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Military hardware, spending
Photo Credit: US Air Force illustration

No matter who is elected in 2024, defense contractors can kick back and rest assured that the huge amounts of money the US government steers their way with little oversight will keep on coming

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There are many areas in which it makes a huge difference whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House. The ridiculous amounts of money the US is going to spend on its “defense” isn’t one of them.

Therefore, while the rest of the nation will await the results of the election with bated breath next November, defense contractors can kick back and rest assured that the huge amounts of money the US government steers their way with little oversight will keep on coming.

All of this is incredibly dumb, of course.

The modern-day United States is one of the most secure countries in the history of the world. There is little risk of hordes of hockey stick-wielding Canadians invading from the north, and it is equally unlikely that Mexico is planning any attacks from the south… especially because Texas put those floaty things in the Rio Grande.

In addition, if there were any real threats from elsewhere (of which there are not), the US would see them from a few thousand miles away.

Unless, of course, the attack were nuclear, in which case all those fancy weapons won’t help. However, there will still be those eight minutes of satisfaction in knowing that the retaliatory strike will wipe out all of humanity.

The point is that all of this is extremely stupid.

Not just on the part of the US, of course, although its bloated defense budget dwarfs everybody else’s.

In general, it would be nice if we could all just get along. Imagine all the good that would come out of the world’s countries using the more than $2 trillion they spend annually on their militaries for something that actually benefits people other than the shareholders of Northrop Grumman.

In the US alone, even if the Pentagon’s budget were halved (or if anybody tried to actually curb fraud, waste, and abuse), there would be an extra $400 billion for stuff that would actually be useful.

You could just split that money up between Democrats and Republicans, and each of them could spend their half on something useful. The GOP, for example, could use its share to build a wall made out of money at the southern border. If you got the $200 billion in dollar bills, you could build a wall of cash that is 30 feet high and nearly 2,000 miles long. And then, the following year, you could do it again.

Or maybe just give Americans health care or something. Whatever.

Just about anything would be better than spending it on the military because it’s not as though wars are actually helping anybody. Back in the day, you might gain some territory if you were to attack your neighbor (in exchange for sacrificing the lives of thousands of your citizens), but when was the last time there was a war in which a country actually won?

And that’s not just a reference to the US’s various ill-fated attempts to “fight for democracy,” which is not even something its leaders do all that well at home.

Generally, invading countries get very little (apart from bloody noses and lengthy insurrections) for their troubles.

Just ask Russia. What, actually, would a successful invasion of Ukraine have looked like in the long-term? And would it have justified the 2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) that Russia’s regime is spending on its military in perpetuity?

Same for China, which spent a couple trillion dollars in the last decade for the chance to invade a relatively small island in the next few years — and of course the feeling of having a military that matches its status as a superpower.

Ultimately, that’s what it is all about: feeling powerful and good about yourself. And that is why, no matter who gets elected next year, this nonsense will just continue.

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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