Does the U.S. really need so much military "defense"?

24 posts

Flag Post

While defense spending in the U.S. has always been a hot-button discussion over the years (esp. since the onset of WWII when we were caught warming our ankles w/ our pants) because of the increasing amount each year.

But, after the financial meltdown and the resulting need to make heavy cuts in our national budget, it appears that it is business-as-usual w/ the “hands off” mode for the military expenditures.

Have a look at the graph in this link. It shows that of the ENTIRE WORLD’S military budget of $1738 (U.S.) BILLION, America’s share of it was just under ONE HALF…$711 billion.

Of special interest to me is the F-35 Lightning II being build here in the U.S.
We think we “need” nearly 2,500 of these planes (it will, w/ modifications, serve all 3 major braches of the military) at a cost of $112.5 million, plus $22 million for the engine each and a lifetime cost cost of $1.45 TRILLION.

Aircraft carriers aren’t very cheap either. But, “The U.S. Navy is betting $42 billion on a new class of aircraft carriers, the world’s biggest and costliest warships ever, even as the Pentagon budget shrinks and China and Iran arm themselves with weapons to disable or destroy the behemoths.

Sure, the Military-industrial complex obviously employs a helluva lot of ppl. But, these same jobs could do far greater service to America in building new bridges, schools, & maintaining our aging infrastructure.

The term military-industrial complex was coined by Pres. Eisenhower. He was the first post WWII president.

He said: “A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…” “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” “_We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. 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.”_

I don’t believe Americans have any idea of what the military-industrial complex is doing to their daily lives. This ignorance is very likely going to be the actual cause of our demise rather than any enemy from without our borders.

Maybe Osama Bin Laden is right?

 
Flag Post

The answer is no, England is the next biggest spender, and I believe the US spent around 10 times or so what they did, the US isn’t even listed in the top 10 safest countries. The money is going to waste, the US builds weapons that are superior to current defense that the US has, then they sell those items to other countries, the US military money spending is run by morons.

 
Flag Post

US doesnt need defense.

Their “defense” money goes towards invading countries so rich people can steal their natural resources.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by nanynanypoopoo:

England is the next biggest spender, and I believe the US spent around 10 times or so what they did

The US have roughly 5 times the population of the UK, so per capita the spending is “only” double, assuming your figures are correct of course.

 
This post has been removed by an administrator or moderator
 
Flag Post
Originally posted by NaturalReject:
Originally posted by nanynanypoopoo:

England is the next biggest spender, and I believe the US spent around 10 times or so what they did

The US have roughly 5 times the population of the UK, so per capita the spending is “only” double, assuming your figures are correct of course.

Absolutely important here.
Per capita is a most essential fact to keep in mind.
 
Flag Post
Originally posted by NaturalReject:
Originally posted by nanynanypoopoo:

England is the next biggest spender, and I believe the US spent around 10 times or so what they did

The US have roughly 5 times the population of the UK, so per capita the spending is “only” double, assuming your figures are correct of course.

According to this, the US spends roughly 28 times what we do. Divide that by 5 and you still have the US spending nearly 6 times as much per capita.

I could write an essay on this one, and still only scratch the surface. So I’ll just make a couple of comments and wait to see what others have to say.

When the American military machine went into overdrive after the war, it did make a certain amount of sense. The cold war was in full swing, and perhaps the biggest threat was a failure of the Russian harvest resulting in the Red Army pouring into western Europe in search of food. It’s the main reason that Britain kept so many troops in Germany for decades after the war, to act as a first line of defence while America made up its mind whether to fulfill its NATO obligations and join in.

Had such an invasion happened, it would have resulted in a series of pitched battles, which the American forces were well equipped to handle. Even in Vietnam, when America fought pitched battles with the North Vietnamese army, they always did well. But even in the 1960s the face of warfare was changing, and America struggled to deal with the guerrillas and the Viet Cong (the fifth columnists), and eventually lost the war. They had plenty of firepower, but it was the wrong kind for the war they were fighting. And that is where they are today – enough firepower and manpower to give the rest of the world’s armies combined a run for their money, but completely useless against some of the threats presently facing them.

Defence spending does have a habit of being self perpetuating and self fulfilling too. The Nazis rebuilt the German economy on the back of defence spending, and in the end the sheer size of the German military machine almost demanded a war to justify itself, which fitted in very neatly with their plans anyway. Back in the sixties Britain came up with the TSR2, almost certainly the best strike aircraft in the world at the time. But it was horrendously expensive to develop, and in the end the project was shelved with the loss of many jobs. The political fallout was considerable, but you can’t have what you can’t afford. I saw the only one ever to fly parked up at an artillery range in the Thames estuary, waiting to be used for target practice. It was an ignominious end for a very fine piece of technology, but with the benefit of hindsight it probably was the right decision not to go ahead. It was an aircraft designed to counter a Warsaw Pact invasion, and would quickly have become redundant. What we need these days is not so much a mighty army as a well informed one, better equipped to deal with enemies who are prepared to keep nibbling away at us for decades if necessary in order to get what they want.

Sure, the Military-industrial complex obviously employs a helluva lot of ppl. But, these same jobs could do far greater service to America in building new bridges, schools, & maintaining our aging infrastructure.

The problem is that they aren’t the same jobs. A munitions factory can’t suddenly turn its hand to producing bridge components or school desks. It takes years of restructuring to do that, but it would be nice to see the political will at least to make a start. Swords into ploughshares is a great slogan for the pacifist, but it’s not very practical.

As for Osama bin Laden’s last message, he may have been stating the bleeding obvious, but he really hit the nail on the head, didn’t he. But then American corporations have been supported by the military at least since the days of the Banana Wars. The British Empire wasn’t built by the government, it was built by organisations like this and men like this. It was all about money, pure and simple. We even went to war with China to bully them into buying our opium. But back then the only people able to complain about it loudly enough to influence us were all busy doing exactly the same thing, so we all got away with it. You just can’t do that any more, but America doesn’t appear to understand that. Throwing your weight around and exploiting third world peasants was always going to make America the least popular country on earth. It does seem to me that all this military overspending is just another symptom of America’s adherence to nineteenth century values long after the rest of us have moved on.

 
Flag Post

beauval: I completely agree, though I think on top of that the spending for self defense in the US is simply moronic, I’m not sure how other countries do it, but companies win favor with politians in order to get inflated contracts to build things that they could build with half the money, and the other companies that aren’t in favor will do the same thing, they hike up their prices to build things but try to just barely bit lower than the others while still keeping a sizable chunk of change even if everything that can go wrong does for them. Everything, not just self defense companies, do this when it comes to the government, the US government would spend 1,000 USD on a hammer they could buy for 4 USD simply because they won’t pay attention to how they spend money.
It also doesn’t help that in regards to this self defense contracts the US tends to sell new things to other countries. For example, not too ofly long ago there was a new ‘stealth’ helecopter that couldn’t be seen on any radar created at the time. America paid to have it made, then sold them off instead of keeping them for the military, they government then turned around and paid to have radars made that could find said helecopters. This kind of completely defeats the purpose of the self defense budget for all but the handful of people high up in the government that are making outrageous amounts of money from this wrongful act.

 
Flag Post

I believe they do need so much defense, aliens or other extraterrestrial species always attack first at USA.

 
Flag Post

[why wont kongregate let you edit your posts]

And I kid you not this is serious, we all know we are not alone in the universe and its never too late to prepare.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by igotnousername:

[why wont kongregate let you edit your posts]

It should, the edit button’s supposed to be above the quote button.

 
Flag Post

To keep the terrorists from blowing them all up.
and/or

Originally posted by igotnousername:

I believe they do need so much defense, aliens or other extraterrestrial species always attack first at USA.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by igotnousername:

aliens or other extraterrestrial species always attack first at USA.

Any sources for that?

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by EPR89:
Originally posted by igotnousername:

aliens or other extraterrestrial species always attack first at USA.

Any sources for that?

Hollywood.

 
Flag Post

The US does what it wants. Pride is not always good.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by AllStarDominatio:

The US does what it wants. Pride is not always good.

what goes up must come down. Its time for us to come down too

 
Flag Post

I think the US just needs to start negotiating with these defense contractors that they sign on to build their military equipment. Seriously, the government out pays on so much stuff that a little haggling couldn’t hurt. At the very least they’d wind up pending twice what something is worth as opposed to five or six times what they should.

The US is the world’s superpower (at least in theory) so no shit we’re supposed to have the most foreign interests. Of course, a military aid mission in Africa doesn’t get nearly the attention a couple of soldiers dying in training does, and everyone likes to paint us as the bad guys who break into houses and kidnap people for interrogations. I’ll admit, we’re not saints, but we’re probably the best big brother to be in charge. If not us, who would be the strong arm bully in the world? China? Russia? Maybe even Iran? Don’t think that those countries don’t have interest in foreign affairs, or the will to intervene in them.

On another note, it makes me sad that the Navy and Air Force get all the really cool vehicles.

 
Flag Post

Do we really need much defense when we have the nuclear deterrence?

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Geenf11:

Do we really need much defense when we have the nuclear deterrence?

Obviously yes, if you remember what happened on September 11th, 2001.

We had nukes then, right? Like, I’m pretty sure we’ve had nuclear weapons since WW2, and 2001 was after that.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Geenf11:

Do we really need much defense when we have the nuclear deterrence?

Have ya ever heard of MAD?
Do ya really want us to "go there?
Originally posted by onlineidiot1994:

Obviously yes, if you remember what happened on September 11th, 2001.

We had nukes then, right? Like, I’m pretty sure we’ve had nuclear weapons since WW2, and 2001 was after that.

Ya’re right, online.
The use of a nuke (even low yield) is like swatting a mosquito w/ a heavy club.
Ya MIGHT hit it (maybe not?), but the collateral damage is waaaaaaaay heavy.
THEN, the tiny mosquito might bite ya anyway and kill ya w/ malaria.

It’s a thing of: Different tools for different tasks

 
Flag Post

Absolutely not, the U.S. spends way too much on military defense instead of spending money on other affairs that could benefit this country.

 
Flag Post

Well, terrorism is primarily covered by the police, FBI, and CIA, not the military. We don’t really need a standing army to defend against invasion.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Geenf11:

We don’t really need a standing army to defend against invasion.

How so?
Why so?
What leads ya to believe this?
 
Flag Post
Originally posted by karmakoolkid:
Originally posted by Geenf11:

We don’t really need a standing army to defend against invasion.

How so?
Why so?
What leads ya to believe this?

I would like to know too..