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  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
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  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Military Spending

The US needs to reduce spending and probably, to everyone’s displeasure, increase revenue (raise taxes) if something is to be done about the deficit.  What do you cut?  Medicare, Social Security, Foreign Aid, Program Grants, military spending?   No doubt all of these expenditures need to be adjusted.  I have no claims to have more than pedestrian knowledge about the US budget and expenditure but I do read about it and listed to pundits and those in government.
I read an interesting article in the January 28, 2013 issue of New Yorker Magazine entitled “The Force How much military is Enough?”  by Jill Lepore
The article deals exclusively with the issue of military spending.  I think military spending should be cut, with everything else.  Some of the interesting points in the article include:
The United States spends more on defense than all the other nations of the world combined. Between 1998 and 2011, military spending doubled, reaching more than seven hundred billion dollars a year—more, in adjusted dollars, than at any time since the Allies were fighting the Axis.
Very interesting. If you add the miltiary spending of all countries in the world, the US spends more.
Here is an interesting parargraph from the article:
In 1934, the publication of “Merchants of Death,” a best-seller and a Book-of-the-Month-Club selection, contributed to the formation, that year, of the Senate Munitions Committee, headed by Gerald P. Nye, a North Dakota Republican. Not coincidentally, that was also the year Congress passed the National Firearms Act, which, among other things, strictly regulated the private ownership of machine guns. (Keeping military weapons out of the hands of civilians seemed to the Supreme Court, when it upheld the Firearms Act, in 1939, entirely consistent with the Second Amendment, which provides for the arming of militias.) For two years, Nye led the most rigorous inquiry into the arms industry that any branch of the federal government has ever conducted. He convened ninety-three hearings. He thought the ability to manufacture weapons should be restricted to the government. “The removal of the element of profit from war would materially remove the danger of more war,” he said. That never came to pass, partly because Nye was unable to distinguish his opposition to arms profiteering from his advocacy of isolationism, a position that had become indefensible.
Republican President Eisenhower, a life time member of the military was concerned about excessive military spending.
Eisenhower’s first major address as President, delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 16, 1953. In the speech, Eisenhower reckoned the price of arms:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This is a world in arms. This world in arms is not spending money alone; it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. . . . This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. "

Look at this quote from Eisenhower at the end of his presidency:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex,” Eisenhower warned then. “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Lockheed Martin is the largest or one of the largest military equipment provider to the US. The New Yorker article states:
Lockheed Martin contributed to the campaigns of nine of the twelve members of the congress Supercommittee (budget issues), fifty-one of the sixty-two members of the House Armed Services Committee, twenty-four of the twenty-five members of that committee’s Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces—in all, to three hundred and eighty-six of the four hundred and thirty-five members of the 112th Congress.
I think our elected leaders are making spedning decisions based, in part, as paid minions of Lockheed and other military contractors.
Do we really need all of overseas military bases for our protection?  The article states:
Six decades after V-J Day (the end of World War II) nearly three hundred thousand American troops are stationed overseas, including fifty-five thousand in Germany, thirty-five thousand in Japan, and ten thousand in Italy. Much of the money that the federal government spends on “defense” involves neither securing the nation’s borders nor protecting its citizens. Instead, the U.S. military enforces American foreign policy.
Read the article if you get a chance.

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