Donald Trump has claimed over and over again that he is opposed to long-term military actions overseas and wants to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, but his new proposed budget does the exact opposite. While proposing steep cuts to domestic spending, he wants to more than double our spending on foreign wars, principally in that country.
Inconveniently, Trump has thus far intensified drone strikes beyond even Barack Obama levels, particularly in Somalia. His approach to the Afghanistan and Iraq/Syria wars has been to dramatically escalate airstrikes. Following criticism from Lindsey Graham, he decided to keep a residual U.S. force in Syria. And now, he’s growing the Pentagon’s war budget to an unprecedented degree.
The Pentagon budget, formally released Tuesday, will request a 139 percent increase to what’s called the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account – that is, the Afghanistan and Iraq/Syria wars. OCO is the vestige of a post-9/11 accounting scheme to separate war funding from funding for the broader Pentagon budget, in the interest of reducing sticker shock for defense spending, that has proven as indefinite as the wars themselves.Last year’s OCO request was $69 billion. This year’s, CNN reported, will be a stunning $165 billion – at a time when the troop presence in Syria is slated to go down to 10 percent of its current level. By contrast, the administration overall budget proposes a $1 trillion combined cut to Medicare and Medicaid; a $1 billion cut to a fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; and a 23 percent cut to the State Department budget. Over ten years, the administration seeks to cut food stamps and other nutritional-assistance by $220 billion.
It’s the old guns vs butter situation, but Trump claims to want to draw down our foreign commitments and bring troops home. Instead, he wants to more than double our war spending — and that isn’t even part of the regular Pentagon budget, which he’s already expanded enormously and wants to grow even more in the new budget. He wants the Pentagon’s budget to increase by another 5%, adding $33 billion for a total of $718 billion. Plus the cost of our ongoing wars. We always have money to destroy the lives of non-Americans, but do anything to improve the quality of life of Americans and you’re a “socialist” who hates America.