billion isn't enough for the Defense Department for the coming year. The AP reports that military commanders briefed on an upcoming report say President Obama will ask Congress to approve another $33 billion when it submits its budget request in February.

What for? Supposedly for beefing up the war in Afghanistan, but it sounds more like the global war on terror, even though Obama insists on not using that phrase.

The administration also plans to tell Congress next month that its central military objectives for the next four years will include winning the current wars while preventing new ones and that its core missions will include both counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations.


The pilotless drones used for surveillance and attack missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a priority, with a goal of speeding up the purchase of new Reaper drones and expansion of Predator and Reaper drone flights through 2013.

...For the current wars, the policy statement focuses on efforts to refocus money and talent on beefing up special operations forces, countering weapons of mass destruction and terrorism threats and on cyber security and warfare.

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    Over at Osatan.... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Salo on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 12:41:55 AM EST
    ...I suggested that Gordon Brown ought to tax the NHS to pay for the Royal Marines in Afghanistan. It seems that Obama is taxing health benefits to pay for US Marines in Afghanistan. My powers or sarcasm cannot keep up.  

    But who will pay for this (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 07:54:29 AM EST
    and how and when?  I know, military spending goes to the magic place.  Health care spending will destroy us though.  It will blow up the whole world.  It is my assumption that 33 billion is actually going for additional strike strength in Yemen and where ever else they will go to strike popping up Al Qaeda.  They are so sneaky these days about how they classify things too.  My husband isn't actually deployed on any paperwork that you'll ever see :).  He works for an outfit within the military that doesn't "deploy" even though soldiers working for them are all over the world right now.  They are never technically deployed though to a specific theater, and I'm pretty sure this is some extra they need :)

    Who will pay? (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:00:14 AM EST
    I don't know...maybe China, then our grandkids?  Don't ask me cuz all I know is one minute we're broke and when the Defense Dept. comes calling we're rolling in it all of a sudden.

    I do know who will get paid...killer drone manufacturers.  And paid well.  If Eisenhower could see us now he'd feel like Nostradamus.  


    This captures perfectly (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 09:01:04 AM EST
    my reaction as well.  Kudos.

    One minute we're broke and when the Defense Dept. comes calling we're rolling in it all of a sudden.

    I now do not want to hear another word, not another word from this president about us not having the funding for jobs programs.  Period.


    Gold star from the prof! (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 09:26:36 AM EST
    Allright:)...just in time because I've been gettin' less than stellar grades from my favorite educator lately.

    Ha. Now you also know (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 09:54:37 AM EST
    that I am toughest on the top students. :-)

    Well, gosh, as long as one of the (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:05:37 AM EST
    objectives is actually winning the wars we're in, how could the Congress possibly say no?

    It's all about the framing.

    Meanwhile, here on the home front, Obama gets the heebie-jeebies over spending money on health system "reform," we still don't have much happening on the jobs front, the banksters are as fat and happy as they've ever been, but lending is still anemic, the states are tearing theor hair out over budget shortfalls, but...

    more money for WAR?  No problem.  Gotta keep feeding that beast, right?  Terror!  Panic!  Scary brown people on airplanes!  Dick Cheney might say bad things about me!


    I long for the day when a Democratic president has the balls to say, "the scariest thing I saw this weekend was Dick Cheney on the TV - and I didn't even have the sound on."

    I re-joined the innertoobs after untethering ... (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Ellie on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:51:02 AM EST
    ... following the election to get up to speed on healthcare/insurance (plus, a combination of family stuff and getting over how Team obRahma hustled and muscled the process).

    Finding this same-tasting warmed-over hooey is so distressing (to say the least). Now the all too familiar warmongering spinning new evils to conquer swaps airtime with "news" media wetting themselves over this latest, stupid trashy book that does nothing but rehash gossipy backbiting.

    It makes me want to apologize to every last person I dissed for not paying closer attention to what the govt was up to. Whether we do or don't, they have a preset agenda and are sticking to it.


    I'm so glad (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:53:00 AM EST
    we elected the anti-war president!

    Another thing: Defense-related industries are the few that are hiring right now. These are about the only jobs with growth--and most of them are good, i.e., well-paid jobs. I suspect that Dems in districts where there are a lot of these jobs are terrorstruck at the idea of ripping out yet more jobs from their constituents. (Of course the idea of actually diverting the money into something more constructive never occurs to them.)

    The military (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 09:28:04 AM EST
    ....is hiring now, too.

    Oh, not an anti-war president, (5.00 / 5) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 09:47:46 AM EST
    remember: "I am not against all wars, just dumb wars".   These, of course, are all smart wars, including the original dumb one which has become much smarter.  

    This is such a good comment (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:06:56 AM EST
    All that terra costs money, kids. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Yes2Truth on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:21:36 AM EST

    99% of TL readers never question who the real terra
    perps are, so you should be happy to know that
    your gov't is going to spend a little more money
    to fight all those terrorists who hate us for our
    freedoms.  You know, like that kid from Nigeria.  He's AQ Leader #5 or maybe 4, isn't he?

    Fightin' terra ain't cheap.  Feeling secure that
    your tax dollars are being spent to protect you should be welcomed, and everything.

    Time to talk and even listen (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:30:41 AM EST
    Maybe it's time for Obama to dust off his Nobel Peace Prize and address the international community as to the need for all nations to work to resolve this issue.

    Maybe he could use his highly touted eloquence on the UN or the United Arab League to look for some fresh answers to the problem.

    We're never going to be able to kill or bomb our way out of this. The neo con attitude of Cheney and Bush that we don't need anybody is not only delusional but is totally against our national interests.

    The Nobel (none / 0) (#27)
    by lentinel on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 01:56:11 PM EST
    I can see Obama trying to dust off his Nobel.

    "Michelle, honey. Did you put the Nobel in the closet? I can't find the damn thing."


    Will congressman Obey follow through (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 02:15:45 PM EST
    on his insistence that the escalation be paid for with new taxes?

    i'd like to see it done with a sharp boost in phone taxes, landline and cellular, so that it appears  as a clearly labeled line on the month;ly bill, to drive a monthly "surge" of Get out calls to Congress and the White House.

    No problem (none / 0) (#2)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 06:26:39 AM EST
    And all those fiscal conservatives in DC (that have been screaming about lack of money for the last six months) will be tripping over themselves to hand the money over.

    Yes and the same fiscal conservatives, along with (none / 0) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:06:05 AM EST
    the President, will whine that we cannot afford domestic programs other than give aways to "big business."

    If only (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:57:26 AM EST
    'refocus money and talent'

    actually meant moving the money from one program to another instead of just leaving the obsolete programs in place and adding money and talent to new ones.

    And if only half the outrage expended on government spending on health care was expended on abuses in defense spending. but how, oh how, are we going to pay for this? I know - tax union benefits!

    Other payment methods that are being explored (none / 0) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 09:09:10 AM EST
    are cutting Medicare expenses and then addressing Social Security in the coming year.

    Yep. Little did I know (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 09:21:15 AM EST
    that after working all my long life, I would see myself soon to be labeled -- by a Dem president yet -- as, well, a welfare queen, in so many words.  My sense of entitlement and all, y'know, for the gummint to keep its promises when it mandated that I pay premiums in every paycheck for old-age insurance.  If an insurance company pulled this, I would have some recourse.

    Oh that social security (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:09:27 AM EST
    It is a scurvy dog if ever there was a life blood draining one. They just can't seem to help themselves when it comes to kicking the very last breath of life out of the engine that runs an economy...the people.

    I Read Krugman So You Don't Have to Part 2 (none / 0) (#16)
    by Dan the Man on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 09:51:33 AM EST
    Krugman wrong again.  Krugman shows a chart saying the US defense budget measured as a percent of GDP is 3.3%.  But GDP is around $14.4 trillion.  Since the defense budget is $741 billion (708 + 33), this means the defense budget is actually greater than 5% of GDP.

    Even Wikipedia recognized this before Obama's request for new spending:  "For FY 2010, Department of Defense spending amounts to 4.7% of GDP"

    But it's for our own good! (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:06:03 AM EST
    I don't believe the defense budget includes any of the supplimental funding or funding to other departments such as the CIA or Homeland security or the state department. I think there's also a fund that is buried for covert activity. I wonder how much actually is being dumped on this if they were all combined.

    That's why I refuse to discuss the budget with any of my conservative friends. They always have money for war but not a dime for peace.

    I also question what's more harmful for our society. The threats from outside or the decay from within?


    And Department of Energy (none / 0) (#28)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 02:12:22 PM EST
    which passes through much of the budgeting for nuclear weapons.

    chart was from 2002 (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 10:42:54 AM EST
    and did not include the cost of both wars at their escalated levels?

    The president and congress (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:29:29 AM EST
     - generally - fund the things they see as the most important.

    Something I often wonder... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Raskolnikov on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 12:46:33 PM EST
    ...and is rarely discussed is the effect on unemployment a reduction in the Defense budget would have.  A lot of the budget goes to material costs, sure, but obviously the salaries and benefits paid out to the soldiers, and through extension the contractors who produce the materials.  My father works at a company that would see a massive decline in income (not him personally, he's on the commercial side) were government contracts for new projects to dry up.

    I don't like the direction of the military personally, but at least its an area of government spending that has to be spent domestically.  Not that it will happen of course, but cutting the Defense budget during a recession doesn't seem like a good idea in light of double digit unemployment.  The 90s were a good time to cut the military, which Clinton rightly did.

    Actually Clinton began cutting military spending (none / 0) (#30)
    by hairspray on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 10:24:30 PM EST
    in his first budget.  Those early days were considered the ending of the recession by the conservatives, and according to the three criteria for calling it one, it was.  But I recall the national unemployment was about 9% and while I don't have the stats on sales I remember our real estate market was in the toilet here in California.  Clinton's early years were tough.  So the idea that he became prez and "suddenly there was light" is not my recollection.

    War on terror (none / 0) (#26)
    by lentinel on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 01:53:26 PM EST
    When I see the phrase, "war on terror" - or a reference to a war that we're supposed to be fighting against it - I roll my eyes.

    What countries like us don't like is the fact that a relative handful of people can neutralize our entire nuclear war machine. And it costs them a few bucks. Doesn't seem fair.

    Terror is a state of mind.
    We have been living with terror practically forever - but especially since the nightmare of total nuclear war became a 24/7 awareness.

    We have countless missiles circling the globe. In the air, on land, on and under water. Any one of these missiles could destroy a city, a country and all of its people in an instant of radiate heat.

    What about people living in regions of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan who know that at any minute an American drone plane could drop bombs on them and kill them and their children? If that isn't terror, I don't know what is.

    A war on terror would be a war on war itself.
    And we're not the least interested in doing that.
    We just don't want anybody else to be able to wage it.