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An Epic Rant About Wasteful Defense Spending
It's so Bad, Even the Pentagon is Complaining
Defense spending has gotten so astoundingly out of hand in recent years that we have had generals and admirals in our military actually complain about the fact that Congress insists on appropriating billions of dollars for weapons systems that the Pentagon doesn’t even want!
- Link - Pentagon Tells Congress to Stop Buying Equipment it Doesn't Need - Military.com
Lawmakers want the U.S. military's service chiefs to have more power to prevent the Pentagon from buying weapons it doesn't need.
Endless Money for the Military, Nothing for us at Home
Yet when it comes to other critical budget issues, we’re told we don’t have money for healthcare. We don’t have money to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. We don’t have money to subsidize college education. We don’t have money to pay teachers, police officers or other public workers a decent salary but we literally have unlimited amounts of money to line the pockets of defense contractors who rake in billions of dollars a year.
Do We Really Need 800 Military Bases on Foreign Soil?
We have 800 military bases in 70 different countries throughout the world, many of which are in places you’ve never heard of and ceased to serve any useful purpose decades ago. Some of these bases are kept open, not because they are necessary for our defense, but because some powerful corporations are making a fortune by supplying them.
- Link - Where in the World Is the U.S. Military? - POLITICO Magazine
We have 800 US military bases in 70 different countries.
Follow the Money - Into the Pockets of Defense Contractors and Members of Congress
We’re supposed to believe that Congress appropriates this money to make the country safer but in reality, key members of Congress get huge campaign contributions both directly and indirectly from powerful defense contractors.
According to Open Secrets.org, in 2017 defense contractors spent over $16 million in campaign contributions, and another $13 million in indirect contributions via political action committees.
- Link - Defense Industry Spending on Congress - OpenSecrets
Raw data showing what the defense industry spends in lobbying Congress.
There are More Defense Industry Lobbyists than Members of Congress
In addition to all the millions given to members of Congress, there are 647 lobbyists for the defense industry who collectively spent $34 million lobbying the 535 members of Congress each year. That’s right, there are more defense industry lobbyists working full time to influence Congress than there are members of Congress.
No wonder there are many members of Congress who retire to become lobbyists.
The Best Congress Money Can Buy
After all this money is spent by the defense industry to wine and dine Congress - and to help them get reelected - members of Congress dutifully appropriate billions of dollars for weapons systems built by these same companies regardless of whether the Pentagon wants them or not.
What does it say about our political process when the highest ranking Generals in the military are criticizing Congress for constantly buying weapons systems that the Pentagon doesn’t want simply because the manufacturers of those weapons give huge campaign contributions to members of Congress?
We Have More Aircraft Carriers Than the Rest of the World Combined.
The United States has 19 active aircraft carriers. The rest of the world combined has only 17.
Eleven of those US carriers are Supercarriers and each can launch at least 64 military aircraft. That’s more military firepower from a single US Supercarrier than many medium sized countries.
Russia has one aircraft carrier. It travels with a tow boat for when it breaks down.
There's Military Dominance and Then There's Overkill
This begs the question, why do we continue to design and build ever bigger aircraft carriers costing $13 billion a piece when we don’t even have a specific purpose for these new carriers?
Whenever anyone dares to suggest that we should cut wasteful defense spending, the argument is always made that “you’re trying to weaken us and leave us defenseless against our enemies”. But the truth is, most people don't realize the overwhelming extent of US military dominance in the world.
- Link - The Magnitude Of US Naval Dominance - Business Insider
While it's widely acknowledged that the United States has the most powerful military in the world, people do not understand the full extent of U.S. dominance.
No Eight Countries Combined can Equal U.S. Military Spending
There’s nothing wrong with taking pride in our armed forces and we certainly need a strong military to defend the nation, but the fact is, the US does not just outspend every other country in the world, we outspend the next 8 biggest spending countries combined. I think that deserves repeating. There are no eight countries anywhere in the world whose combined military spending equals that of the United States.
Now that Donald Trump has increased our annual military budget by another $70 billion - bringing our 2018 military budget to $700 billion and the 2019 budget to $716 billion - we're on track to outspend the next 13 countries combined.
That increase is equal to the entire military budget for our chief military rival in the world, Russia. We now outspend Russia by a margin of 10 to 1
If we cut out tens of billions in fraud and wasteful spending from our defense budget each year, we would still outspend every other country by far and be the strongest military in the world – without weakening our military in the least.
Here are Some Simple Truths We Need to Admit to Ourselves.
- Our defense spending is based far more on maximizing profits for the defense industry than on making the American people safe.
- While we pride ourselves on being the foremost military superpower in the world, the result is that we’ve been in an almost constant state of war for the past 75 years.
- It does not benefit us to be the world’s policemen or to be engaged in endless war.
- We don’t become stronger or safer by constantly sending young people off to fight wars in distant lands.
- Every time we take out some third world dictator like Saddam Hussein, it backfires on us and creates more problems than it solves.
- We do not become safer by occupying countries for years and years, while trying to install a government of our liking.
- We cannot defeat terrorism when we’re constantly radicalizing more people to become terrorists.
- Cutting domestic spending on things like education, roads, infrastructure and health care to pay for this massive military budget does not make us a stronger nation.
So What Can We Do?
It is time to make Congress accountable to the American people again instead of to big corporations. We need to change the laws back so big corporate defense contractors cannot bribe members of Congress with millions of dollars in campaign funds.
The next time a member of Congress tells you that our military is decimated and we need to increase spending, tell them they're full of shit.
This is not a liberal or conservative issue. It’s about focusing on what is in the best interest of our country instead of maximizing profits for the biggest, most powerful corporations in the defense industry.