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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: Post-Cold War military spending 1988-2012 (64 comments)

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  •  Useless comparison (0+ / 0-)

    The military spending chart is pretty much useless.  

    The US military budget is far larger than anyone else's for a number of very good reasons.

    1.  The US military is the only military that has a truly global mission anymore.  

    2.  We've been at war for a dozen years.  Wars are insanely expensive - equipment gets warn out, hospital bills soar, ammunition has to be replaced.

    3.  Most importantly, the US public and government has made the decision it would rather spend money than have more body bags come home.  We spend huge amounts of money on research, expensive arms systems (expensive to build, maintain and like all inventions - many don't work out) and pay more money than in wages than our competitors (not many Chinese pilots quit at the end of their tour of duty to go to United Airlines).  The result is, when we go to war there is a huge disparity between our casualties and the enemies.  During, the 90-91 Iraqi war, the Iraqis sustained between 20-35k in military killed.  This compares to 190 American soldiers killed by enemy fire (we also lost 44 to friendly fire, and 248 to things like auto accidents).  The more recent wars, have caused more deaths because they have been guerilla wars and less susceptible to the use of our military technology.  But, we spend the money so when we fight we win fast and with fewer dead Americans.

    Is there lots of waste to be ferreted out at the Department of Defense.  Absolutely.  But, the chart provided is pretty much useless.

    And, for those of you looking for a peace dividend when our troops finally come home - I've got bad news it isn't going to happen.

    Because, first we've paid for these wars on credit.  All it means is we'll have to borrow less from China.  And, when you stop fighting you actually need to pay MORE money since your equipment has gotten warn out and needs to be replaced.  So, even if the wars ended tomorrow there wouldn't be much money that would be released.

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