Curb over-blown military

By Charleston Gazette, Special to the BDN
Posted July 01, 2011, at 5:56 p.m.

Again we ask: Why is America the most militaristic nation on Earth? Why do U.S. taxpayers shell out more than $1 trillion per year for war-making power when other nations bear only tiny fractions of this burden?

The official U.S. Pentagon budget and supplemental appropriations total about $700 billion per year — but this doesn’t include costly care for veterans, huge interest on past military spending done with borrowed money, nuclear weapons research or military aid to allies and other large add-ons. The grand total is well beyond $1 trillion annually.

The federal government is drowning in terrible debt. So far, the only solution offered by Republicans is to slash the humane “safety net” that sustains American families. Why won’t leaders reduce the gigantic military instead — a military much larger than needed?

The threat of invasion by a foreign army is minuscule. Today’s enemies are tiny cliques of hidden suicide-fanatics. Monster-size armies, navies and air forces are ineffective against little secret cells. Commando squads and cruising drones deal with them best.

Retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates questions the horrendous cost of America’s global militarism when other democracies around the world don’t bankrupt themselves in the same manner.

Why should America attempt to defend the whole world — especially when so many U.S. invasions overseas turn into Vietnam-style quagmires?

In April, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that America’s yearly military spending has nearly doubled since the Bush-Cheney administration took power in 2001. Two wars launched by the Bush-Cheney White House — in Iraq and Afghanistan — have cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion so far, the institute said.

The federal government must reduce its ruinous overspending. It should be done by curbing the overblown military, not by damaging the people-helping safety net.

Charleston Gazette (June 23)

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/01/opinion/other-voices/curb-over-blown-military/ printed on July 31, 2014