John Whitehead muses over the new, emerging wars of stupidity in conjunction with all the other wars, programs, policies, debts, and expenditures which are pushing the U.S. closer and closer towards fifth-century Rome.
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. — James Madison
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. Even then, government spending would have to be slashed dramatically and taxes raised.
The government is $19 trillion in debt: War spending has ratcheted up the nation’s debt. The debt has now exceeded a staggering $19 trillion and is growing at an alarming rate of $35 million/hour and $2 billion every 24 hours. Yet while 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 consumes 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. Having been 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 more than $57 million per hour.
The U.S. government spends more on wars (and military occupations) abroad every year than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. In fact, the U.S. spends more on its military than the eight highest-ranking nations with big defense budgets combined. The reach of America’s military empire includes close to 800 bases in as many as 160 countries, operated at a cost of more than $156 billion annually. As investigative journalist David Vine reports, “Even US military resorts and recreation areas in places like the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a kind. Worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.”
Add in the cost of waging war in Syria (with or without congressional approval), and the burden on taxpayers soars to more than $11.5 million a day. Ironically, while presidential candidate Trump was vehemently opposed to the U.S. use of force in Syria, as well as harboring Syrian refugees within the U.S., he had no problem retaliating against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on behalf of Syrian children killed in a chemical attack. The cost of launching a 59 Tomahawk missile-strike against Syria? It’s estimated that the missiles alone cost $60 million. Mind you, this is the same man, while campaigning for president, who warned that fighting Syria would signal the start of World War III against a united Syria, Russia and Iran. Already oil prices have started to climb as investors anticipate an extended conflict.
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 expense.
These facts and figures are staggering and Whitehead shoots on the low side of the costs involved. But he nails it that, whatever the cost, there benefits are nonexistent. Of course,the usual suspects are cleaning up. The rest of us are fleeced, lie to, and in some cases, maimed or killed.
Not sure what these numbers refer to, if anything. Symbolism, this. Pagun View.
It’s always the internal affairs that bring down great nations and empires. We are no different. The problem is repeated throughout history: government’s run wild; the people are willfully blind. I can’t and won’t give any date as accurate as, say, 476 for the default – even that is speculative. But it’s coming, happening now, been happening…
“America first” would have gone a long way to “make America great again”. Make it just American again. Sadly, these slogans were empty as any and didn’t even remotely materialize.
The good news is that, eventually, life will go on. The average man in the Italian Alps circa 550 lived essentially the same life as his counterpart from 450. The getting there, getting through the end game, will require a little stamina and preparation. If you didn’t pay much attention to the recent past, at least give a little thought to the near future.