Forget Social Security being the third rail of American politics. The Defense Department budget has supplanted it, since the House of Representatives voted this month in the middle of a failed war without end to approve a record $460 billion for the Pentagon. That's a $40 billion increase on this year's budget.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) was the only Oregon lawmaker to vote against the bill that passed 395-13. (The Senate has yet to vote.) And the Rogue Desk could pox all the houses of Oregon's four other House reps, but we're singling out Rep. David Wu (D-Portland), because he should really know better.
It was Wu who, in January, was out front with Blumenauer in demanding that Congress "exercise its constitutional powers" by cutting funding for Iraq.
By May, Wu was voting to shovel more money at the wars as long as the military tried to meet "benchmarks." In July, voting for limited withdrawal from Iraq—next April—Wu told Bush to "admit your mistake and end the recklessness that is undermining our military readiness and national security."
Then, with his Aug. 5 vote for that ginormous Pentagon budget, Wu showed he wasn't serious about that constitutional-powers stuff.
It was a vote enabling the generals to continue business as usual while Iraq and Afghanistan fall apart, like giving your credit card to the meth freak that just killed your kid. According to Gov. Ted Kulongoski's office. 95 kids from Oregon have died so far in the war.
The $460 billion doesn't even cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it does subsidize them. Under some Rumsfeld-era creative accounting, the wars are funded by supplemental "emergency" spending bills, averaging $96 billion a year since 2001, according to the Center for American Progress.
Wu's press rep, Jillian Schoene, says, "I think the Congressman's vote against this war, since before it even started, speaks louder than this one vote for the Defense appropriations bill, which includes other important things like health care and housing" for the troops.