By Dave Lindorff
There is a massive deception campaign in the US, and in its global propaganda, which seeks to portray the United States as a poor set-upon nation that would like world peace but just has to keep a military stationed around the globe to “police” all the world’s “trouble spots.”
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
That truth is that the US is the biggest war-monger the world has ever known.
Let’s start with its budget. The US, in fiscal year 2012, budgeted a total of $673 billion for the military, plus another $166 billion for military activities of other government departments, such as the nuclear weapons program, much of which is handled by the Department of Energy, or the Veterans Program, which pays for the care and benefits of former military personnel. There’s also another roughly $440 billion in interest paid on the debt from prior wars and military expenditures. All together, that comes to $1.3 trillion, which represents close to 50% of the general budget of the United States -- the highest percentage of a government budget devoted to the military of any modern nation in the world -- and perhaps of any government of any nation in the world.
That spending represents also the world’s biggest percentage of national gross domestic product devoted to the military (GDP is a measure of all economic activity in a nation). Looking at the other countries with big militaries -- China, Russia, Britain and France -- not only does not one come even close in terms of the percent of GDP spent on its military, but taken together, all of their expenditures on their military combined total less than half what the US spends by itself.
Since the late 1960s, the US government has engaged in a sleight-of-hand to hide the scale of its military spending from the American people. It has done this by adding to the federal budget the amount of money spent on Social Security, the nation's retirement program, and Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly and disabled. This is not a correct accounting however, because both of those programs are actually funded by a separate payroll tax paid by employees and employers, and the resulting trust funds are actually dedicated to the citizens who receive or will receive benefits from the programs. Using that fraud, the government and the politicians are able to claim that the US “only” spends 24% of the budget on military. Even that would be far above what is spent by any other nation in the world, but it is actually only half of what the US really spends as a share of its general budget.
One reason the US military budget is so huge is that the US operates some 900 bases abroad, in what amounts to a program of global empire. It is estimated that the cost of keeping those bases operating is about $250 billion. Empire costs a lot more than that though...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1341