Reprinted from Chumps on Parade (March 1998)
Since the Cold War ended, there has been a misconception that government spending on the military has decreased. The truth is, funding is still at Cold War levels and is going up starting this year. In 1998 265 billion dollars is to be spent on the military. Over the next six years the amount of money we spend on defense will be a total of 1.65 trillion dollars.
All of this money is being used to improve a military that is already the strongest and largest in the world. Most of our military mite was assembled under the fear of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Now the Soviet Union is gone, as is the Warsaw pact. There are no other countries in the world that are as powerful as the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact countries were, or the United States. The only real job for our military is little peacekeeping missions throughout the world, which can be done without any sort of new weapons. You don’t need a nuclear arsenal or the newest fighter jet to keep the peace in Bosnia or Somalia.
Yet despite the fact there are no serious threats our country is still spending money on all sorts of new technologies all designed to kill people. We are already spending money to develop plans for fighter jets to replace the “next generation” fighters in 2030. We haven’t even started to use the “next generation” fighters, and won’t until 2015, but we are already thinking of replacing them? It doesn’t make any sense. Even crazier is the idea that we need to be prepared to fight two wars at once in different halves of the world, with each country being nearly as strong as the United States. The fact is there aren’t even two combined countries that could equal the power of the United States military.
This may seem fine to most people; we need to protect our country. I can see spending money on defense, but preparing for multiple wars when there aren’t any real threats is just stupid. It’s nice that the government is supposedly looking out for our needs by defending the country, but there are a number of other things they could spend the money on. With even a small portion of the defense budget we could get people off the streets and educate them with the skills they need for a decent job. I am pretty sure that no unemployed people care if we can fight a war in Iraq and Korea at the same time, they have bigger problems to worry about, as does the government.
To put this all in perspective, the federal government only gives 43 billion dollars in aid to states for education. It seems we would rather prepare for a war than prepare for an increasingly global economy where other countries will hold an advantage over us. What are we going to do, bomb them?