By Laurence M. Vance
July 31, 2013
The preamble to the Constitution states that one of the reasons it was ordained and established was to help provide for the common defense. Of the eighteen paragraphs in article I, section 8, of the Constitution, six of them relate in some way to the war, the military, or the militia.
The budgets passed earlier this year by the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate each called for spending about $6 trillion on national defense over the next ten years. This is even though, according to Treasury Department data, “Over the past ten fiscal years, inflation-adjusted Defense Department spending has increased by approximately 54 percent.”
But as economist Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute concluded after his analysis of the fiscal year 2009 defense budget: “The government is currently spending at a rate well in excess of $1 trillion per year for all defense-related purposes.” This would include supplemental war appropriations and the defense-related spending of NASA and the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Energy, State, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the interest expense on the national debt attributable to defense spending. This means that real defense spending accounts for about 25 percent of the federal budget.
But even using just the stated defense budget, U.S. defense spending dwarfs that of the rest of the world. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook 2012, which includes a list on the world’s top 15 military spenders in 2011, the United States spends almost as much on defense as every other country combined. The United States spends about five times as much as China and ten times as much as Russia.
According to a report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States wasted $12 million per day fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But it’s not just that the military wastes money. As Ron Paul said in an interview on Face the Nation: “Those troops overseas aggravate our enemies, motivate our enemies. I think it’s a danger to national defense, and we can save a lot of money cutting out the military expenditures that contribute nothing to our defense.”
What is so mind boggling about the United States maintaining an empire of troops and bases around the world and spending so much money on “defense” is that America has been blessed with natural national defense.
It’s called the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Thomas Jefferson recognized this over 200 years ago:
At such a distance from Europe and with such an ocean between us, we hope to meddle little in its quarrels or combinations. Its peace and its commerce are what we shall court
The insulated state in which nature has placed the American continent should so far avail it that no spark of war kindled in the other quarters of the globe should be wafted across the wide oceans which separate us from them.
But rather than view the ocean as a defensive bulwark, naval historian and imperialist Alfred Mahan (1840-1914) instead compared it to a “great highway.” Beginning with the Spanish-American War, the United States rejected the foreign policy of John Quincy Adams and went abroad searching for monsters to destroy.
The first step to end the destructive and immoral interventionist foreign policy of the United………….