At some point in the last 65 years or so the United States appointed itself the "World Police". And in typical American fashion instead of understanding the problem we throw money at it until it goes away, or at least we hope it'll go away.
And the goal of a peaceful, stable world hasn't even come close to being achieved. Threats from biological and nuclear attacks, car bombings, suicide attacks, border clashes, etc. are still with us and if anything bigger problems than ever.
But we could make the world better, a lot better. If only we weren't greedy cowards.
While reading yet another of jbou's excellent rant diaries (if you haven't read them yet you're missing out) I decided to look something up. The 2011 US Defense Budget. It sickened me. I'm sure it'll sicken most, if not all, of you.
|DOD Spending||$721.3 billion||Base budget + Afghanistan/Iraq wars |
|FBI counter-terrorism||$2.7 billion||At least one-third FBI budget|
|International Affairs||$10.1–$54.2 billion||At minimum, foreign arms sales. At most, entire State budget|
|Energy Department, defense-related||$20.9 billion||Euphamism for nuclear weapons |
|Veterans Affairs||$66.2 billion|
|Homeland Security||$54.7 billion||See comment |
|NASA, satellites||$3.4–$8.5 billion||Between 20% and 50% of NASA's total budget|
|Veterans pensions||$58.4 billion|
|Other defense-related mandatory spending||$7.5 billion||Euphamism for spy stuff |
|Interest on debt incurred in past wars||$114.8–$454.2 billion||Between 23% and 91% of total interest |
|Total Spending||$1.060–$1.449 trillion||A metric fuckload of money |
Comments about table
1) Most of the DOD expenses are to maintain our large armed forces
2) Includes costs to clean up waste sites
3) Spying costs are usually classified and buried among other budget items. These contain some, but not all, of those expenses
4) Haha, interest for Iraq/Afghanistan are part of "past wars".
5) Metric tons (or tonnes) are about 10% larger than short tons
Before I get back to my peace plan let me point out a hypocrisy that drives me bonkers. Nearly every day we're told by Teahadists and deficit hawks that "entitlements" are the biggest drain on our budget. The point to a chart that lumps all of the programs like Social Security and Medicaid together and the slice of the pie appears to be the largest. But they NEVER do that with the military budget. Excuse the language but fuck those fucking fuckers. And fuck the lame stream media for falling for that framing. I hate these fuckers with the burning passion of a thousand white hot suns.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, I'm sure most of you realize what part of the plan is. Cutting this bloated budget into the realm of reality. China spends less than $100 billion for their defense budget. We could prune ours down massively. Unfortunately we couldn't do it for that amount. Even with deep cuts there are obligations like paying the debt, pensions, and veterans affairs. Some amount of money would be needed to maintain equipment and maybe some research. Apart from a one time cost to pay off the current war debt we could run a military for about $300 million and meet all obligations while keeping our military modern, not cutting edge, but modern.
The difference between the "minimum" defense budget and what I'm proposing is $700 billion dollars. There are 7 billion people in the world. We're spending $100/year for EVERY SINGLE HUMAN to be prepared to kill them. Why not just pay them the $100 instead? That comes to 27.4¢/day. And if we just did that it would reduce hostility towards the US by far, far more than any number of tanks, planes, or missiles. Futhermore, to help promote global peace if a nation or its citizens living abroad attacks another nation they lose all or part of their yearly stipend. Think of the increased world trade with that money flowing to people, many who need it desperately, instead of billionaires in the MIC. Yes, getting the money to people in countries with oppressive and/or corrupt governments would take some doing. But I'm guessing that seeing their neighboring states reap the benefits we'll have more uprisings like Tunisia and Egypt. You want democracy to flourish -- we could pave (or you prefer pay) the way around the globe.
But here's where the cowardice and greed (there's always greed) comes into play. There is no way on this Earth that Americans will be allowed to give up that bloated military spending. Because every minute, of every hour, of every day they'd be told by the MIC thru its propaganda wing (sometimes know as "the media") that they'll all die from being raped, tortured, then killed by Nazi communist Islamic terrorists. That if we don't have our defense as a shield America will be wiped out. But it's not a shield, it's a weapon poised to strike at any and all of our enemies, real or imagined. And more importantly it pays the billionaires that profit from the MIC a lot of money. And they love that money more than you, I, or America itself.
p.s. At the time I wrote this diary the cost of the current wars exceeded $1.163 trillion. We could've already given $166 to everyone on the planet just for that wasted money alone.
p.p.s Yes, I realize the MIC provides jobs. But jobs designed to kill people aren't jobs we should be paying for. They're are better ways to move this country forward. And perhaps that additional $300 billion could be used to fund those programs instead?