Over at Foreign Policy In Focus, Mark Engler just posted this great video on global military spending, which features WNV contributor Frida Berrigan. As he explains:
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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“A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.”
Can anyone guess who said this and what speech it was from?
Personally, I have no problem that my tax dollars go to national defense. It’s a whole lot better than wealth redistribution which seems to be a favorite passtime of the left.
“Not since WWII has so much of our resources gone to military purposes”
Laughably false. The measure of military spending as a percentage of GDP is quite useful. It’s around 4%.
Yes, I’m sure the average Israeli also knows that the rockets shot into Israel are made in Palestine and funded by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Geesh. I’m sure it is quite confusing to the Arabs and Palestinians when the Israelis used both French and American aircraft…and British, American, and overhauled Soviet tanks…oh, now the us domestic tanks.
This video is a poor excuse of a Michael Moore type “documentary” equally short on accuracy while long on dogma.
“attempt to push the world in a positive direction…poverty, health crisis, climate change those are going to require an enormous amount of money…”
I laughed milk through my nose when I listened to this part. I was expecting him to offer kool-aid. Good luck Comrade.
The possibility for nonviolent solutions isn’t the only thing that suffers. As well indicated in this trailer, such enormous spending of tax dollars on militarism makes it impossible for our society to deal with major problems in the realms of education, healthcare and social services. Simply because when it comes to such important things, we’re told “there’s no money.”
These financial ineptitude then lead to many lesser talked about social ills, such as child prostitution INSIDE the US (see the documentary titled “Very Young Girls”), increased violence, bankruptcies due to medical debt, and many others, which effect minorities and low income neighborhoods disproportionately. It’s fitting, then, to recall that while Martin Luther King, Jr. was a alive, he often warned us that our society depends upon a “revolution in values.”
Clearly, by “revolution in values” he didn’t mean we should privatize everything from prisons to the military, which is what we have done. In the US, the profit motive is active in far too many basic social functions. Invariably, this means human beings are not valued in and of themselves but valued only as potential profit. Hence, private prison systems are intrinsically tied to racially biased drug laws. My point here is that war is only the most drastic but not the only symptom of our social disease.
Perhaps most fitting of all is that King talked of a three-headed monster ravaging our nation. And that three-headed monster was the monster of “Racism, Materialism and Militarism.” This is more relevant today than the day King was murdered. It’s easy to wage simple arguments that focus on the obvious need of a military (which I do not disagree with) but not so simple to engage the deeper discussion of HOW MUCH needs to be invested in militarism, WHO profits from it and what the multifaceted CONSEQUENCES of that spending are in the many spheres of American life.
First and foremost, it seems, the three headed monster ravages our brains. Indeed, “racism, materialism and militarism” each contain the capacity to limit our ability to think clearly.
None of this is any laughing matter.
check out fcnl.org for accurate depictions of how much the pentagon budget uses of GDP . 4%!!!!! not hardly , more like 46%. and before we spent so much bailing out the banks it was over 50%
You mean 4.6%, right? If you think it’s 46% or 50% of GDP, you need to retake 2nd grade math.