Forever Wars Katrina vanden Heuvel Military

Katrina vanden Huevel: The Pentagon Gets More Money and Americans Pay the Price

What’s all this new defense spending for?
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. (Jason Reed / Reuters)

By Katrina vanden Heuvel / The Nation

Bipartisanship is a rare and endangered species in today’s bitterly divided Washington. Except when it comes to one thing: the Pentagon budget.

From Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats to minority leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans, all agree that the Defense Department—which already boasts a budget higher, in comparable dollars, than its levels during the Cold War, and bigger than the combined military budgets of the next nine highest-spending countries—must have more. The only argument is how high the “top line” should go.

Ironically, this lone area of bipartisan consensus is a tribute not to the wisdom of the center but to its folly. Even as the military budget keeps going up, Americans are growing less and less secure.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Katrina vanden Heuvel
Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel is editorial director and publisher of The Nation, America’s leading source of progressive politics and culture. She served as editor of the magazine from 1995 to 2019.


  1. Always ironic getting this sort of “news” from a multimillionaire.

    But that is it in USA: the eilites and the connected and the legacy laggarts get the mic and the podium and the media mantle.

    If only Scheer would be looking for a people’s voice, a weekly or twice-a-week gig for those of us who are on the frontlines of education, social justice, science, housing, prison system, etc. Instead, this is the same old same old.

    One of her 2020 headlines? Creepy people write these things. Why?

    “Why Biden may follow through on a bolder agenda”

    1. Oh, phlueeze, Paul!

      You must not read Scheerpost with any care.

      There are few people in the world who are more dedicated to social justice, the problems of the poor and the working man, the carcereal state, the Dickensenian prison system, etc. than Bob Scheer’s regular columnist, Chris Hedges.

      And, by the way, The Nation was one of the only outlets that has consistently stood with the working man and the poor, and one of the few outlets that railed against W. Bush’s criminal wars of aggression.

      1. Yikes. Now a reading coach offered up.. And, then, really, your spelling of please?

        So, then, I teach writing and reading, in prisons, homeless shelters, colleges, universities, and continuing ed. A writer and journalist. Yeah, go ahead, have at that.

        Sorry, but the Nation is bought and sold, and alas, this is the controlled opposition.

        Yes, I read Scheer Post (sometimes), and most of the stuff comes from places like Consortium News and Commondreams and Tom Dispatch.

        Again, enjoy your belief system, good luck with your reading and comprehension lessons, and, alas, read something valuable:

        As in, well, this is a short piece, with books behind it:

        The US rulers use many tools to disrupt and disorganize the anti-war and anti-imperialist left. Three discussed here include: (1) corporate control of the news media gives them free reign to spread disinformation and fake news against foreign and domestic targets; (2) they use government and corporate foundation resources to fund and promote a compatible left to counter the anti-imperialist left; and (3) the rulers use their control of social media and internet to censor those voices.

        These secret US government and CIA operations have been detailed in The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers, The Cultural Cold War, and AFL-CIO’s Secret War against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage?

        In 1977 Carl Bernstein revealed CIA interconnections with the big business media. More than 400 journalists collaborated with the CIA, with the consent of their media bosses. Working in a propaganda alliance with the CIA included: CBS, ABC, NBC, Time, Newsweek, New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, United Press International, Miami Herald, Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald Tribune. The New York Times still sends stories to US government for pre-publication approval, while CNN and others now employ national security state figures as “analysts.”

        Reuters, BBC, and Bellingcat operate similarly, participating in covert British government funded disinformation programs to “weaken” Russia. This involves collaboration with the Counter Disinformation & Media Development section of the British Foreign Office.

  2. USD hegemony is about the USD price tool and its support for debt-free trade. As soon as the people gravitate toward debt-free transactions that use market gold currency with real-time prices (usd/oz), the need for hegemony will dwindle in the shadow of real economic growth fueled by the law of weights and measures.

  3. van evil is wrong…without war and the jobs related to war US would become a 5th world economy; this is why nearly all legislators support war in USA—sheepdog Bernie the known fascist always…that amerikans most admire 2 institutions the most: military and police is no accident…as allMarxists are aware socialism and radicals is not asking for more, it is behaving differently

  4. Our congress loves the military. It will keep lavishing money on it until the country goes completely broke.

    1. The nation has been in the red for decades now and keeps printing money like there is no tomorrow. From top to bottom the whole nation indulges in spending money it doesn’t have. The consequences? inflation, bankruptcy–war.

  5. I miss Stephen Cohen.

    I would not pay Bezos to read WaPo columns.

    There is absolutely nothing the bottom 95% of Americans can do about our Government’s obsession with running puppet governments (including Ukraine) throughout the world, stealing resources that we could easily share with the owning country.

    We have generations of kids playing soldier on their computers, who think that is WAR (and journalists have been fooled by computer game-generated propaganda). Some young men try it in REAL life, like probably a majority of mass murderers. At some point soon Biden will need American cannon fodder. Ukraine? Africa? South America?

    Past time to take a non-interventionalist break and focus on real domestic issues. Instead we have escapees from the former Soviet Union running AMERICAN foreign policy in Russian border states, and dual citizens, mostly Israelis, running AMERICAN foreign policy in the MidEast. By now, even most Democrats realize these are just taxpayer money-stealing schemes.

  6. Oh, that THe Nation:

    Bob Feldman revealed corporate financing for the Institute of Policy Studies, The Nation, In These Times, NACLA, Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP), Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), Progressive, Mother Jones, AlterNet, Institute for Public Accuracy, among others.

    Screw these inside job fake progressives, including, Hurricane Katrina!

    1. The link provided is mind blowing / sobering – a must read. Thank You.

  7. Funding an empire is expensive! Unfortunately, I don’t see any substantial support in the U.S. for ending U.S. empire, so …

  8. This week end old Joe announced 200 billion for G 7 to rival China’s B&R.

    😂. Old Joe can even get Joe M to agree to infrastructure spending right here at home, so how on earth will Americans agree to pay for B&R for Africa, South America, Asia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean???
    Our own bridges are old and rusted, our water pipes have too much lead, our power grid needs major upgrades, on and on.
    Then there drastic climate issues of out of control wildfires, devastating droughts, but water rise in low areas – – New Orleans.
    Ya, sure we need to help the rest of the world but we, ourselves are way over due for billions of infrastructure spending.
    Old Joe is giving away tons of American money to Ukraine, M I complex, Nato, and now to G7, Pacific islands, and whoever China wants to influence next.
    They reported that half of Americans have no savings for emergencies or adequate health care yet we are to save the entire world.
    I can’t wait for next 2 elections.
    We would be smart to let China spend themselves to bankruptcy.

    1. Typing error: should be 600 billion not 200.
      And Joe’s 1 trillion infrastructure bill for America last November was defeated.

  9. The Pentagon should be refurbished into a shelter for homeless veterans and for refugees from America’s wanton wars.

    1. To say that the Pentagon budget is only $800 billion is the lie of lies. Several trillion, from Satellites, to Musk, to all the supposedly scientific funding of NASA, NOAA, etc., they all are tied into THE military budget. Overseas economic hitmen? So, if they/writers would start off with the reality of how much of the US economy is geared toward the offensive weapons companies, how much goes to every stitch and button and burger and lifetime’s worth of labor devoted to Empire and Economic Violence, we’d be looking at many trillions of our money spent on the industrial complex of empire/Globocop/propaganda/etc every four seasons of our discontent.

    2. Ernest, it really, really is shameful how we mis treat our veterans. From health, to housing, to benefits, they deserve much more than the misery little they get. Sometimes I wonder why anyone joins the military, are they desperate??

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