Why do we have wars?
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For a $612 billion bill, you're probably thinking "$1.6 billion... is that all?"

In the 2016 defense budget, hundreds of millions of dollars — funds that could be spent improving America for Americans — are openly going to train and arm "rebel" forces in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine in what amounts to little more than a thinly-veiled proxy war with Russia (and a payday for American defense contractors).

Via RT:
Some $600 million has been earmarked for a program to support the "appropriately vetted" Syrian rebels, fighting against both the government in Damascus and Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL).

Section 1225 of the NDAA allocates $531.5 million directly to the Syria Train and Equip program, and directs an additional $25.8 million to the US Army and $42.8 million to the US Air Force, to cover the costs of their participation.
"Appropriately vetted?" Vetted by whom?

Vetted by John McCain, pictured below with terrorists some of those "appropriately vetted rebels" even he accidentally refers to as ISIS?

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What did they get out of the $500 million Obama asked for last year? You know the $500 million "boondoggle" he said he was skeptical of from the beginning when he asked for the half a bil to fund it?

Oh yeah, that's right, "only four or five" Syrian fighters. The rest, we are told, have defected.

Many to ISIS.

Let's see. It looks like another $715 million will fund the "train-and-equip program" in Iraq...

You know, 62 nations (including the European Union and the Arab League) are part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS. At least 11 member states have been bombing Iraq and Syria — supposedly to "fight ISIS" (and not, ahem, to topple Assad or anything) — for over a year now.

And yet, somehow, magically, the undeclared war just keeps getting extended as they
A) haven't appeared to make a dent even though the Pentagon has sent 4,500 troops to Iraq (whose boots are somehow not on the ground) and they are comprised of what are supposed to be some of the most sophisticated militaries in the world as
B) ISIS has only gained ground and gotten stronger.

Gee. Why do you suppose that is? (Insert sarcastic tone appropriate for this rhetorical question.)

The terrorists are driving around in a giant fleet of relatively brand new Toyotas, for crying out loud. At least US officials are finally bothering to ask Toyota what's up with that.

IS Toyota's
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This part of the bill is officially called the "STRATEGY FOR THE MIDDLE EAST AND TO COUNTER VIOLENT EXTREMISM".

Some "strategy".

On top of that, the bill also sets aside $300 million to Kiev for the "Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative," RT reports:
The bill instructs the Pentagon to coordinate with the State Department to "provide appropriate security assistance and intelligence support, including training, equipment, and logistics support, supplies and services, to military and other security forces of the Government of Ukraine."

Lawmakers have allocated no less than $50 million for "Lethal assistance such as anti-armor weapon systems, mortars, crew-served weapons and ammunition, grenade launchers and ammunition, and small arms and ammunition."
RT points out in this section that when lawmakers wrote "other security forces," they kept it pretty vague, never explaining who exactly that means.

But at least amendments to this year's bill would finally outlaw the training and arming of Ukraine's notorious paramilitary neo-Nazi "Azov" battalion which America had previously been funding. Azov has been described not to but by US lawmakers as a "fascist" and "openly neo Nazi" group, and yet, the government has knowingly been using taxpayer dollars to fund them, while the US media pretends to ignore the war atrocities they've committed over there against people who voted 90%+ for Ukrainian President Yanukovych, overthrown by the US with the help of said Nazis to put in a US-backed puppet government so they can screw with Russia and give seats on the Board of Directors of the largest private Ukrainian gas producer to people like Vice President Joe Biden's son.

Russia — with a look that could probably only be described as:
What the...
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— reportedly hailed the decision as "better late than never".

And in other news, this story won't even get into the US foreign aid funds going to, say, Bolivia in an attempt to overthrow President Evo Morales... Someone in the comments section of that article someone wanted more proof that there is an active campaign against Morales. Are you serious? Not even counting suspected attempts, the U.S. government on record was personally responsible for at least seven coups confirmed between 1953 and 1973 alone.

...one point six billion dollars...

As average American citizens, do you think we have a say in any of this?

No. Not really.

And yet, for some strange reason, people continue to vote for president every four years as if that's somehow ever going to magically change anything ever.