As both houses of Congress throw fiscal sanity to the side, using budget gimmicks to inflate the Pentagon’s budget through its war funding account, here are articles and reports for your weekend defense reading pleasure offering context as to why we spend so much on defense with so little effect:

– Writing at War on the Rocks, the Cato Institute’s Christopher Preble explains that it is an expansive foreign policy which drives America’s ever increasing defense spending.

– In regards to one of the most pressing current issues in U.S. foreign policy, Robert Farley of the University of Kentucky writes in The National Interest that while an attack on Iran’s nuclear program might enjoy some initial military success, it will inevitably fail.

– With a fun essay at War on the Rocks, an anonymous defense analyst analogizes the Department of Defense to Hogwarts Academy of Harry Potter fame. The author’s comparison of the various houses to which students at the school of magic are assigned to America’s military services might be the best description of service politics since late RAND Corporation analyst Carl Builder’s masterwork, The Masks of War.

– Finally, in case you missed it from late last week, the Niskanen Center released its analysis of the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2016.