Senate passes defense bill with detainee policy compromise
We are about to spend $662 billion dollars on defense. Contained within this bill is appropriations for all sorts of things I have no clue what they are, or, why they are needed. I am not on the Pentagons Christmas card list so I have no need to know I guess. That’s unfortunate, since it’s my frekin money they want to spend.
The Constitution specifically states that the government is to provide the funds for defense. I’m pretty sure the framers were intent on supplying the bullets and uniforms for a standing military. I’m also pretty sure they didn’t mean funding a study to ascertain the rectal temperature of an Alaskan Husky at the North Pole. This we did fund and I’m not quite sure why or what the poor dogs temperature was. Fortunately that research is not in the current bill. I guess the mystery was solved.
There are appropriations to sustain US presence in over-seas bases of operation. Other than as a form of foreign aid for local economies I see no purpose to have military bases over-seas. This isn’t 1940 and Europe is not under attack. Do we actually need a European military presence? Nope. What we do have is expensive to maintain, a pain in the ass to soldiers deployed there and serves no purpose that cannot be achieved in other ways. So let’s fund it because it makes no sense.
There are appropriations to fund the next great fighter and bomber to stay ahead of the world in air technology. I like planes. I think they are cool. What I don’t understand is why a plane designed over 50 years ago is still the workhorse of the Air Force and the crap we are funding and building today won’t last 10 years before replacement. If I pay for a billion dollar plane I want a warranty that goes beyond 10 years. I can get that on my car at a much cheaper price. I don’t need a fast bomber to deliver nukes. I already paid through the nose for flying telephone poles that can reach any corner of the planet in 2o minutes and deliver the goods.
Then we come to the terrorist nonsense. The “war on terror” is costing me, Joe TaxPayer, a serious chunk of change better spent on fixing the roads I drive on. Do I agree there is a terrorist threat? Sure. Do I think it’s a big enough threat to be termed a “war” ? No. Nor do I think we need to spend billions on it. Nor fund technology or programs that infringe on the people’s privacy. That’s my money you want to spend to spy on me, are you insane?
There is a contentious amendment in this bill known as the “detainee amendment” that has some serious issues with its Constitutionality. That particular amendment has been re-tuned to exclude US citizens. I do not understand the depth of the political wrangling that took place to get this trash changed to exclude American citizens. What I do get is that we have elected people to Congress that should be arrested for treason. How does a Senator not know you cannot over-ride a Constitutional guarantee? Where does one get the stones to even try? We need to do better in picking folks for Congress, we get an F on this batch.
Aside from the obvious wrongs with the Detainee amendment there is in my opinion an underlying cause for it. Gitmo. There is a very strong push by many outside of Government to close Guantanamo Bay and do something with the enemy combatants that call it home. Understandable. There are guys there that haven’t seen a military judge in ten years. Therefore to me Gitmo is not a detention camp it is a concentration camp. I don’t want my tax dollars funding a concentration camp. I think the guys they have there need to be tried according to the rules of war and then deported back to country of origin. Let those countries deal with these guys. Next time maybe we rethink the whole prisoner of war concept. Judgement on the battlefield is swifter and does not require lawyers present. This bill, if passed, will allow the military to declare holding pens for terrorists where ever they wish. Gitmo replacement clause I call it.
The President is not at all pleased with this bill and has already threatened to veto the thing if it ever gets to his desk. Good for him. He should veto the thing and send it back to Congress with the note “Are you Insane?”. I can only hope. At any rate the Senate bill is in committee again to resolve House/Senate differences. From there it’s on to the White House. If the president veto’s the thing it goes back to congress for either change or a straight up/down vote requiring a 2/3’s majority in both houses for passage into law. Chances of that happening are very slim.
I can’t get excited over this bill because I know it is not going anywhere. It has multiple issues that don’t stop at Constitutionality. A half trillion-dollar budget for defense is considerable even if we do pay a few million per drone. We do have a deficit and that is on the forefront of everyone’s campaign trail speech. Be kinda self-deprecating to talk about holding back spending when your signing onto a 1/2 trillion-dollar expenditure no? Well .. maybe they are that stupid.