Taking aim at the Pentagon budget

For the first time since the end of the cold war, there’s a real possibility that the post-9/11 fever that sent US military spending shooting upward will break and that the Pentagon’s budget will fall sharply. But it won’t be easy.

On the surface, it might not seem as if cuts are in the offing. After thirteen consecutive years of growth, between 1998 and 2011, spending on the military has reached an all-time high, and for 2012 Defense Secretary Robert Gates is asking Congress to authorize yet another increase, seeking $553 billion, plus an additional $118 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, for a total of $671 billion.

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