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Posts Tagged ‘NDAA’

NDAA Includes Provisions Blocking Biden From Closing Gitmo – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2021

https://news.antiwar.com/2021/12/29/ndaa-includes-provisions-blocking-biden-from-closing-gitmo/

by Dave DeCamp

The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that President Biden signed on Monday includes amendments that block him from taking steps to close the notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The bill extends amendments that were in previous NDAA’s that block the White House from using funds to transfer or release Gitmo detainees into the US or other countries. The bill also blocks the use of funds to close the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay altogether.

After signing the bill, Biden released a statement denouncing the restrictions. “Unfortunately, section 1032 of the Act continues to bar the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees to the custody or effective control of certain foreign countries, and section 1033 of the Act bars the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees into the United States unless certain conditions are met,” the statement said.

Biden said the provisions “unduly impair the ability of the executive branch to determine when and where to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees and where to send them upon release.” Despite his objections, Biden still signed the massive $777.7 billion NDAA that authorized about $25 billion more than he requested from Congress.

Biden has pledged to close Gitmo, but the same promise was also made by President Obama. There are currently 39 detainees in the prison, and only 11 have been formally charged with crimes. Gitmo costs about $540 million to operate each year, meaning the US government spends over $13 million for each prisoner.

In July, Biden transferred former detainee Abdul Latif Nasser to his home country of Morrocco. Nasser was held since 2002 on no charges and was cleared for release five years ago. Like other Gitmo inmates, Nasser faced torture and other abuses during his time at the US military prison.

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When Your Government Ends A War But Increases The Military Budget, You’re Being Scammed

Posted by M. C. on December 18, 2021

https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/when-your-government-ends-a-war-but

Caitlin Johnstone

The US Senate has passed its National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) military spending bill for the fiscal year of 2022, setting the budget at an astronomical $778 billion by a vote of 89 to 10. The bill has already been passed by the House, now requiring only the president’s signature. An amendment to cease facilitating Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen was stripped from the bill.

“The most controversial parts of the 2,100-page military spending bill were negotiated behind closed doors and passed the House mere hours after it was made public, meaning members of Congress couldn’t possibly have read the whole thing before casting their votes,” reads a Politico article on the bill’s passage by Lindsay Koshgarian, William Barber II and Liz Theoharis.

The US military had a budget of $14 billion for its scaled-down Afghanistan operations in the fiscal year of 2021, down from $17 billion in 2020. If the US military budget behaved normally, you’d expect it to come down by at least $14 billion in 2022 following the withdrawal of US troops and official end of the war in Afghanistan. Instead, this new $778 billion total budget is a five percent increase from the previous year.

“Months after US President Joe Biden’s administration pulled the last American troops out of Afghanistan as part of his promise to end the country’s ‘forever wars’, the United States Congress approved a $777.7bn defence budget, a five percent increase from last year,” Al Jazeera reports.

“For the last 20 years, we heard that the terrorist threat justified an ever-expanding budget for the Pentagon,” Win Without War executive director Stephen Miles told Al Jazeera. “As the war in Afghanistan has ended and attention has shifted towards China, we’re now hearing that that threat justifies it.”Ali Harb @Harbpeace”For the last 20 years, we heard that the terrorist threat justified an ever-expanding budget for the Pentagon. As the war in Afghanistan has ended and attention has shifted towards China, we’re now hearing that that threat justifies it.” aje.io/f9d44e via @AJEnglishUS military spending grows as policy shifts to ‘prioritise China’Progressive legislators question massive US defence budget, which officials say is necessary amid China competition.aje.ioDecember 16th 202116 Retweets46 Likes

Upon the removal of US troops from Afghanistan, President Biden said the following in August:

“After more than $2 trillion spent in Afghanistan — a cost that researchers at Brown University estimated would be over $300 million a day for 20 years in Afghanistan — for two decades — yes, the American people should hear this: $300 million a day for two decades. If you take the number of $1 trillion, as many say, that’s still $150 million a day for two decades.  And what have we lost as a consequence in terms of opportunities?  I refused to continue in a war that was no longer in the service of the vital national interest of our people.”

You would think a government so grieved over the loss of “opportunities” for the American people due to Afghanistan war spending would be eager to begin allocating that wealth toward providing opportunities to Americans at the end of that war. Instead, more wealth has been diverted to the US war machine.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp reports:

See the rest here

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Don’t Draft Women (Or Men Either) | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on October 13, 2021

But the NDAA also often contains domestic innovations like this year’s inclusion of provisions “grant[ing] military courts the authority to strip servicemembers of their Second Amendment rights without due process and without the servicemember being present in court to defend themselves.”

After all, if women want to go help bomb children in Afghanistan—and join the Pentagon in losing wars across the globe—they are free to volunteer.

You can count on war party water carriers like Kelly, Toomey and Casey to jump on the NDAA bandwagon.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/dont-draft-women-or-men-either/

by Ryan McMaken

As in many previous years, this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is chock-full of terrible legislation slyly inserted for the purposes of concealing matters from the public. Both parties have been long guilty of this, with both groups using the NDAA to pass police state legislation increasing federal spying and law enforcement powers.

All of the NDAA should be considered controversial, since so much of it is devoted to perpetuating the US’s aggressive, wasteful, and counterproductive efforts at global hegemony. But the NDAA also often contains domestic innovations like this year’s inclusion of provisions “grant[ing] military courts the authority to strip servicemembers of their Second Amendment rights without due process and without the servicemember being present in court to defend themselves.”

Unfortunately, though, the only provision that seems to be attracting a lot of attention is the so-called daughter draft which expands mandatory Selective Service registration to women.

In other words, the legislation expands what is de facto conscription, since it sets up the US government to enact an active draft with ease and to track down all the young people who are to be forced into military service should the federal government decide to do so.

Any opposition to expansion of the draft is welcome. Yet the reasons for the opposition—mostly coming from conservatives—amount to little more than weak-tea arguments wrapped up in the usual promilitary pablum we’ve come to expect from the Right. These arguments ultimately boil down to saying, “Yes, it’s perfectly fine to enslave young men for a period of years in service of the state. Just don’t do it with women.”

With “opponents” granting such draconian state acts this level of deference and legitimacy, it’s no surprise the regime turns around and decides “the draft is for everybody” after all.

Of course expanding the draft to woman should be opposed, but meaningful opposition must come in the form of opposition to conscription overall. After all, the worst part of conscription is the fact the real-world effect of any draft is a massive expansion in government power over the lives of the population.

Conscription as a 100 Percent Tax

“Conscription is slavery,” Murray Rothbard wrote in 1973, and while temporary conscription is obviously much less bad—assuming one outlives the term of conscription—than many other forms of slavery, conscription is nevertheless a nearly 100 percent tax on the production of one’s mind and body. If one attempts to escape his confinement in his open-air military jail, he faces imprisonment or even execution in many cases.

States have long implicitly recognized the fundamental nature of conscription as a form of taxation. In Switzerland, for example, young men who are found unfit for military service are assessed an additional tax for a period of years in lieu of military service. In other places, such as the United States, where state and local conscription existed prior to the Civil War, those with means were able to avoid military service by paying an additional tax of various sorts or paying for “substitutes.”

Conscription remains popular among states because it is an easy way to directly extract resources from the population. Just as regular taxes partially extract the savings, productivity, and labor of the general population, conscription extracts virtually all of the labor and effort of the conscripts.

Conscription as a Weapon in the Culture War

If the debate over this issue continues, we’re likely to hear a lot about how “fairness” and egalitarianism require an expansion of the Selective Service System. It’s part of the Pentagon’s much-touted mission in expanding roles for “transgendered” people and other groups who have presumably been unjustly denied the opportunity to participate in the latest “regime change” scheme.

But those claims are all distractions from the central issue here, which is the state’s power over the citizen.

After all, if women want to go help bomb children in Afghanistan—and join the Pentagon in losing wars across the globe—they are free to volunteer. Whether or not women can be directly involved in military acts, however, is a completely separate issue from conscription and the Selective Service. There is a difference between opening up military jobs to women and forcing women into military service.

Besides, if fairness is a concern, there’s an easy way to achieve fairness on this issue: abolish the Selective Service for everybody. It’s as easy as that. It wouldn’t even cost a dime of taxpayer money. Simply shred the records, fire everyone who works for Selective Service, and lease out the office space to organizations that do something useful. Then, we won’t have to hear anything about “discrimination” or the alleged sexism implicit in a policy that outrageously neglects to force women to work for the government against their will.

But Isn’t This Just a Symbolic Gesture?

Some who want to expand Selective Service for egalitarian reasons are claiming that it’s all just symbolic anyway, because the draft “will never happen.”

It’s a mistake to think that the draft could never return because people supposedly would overwhelmingly oppose people being forced into combat. Even if that is the case, there is no reason at all why conscription could not be used to draft people for noncombat positions. After all, only a very small portion of the military ever sees combat. The vast majority of soldiers are involved in logistics, transportation, and desk jobs such as computer programming.

Only a small portion of military deaths occur in combat. Most deaths in the military are due to accidents.

Additionally, there is no reason that Selective Service could not be modified to be used to draft people for so-called national service positions in which conscripts would perform noncombat bureaucratic and manual labor jobs. Austria and Switzerland (which have conscription) allow this option for those morally opposed to combat. And historically—such as during World War II—“service” was imposed on conscientious objectors, who were forced to work on farms or perform other types of manual labor in special camps.

So no, the draft is not “hypothetical,” “symbolic,” or something that “will never happen.”

Numerous countries in Latin America, Europe, and Asia still employ conscription, and it is hardly some kind of never-used relic from the distant past.

Military service is one thing, the editors at National Review once wrote, but forcing women into it is “barbarism,” they admit. They’re half right. It is indeed barbarism to force women to fight wars for the state. But the same is also true of conscription for men.

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute

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Conservative Outrage Over the Possible Drafting of Women Obscures the Real Issue – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 15, 2021

Conscription is abhorrent to a free society. As Senator Paul’s father—former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul—has well said: “A government that is willing to enslave some of its people can never be trusted to protect the liberties of its own citizens.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/09/laurence-m-vance/conservative-outrage-over-the-possible-drafting-of-women-obscures-the-real-issue/

By Laurence M. Vance

Earlier this year I asked the question: Will women have to register for the draft in 2021? That day may soon be coming.

Although the draft ended in 1973, the federal government continued to prosecute “draft dodgers” even after the Vietnam War ended. In 1975, President Gerald Ford eliminated the requirement that 18 to 25 year-old male citizens register with the Selective Service System.

During his campaign for president in 1976, Jimmy Carter promised to pardon those who evaded the draft. On January 21, 1977, President Carter made good on his promise and granted an unconditional pardon to hundreds of thousands of young men who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War. Yet, in 1980, Carter reinstated the requirement that men must register with the Selective Service System.

In its final report, issued in 2020, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) recommended that Congress amend the Military Selective Service Act to require that young women, like young men, register for the draft when they reach 18 years of age.

Back in July, the Senate Armed Services Committee, with 5 Republican no votes, approved an amendment to the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to require “all Americans” (not just men) to register with the Selective Service System. The final approval of the NDAA was by a vote of 23-3.

Now, the House Armed Services Committee, which contains 31 Democrats and 28 Republicans, has voted 35-24 on an amendment to the NDAA (5 Republicans voted with the Democrats: Jack Bergman, Liz Cheney, Pat Fallon, Scott Franklin, Mike Waltz) to include women as well. The NDAA then cleared the committee in a 57-2 vote.

Texas Republican Chip Roy blasted both parties for the recent committee vote, and tweeted that its supporters can “go straight to hell.” Roy said that he would rather see the draft abolished than see women forced to participate: “Abolish the draft if you want. But under no circumstances will you draft our wives and daughters. Total, complete, bullshit.”

Many other conservatives share his outrage. But conservative outrage over the possible drafting of women obscures the real issue.

There is one thing, and only one thing, that the draft is good for: giving governments a supply of cannon fodder to fight unjust wars.

Waging war in the actual defense of ones country, home, property, and family does not require conscription. If the United States were actually attacked; that is, if foreign soldiers actually landed on east or west coast beaches or crossed the northern or southern borders, the government wouldn’t have to conscript anyone. Americans would get their guns and flock to the coasts or borders and start shooting before the government or the military did anything.

Conscription is a form of slavery, regardless of what the Supreme Court says. No young man or woman should ever be drafted.

If young men and women want to enlist in the military, travel the world, meet interesting people, and then bomb, maim, and kill them for Uncle Sam, that is bad enough. But the government should never force any American to do so.

A heroic group of just 4 Democratic and Republican senators and representatives, including Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), has sent a letter to House Armed Services leaders calling for an end to the Selective Service System because it is “expensive, wasteful, outdated, punitive, and unnecessary.” The small group of lawmakers also recently introduced the Selective Service Repeal Act. That is 4 out of 525 members of Congress.

Conscription is abhorrent to a free society. As Senator Paul’s father—former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul—has well said: “A government that is willing to enslave some of its people can never be trusted to protect the liberties of its own citizens.”

Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society.

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‘Go straight to hell’: Texas Republican blasts BOTH parties after amendment to DRAFT WOMEN is adopted

Posted by M. C. on September 7, 2021

https://www.rt.com/usa/533799-draft-daughters-congress-ndaa/

While Democrats and some Republicans celebrated the “historic” inclusion of women in the US military draft, Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas) went on a rant against both parties for this – and other policies over the years.

The Selective Service system currently requires men aged 18-25 to register for the draft. An amendment that would extend this to women as well was adopted in a 35-24 vote by the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, as part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bill funding the military. 

🎙️ WATCH: Last night, I advanced my historic, bipartisan amendment to include women in the selective service.Grateful for Rep. @michaelgwaltz (R-FL) and all members of the House Armed Services Committee who helped pass this measure 35-24. #NDAApic.twitter.com/6Fr9o9O54N— Chrissy Houlahan (@RepHoulahan) September 2, 2021

The Committee has 31 Democrats and 28 Republicans, meaning four members of the opposition crossed the aisle and backed the “historic” amendment to the NDAA. The Senate already approved the proposal in July, also with some GOP members joining the Democrats.

Roy, a former Senate staffer who was first elected to the House in 2019, fired off a nine-tweet tirade telling both parties to “go straight to hell.” 

“I do not trust you to do anything at all, much less say you will draft my daughter to ‘non combat’ roles,” he tweeted, before offering some examples.

Message to Republicans & Democrats – including @HouseGOP & @SenateGOP colleagues. I do not trust you to do anything at all, much less say you will draft my daughter to “non combat” roles. Why don’t I trust you? Let’s see – THREAD: (1/9) #DontDraftOurDaughters— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) September 2, 2021

Among his list of reprobates were people who amassed $30 trillion in national debt while giving lip service to balanced budgets, did nothing to secure the border except talk “in the false name of compassion,” politicized the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccines and treatments for it, and destroyed our healthcare system” in the “false name of coverage.” 

Roy also lashed out at people who had the US at war for 20 years only for “a gutless President to surrender and empower our enemies,” referring to the recent exit from Afghanistan. He also called out those who empowered “education bureaucrats” to teach children that America is evil and racist, and destroyed US energy independence “to appease institutional investors and the Acela corridor cocktail circuit.”

“Now you… want to draft my daughter and just ‘trust you’ not to put them into combat? All of DC – all of it – can go straight to hell,” he concluded.

Roy’s tirade came as the NDAA cleared the committee in a 57-2 vote, in a late-night session that stretched into Thursday morning. The House markup gives the Pentagon $23.9 billion more in funding than the White House budget request, even after President Joe Biden ended the war in Afghanistan – and the commitment to fund the Afghan government and military forces, which had surrendered to the Taliban in mid-August.

Both the amendment and Roy’s frustrated tweets went largely unnoticed by the major media outlets, which were focused on Thursday on the abortion restrictions that went into effect in Texas.

While the US abolished the military draft after the Vietnam War, the Selective Service registration requirement was only briefly lifted by President Gerald Ford in 1975. His successor Jimmy Carter reinstated it in 1980, citing the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. When the Obama administration ordered the military to allow women to take part in combat roles in 2013, the National Coalition for Men sued to declare the registration requirement as unconstitutional on the basis of sex.

The case made it all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in June that the law was indeed sexist as written, but that Congress was considering updating it – which is precisely what happened. 

Ironically, the Democrats – and Republicans that joined them – have ended up enacting precisely what a meme campaign during the 2016 election accused Hillary Clinton of championing. Back then, sympathizers of Republican candidate Donald Trump argued Clinton would ‘Draft Our Daughters’ to fight Russia, and spread memes about it all over social media. 

Draft our Daughters. #3WordMotivationalSpeechpic.twitter.com/6nletx4KTU— Holtz (@Biorealism) November 3, 2016

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States must take the lead to get U.S. out of pointless and endless wars

Posted by M. C. on December 22, 2020

With America’s armed forces soon to fall under the control of a Congress that will, in all likelihood, do everything they can to keep our troops overseas, it’s time for the states to step up. This is why I will soon be filing the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, a bill that would allow the governor to withhold national guard troops from being brought under federal control.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/dec/14/states-must-take-the-lead-to-get-us-out-of-pointle/

By Stewart Jones

While President Trump was negotiating yet another peace agreement this week — this time between Israel and Morocco — his enemies beat the drums of war in their ongoing effort to overthrow the America First foreign policy.

It’s sad that throughout the entirety of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the swamp has worked around the clock to dismantle his efforts toward peace. Even worse, with the passage of the disastrous, $740.5 billion 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it appears the neocons and pro-war left will soon regain the levers of federal power, plunging America into another four years of stupid, pointless, endless wars abroad.

With America’s armed forces soon to fall under the control of a Congress that will, in all likelihood, do everything they can to keep our troops overseas, it’s time for the states to step up. This is why I will soon be filing the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, a bill that would allow the governor to withhold national guard troops from being brought under federal control.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, was one of the precious few voices of reason in the congressional vote on the NDAA. In his speech before the Senate, he said, “They believe that a president has the power to go to war anywhere anytime, but when a president tries to remove troops, they say ‘Oh no no. What we really want are 535 generals in Congress to tell him he can’t leave a war.’” Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, also took to Twitter to criticize the bill, writing, “This NDAA bill contains specific language to make it harder for the president to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

But heroes of liberty like Mr. Paul and Mr. Massie cannot fight this issue alone. Without reinforcements from elected officials across the board and a powerful grassroots movement to end America’s military expeditionalism, our efforts will never amount to anything beyond empty rhetoric.



In 1950, my grandfather was drafted into the Korean conflict. I grew up hearing stories of courage and sacrifice. The problem with American involvement in Korea was that it didn’t follow a declaration of war, but a U.N. decision to get the U.S. to intervene.

Undeclared war — something with which our country has become painfully familiar over the last half-century — plunges our country into foreign quagmires based on the whims of politicians, rather than American interests.

In Article I of the United States Constitution, Congress is given the authority to declare war; history shows that this check on war is critical to the survival of our republic. The Founders repeatedly warned of the dangers of excessive foreign intervention, having studied the fall of countless republics into entangled empires. 

In Thomas Jefferson’s 1801 address to Congress, he said that the key to preserving our republic was “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” In 1795, James Madison said that “of all enemies to public liberty war, is perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” Mr. Trump has tried to follow this advice and our country has seen the benefits of peace and commerce in recent years.

The pressure needed to apply to Washington if we are to see this objective through will not generate itself; it will have to emanate from leaders from across the country who are sick of seeing brave American service men and women shipped overseas with no objective, no plan, and no exit strategy. As I file the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, I call on state legislators elsewhere to do the same in their legislatures.

• Stewart Jones is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

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How State Legislators Can End Our Endless Wars | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2020

Can you see this happening in today’s Pennsylvania?

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/how-state-legislators-can-end-our-endless-wars/

by Stewart Jones

While President Trump was negotiating yet another peace agreement this week — this time between Israel and Morocco — his enemies beat the drums of war in their ongoing effort to overthrow the America First foreign policy.

It’s sad that throughout the entirety of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the swamp has worked around the clock to dismantle his efforts toward peace. Even worse, with the passage of the disastrous, $740.5 billion 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it appears the neocons and pro-war left will soon regain the levers of federal power, plunging America into another four years of stupid, pointless, endless wars abroad.

With America’s armed forces soon to fall under the control of a Congress that will, in all likelihood, do everything they can to keep our troops overseas, it’s time for the states to step up. This is why I will soon be filing the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, a bill that would allow the governor to withhold national guard troops from being brought under federal control.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, was one of the precious few voices of reason in the congressional vote on the NDAA. In his speech before the Senate, he said, “They believe that a president has the power to go to war anywhere anytime, but when a president tries to remove troops, they say ‘Oh no no. What we really want are 535 generals in Congress to tell him he can’t leave a war.’” Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, also took to Twitter to criticize the bill, writing, “This NDAA bill contains specific language to make it harder for the president to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

But heroes of liberty like Mr. Paul and Mr. Massie cannot fight this issue alone. Without reinforcements from elected officials across the board and a powerful grassroots movement to end America’s military expeditionalism, our efforts will never amount to anything beyond empty rhetoric.

You can read the rest of this article at The Washington Times.

About Stewart Jones

Stewart Jones is a lifelong resident of Laurens County and a proud 8th generation South Carolinian. He currently serves as Chairman of the Lakelands Republican Liberty Caucus as well as an elected State Republican Liberty Caucus Board Member.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Congress Again Proves that the Business of Washington is War

Posted by M. C. on December 15, 2020

As the first African-American to take charge of the Pentagon, the Austin pick is celebrated as a great victory for “diversity.” However, if we move beyond the color of a person’s skin, Biden’s selection is not all that diverse. Gen. Austin was head of the US Central Command under an Obama Administration that launched a brutal war on Libya under false pretenses and pursued a regime-change policy in Syria that involved arming and training jihadists. Upon retirement, as is all too common with military leaders, he cashed in on his service with a position on the board of military contractor Raytheon.

Austin will be “business as usual” for Washington’s warmongers and the military contractors who make a fortune inventing endless conflicts overseas.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/december/14/congress-again-proves-that-the-business-of-washington-is-war/

Written by Ron Paul

Libertarian educator Tom Woods famously quipped that “no matter who you vote for you end up with John McCain.” Unfortunately Woods was proven right for about the thousandth time this past week, as Washington again showed us that it is all about war.

First, we learned that if Joe Biden ends up in the White House next month he intends to put a deep state member of the military-industrial complex in charge of the Pentagon. General Lloyd Austin will be only the second Defense Secretary in decades to require a special Senate waiver to serve in that position. Gen. James Mattis under President Trump also needed a waiver, as he had been out of the military less than the required seven years before becoming Defense Secretary.

But the revolving door between active military service and civilian leadership of the Pentagon is perhaps less troubling than the revolving door between the military-industrial complex and leadership of the Defense Department.

As the first African-American to take charge of the Pentagon, the Austin pick is celebrated as a great victory for “diversity.” However, if we move beyond the color of a person’s skin, Biden’s selection is not all that diverse. Gen. Austin was head of the US Central Command under an Obama Administration that launched a brutal war on Libya under false pretenses and pursued a regime-change policy in Syria that involved arming and training jihadists. Upon retirement, as is all too common with military leaders, he cashed in on his service with a position on the board of military contractor Raytheon.

Austin will be “business as usual” for Washington’s warmongers and the military contractors who make a fortune inventing endless conflicts overseas.

Then things went from bad to worse, as the yearly monstrosity called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed with an amendment severely restricting the US president’s ability to remove troops from Afghanistan and Europe. Offered by neoconservative Congresswoman Liz Cheney, daughter of the warmongering Dick Cheney, the amendment all but guarantees that America’s longest war in history will continue pointlessly onward.

A coalition of warmongering Democrats and Republicans have been furious with President Trump for his last minute effort to draw troops down from Afghanistan and elsewhere, and they appear to have a veto-proof majority to tie the president’s hands.

Congress has for decades believed that the president can go to war whenever or wherever he pleases without a declaration, but if the president dares attempt to end a war their belief in a “unitary executive” is thrown out the window. What hypocrisy.

The Constitution is clear that the president is the commander in chief of the military and as such should have the authority to move troops as he sees fit. The Founders understood that 535 Members of Congress trying to micromanage troops on the battlefield is not a good idea.

Congress has it backward. It should be very difficult for a president to take the country to war and easy for that war to be ended.

Time after time, the “peace” candidate usually wins the election. But no matter how sick the American people are of endless war, the war machine finds a way to keep chugging along. What will it take to return to a policy of peace and prosperity?


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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NDAA Seeks To Halt Trump’s Troop Withdrawals From Afghanistan & Germany | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on December 5, 2020

Now you know why the REAL reason Republican war party, CIA, FIB etc turned against Trump.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/ndaa-seeks-halt-trumps-troop-withdrawals-afghanistan-germany

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

by Tyler Durden Fri, 12/04/2020 – 23:00 TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrint

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

The version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) agreed to by the House and Senate, known as the compromise version, includes provisions to block President Trump’s planned troop withdrawals in both Afghanistan and Germany.

For Afghanistan, there is language in the bill that would block funding to reduce troop numbers in the country before the Pentagon, State Department, and the director of national intelligence assess how the drawdown would affect US security. The assessment would be required before troop numbers could drop lower than they are when the NDAA becomes law, and again if they drop below 2,000.

Via Zuma Press/Xinhua

President Trump’s current plan is to bring troop numbers in Afghanistan down to 2,500 by January 15th. The US-Taliban peace deal signed in February paved the way for all US and other foreign forces to be out of the country by Spring 2021.

Another troop drawdown President Trump’s Pentagon is planning is a reduction of forces in Germany from about 36,000 troops to 24,000. Congressional aides told The Hill that the compromise version of the NDAA includes language that would block the drawdown.

“There is language that prevents reduction in the number of US forces stationed in Germany below 34,500 until 120 days after the secretary of Defense submits an assessment and planning regarding the implications for allies, costs, military families, deterrence and other key issues,” one of the aides said.

The provisions to block Trump’s withdrawals could add to the controversy that is already surrounding the NDAA. On Tuesday, President Trump said he would veto the spending bill if it did not include an amendment to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 gives tech platforms immunity from liability for content published by third parties. Trump doubled down on his call to include the provision in a tweet on Thursday after some Republican senators voiced their objection to the idea.

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Defund the Pentagon – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on August 13, 2020

Economist Robert Higgs has showed that “the total amount of all defense-related spending greatly exceeds the amount budgeted for the Department of Defense.” He calculated — ten years ago — that real defense spending was more than a trillion dollars a year. It is certainly not a penny less now.”

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/defund-the-police/

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Many liberals and progressives in the Democratic Party have been loudly calling for the defunding of police departments around the country after the tragic death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. While defunding the police — not to be confused with disbanding the police — means different things to different people, most advocates propose redirecting a portion of city and county police budgets to social programs, mental health intervention, combating homelessness, and affordable housing programs.

Conservatives and Republicans have generally pushed back against calls to defund the police. They typically maintain that the level of police misconduct is overstated, that police departments just need to be reformed, and that violent crime and property crime will increase if police department budgets are cut. In response to some major cities calling for defunding the police, Donald Trump simply said, “We won’t be defunding our police. We won’t be dismantling our police. We won’t be disbanding our police. We won’t be ending our police force.” Certainly the president knows that funding levels for police departments are decided on the local level without any input whatsoever from the federal government?

There is, however, one area of government spending that liberals, conservatives, Democrats, and Republicans are united on that they don’t want defunded. Even though it is one of the largest expenditures of the federal government and is unnecessary and destructive in so many ways, these groups from across the political spectrum don’t want to defund the military in any way. And of course, Trump has pushed for higher military budgets ever since he was elected.

The Democratic-controlled House (H.R.6395) and the Republican-controlled Senate (S.4049) each just passed their own version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020–Sept. 30, 2021). The bipartisan votes in the House and Senate were 295 to 125, and 86 to 14.

According to the Congressional Research Service’s publication Defense Primer: Navigating the NDAA, “Unlike an appropriations bill, the NDAA does not provide budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD). Instead, the NDAA establishes or continues defense programs, policies, projects, or activities at DOD and other federal agencies, and provides guidance on how the appropriated funds are to be used in carrying out those authorized activities.” Budget authority is provided in subsequent appropriations legislation.

The House and Senate bills authorize FY2021 appropriations and set forth “policies for Department of Defense (DOD) programs and activities, including military personnel strengths.”

Specifically, both bills authorize appropriations to the DOD for:

• Procurement, including aircraft, weapons and tracked combat vehicles, shipbuilding and conversion, and missiles
• Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation
• Operation and Maintenance
• Working Capital Funds
• Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction
• Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities
• The Defense Inspector General
• The Defense Health Program
• The Armed Forces Retirement Home
• Overseas Contingency Operations;
• The Space Force
• Military Construction

Both bills also authorize personnel strengths for active duty and reserve forces and set forth policies regarding:

• Military personnel
• Acquisition policy and management
• International programs
• National Guard and Reserve Forces facilities
• Compensation and other personnel benefits
• Health care
• DOD organization and management
• Civilian personnel matters
• Matters relating to foreign nations
• Strategic programs, cyber, and intelligence matters

The bills also authorize appropriations for base realignment and closure activities and maritime matters, and authorize appropriations and set forth policies for Department of Energy national security programs, including the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

Both the House and Senate versions of the NDAA would fund defense for fiscal year 2021 at the obscene amount of $740.5 billion.

Politico recently ran two opinion pieces on defunding the Pentagon: the conservative case and the liberal case.

The conservative case was made by Andrew Lautz of the National Taxpayers Union and Jonathan Bydlak of the R Street Institute’s Fiscal and Budget Policy Project:

With resources more limited than ever, areas of the budget that were off-limits for years should now be more closely scrutinized. At the top of that list should be the single largest part of the federal discretionary budget, an entire category of spending that has long been off the table: the Pentagon.

Republicans in Congress need to start tackling the Pentagon budget just as boldly as they do other areas of discretionary spending. Doing so would put our nation on a better fiscal path and create opportunities for unlikely political alliances. Conservative figures like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) for years advocated restraint at the Pentagon; two of the most recent efforts to restrain the Pentagon’s budget in the coming year come from staunchly progressive members of Congress: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

The liberal case for defunding the Pentagon was made by Senator Sanders. Addressing directly the NDAA, he said,

Under this legislation, over half of our discretionary budget would go to the Department of Defense at a time when tens of millions of Americans are food insecure and over a half-million Americans are sleeping out on the street.

Moreover, this extraordinary level of military spending comes at a time when the Department of Defense is the only agency of our federal government that has not been able to pass an independent audit, when defense contractors are making enormous profits while paying their CEOs outrageous compensation packages, and when the so-called War on Terror will cost some $6 trillion.

If the horrific pandemic we are now experiencing has taught us anything it is that national security means a lot more than building bombs, missiles, nuclear warheads and other weapons of mass destruction. National security also means doing everything we can to improve the lives of tens of millions of people living in desperation who have been abandoned by our government decade after decade.

Sanders introduced an amendment to the NDAA that would “reduce the military budget by 10 percent and use that $74 billion in savings to invest in communities that have been ravaged by extreme poverty, mass incarceration, decades of neglect, and the Covid-19 pandemic.” It didn’t pass.

Conservatives at the Heritage Foundation — who seem to have never seen a defense budget that was high enough — took notice of the Politico articles. Writing in “What the ‘Defunding the Pentagon’ Articles Don’t Tell You,” Thomas Spoehr, who “serves as director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense where he is responsible for supervising research on matters involving U.S. national defense,” says that “both pieces lack some information that would contribute to a richer, more informed discussion of this critically important topic.” His article’s three key takeaways are:

1. National defense now consumes the smallest portion of the U.S. federal budget in a hundred years — 15% — and continues to shrink.
2. Our defense responsibilities include security commitments to NATO, Japan, South Korea, international sea lanes, and other areas.
3. If the nation is going to effectively counter China, Russia, and others, continued military rebuilding following years of budget cuts is necessary.

It is no surprise that “prior to joining Heritage, Spoehr served for more than 36 years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Lieutenant General.”

Spoehr’s first point is a typical conservative smokescreen to justify higher defense budgets. By talking about the defense budget in terms of a percentage of something (GDP, the total federal budget, prior years, et cetera) instead of absolute numbers, conservatives can deflect attention from the obscene level of defense spending. And even worse, defense spending is actually much higher than the budgeted amount. Economist Robert Higgs has showed that “the total amount of all defense-related spending greatly exceeds the amount budgeted for the Department of Defense.” He calculated — ten years ago — that real defense spending was more than a trillion dollars a year. It is certainly not a penny less now.

Spoehr’s second point is certainly true. The concern that he never raises is “Why?” Why should the U.S. Department of Defense, funded by U.S. taxpayers, and charged with defending the United States, have “security commitments to NATO, Japan, South Korea, international sea lanes, and other areas”?

Spoehr’s third point assumes that the United States needs to counter “China, Russia, and others.” That is only because U.S. foreign policy is reckless, belligerent, and meddling instead of being a Jeffersonian foreign policy of neutrality, nonintervention, peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none. And it is simply not true that there have been years of defense budget cuts. All one has to do is look up the figures. Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense spending rose from $470.55 billion in 2001 to the obscene level of $849.87 billion in 2010. It declined in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014; basically stayed level in 2015, 2016, and 2017; and then rose in 2018 and 2019.

Because the Department of Defense functions as the Department of Offense, it is the Pentagon that needs to be defunded.

Laurence M. Vance is a columnist and policy advisor for the Future of Freedom Foundation, an associated scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and a columnist, blogger, and book reviewer at LewRockwell.com. He is the author of Gun Control and the Second Amendment, The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom, and War, Empire and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society. Visit his website: www.vancepublications.com. Send him e-mail.

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