In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Washington has initiated its largest spending binge in history. In the process, you might assume that the unparalleled spread of the disease would have led to a little rethinking when it came to all the trillions of dollars Congress has given the Pentagon in these years that have in no way made us safer from, or prepared us better to respond to, this predictable threat to American national security. As it happens, though, even if the rest of us remain in danger from the coronavirus, Congress has done a remarkably good job of vaccinating the Department of Defense and the weapons makers that rely on it financially.
There is, of course, a striking history here. Washington’s reflexive prioritizing of the interests of defense contractors has meant paying remarkably little attention to, and significant underfunding, public health. Now, Americans are paying the price. With these health and economic crises playing out before our eyes and the government’s response to it so visibly incompetent and inadequate you would expect Congress to begin reconsidering its strategic approach to making Americans safer. But it cannot agree a badly needed stimulus package at the moment.
So Washington continues to operate just as it always has, filling the coffers of the Pentagon as though “national security” were nothing but a matter of war and more war.(Mandy Smithberger, Tom Dispatch, slightly edited, June 28 2020).
Comment: There have been persistent rumors that the President is set upon a war, possibly with Iran, starting before November. (Time is running out. Ed!) The point is that a war against the ayatollahs, were it to happen, is handled half as well as the the fight against Covid 19, then the likelihood of winning is slight, and the deaths are even more pointless than other half- baked wars in history. Hopefully, war now seems unlikely, but you never know.
My comment: Epicureans should advocate, not for war, but for rescuing the poor, the sick, the old and the helpless, without jobs, income or adequate diets, from being the chief sufferers of an epidemic which, if there were a will, could be halted in its tracks in a handful of weeks. We should be ashamed.