I know I write a lot about war and peace. That would be against war and for peace. But apparently I'm swimming upstream from the consensus.
Why would I say that?
A recent Gallup poll would suggest that Americans on the whole think our current military is pretty swell, our level of defense spending peachy, we are militarily top dogs, and that's the way they like it, uh-huh uh-huh!
I'm still trying to reconcile this and another report into a meaningful picture for the future of our country.
The problem is me, of course. I'm allergic to chaos, destruction, death, maiming, carnage, genocide, ecocide, macho posturing, chest-beating. I don't find war drums at all appealing, or even danceable.
Others - according to the report, it comes in at 62% of our fine citizens - find reason to implicitly celebrate all of the above, judging that the $715 billion official 2022 defense budget, proposed by President Biden, is right on target. In fact, 17% of those polled think we need to spend more.
By the way, I specifically chose 'official defense budget' because that has never really been the whole story. The second report was done in 2019. It's by the Congressional Research Service and is titled Overseas Contingency Operations Funding: Background and Status. You can view it here.
I'll save you a lot of tedious reading. As Mandy Smithberger put it in a very recent article in TomDispatch ...
"The Congressional Research Service has estimated that such supplemental spending from September 11, 2001, to fiscal year 2019 totaled an astonishing $2 trillion above and beyond the congressionally agreed upon Pentagon budget."
Even this is not the entire picture. Because buried in the budgets of the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, secretive funding of the CIA, the 17 major agencies of the intelligence community, and other national security related organizations, is unreported black budgeting. We can only offer educated guesses on the sums allocated to these agencies. We do know they run in the tens of billions of dollars.
So as we're struggling to find the money - we all know it's there but the fiscal conservatives require us to put on a show of penurious virtue signaling to slap down the MMT folks - to repair our infrastructure, address climate change, convert the U.S. economy into the right stuff for the 21st Century challenges of stability and sustainability, scramble to either put together a viable health care system or find a place to bury the bodies, address massive unemployment and underemployment, achieve solvency for Social Security and other unfunded liabilities, yes, as we scour every square inch of our great country sea-to-shining-sea with metal detectors, looking for every buried nickel and dime for all of these noble and necessary endeavors, the vast majority of citizens have decided the $1+ trillion we spend ANNUALLY to police Planet Earth, spy on our own citizens, put bases and weaponry in any country that will have us, expand NATO and increase the probability of a major war, build "more usable" nuclear weapons, deploy our fighting machinery in outer space, intimidate Russia and China, and create hostility and enemies across the globe, is money well spent.
I will credit the Deep State and MIC with a true victory here. While "the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known" (George W Bush), "the finest fighting force that the world has ever known" (Barack Obama), has been humiliated and/or defeated in every military conflict since World War II, the massive psyops brainwashing of the American public has been a resounding success!
See all that money was well spent after all.