We need to talk about our Military
The United States Military is by far one of the only American institutions that everyone could agree on. Both sides of the isle seem, for the most part, to agree on issues with the military. The only fighting that happens are over minor disputes, but no one ever actually talks about the military. The military seems to be the only protected part of government, as no one is allowed to talk ill of it. At the very least, it is highly frowned upon, usually shut down with “people have died protecting your freedoms.” Whenever anyone talks about the military, any hard conversations that need to be had get ignored because it always gets deflected back to that same saying. And yes, we should absolutely respect their deaths, because they gave their lives for the ideals of this country. But our society has been socialized so much to never question the military, to never ask why we need to be spending over $600 billion when the next seven countries don’t even reach 600 billion. Our military is given a pass for whatever they want because they are the military.
But as government agency receives well over 600 billion dollars a year in tax payer money, we should defiantly be talking about them. A commonly used defense for the massive military budget is that it keeps the United States safe. But what are we being kept safe from? Last time I checked, we were not at war with any other nation, nor were we on the brink of war with any other power. So what justification is there for keeping an active military of over 1.3 million troops, with 200,000 troops deployed in over 170 countries, (New York Times)?
A major reason that our military is so massive, with really no purpose, is because of the military industrial complex. After the Korean war, unlike any other war, the US left a large standing army. This really hadn’t been done before, as in most wars, and we would mobilize troops only during war-time. Additionally, during times of war, manufacturing would switch to making war machines like planes, warships, and missiles. After the war was over, they would switch back to manufacturing whatever they would make. But after Korea, with the new sustained military, it lead to a weapons race with the Soviet Union and set up the system we have now. A few companies like Lockheed Martin, or Northrop Grumman, have massive lobbies over congress that continue to influence them into giving them money for weapons. The more useless and senseless fighting that we do around the world continues to fill their pockets at the expense of human lives.
This danger was even warned about 50 years ago, not by some random opponent of military expansion, but by the late President and former General Dwight Eisenhower, who said “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist,” (NPR). Today these few companies have so much power and influence that the American taxpayer has no problem spending over $600 billion because they think it is keeping them safe. The military industrial complex profits off the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.