Via America’s Lawyer: After spending $2 trillion over the past 20 years, lawmakers on Capitol Hill aren’t letting the Afghanistan withdrawal get in the way of securing more military funding. RT correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to discuss how Congressional war hawks are still hoping to add tens of billions of dollars to next year’s already-colossal defense budget.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: The US occupation in Afghanistan is over, but that has not curved congressional warhawks, war pimps, from securing more money for the military. Brigida Santos joins me now to talk about this. This is, this is such a nauseating story, you know, as I look at it, Brigida. First of all, give me the overview, which members of Congress are pushing to raise war spending?
Brigida Santos: 14 House Democrats have now sided with Republicans to pass a proposed GOP amendment to the national defense authorization act. The provision will add 25 billion additional dollars in annual military spending to president Joe Biden’s already bloated $753 billion military spending request for fiscal year 2022. Now a portion of the $25 billion will go towards weapons procurement to upgrade combat vehicles and to add more military ships, submarines, planes, and helicopters. The House armed services committee also voted to adopt an amendment requiring women to now register for the draft when they turn 18.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah, the ugly part of this story is, is Democrats, you know, it’s not, they’re not silent on this. The Democrats that are also part of the war pimp machine, they’re sitting silent and letting the GOP push this whole thing, just like they did, what was it, three years ago, when the Pentagon says we don’t need any more money, but you had Congress saying, we’re going to give our war contractors, the people who give us money for our elections, we want to get them more money. That’s exactly what’s going on here. Has nothing to do with American security. Has everything to do with putting more money in these war pigs back pocket. What does the opposition say here?
Brigida Santos: Progressive members of Congress say US spending should prioritize domestic issues, including increasing vaccination efforts during the pandemic and addressing climate disasters. They condemn the increase to president Biden’s military spending request, which already calls for an increase over Trump era Pentagon spending. California rep Ro Khanna responded to the move stating quote, I don’t understand why we need at a time when we are withdrawing from Afghanistan, when we have been withdrawing from Iraq, a budget that is higher than at the height of the Cold War. But I listened to the hearing, the mark up hearing and during that hearing, lawmakers repeatedly used Cold War style rhetoric when insisting that the defense budget needs more and more money to counter the influence of China.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. And do not be fooled. This is not purely Republican. These Democrats, I’m glad to hear some out front on it. But there’s a ton of them that are sitting silently knowing, making promises to the folks in the weapons industry who give money to Democrats and Republicans that, yeah, we’re going to be silent on this and may have a chance of getting pushed through. My, my guess is that they’ll succeed with this. Now, this is during the time $2 trillion that we wasted in Afghanistan, we killed 240,000 people in Afghanistan. We now have left billions of dollars of weapons in the hands of the Taliban. This is like a train wreck that’s taking place in slow motion. How likely is the amended defense bill to pass in your mind? And what do you think is going to happen when it hits the full Senate?
Brigida Santos: Yeah. So they’re going to debate that this Fall, but if we’ve learned anything over the past two decades of occupation in Afghanistan, is that there’s a bipartisan consensus on war. That is one place where Democrats and Republicans consistently get along. And now that the Afghanistan chapter has wrapped up and Washington is shifting its focus to China, securing money for defense seems very likely at this point.
Mike Papantonio: Do yourself a favor as this story develops, if you’re watching this program, keep up with the number of Democrats who sit silent on this and try to make it into a Republican issue. But those same Democrats are getting a ton of money from the weapons industry. It happens every time this occurs with let’s get more money to the Pentagon. Thanks for joining me, Brigida. Okay.
Brigida Santos: Thanks, Mike.