Defense Secretary Hagel to Congress: ‘Give the Military More Money’!

by | Oct 16, 2014

While you might expect there would be a “peace dividend” with the winding down of the United States military occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is making the rounds over the congressional recess to project the message that the United States Congress must not dare reduce military spending — even via fake sequestration “spending cuts” that just cut the rate of spending growth.

The Hill reports Hagel delivered this message on Wednesday to an audience assembled by the Association of the United States Army. The audience must have been pleased with Hagel’s call given the long list of military spending requests in the organization’s legislative agenda.

Back in August, RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul predicted that the building ISIS war would ensure the disintegration of any hoped-for peace dividend. Paul noted that House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) was already calling for extra spending to fight ISIS. Problems caused by the new spending, Paul warned, would include more Federal Reserve money printing and increased ISIS recruitment.

Hagel, though is not putting all his military golden eggs in one basket. He presents a long list of “threats” and “commitments” to justify always increasing the US government’s military spending. From the US Department of Defense’s press release concerning Hagel’s speech:

The defense secretary noted that while a another [sic] Iraq or Afghanistan-type campaign is unlikely, this does not mean that demand for the Army is diminishing, or that the Army’s place in U.S. national security strategy is eroding.

While there are no longer 150,000 soldiers engaged in ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hagel said, there are still almost as many soldiers either deployed or forward-stationed in nearly 150 locations around the world. This includes 80,000 soldiers in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility and nearly 20,000 soldiers in South Korea standing ready to “fight tonight.”

“There are also 40,000 soldiers under Central Command; 28,000 soldiers in Europe, and thousands more in both Africa and South America — some of whom I visited in Colombia last week,” Hagel said. “The demands on the Army will only grow more diverse and complicated going forward. Threats from terrorists and insurgents will remain with us for a long time, but we also must deal with a revisionist Russia — with its modern and capable Army — on NATO’s doorstep.”

Not content with just the new costs of the ISIS war, estimated at $100 billion for this year alone, Hagel throws in the full spectrum of US military interventions, from the drug war operations in Latin America to the expanding US military involvement in Africa to the residual cold war and recently escalated militarycommitment in Europe to the US troops in South Korea due to a war begun over sixty years ago to a new cold (for now) war the US government is promoting against Russia.

One thing is for sure, the Obama administration and congressional leadership are lock-step in their support of exorbitant US military spending and the broad use of the US military around the world.

While many Americans want a peace dividend, their priorities differ from those of the politicians in leadership in the US executive and legislative branches.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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