If Trump is a threatening tyrant, why did Democrats just agree to give him $730bn for the military?
is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Telegram @TheNebulator and on Twitter @NebojsaMalic
Only 48 members of the House of Representatives opposed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday, while 377 from both parties voted to approve it. The bloated document contains an even more massive commitment to spend taxpayer dollars, including on the new Space Force.Also on rt.com ‘May the (Space) Force be with you,’ Congress tells Trump in new Pentagon budget bill
But wait, why are House Democrats authorizing the biggest military funding so far in the Trump administration at the very moment they are calling for the President’s impeachment for alleged abuse of office and obstruction of Congress? If he truly is a king-like tyrant who names his son after titles of nobility and thus threatens “our democracy,” as they keep saying, why are they abdicating their greatest power – that of the purse – to keep him in check?
Apparently not. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-California), who spearheaded the impeachment “investigation” in the House Intelligence Committee, was literally yawning through the impassioned speech by his colleague Ro Khanna (D-California) denouncing the NDAA as “Orwellian.”
This NDAA is anything but progressive. We need to vote no. pic.twitter.com/1kdgaZ7WDG— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) December 11, 2019
Khanna was among the few who disapproved of the bill, for a variety of reasons, including the demise of his proposed amendment to withdraw support for the Saudi war on Yemen. Another objection, raised by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and presidential contender Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), for example, was over the $733 billion commitment they would rather see spent on social programs or climate change.
Like usual, in their zeal to support bipartisan imperialism, neoliberal Democratic lawmakers compromised with Republicans and cut NDAA provisions that would:-block Trump from waging war on Iran-withdraw US support for genocidal war in Yemen-halt deployment of nuclear warheads pic.twitter.com/6LazHbIAyu— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) December 12, 2019
Former Republican Justin Amash (I-Michigan) voted no because of the price tag, but also because the NDAA “allows indefinite detention of Americans without charge/trial [and] reauthorizes intelligence agencies without reforms to protect Americans’ rights.”
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) also voted no, citing as the primary reason that the bill was almost 3,500 pages long and nobody was given time to read all of it – much like any other bill that makes its way through the US legislature, to be honest.
Yet all of the above-mentioned objections, however heartfelt, amount to virtue-signaling, as the NDAA obviously had more than enough votes to guarantee its passage.
Far from being grateful, however, on Thursday the Pentagon said that even this lavish NDAA doesn’t do them much good without a firm congressional commitment to a long-term budget, once again complaining about having to rely on continuing resolutions.
Meanwhile, Veterans For Peace pointed out that the NDAA fails to hold the Pentagon accountable for “massive fraud, mismanagement and lies” revealed in the so-called Afghanistan Papers, documents about the 18-year war published earlier this week.
And there you have it. Three days after the #AfghanistanPapers were released revealing massive fraud, mismanagement and lies, Congress voted to pass the #NDAA with only 48 in opposition. Nothing says accountability like a $733 billion dollar check pic.twitter.com/cto3GkpCaj— Veterans For Peace (@VFPNational) December 11, 2019
So much for accountability, or threats to “our democracy,” or powers of Congress, indeed. If there is one thing that is truly inevitable in Washington, DC it is that politicians will always vote more money for the Department of Defense – even though it hardly does anything to actually defend the US – regardless of how much they might be fighting about anything else.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.