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Source: (consider it) Thread: Isn't this much military too much?
no prophet's flag is set so...

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Frankly, I think that almost any military is too much.... I pick up a series of newsfeeds (rss), one of which is Greenpeace. When the information is verifiable fact, I figure it's safe to quote it. Here it notes that USA war/military spending is $1.6 trillion. At that level of cash, converting to other currency is irrelevant isn't it?

quote:
It is hardly the lack of military hardware that is making our world a dangerous place - quite the contrary. Military spending worldwide is already huge, especially when compared with other forms of government spending. The US spends more than three times as much on weapons than China, which is the second biggest spender. This massive spending has not led to peace.
Apparently it's about 1/5 of all tax money. Which is a lot. The people who make these decisions, are they without consciences? But then war makes people rich.

[ 27. April 2017, 20:48: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10832 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
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No. We want big. Yes, it's bigger than the rest of the world combined, but that's not good enough. No, it should be big. Because we deserve it. And because America! Because children! Because our brave vets! We must be not just biggest but bigger than biggest. Because we're best. And bigger is always better. Big, big, BIG!

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Frankly, I think that almost any military is too much.... I pick up a series of newsfeeds (rss), one of which is Greenpeace. When the information is verifiable fact, I figure it's safe to quote it. Here it notes that USA war/military spending is $1.6 trillion. when compared with other forms of government spending. The US spends more than three times as much on weapons than China, which is the second biggest spender. This massive spending has not led to peace.

Nope, read that again. That's the worldwide figure for military expenditures (given in U.S. dollars, which may be the source of your confusion). U.S. military spending was US$732.2 billion in 2016 according to the BEA. For a sense of scale this comes to ~3.9% of U.S. GDP and ~22.3% of spending by all levels of American government (federal, state, and local).

[ 27. April 2017, 21:26: Message edited by: Crœsos ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Still an atrocious figure. And the proportion to one country all by itself is atrocious. And that's just the money.

[ 27. April 2017, 21:48: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Gramps49
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The deal of it is the United States is the only remaining world power. It has to maintain the sea lanes all over the world. It is committed to alliances across the globe. All other militaries are, at best regional. Even Russia is limited in its ability to project its strength.

If you want the US to reduce its military, where should it cut first?

Europe--when Russia would love to expand its borders to the West.

Asia--when North Korea is getting more dangerous to the North and the Chinese are encroaching on other nation's territorial waters.

How about the Middle East? Deasch would love thatt. Lots of oil at stake there.

Posts: 1912 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Stetson
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quote:
If you want the US to reduce its military, where should it cut first?

Europe--when Russia would love to expand its borders to the West.

Asia--when North Korea is getting more dangerous to the North and the Chinese are encroaching on other nation's territorial waters.

How about the Middle East? Deasch would love thatt. Lots of oil at stake there.

I think that if you're someone who supports the US being involved in one of those theatres of conflict, then yes, it is hypocritical to say that they otherwise spend too much money on their military. That's like a welfare recipient who says "Well, I think the government gives too much money to all those lazy welfare bums, but my case is different, because I really do need the money."

That being said, there ARE people who do want the US to withdraw their troops from all those countries around the world, and thus cannot reasonably accused of special pleading. Personally, I think US and company should get the hell out of the middle east, and I don't care WHAT kind of ISIS-led rampage ensues in the short term. ISIS wouldn't exist if the US and its allies hadn't toppled Sadaam Hussein, and thinking that more outside intervention is going to remedy the evil caused by previous outside intervention is just, well, what's that word for doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for better results?

[ 28. April 2017, 08:03: Message edited by: Stetson ]

Posts: 6300 | From: back and forth between bible belts | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
The deal of it is the United States is the only remaining world power. It has to maintain the sea lanes all over the world. It is committed to alliances across the globe. All other militaries are, at best regional. Even Russia is limited in its ability to project its strength.

If you want the US to reduce its military, where should it cut first?

Europe--when Russia would love to expand its borders to the West.

Asia--when North Korea is getting more dangerous to the North and the Chinese are encroaching on other nation's territorial waters.

How about the Middle East? Deasch would love thatt. Lots of oil at stake there.

But the USA created IS in the first place by invading Iraq. Never ending cycle of justification of making war.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Martin60
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It's none of our business. We can't influence it in the slightest. Power will do what it will to maintain itself. Ignore it. Get on with life. It is not in US self interest to pull back in any of these areas. If the US wanted to lead the world in social justice it couldn't as a democracy. And it would therefore fail. This is the best of all possible worlds.

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Posts: 16587 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gramps49
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I can agree we had no justification to take out Saddam Hussein. But since we broke it, we own it.

We tried to ignore Al Qaida for some time, and then the World Trade Towers came down. Deash is threatening all of Europe. We have military obligations with Europe. Now that we have created it, we have to help resolve it.

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Martin60
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And so the cycle never ends.

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Posts: 16587 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jolly Jape
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quote:
Deash is threatening all of Europe.
I'm not sure what you mean by threatening. The UK endured thirty years of terrorism, with what sometimes seemed like daily bombings for certain periods within that thirty years. And these were competant terrorists, too. But the UK faced no existential threat. To talk of so called Islamic State, rank amateurs compared with the Provos, threatening Europe is vastly alarmist.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
I can agree we had no justification to take out Saddam Hussein. But since we broke it, we own it.

We tried to ignore Al Qaida for some time, and then the World Trade Towers came down. Deash is threatening all of Europe. We have military obligations with Europe. Now that we have created it, we have to help resolve it.

The history of Al Qaeda rhymes with IS. As is well-known, the USA created it when it was the Mujahadeen fighting the Soviet Union.

The problem I think is no understanding of geography, history, and the creation of hatred. Which isn't very Jesusly.

you're right of course that America presents to the world a face of unopposed power, with appallingly powerful weaponry and at extreme cost, such that it doesn't provide its citizens with any hope. I heard Robert Reich (a former gov't official in some USA gov't or other) say that the American middle class hasn't had a raised in 30 years, and has been told to blame Muslims for that, and not to blames the corporate profiteering, which is the same as the military industry. Which doesn't seem very nice.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10832 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Gramps49
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Sorry, no prophet, your interpretation of what happened in Afghanistan does not hold water, exactly.

Technically, "mujahadeen" means anyone on jihad. It can be traced back to before the crusades. But the Afghanistan form of mujahadeen developed in the 19th century when the British tried to rule Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has a long history of being ruled by warlords. They oppose anyone trying to impose their will from outside, besides fighting amongst each other.

When the Soviets tried to impose their will on Afghanistan, the warlords rebelled. Several countries got involved but supporting the warlords, the US among them. But Al Qaeda was formed through funding by Saudi Arabia.

When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, many of the mujahideen, including Al Qaeda, wanted to continue the Arab struggle in other parts of the wold. Al Qaeda, in particular, became incensed when Saudi Arabia invited the US to use its country in the build up to the First Gulf War to liberate Kuwait. It was then Al Qaeda declared the US an enemy of Islam, and it all went downhill from there.

True, terrorism has been around for a very long time. But do not blame the US for the formation of Al Qaeda.

Posts: 1912 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
Deash is threatening all of Europe.
I'm not sure what you mean by threatening. The UK endured thirty years of terrorism, with what sometimes seemed like daily bombings for certain periods within that thirty years. And these were competant terrorists, too. But the UK faced no existential threat. To talk of so called Islamic State, rank amateurs compared with the Provos, threatening Europe is vastly alarmist.
Yeah, as some old Cockney said to the IRA, "I've been bombed by a better class of bastard than you.".

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Posts: 16587 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gramps49
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I would think a number of Parisians feel threatened by Daesh. Fully armed police in the center of Paris have now become the norm.
Posts: 1912 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
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They were 12 years ago. New in London since Ottawa. You get used to avoiding litter bins.

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Kwesi
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If I were an American the question I would want to raise before getting into the morality of the whole business is to what extent US military spending has anything to do with defence or the projection of the nation's power and influence. In my view the US taxpayer is being taken for a ride by the military-industrial complex, whose grip on tax dollars is a national disgrace and whose maintenance encourages foreign policies and popular attitudes which are not in the public interest. The problem I describe may have originated with C Wright Mills, but was publicly flagged by President Eisenhower as long ago as 1961:
quote:
IKE: "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 State house, 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 militaryindustrial 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."

That's what I call prophetic!
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Gramps49
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Actually, Kwesi, the first person to warn against the military industrial complex in so many words was George Washington--at least in our history.

Nevertheless, the question remains, who will fill the gap once we do pull out? I can't see anyone on the horizon.

Posts: 1912 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
I would think a number of Parisians feel threatened by Daesh. Fully armed police in the center of Paris have now become the norm.

But how much damage is really going to be inflicted upon ISIS' Euuropean operations by fighting the ones in Iraq/Syria?

The people who carried out the Brussels bombing, for example, weren't Syrians sent to Europe from some sophisticated ISIS military headquarters. They were all raised in Europe, and seem to have become radicalized from watching internet videos, some of which had been produced in the USA and Yemen.

Okay, so you deal a big blow to ISIS in Syria. Does that take away the ability of ISIS-identified propagandists to recruit Europeans? Are the imams in Yemen and the US going to stop making those videos? My guess is they would just continue making the videos, though maybe under allegiance to a new group claiming to be successor to ISIS.

[ 29. April 2017, 01:10: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Sorry, no prophet, your interpretation of what happened in Afghanistan does not hold water, exactly.

Here's a link to start you off. How Jimmy Carter & Zbignew Brzezinski started the Mujahideen.

A little looking will find quite a bit more of, most of it predating the turn of the century. Some of it not translated unfortunately into English. Brzezinski bragging about what he thinks the USA accomplished. And saying it was worth it, even with the blow-back of Sept 11. The mujahadeen believed it was they, not the Americans who defeated the Russians, and thought they might take down the other evil power too. Hence Sept 11 attacks on the 'Great Satan'. The disintegration of the USSR thus was their doing in their analysis. With the taking down of the USA a matter of more time in this Mujahadeen-Al Qaeda view. Which is probably as correct as the USA ideas about it frankly.

I guess this hasn't been part of any media for you? Your analysis is not even wrong in its non-rightness.

[ 29. April 2017, 04:32: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10832 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Kwesi
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Gramps49
quote:
Nevertheless, the question remains, who will fill the gap once we do pull out? I can't see anyone on the horizon.
There are 'gaps' and 'gaps' aren't there? It depends on how one detects the perceived gaps in the first place. When the British Empire collapsed the gaps were filled by newly independent states such as the USA, India, Ghana, and so on. The gap left by one empire did not necessitate its replacement by another. When the French were kicked out of Indo-China the gap did not need to be filled by another imperial power, as the USA was to discover in Vietnam. Vietnam was quite capable of ruling itself peacefully and presented no threat to the security of the United States even though it was Communist. Even more so the idea that the US 'lost China" when it failed to fill the gap left by European and Japanese control with its own version of imperialism now seems similarly non-sensible.

The USA is a great power and as such seeks to extend its influence as such powers do. That, for good and ill, is a fact of political life. The question being asked here is who is defining what those interests are and how they are to be addressed? Who benefits in the USA (let alone elsewhere) from the process of defence and foreign-policy making. The suspicion is that the military-industrial complex has become such a powerful lobby through the purchase of congressmen and women leading to the creation of so many congressional districts and states dependent on the industry, that it has come to dominate American attitudes both conservative and liberal in its international posture.

None of this is to deny that there are external threats to the security of the United States which must be addressed. They question is whether the huge defence budget has anything to do with their rational resolution. Could the money be spent more effectively? Could the budget be significantly reduced without compromising the security of Americans? Could tax dollars be better spent on other things?

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Martin60
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Excellent posts Kwesi. The MIC is the biggest white middle class social welfare program in the world.

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Posts: 16587 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
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& Stetson & no ...

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Posts: 16587 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gramps49
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Kwesi

I agree, it was a mistake for the US to have gone into Indo-China after the French withdrawal. I do find it interesting Vietnam is now inviting our naval ships to call on their ports as a way of counterbalancing the Chinese hegemony in the South Sea

But you forget your history at least with the formation of NATO At the end of WWII the European armies were exhausted. If the US had not filled the gap, it would have been very easy for the Soviet juggernaut to have continued across what remained of Germany into Franch and on to Spain Not sure if Great Britain could have stopped them.

As a maritime nation, it took us two world wars to learn that we had to protect the sea lanes for our own self-interests both in exporting our goods to other parts of the world and to allow for importing of our needs.

Yes, empires rise and fall.

BTW, while I have defended the need for American forces to be active in the world, I do think we have more important needs like universal health care and free college tuition. Eliminating one weapon system (the F-35) would cover four-year college tuitions for the next 20 years. I for one do not want to feed the (M-I) beast any more than I have to.

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Kwesi
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Gramps49, you will note that I referred to 'gaps' and 'gaps' and made the point that nothing of what I said was 'to deny that there are external threats to the security of the United States which must be addressed. They question is whether the huge defence budget has anything to do with their rational resolution." That I call to my aid General Eisenhower, who of all presidents had a grasp of the interaction between strategic, military, political and industrial interests, and the danger of the emerging military-industrial complex to the well-being of the USA, suggests my position is empirically well-founded. ISTM his warning has proved timely and prophetic, but like most prophecies largely ignored.
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