Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The psychology of the US

with 2 comments

The US spends more on its military than the military spending of all other countries combined (and 10 times more than the next largest military budget, which is China’s). The US could cut its military budget by 80% and still be outspending China 2 to 1.

In the meantime, the national infrastructure desperately needs work and updating (bridge failures, water purity, and so on), we need national health insurance, we need to expand access to higher education and improve education’s effectiveness, and so on and on.

So why all the money going into the military? Is the US really so frightened of other nations?

I think it is simply the outcome predicted by President Dwight Eisenhower:

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.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

We now have a military-industrial-government complex in full flower: legislators paid off by lobbyists for companies becoming wealthy from military expenditures, with retired military and retired legislators and retired officials from the Executive going to work for military contractors. And our liberties are gradually being removed and made inoperative to protect the new powers.

Written by Leisureguy

3 January 2008 at 9:58 am

2 Responses

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  1. One story has it that Ike wanted to call it the military-industrial-Congressional complex, but was advised not to mention the third component because it was too sensitive a political issue. But in fact Congress has a great deal to do with the continued growth of funding for the military. And is there a wannabe president who isn’t saying that even more should be appropriated to the military? Members of Congress & Senators fight to get Department of Defense money spent in their states and districts. They even foist weapon systems on the military that DoD doen’t want. And in the end, what does America get for the expenditure of all that money, much of it borrowed? The U.S. cannot even conquer and pacify a couple of piss ant countries. Do you get the feeling that something is very wrong?



    3 January 2008 at 10:16 am

  2. Yes, something is indeed horribly wrong. And I wonder what candidate would actually address this military spending head on. The only one appears to be Ron Paul who would dramatically pull back on defense. And of course, he doesn’t stand a chance! So we will surely be back to same old, same old.



    3 January 2008 at 10:43 am

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