Sojourner's Blog

November 26, 2011

Military Spending — The Basic Truth

Filed under: Political Economy — brucehartford @ 3:23 pm
Tags: ,
U.S. Military Spending Compared to Other Nations

U.S. Military Spending Compared {3}

The United States spends almost as much money on its military as all other nations in the world combined.{1} Paying for past, present, and future
wars consumes 54% of our Federal budget.{2} These figures are not controversial, everyone on all sides of the debate acknowledge them. The dispute is over whether we need such a huge military, and why.

Why do we spend so much? Canada is not massing troops to pour over the border, Mexico is not arming for war against us. There is not a nation on the planet who poses any credible military threat to America.

Where Your Income Tax Really Goes

Where Your Taxes Go {2}

Yes, terrorists have attacked us. But the bulk of our military budget goes for “big-ticket” items like aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines, stealth bombers and supersonic fighters, armored divisions and ICBMs. None of these expensive weapons are effective against terrorists who conceal themselves within a civilian population.

So, again, the question is why? This question is not new, and the answer has not changed. After resigning from the Marine Corps in 1935, Major General Smedley Butler (holder of two Congressional Medals of Honor) wrote the following:


“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscleman for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys [today Citi Bank] to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in threedistricts. I operated on three continents.”


{1} U.S. vs. Global Defense Spending
{2} Where Your Income Tax Really Goes
{3} Military Expenditure Database

Military Spending — The Basic Truth [PDF version of this post, as a flyer]

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