It should be as indisputably outrageous as it is shameful. In a world where people actually paid attention to what was being done in their name, Americans should be demanding the scalps of those responsible…and yet we hear nary a peep in protest. America is squandering obscene amounts of blood and treasure on it’s multiple wars…and what, really, do we have to show for it? OK, so we got Osama bin-Laden- after 10 years and trillions of dollars (and that doesn’t even begin to address the cost in lives lost and ruined). Great, but at what cost? What could we have done with the trillions spent on quenching our national bloodlust over the past 10 years? It would hardly be a stretch to put forward the idea that we could have done so many positive things here at home with that money…but, as Dwight Eisenhower warned, the military-industrial complex has had their way with America.
How bad is the problem? How thoroughly are we ruled by militarism? How completely and inexorably has defense spending become a parasite that’s sucking this country dry? Well, here are 12 reasons that should give you a pretty good idea just how thoroughly screwed up our priorities are:
- America spends more on its military than THE NEXT 15 COUNTRIES COMBINED
- In 2007, the amount of money labeled ‘wasted’ or ‘lost’ in Iraq — $11 billion — could pay 220,000 teachers salaries
- America’s defense spending doubled in the same period that its economy shrunk from 32 to 23 percent of global output
- The yearly cost of stationing one soldier in Iraq could feed 60 American families
- The total known land area occupied by U.S. bases and facilities is 15,654 square miles — bigger than D.C., Massachusetts, and New Jersey combined
- Each day in Afghanistan costs the government more than it did to build the entire Pentagon
- In 2008, the Pentagon spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year
- The pentagon budget consumes 80% of individual income tax revenue
- Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Defense Department still has more than 40 generals, admirals or civilian equivalents based in Europe
- The amount the government has spent compensating radiation victims of nuclear testing ($1.5 billion) could fully educate 13,000 American kids
- The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety
- The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population — but almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure
So what did we give up this year in order to cover the $113 billion bill for the war in Afghanistan? Sure, America is burdened by crushing levels of unemployment and crumbling infrastructure…but y’all know how important is it for us to get our war on, right??
Just think about the good and constructive things that could have been accomplished with $113 billion….
- Provide 57.5 Million Children With Low-Income Health Care For 2011
- Provide 23 Million People With Low-Income Health Coverage In 2011
- Give 20.2 Million $5,500 Pell Grants To Students In 2011
- Provide 14.35 million Military Veterans With VA Medical Care In 2011
- Give 14.7 million Children Head Start Funding In 2011
- Give 14.26 Million Scholarships To University Students In 2011
- Employ 1.93 million Firefighters In 2011
- Hire 1.75 Million Elementary School Teachers In 2011
- Hire 1.65 Million Police Officers In 2011
- Equip 67.8 Million Households With The Ability To Use Wind Power In 2011
- Equip 25.39 Million Households With The Ability To Use Solar Photovoltaic Energy In 2011
Before y’all go off and accuse me of being some sort of woolly-headed Liberal, try keeping in mind that I don’t view this as a “red” or “blue” issue. This problem has existed during Republican AND Democratic administrations. No one from either party has been able to see their way clear to stopping the monster and putting this country on a saner, more constructive, and less destructive path. We are where we are because NO President, and precious few in Congress, have had the courage to stand up to the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex.
How sad is it that we Americans are renowned for our ability to kill and destroy, when we could have a much more positive and lasting impact if we supported the living and helped to build up the parts of the world so desperately in need? That’s not the fault of Democrats or Republicans- it’s OUR fault.