We are an empire – and it’s killing us. The growth of this empire is not driven by any perceived need for actual defense – it is being driven by, to use Eisenhower’s phrase, the military-industrial complex pursuing its own interests. To assure control and growth, the defense industry has located plants and materials in all 50 states. Congress critters who vote against any military appropriation, are seen as killing jobs in the district. A brilliantly conceived Catch-22 in which we spin and over which we seem to be powerless.
“. . . the record $708 billion in military spending called for by the Obama administration for fiscal 2011 will be nearly equivalent to the military spending of all other nations in the world combined. When it comes to military appropriations, the U.S. government already spends about seven times as much as China, thirteen times as much as Russia, and seventy-three times as much as Iran.. . . During the Cold War, the United States confronted far more dangerous and numerous military adversaries, including the Soviet Union. . . . in those years, U.S. military spending accounted for only 26 percent of the world total. Today, as U.S. Congressman Barney Frank has observed, “we have fewer enemies and we’re spending more money.”
Where does this vast outlay of U.S. tax dollars go? One place is to overseas U.S. military bases. According to Chalmers Johnson, a political scientist and former CIA consultant [the US has] some 865 U.S. military facilities in more than forty countries and overseas U.S. territories. The money also goes to fund vast legions of private military contractors. A recent Pentagon report estimated that the Defense Department relies on 766,000 contractors at an annual cost of about $155 billion, and this figure does not include private intelligence organizations. A Washington Post study, which included all categories, estimated that the Defense Department employs 1.2 million private contractors.”