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Until Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rode to the rescue this week, Pentagon brass and their allies had been issuing dire warnings about the nation's military readiness: The armed services were being decimated, they said, by sequestration—the automatic budget cuts that were set to trim $1 trillion from the Pentagon budget over the next decade. "It's one thing for the Pentagon to go on a diet. It's another for the Pentagon to wear a straitjacket while dieting," grumbled Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). The message got through: The House overwhelmingly approved the Ryan-Murray plan just two days after it was introduced.
As far as these arms dealers are concerned, House of Representative Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's vision for America, government spending essentially limited to maintaining our foreign legions and gulags that already hold two million prisoners, most people of color, would be just fine. Meanwhile, here in my home state of Massachusetts, like Chicken Little, our lieutenant governor is warning that thousands of jobs and billions of dollars would be lost to the state's economy if military bases in the Commonwealth are closed.
Like a crack addict reaching for the next hit, unable to envision or take steps toward a regimen of health, too many of our political leaders are embracing their roles as hostages of what President Eisenhower termed the military-industrial complex.