Ted McLaughlin : U.S. Military Spending Way Out of Whack

Hogging the pie:
U.S. military spending gone wild

By Ted McLaughlin / The Rag Blog / April 12, 2011

The chart above shows just how much out of whack the United States spending on its military really is. The U.S. has 42.8% of all the military spending in the world — meaning all of the other countries in the world put together have only 57.2% of total military spending. Put another way, about $43 out of every $100 of military spending worldwide is spent by the United States. That’s pretty incredible.

China is in second place, but its military spending only comprises about 7.3% of the world’s total military spending. The United Kingdom is third with 3.7% of the total, and Russia and France tie for fourth with 3.6% each.

I know there will be some on the right who will try to say the military spending by the United States is not out of line — that it is necessary for national defense. That’s a ludicrous suggestion. The United States could adequately defend itself from other nations with far less spending. No other nation thinks it is necessary to spend such vast amounts on defense. And the United States could cut its spending in half (or even more) and still be spending more than any other nation on earth.

No, we don’t spend that extraordinary amount just to defend ourselves (although that is the excuse the government gives and our gullible citizens have bought into). There are a couple of other reasons that are more powerful than national defense (even if no politician will admit it).

The first is the military-industrial complex. We have developed (in spite of warnings from President Eisenhower) a huge industry out of our military and supplying it with weapons (many of which are not needed and some of which don’t even work properly). But the important thing is to keep feeding taxpayer dollars into it so the war profiteers can keep making enormous profits (and some decent-paying jobs can continue for a few workers). It’s not even a matter of defense needs anymore, but of propping up the giant military-industrial complex.

The second reason is the protection of American corporate interests abroad — both in sustaining markets for products and the acquisition of natural resources. This is not a new thing. The American government has used its military to protect corporate interests for at least a century now. A prime example is the occupation of Nicaragua by U.S. Marines from 1912 through 1933 — to protect American corporate interests in that country.

The third reason is the general inability of American leaders (of both parties) to engage in effective diplomacy. This has been especially true since World War II when we have tended to carry out diplomatic missions with the ever-present threat of military power if we don’t get what we are seeking.

And finally, winning World War II and seeing democracies established in Germany and Japan has given many Americans the mistaken perception that democracy can be spread by military power. But those were anomalies, and the truth has been brought out by our misadventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Sadly, this seems to be a lesson that many politicians are incapable of learning.

The real fact is that we don’t need to spend anywhere near what we currently spend to protect this nation. It can effectively be done with far less, and the savings could be spent to balance the budget and shore up badly needed social programs (like most other developed countries do with their tax dollars). Instead of trying to force our views on the rest of the world, we should be spending our money for the betterment of our own citizens.

But that would require honesty, morality and intelligence — all things that seem to be in short supply among our politicians.

(P.S. — The American military budget has grown by 81% just since 2001.)

[Rag Blog contributor Ted McLaughlin also posts at jobsanger.]

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2 Responses to Ted McLaughlin : U.S. Military Spending Way Out of Whack

  1. And that leaves uncounted the amount of (military) Foreign Aid. Like the vast majority of Foreign Aid to Israel and Egypt and the newly conquered provinces of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    In other news, those Drones which the Air Force uses to murder ooops “neutralize” human beings ooops “terrorists and we know they were all militants even though we don’t know the exact number killed or wounded and we sure as hell don’t know their names”
    The Un-manned Drones launched and controlled by formerly human Un-manned Drone Airmen from an air-conditioned base in Nebraska,… killed two American Military in Helmand Province last week

    The Former Humans who slaughtered their comrades were recruited from playing video games, living in their Mommas’ Basements pretending to be Warriors.

    With the promise they would be allowed to slaughter “Muzzle Monkey SandNigger Towelhead Terrorists” by remote control and without any fear of retaliation, and the already Racistly Dehumanized “terrorist targets” would be further dehumanized, just images on the screen of their new, super expensive Taxpayer Funded video games, so they wouldn’t have to feel any pangs of conscience over the Pentagon defined Untermenschen they killed.

    They won’t feel any more pangs of conscience over sergeant Jeremy Smith, 26, and seaman Benjamin Rast, 23 although they’ll pretend to regret killing sergeant Jeremy Smith, 26, and seaman Benjamin Rast, 23.

    Something more than they did or ever would do for any of their other Video Game High Score victories.

    That’s another side of the massive budget, the Pentagon pays pseudo religious “Chaplains” from every denomination imaginable, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Shinto, Jewish, Pagan, Heathen, Muslim, Native American Church, and Wicca just to give a general cross section, in an exercise in preparing their ummm. not exactly “suicide bombers” more like “homicide bombers who kill by remote control then have a steak dinner at the Officers Dining Hall to celebrate how brave they were” can feel good about being cold-blooded murderers, by telling them that the Many Names of God blesses them by welcoming them to Heaven should they die killing the Infidel.

    The Infidel, who in a very cheeky and insolent manner, “Brainwash” their kids to grow up and kill in the name of God.
    And whose religious counselors tell them they’ll be welcomed to Heaven to be praised by God and all the angels and of course the 72, 74 or 78 virgins depending on which racist anti-Muslim puke is telling the story.

    Hidden expenditure, that. Oh, and more “medical science” type Psychologists who will help them to not commit suicide at least, assuage any creeping return of their former humanity and regret over killing other people, by doping them and reassuring them that the so-called “people” they killed were Sub-Human terrorists.

    For decades after they leave the service and, of course, not counted exactly in black-and-white terms as the War Budget.

    And so it goes, and so it goes.

  2. T.G. Fisher says:

    “Military spending” has been way out of whack since before Eisenhower warned us about it. And that was a long, long time ago. Using the Pentagon’s estimate of what we have spend in Iraq and Afghanistan it comes to $52,000 a minute (and some change), minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after year. And that is just on what we have burned up in combat in those two places. Factor in wastes in development, testing, cost overruns and kickbacks and double billing and it might come to $150,000 a minute. Not a lot of money, really. Unless you have been out of work for a year and your pockets are empty and the bank is coming for your house and you don’t even have cardboard boxes to pack your clothes in.

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