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Media Looks Away While US
Arms the World

The U.S. taxpayer is funding the intimidation of Palestinians by Israel, the annihilation of Kurds in Turkey and the continued genocide of East Timorese by Indonesia. This is because under Bill Clinton's leadership, the U.S. is supplying 70% of the worlds arms. So if Israel, Turkey, Indonesia and the Third World in general need more firepower for their human rights abuses they need only to ask.

Readers wondering whether there isn't some danger in arming Earth's dictatorships should take comfort in the fact that not only is the Pentagon being funded at 85% of the Cold War average, but the Cold War enemy is now an ally even in military production (Z Magazine, 4/95). Besides, the Third World buys mostly F-16s, and the Pentagon plans on paying the Lockheed Corporation $72 billion to develop F-22s which should effectively counter the threat arising from exporting U.S. fighter planes.

However, on this appropriation the alternative media alone provides some insight. The General Accounting Office deems the F-22s to be unnecessary because current-generation F-15s, if upgraded, could meet any foreseeable threat to U.S. forces through the year 2014 (The Nation, 1/30/95). Also, Lockheed, which is based in Marietta, GA--Newt Gingrich country--is a heavy contributor to this demagogue's campaign drives. Thus, it should come as no surprise there's a virtual media lockout on a $72 billion welfare program while "deficit hawks" of the GOP slash without reproach a host of far less costly federal programs that are intended to benefit the unworthy masses.

Similarly unexpressed is condemnation for the Pentagon's top financial manager's decision not to instruct bookmakers at Defense to investigate some $13.3 billion in recent spending that is unaccounted for (Washington Post, 5/19). Because Comptroller John Hamre thinks such an audit would be too expensive to implement, the contractors who in some cases double and triple-billed Defense for their services will be free of the stigma our country's welfare mothers are wearing in the media every day.

Also unknown generally is the fact the Pentagon is quietly making "Patriot Games" more than just movie magic. In this yawner produced for filmgoers who own GI Joes "trouble in Russia" is contained when U.S. nuclear submarines come to the rescue. Not surprisingly, the news that the Pentagon plans on spending $60 billion for thirty such incredible subs--to fend off a scare that exists only on Kodachrome--has scarcely warranted a raised eyelash from our TV pundits.

As Noam Chomsky puts it, the debates in the mainstream press regarding the sacred cow, "defense" spending, is limited to an extent that might've made Stalin cringe. At the extreme left of expressible opinion is that war-making should be maintained at present levels or increased slightly, while the right is asserting that merely matching what the rest of the world spends combined on defense amounts to unilateral disarmament.

The extreme left in budgetary policy is probably best represented by the influential Washington Post. In expressing their support for the Senate's budget proposal that will demolish social spending to pay for increased war-making and tax cuts for the rich, the Post declared this plan was "gutsy", as the funding provides for society "in healthy directions (5/25)." Their only problem with a previous version of it was that the plan exempted Social Security (5/12).

If our society was a more healthy democracy it might be less of a secret to Post readers that the Pentagon, the world's most prodigal bureaucracy and where $200 billion could easily be saved in five years (The Nation, 10/94) is an excellent source in this period of relative peace to look first when budget cutting.

Yet, unquestionably the Post, with its "liberal bias" on the matter does not reflect the perspective of the majority of the mainstream press. The latter is evinced by a recent article in Parade which related the severe impoverishment that a growing number of our "military poor" are enduring (5/28). This plaintive plea for emergency action, complete with addresses of sympathetic Congressmen and agencies which can deliver assistance to our nation's military personnel who are knowing great hardship since the Cold War ended never once suggests that we cut back in any measure on the size of our armies and pay the remaining soldiers more. In particular, that the U.S. has kept a standing army of a quarter million men in Europe since 1945 presumably still defending that region from Khrushchev's Russia is too trifling to mention.

The result of determined efforts at propaganda by Parade and their ilk is that the public is conveniently focusing its attention towards fattening an already bloated military while ignoring the rot of our nation's inner cities, the latter which is experiencing infant mortality and poverty rates which generally rival the Third World.

Scott Loughrey

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