If It Walks Like A Duck

In 2012, the United States will spend more than $1 trillion on the defense department and war.  We spend more on the military than we do anything else in the federal budget.  The 2012 allocation for education is $77.4 billion, or approximately 7% of what we splurge on defending ourselves.  Cancelling the space shuttle saved Americans $1.7 billion per launch.  That is less than the war in Afghanistan costs in a week, and we’ve been there more than a decade.  The money we’ve spent in Afghanistan could literally build a base on the moon, which is much more cool than killing people.

NASA has a twenty-year plan for a lunar colony, if we wanted to spend the money.  There would be permanent residents and shuttles back and forth to moon base 9-11.  I can’t think of a more inspiring memorial to the 3,000 who died in the Twin Towers.  Instead, we have the carnage in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We remember the slain by causing the deaths of a hundred times more.

Our response says something about us as a people.  We’re not very creative.  Any moron can throw a punch; it’s the typical response of a chimpanzee.  Let’s go kill ‘em, plus we get a chance to spread some real money around.  You’d think a nation that fancies itself to be Christian could come up with a more imaginative response.

Already we have leaders clamoring for war in Syria and Iran, who act as if bombs solve long-term problems.  World War II ended fascism, but gave us the Soviet Union, Red China, the Korean War, and the Cold War.  World War II never really ended, if we cared to be honest.  The current warfare in the Middle East is a direct outgrowth of Twentieth Century wars.

The most common result of wars in the era of modern civilization is to create more wars.  And that is primarily because of the financial incentive behind the business of warfare.  Back in the era of kings, blacksmiths didn’t get filthy rich crafting swords and shooing horses.  Today, the providers of weapons and horses make billions, while wars keep the cashiers busy.

We like to pretend we’re peaceable people who mind our own business.  The reality is far different.  Our military spending is greater than the next fifteen nations combined.  It is 56% of our entire discretionary budget.  We have a fleet of 181 Raptor fighter jets that cost $30 billion to develop, and $141 million to replace.  A Raptor is not a rocket plane that can fly to Mars.  We’d rather spend our money on cool weapons.

We are the world’s most dangerous country.  We build more weapons, use more weapons, and sell more weapons than any nation on earth.  We may not like the designation; I personally find it embarrassing.  But it’s true.

If it walks like a duck. . . . .

About Bucky Dann

I teach religion, sociology, and psychology at Southwestern Community College in the Smoky Mountains. I have worked in the United Methodist ministry and in the substance abuse field. I possess a Masters of Divinity, a Masters of Philosophy, and a PhD in the sociology of knowledge.

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