Such a buzz has been put on national security, and the culture of violence that it fosters, that to question it at any level riles folks up. Indeed, in a Christian nation, where no less than three Republican contenders claim to have been called by God, we are able to blow off God’s prohibition against killing as unAmerican. Add the fear factor and it has become an unfettered gravy train.
Two other factors contribute to the high cost of defense: the mindset of a standing army and the warmongering of the military-industrial complex.
We have evolved a standing army; but it’s not only an army but a navy, an air force, coast guard and marines. They all want their own aircraft and missiles and ability to nuke the enemy in their own deadly ways. Way too much redundancy. More than we can afford.
The attendant warrior class has its own perspective and tends to perpetuate the system and cost to taxpayers. For instance, the light at the end of the tunnel syndrome was evident in Vietnam four decades ago and is currently seen in Afghanistan. The hawks argue that we have made progress, we’re getting there, but we have to protect our gains. We just need more troops, more money, and more time. We have to win. The cost of losing is too great.
It’s their business to see a potential threat behind every bush and under every rock. They always need a new adversary and new, ever more expensive technology to fight them. National security has become a trillion dollar version of whack-a-mole.
Another costly disadvantage of supporting endless war is that the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about has become entrenched to supply the war machine, influence policy and reward those who support it.
Weapons contractors promote systems with subcontractors in every congressional district. Congress knows this will bring federal dollars back to their district. It means jobs and votes and campaign contributions. Congress has even pushed aircraft on the military that they don’t want and can’t use. They all become warmongers, at great cost to taxpayers.
If we are not going to change this system, we should at least pay for it now and not put it on our children’s tab.