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dArKeR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:08 AM
Original message
Military spending could be highest since height of Korean War

HERE ARE THE stark numbers. The original defense budget for fiscal year 2004 was $400 billion. Bushs supplemental request for Iraq and Afghanistan, which he announced last Sunday on television, is $87 billion, for a total of $487 billion. Lets be conservative and deduct the $21 billion of the supplemental thats earmarked for civil reconstruction (even though the Defense Department is running the reconstruction). That leaves $466 billion.
By comparison, in constant 2004 dollars (adjusted for inflation), the U.S. defense budget in 1985, the peak of the Cold War and Ronald Reagans rearmament, totaled $453 billion. That was $12 billion to $33 billion less than this years budget (depending on whether you count reconstruction). In 1968, at the peak of the Vietnam War, the budget amounted to $428 billion. Thats $38 billion to $59 billion below Bushs request for this year.

You have to go back more than 50 years, when 50,000 Americans were dying in the big muddy of Korea, to find a president spending more money on the military and even that years budget, $497 billion in constant dollars, wasnt a lot more than what Bush is asking today.
These are parlous times, but are they that parlous? Do we really need to be spending quite so much money on the military?
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Yaoi_Huntress_Earth Donating Member (185 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. Didn't Rome get crushed by the weight of it's own military?
There was this great graphic novel at this year's Wizard World convention that I would've gotten if I hadn't spent all my money already. I remember the subtitle was "America's Obsession with War" or something along the lines of that. From what I paged though, it rose some very interesting concerns. (Not only that, but the booth that sold it had a bunch of Chick Tracts for sale and laughs.)
Yaoi Huntress Earth
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Mark David Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:33 AM
Response to Original message
2. If you think freedom is expensive, try...
slavery? ;-)

The American humorist Will Rogers once exclaimed, with tongue in cheek, though perhaps with a modicum of sobriety, "Thank God we don't get all the government we pay for!"

When it comes to national defense, I'm not sure if Roger's sentiment should make us laugh or cry.

It was said during the Victorian era that the sun never set on the British Empire. They enjoyed political and military hegemony for a time--as had all the other world powers that preceeded them--but their citizenry eventually grew weary of the costly sina qua non imposed by the requirements of, shall we say, noblesse oblige. The prerogatives of empire ultimately became so expensive that it busted the public treasury.

While it's true that America has not pursued colonial ambitions of the sort that have marked--and curtailed--the reign of European powers, this same ignomineous fate is bound to knock on our door.

Interestingly, modern day America shares certain attributes with the Roman Empire that would likely impart greater longevity to a civilization. For example, the genius of the Roman Empire--and the reason it survived so long--was that it successfully grafted those it conquered into it's increasingly diverse cultural mileau. When Rome vanquished their enemies, they even adopted their gods! Part of the American genius is that we make diversity work, and are constantly striving to implement new, innovative and ingenious ideas in all walks of life, but especially in the technological arena, much as the Romans did.

Militarily, Rome overpowered their enemies with a strategy not unlike that of modern U.S defense policy: concentrating overwhelming combat power quickly and decisively at any flash point of geopolitical conflict within its vast domain. In the Roman era, the network of roads brilliantly planned and constructed throughout the Empire by civil engineers allowed Ceaser to moblize his legions anywhere in Europe within a matter of days. Naval and Air power for the U.S. serve a similar purpose.

But alas, Rome fell, and we will likely share the same fate. Fundamentally, it's just too damn expensive to keep intact the bulwark of "Pax Americana." Among a few of the salient reasons too numerous to itemize in their totality: The aging population, the growing burden of health care, the astronomical price of keeping our technological edge against numerically superior "enemies", the shrinking population of young people in this country to fight battles (or, for that matter, to pay into the Social Security system and the welfare state), and the ridiculous cost of bribing so many other powers around the world, big and small, to do our bidding.

Yes, these are indeed perilous times. In part, because whenever the next American "Ceaser" is elected president, he too lusts for the glory of conquest. Just like the Ceasers of old, our own emperors also march their Legions around the world at the expense of so many other national exigencies that threaten to erode the infrastructure of empire. As our attention is distracted from our domestic needs, we too are overcome by the appeal of bread and circuses.

Anyone wanna guess when Washington gets sacked?

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Yaoi_Huntress_Earth Donating Member (185 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. It's too bad
That our society couldn't last as long as Rome before going to pot.
Yaoi Huntress Earth
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-16-03 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. The looming petroleum crisis will determine our fate
US is incredibly militarized to secure hegemony over the Persian Gulf oil producing states. We seized Iraq, but I am afraid we are now over extended. Our rule there is going to have to be brutal, whether it is us or our proxy states we install. I don't see any way out of this.
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
3. Only too familiar.
Also, a more recent example would be the collapse of the USSR. They kept spending proportionately more and more on the military, at the expense of social programs.

They finally keeled over.

Sound familiar?
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cap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-16-03 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
6. show me the money.... where is it????
think about it ... somebody somewhere must be doing well and hiring people with $87 billion floating around...

OK... I know a big chunk is going towards salaries of the Reserves and National Guard... But all those extra people need stuff!!!!

Stuff like uniforms, bullets, guns, food, military toys like night goggles and GPS, jeeps, etc.

Oh yeah, and the reconstruction of Iraq???? All that Iraqi Oil going to the Iraqi Reconstruction Fund, where is it? They have pumped out 1.6 million barrels so far. Isn't any of that going to buy US? I don't think it all should be going to US manufacturers but a little of that moola should be coming back our way, shouldn't it???

Shouldn't someone be hiring in order to crank out this stuff???? Where did all this money go? Or is it all being stuffed behind Cheney and Daddy Bush's mattresses?

The F22 is being produced in Dallas. Lockheed Martin isn't hiring there. What gives?

If this defense money was being reinjected into the US, somebody would be doing well and some of it would actually trickle down to the rest of us (remember trickle down economics????). Remember WWII and how it got the factories booming? The factories were running 24x7 to keep up and women and blacks were getting drawn into the workforce.

Show me the money!!!! An $87 billion injection into the economy would mean that someone is doing well.
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cap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-16-03 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Or did we offshore all of this to Third World Countries???
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teryang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-16-03 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
8. The money is going to crooked contractors
...not the military. This is smallest regular active duty force since before Vietnam. So the numbers alone don't tell the entire story. Much more is being spent on defense contractors than personnel. The distribution of defense dollars is going into private corporate contractor pockets, many kith and kin to the highest officials in the current illegitimate junta. Can you say CONFLICT OF INTEREST, CORRUPT, THIEVES?

No that's a cheap shot according to Halliburton employee Dick Cheney.
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