Thursday, July 07, 2005

Why Cut Military Spending?

1) Cutting military spending would be good for national security. Imagine for a second one is dealing with a recalcitrant teenager who decides to spend money frivolously. Would you give her more money, or less? Would you institute more regulation of her behavior, or less? Everyone reasonable would respond "Less" to both, yet when it comes to the military, we hear that the answer is more money and to not question those who are "protecting our freedom". Take the Rich off Welfare and numerous waste sites track ludicrous expenditures by the military. Here's just one article that indicates how deep the rot goes:

Forcing the military to justify its expenditures and mercilessly cutting projects that are only existing to aggrandize particular arms manufacturers and Congressmen would mean that every dollar going into the military would be purchasing a national defense dollar.

Also take into account that, unlike any other industrialized country, the military spends MORE than market prices rather than LESS. It strikes me that companies should show their "patriotism" (assuming that ridiculous premise) by paying into the military that protects their interests (and, of course, their interests alone).

2) Insofar as the US has legitimate security concerns, the military has only exacerbated those problems. Bush's actions among others have increased the security risks; Clinton's bombing of Sudan prevented information from reaching US hands that could have stopped 9/11; we created the moujahadeen and sell weapons to the people who become our enemies; heavy-handed US/Israeli military action has mostly created the Islamist backlash.

3) If you were dealing with a murderer and you could take guns out of its hands, would you?

The United States has bombed, supported dictators and murderers in, tried to overthrow the governments of, sanctioned irresponsibly, provided arms for, used clients to kill or similarly tormented (in alphabetical order) Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Brazil, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Columbia, Congo/Zaire, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Egypt, El Salvador, Granada, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Kosovo, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nicaragua, North Korea, the Palestinians, the Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Korea (the Chun Dictatorship), South Africa, Sudan, Surinam, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam,

Here's a list of CIA covert activities:

Here's a very good piece by Matthew White (up to his normal standards; readers may remember him from Democratic Peace) regarding death tolls of the 20th Century.

And a list of US military interventions:

4) Defense is way in excess of any need and trades off with other worthwhile spending:

5) Remember that it's not simply the DoD that we spend defense dollars on, but Homeland Security, police, FBI, CIA, Department of Energy, NASA, etc. Taking that into account, this article, , says that we spend 2/3 of every tax dollar on "defense".

6) Though I propose raising the wages of soldiers to a living wage and their benefits for college and similar, I do not think that this is mutually exclusive with cutting the bloated Pentagon budget.

7) Though the Pentagon does pump money into the economy (, numerous studies show that every dollar invested into other things (health care, education, etc.) create more jobs and benefit the economy more, mainly because most of that military spending is waste.


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