A Government-Everything Complex
News comes this morning that the inclusion of a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” has sunk a defense policy bill in the U.S. Senate:
Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an effort by Democrats and the White House to lift the ban on gays from serving openly in the military, voting unanimously against advancing a major defense policy bill that included the provision. …
Democrats included the repeal provision in a $726 billion defense policy bill, which authorizes a pay raise for the troops among other popular programs. In a deal brokered with the White House, the measure would have overturned the 1993 law banning openly gay service only after a Pentagon review and certification from the president that lifting the ban wouldn’t hurt troop morale.
Although I oppose progressives’ efforts to impose social engineering on our military forces, my larger concern, on this issue, is that such policy decisions are unnecessarily bound up with budgeting, such as the aforementioned raises. If it’s true, as the Democrats have asserted, that they’re merely following “public opinion,” why ought the controversial issue not be handled on its own? The other day, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) announced his intention also to append a bill that would have (had it not been blocked) allowed young illegal immigrants “who attend college or join the military to become legal U.S. residents.”
Add in with this social stuff policies that more appropriately belong in a bill addressing military spending. I’m thinking of the F136 engine for the F-35 Lightning II jet engine. Back in the mid-’90s, the bidding process left the engines in the hands of the company Pratt & Whitney (the F135), but General Electric/Rolls-Royce managed to secure funding for its alternate, as well.
Four years ago, the Department of Defense and both administrations began attempting to withdraw funding for the F136, but Congress has kept it going. The core remaining argument on behalf of the engine is made on the grounds of market competition — although it’s questionable whether a single entity’s purchase of two products creates real competitive incentives for either provider.
What makes the engine issue particularly relevant is that President Obama has vowed to veto the defense policy bill if it includes funding for the F136. The opportunity, therefore, for political maneuvers that have nothing to do with the well being of the military or the nation would have been huge if a pledge to veto wasteful spending had come up against the waves of homosexual and immigration activism.
These are the sorts of complicated and difficult-to-follow conflicts that arise with big government, of which the much-forewarned military-industrial complex seeks to make use to ensure continued economic benefit to interested parties. Yet, the typically left-leaning folks who decry such back-room cooperation when it comes to businesses and the military would like nothing better than to extend that same complexity and opportunity for diversion and corruption to every aspect of American society — healthcare, finances, the “green” industry, and on and on and on.