U.S. Boosts Weapons of Mass Destruction

, I made note of recent findings on world military spending — nearly a trillion dollars last year, and 47% of that spent by the United States.

The Washington Post today covers ’s U.S. military budget:

As Congress moves ahead with a huge new defense bill, lawmakers are making only modest changes in the Pentagon’s plans to spend well over $1 trillion in the next decade on an arsenal of futuristic planes, ships and weapons with little direct connection to the Iraq war or the global war on terrorism.

House and Senate versions of the defense authorization measure contain a record $68 billion for research and development — 20 percent above the peak levels of President Ronald Reagan’s historic defense buildup. Tens of billions more out of a proposed $76 billion hardware account will go for big-ticket weapons systems to combat some as-yet-unknown adversary comparable to the former Soviet Union.

On the Pentagon’s wish list are such revolutionary weapons as a fighter plane that can land on an aircraft carrier or descend vertically to the ground; a radar-evading destroyer that can wallow low in the waves like a submarine while aiming precise rounds at enemy targets 200 miles inland; and a compact “isomer” weapon that could tap the metallic chemical element hafnium to release 10,000 times as much energy per gram as TNT

War costs and modernization are expected to drive defense spending to nearly $500 billion in , above the inflation-adjusted Cold War average, and $50 billion above . The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the long-term price tag for all the planes, ships and weapons the military services want will be at least $770 billion above what the Bush administration’s long-term defense plan calls for.

In a major speech last week, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, called for cutting back funding for a national missile defense system — a priority of the Bush administration — to pay for increasing the size of the active-duty Army.

Much of the budget increase is not for defense against terrorism, but for programs that add to the already large stash of weapons of mass destruction that the United States threatens the world with.

At The Claire Files “thedave” posted an interesting work by C.S. Lewis about one particularly tempting path towards ethical disaster:

To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colors. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still — just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naïf, or a prig — the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play: something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which “we” — and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure — something “we always do.” And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face — that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face — turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude: it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.