Q: When is enough defense spending enough?
A: When you spend so much money defending something that you can no longer afford to upkeep it.
That is the point we have reached.
The military – It’s big enough…we can stop now. We spend 41% of the world’s military budget. That’s more in percentage and real dollars than the next 14 countries combined. And that is each and every year. It’s time to stop. It’s time to either stop spending a good chunk of that all together or spend it on something domestically like roads or healthcare or education or, well, just about anything else. (Or maybe we can go ahead and enact the Farm Act of 2012 and even leave in the Food Stamps for the poor here in America…golly, what a concept…making sure Americans have food to eat.)
This amount of money spent on “defense” is obscene. But it is far more than just the money, it’s the mindset. I often hear people complain that we shouldn’t be the world’s policeman and questioning why we keep getting involved in these insane wars with no end in sight. It’s because (I believe) we have been so convinced that that is our role in the world that we base our policies and budgets on it.
And the more research I do on this subject, the more I am convinced that the military industrial complex needs us to to think like this. I know it sounds very wingnut-ish, but they absolutely need us to keep risking lives and treasure so we can keep spending money on them. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to end.
How much more effective would it be to shore up our internal defenses and anti-terrorism policies and practices here at home than to spend the $4,000,000 on a single predator drone that may or may not kill and enemy and may or may not kill innocents (and thus encourage people to help the terrorist we are fighting or even breed more terrorism itself.) Isn’t the random killing of civilians by a bunch of nutballs what got this started in the first place? How is our doing the same “winning hearts and minds”?
We are not Rome. We are not built on military strength, but the strength of our ideals and our freedoms. Our defense comes first by holding true to those ideals and freedoms and the belief that they are as true for us in the States as they are for others in other countries. We lead by example, not by force.
And while I’m pretty certain Jesus wasn’t speaking about government spending, I think his words still hold true in this instance: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34)
Where, then, is our nation’s heart?