by John W. Whitehead
Of all the enemies to
war is, perhaps, the most to be
because it comprises and
the germ of every other.
War is the parent of armies;
from these proceed debts and
known instruments for bringing
under the domination of the
No nation could preserve its
in the midst of continual
Waging endless wars abroad (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now
Syria) isn't making America - or the rest of the world - any safer,
it's certainly not making America great again, and it's undeniably
digging the U.S. deeper into debt.
In fact, it's a wonder the economy hasn't collapsed yet.
Indeed, even if we
were to put an end to all of the government's military
meddling and bring all of the troops home today, it would
take decades to pay down the price of these wars and get the
government's creditors off our backs.
government spending would have to be slashed dramatically and
You do the math.
The government is $19 trillion
spending has ratcheted up the nation's debt.
has now exceeded a
staggering $19 trillion and is growing at an alarming
$35 million/hour and $2 billion every 24 hours.
defense contractors are getting richer than their
wildest dreams, we're in hock to foreign nations
such as Japan and China (our two largest foreign holders
at $1.13 trillion and $1.12 trillion respectively).
The Pentagon's annual budget
almost 100% of individual
income tax revenue
If there is
any absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to
operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped
off, especially when it comes to paying the tab for
America's attempts to police the globe.
co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians
and incompetent government officials, America's expanding
military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of
million per hour.
The government has spent $4.8
trillion on wars abroad since 9/11, with $7.9 trillion in
tax burden of more than $16,000 per American. Almost a
quarter of that debt was incurred as a result of the wars in
Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and Syria.
past 16 years,
these wars have been paid for almost entirely
by borrowing money from foreign nations and the U.S. Treasury.
Atlantic points out,
we're fighting terrorism with a credit card.
to the Watson Institute for Public Affairs at Brown
University, interest payments on what we've already borrowed
for these failed wars could total over
$7.9 trillion by 2053.
The government lost more than
$160 billion to waste and fraud by the military and defense
contractors often outnumbering enlisted combat troops, the
American war effort dubbed as the "coalition of the willing"
has quickly evolved into the "coalition of the billing."
taxpayers are forced to cough up billions of dollars for,
overpriced anything and everything associated with the
war effort, including a
$640 toilet seat and a $7600 coffee pot.
Taxpayers are being forced to
$1.4 million per hour
to provide U.S. weapons to countries that can't afford them
reports, the Pentagon's Foreign Military Finance
the way for the US government to pay for weapons for
other countries - only to 'promote world peace,' of
course - using your tax dollars, which are then recycled
into the hands of military-industrial-complex
US military resorts and recreation areas in places like
the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a
the military runs more than 170 golf courses."
historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the
depleted military of the United States,"
...Trump has made it
clear where his priorities lie, and it's not with the
planet where Americans account for 4.34 percent of the
population, US military spending accounts for
37 percent of the global total."
Clearly, war has
become a huge money-making venture, and the U.S. government, with
its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.
Yet what most
Americans - brainwashed into believing that patriotism means
supporting the war machine - fail to recognize is that these ongoing
wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything
to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer
The rationale may
keep changing for why American military forces are in Afghanistan,
Iraq, Pakistan and now Syria.
However, the one
that remains constant is that those who run the government -
including the current president - are feeding the appetite of the
military industrial complex and fattening the bank accounts of its
Case in point:
plans to "beef up" military spending while
slashing funding for the environment, civil rights
protections, the arts, minority-owned businesses, public
Amtrak, rural airports and interstates.
In other words, in
order to fund this burgeoning military empire that polices the
globe, the U.S. government is prepared to bankrupt the nation,
jeopardize our servicemen and women, increase the chances of
terrorism and blowback domestically, and push the nation that much
closer to eventual collapse.
national priorities are in desperate need of an
As Los Angeles
Times reporter Steve Lopez rightly asks:
throw money at defense
when everything is falling down
need to spend more money on our military (about $600
billion this year) than the next seven countries
need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000
reserves when the enemy at the moment - ISIS - numbers in the low tens of thousands?
If so, it seems
there's something radically wrong with our strategy.
of the federal government's discretionary spending go to the
military and only 3% to transportation when the toll in
American lives is far greater from failing infrastructure
than from terrorism?
California need nearly as many active military bases (31,
militarybases.com) as it has UC and state
university campuses (33)?
the state need more active duty military personnel (168,000,
according to Governing magazine) than public elementary
school teachers (139,000)?
are much better uses for your taxpayer funds than trillions of
dollars being wasted on war.
The following are
just a few ways those hard-earned dollars could be used:
"many trillions... to fix the country's web of roads,
bridges, railways, subways and bus stations."
As long as "we the
people" continue to allow the government to wage its costly,
meaningless, endless wars abroad, the American homeland will
continue to suffer:
our roads will
crumble, our bridges will fail, our schools will fall into
disrepair, our drinking water will become undrinkable, our
communities will destabilize, and crime will rise.
Here's the kicker,
if the American
economy collapses - and with it the last vestiges of our
constitutional republic - it will be the government and its
trillion-dollar war budgets that are to blame.
Of course, the
government has already anticipated this breakdown.
That's why the
government has transformed America into a war zone, turned the
nation into a surveillance state, and labelled "we the people" as
For years now, the
government has worked with the military to
prepare for widespread civil unrest brought about by,
of functioning political and legal order, purposeful
domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health
emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters."
Having spent more
than half a century exporting war to foreign lands, profiting from
war, and creating a national economy seemingly dependent on the
spoils of war, the war hawks long ago turned their profit-driven
appetites on us, bringing home the spoils of war, the,
handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a
This is how the
police state wins and "we the people" lose.
however, as I make clear in my book Battlefield
America - The War on the American People, all military
At the height of
its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a
collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of
war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise.
Chalmers Johnson predicts:
The fate of
previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is
unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways:
or not, the people of the United States already are well
embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.
This is the
"unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the
military-industrial complex" that President Dwight Eisenhower
warned us more than 50 years ago not to let endanger our liberties
or democratic processes.
served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during
World War II, was alarmed by the rise of the profit-driven war
machine that emerged following the war - one that, in order to
perpetuate itself, would have to keep waging war.
We failed to heed
Eisenhower recognized, the consequences of allowing the
military-industrial complex to wage war, exhaust our resources and
dictate our national priorities are beyond grave:
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 are not clothed.
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
The cost of one
modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than
30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town
of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a
single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for
a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more
than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat,
is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has
been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true
Under the cloud
of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Wake up, America.
There's not much
time left before we reach the zero hour...