In 2009, the U.S. government spent some $650 billion on its military. This is more than the next 46 highest-spending countries combined. Much of this treasure ended up in the hands of profit-driven weapons manufacturers. In the following short film, directed by filmmaker Iara Lee, Cultures of Resistance takes a brief look at the current state of what President Eisenhower famously called the “military industrial complex.” With the United States waging two wars overseas at the same time that millions of people are out of work at home, those pushing to reel in government spending and balance the budget would be wise to look carefully at bloated and unchecked military spending.
The truth of the matter is that the US actually spends far more than the official figure cited in this film. Many expenses that the average person would consider defense-related – such as funding for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Energy’s maintenance of the nuclear stockpile, military aid to allies, and the share of interest payments on the national debt that can be attributed to the past military spending – are hidden in other parts of the federal budget. When all of these costly extras are added up, the United States’ unofficial military budget tops out at more than $1 trillion.
If we truly want to find nonviolent solutions to our problems and address the many pressing crises we currently face, this enormous Pentagon budget needs to be dramatically cut.
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If soldiers train for armed combat, why wouldn’t activists train for toppling the political-economic structure that’s killing our chance for a just future? The stakes are just as high.
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