Armed to the teeth
Is Bush's awesome increase in military spending a reasonable response to the afermath of September 11, or is he creating a force almost too powerful for its own good? Peter Beaumont and Ed Vulliamy report
Is America too powerful for its own good?
Sunday February 10, 2002
There is a United States special forces dog-handler who meets journalists, diplomats and aid workers off the UN flight to Kabul. His job is to search luggage and ensure the security of US troops in Afghanistan. He is short, gingery and aggressive. His skills at persuasion are limited to shouting at the milling crowd: 'Stand back! Stand back! My dog will bite!'
Last week that phrase had become the defining motto and operating credo for the military and foreign policy of the Bush administration. Already President George W. Bush has put Iran, Iraq and North Korea on notice as terrorist-sponsoring nations at the centre of an international 'axis of evil', despite the CIA's recent evidence that none of them was in the business of threatening the United States at present.
Last Monday, to back that explicit threat, he announced an increase in US military spending of 15 per cent, the biggest in 20 years, more than double the military spending in all of the European Union. The rise will be billion (