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Trillions for Defense
America's soldiers have become too expensive to use
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During the Second World War there was a tongue in cheek song about the benefits of joining the army. It promised “twenty-one dollars a day once a month.” Back when I found myself in basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in 1968 the refrain was largely the same but my recollection is that we were paid around $70 in cash. Once a month. As there was nothing to buy and nothing to do with the money since we were not allowed off base and were in training all day seven days a week it was more than adequate pocket money.

When I left the army as a sergeant three years later I recall that I was making about $350 a month, largely due to a 1970 raise brought about by the impending switch over to an all-volunteer service which brought with it higher pay as an inducement to enlist. Soldiers who were married when they enlisted or who became married while in service received no benefits at all for their spouses until they had been in for three years, so they had to cover all their living expenses out of what was a relatively small salary even in those days. The idea was, of course, to discourage getting married unless one demonstrated seriousness by making a career out of the military.

Back then soldiering was regarded by most as both temporary and part of one’s responsibility as a citizen, but today’s professional force is a different animal, largely driven by pay and benefits to attract career soldiers and officers. And that provides the one compelling reason why we should be eschewing new wars: we cannot persist in actually using our large wartime strength military because America’s professional soldiers are way too expensive. One might even argue that post-9/11 pay and benefit increases mean that military personnel are rewarded excessively for their service compared to what is available in the private sector for Americans with similar education and experience.

The new budget being proposed by President Barack Obama reflects the increased cost associated with having a large professional military. It provides a jump in the Pentagon share to $534 billion plus $51 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and against ISIS as well as another $27 billion outsourced for nuclear weapons development by the Department of Energy. The Pentagon budget does not include additional big ticket defense expenditures such as the $137 billion spent on Veterans Administration hospitals in 2013, which is earmarked separately, as are the military components of the Department of Homeland Security.

Nor does the proposed budget appear to include any direct funding for the escalating conflict with Russia over Ukraine, though there is provision for more exercises involving US and NATO troops to include deployments in Eastern Europe. The incoming Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has already indicated that he would be inclined to provide arms to Ukraine, setting the stage for a proxy or even a real war with Russia. Fortunately the Europeans do not seem inclined to join in on the latest American misadventure and may be able to derail it.

Defense is hugely expensive in proportionate terms given the lack of any serious and sustained threats against the United States and when it comes to spending it doesn’t seem to matter whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat. The Pentagon claims that its capabilities have been eroded by the sequester of the past three years and that more money is needed to update existing weapons systems while supporting an active duty force of 475,000 military personnel. Modern weapons systems are enormously expensive even when they do not work very well. The F-35 fighter might be the greatest boondoggle in defense procurement history and the continuous construction of $5 billion aircraft carriers that are highly vulnerable to relatively cheap missiles is little more than welfare for the defense contractors.

The Defense Department planners insist that the United States has to have enough resources on hand to handle two “major regional conventional contingencies” simultaneously. Regional opponents are generally considered to be on the level of Iranians or North Koreans. It is not clear how seriously official Washington regards the “Chinese threat” or even the possibility of a war with Russia, either of which, of course, would have the potential of going nuclear.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that actual average pay and benefits for each soldier on active duty amount to $99,000, which means that current manning levels cost roughly $50 billion per year in basic personnel costs without considering the National Guard and reserves. But the Pentagon actually budgets $150 billion for personnel expenses. This is because in addition to salary, which has increased dramatically since 9/11, military personnel also receive thirty days paid vacation annually as well as free housing, food and medical care for themselves and their families. The housing and subsistence allowances are not taxed and they increase based on the number of family members. Families also receive free education plus child care allowances and shop at government run at subsidized post exchanges and commissaries.

When a soldier serves 20 years he or she receives a generous pension and heavily subsidized medical care for life as well as continued access to the exchanges and commissaries. Any soldier who leaves with an honorable discharge can have his college tuition paid for in full as well as some additional allowances for books and other expenses. The average retirement grade for an officer who serves 20 years is just below Lieutenant Colonel while the average for an enlisted man is First Sergeant, earning base salaries of $98,391 and $51,072 respectively. The base salary can be and normally is augmented by combat pay, incentive pay and hazardous duty pay.

There are several formulae in use for calculating retirement pay, but it traditionally has been in the range of 2.5% for every year served, meaning that twenty years of service would equate to 50% of final salary as a retirement that would subsequently be adjusted upwards for cost of living increases and also to correspond with pay raises awarded to the active duty military. A study using 2004 pay rates concluded that the officer’s retirement would wind up costing the government more than $1 million, while that of the enlisted man would be nearly $565,000. And that does not include the health care benefits. As the average age of an officer retiree would be 45 and 41 for the enlisted man most former soldiers subsequently start a second career or begin working for a defense contractor.

These retirement benefits are part of the legacy costs of a large professional army, but the real kicker is the burgeoning disability and medical costs, which are likely to break the bank over the next twenty years. Such expenses normally do not peak until well after the time of military service and all military personnel, not just retirees, benefit from them. The current rates for both disability and care are already far higher than in previous conflicts, largely because debilitating conditions like exposure to toxic chemicals and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are now covered.

As in the civilian economy, health care costs for the military are increasing much faster than inflation. As of mid-2013, 866,181 soldiers were considered casualties of Iraq and Afghanistan. A Harvard Kennedy School study estimates that each of those soldiers will require on average $2 million in medical care during their lifetimes, for a total of $1.7 trillion. That number is clearly higher now and will increase with every new war.

It is true that military personnel, subject to immediate reassignment worldwide, are subject to stresses that do not exist in the civilian sector. But the argument that they deserve extra pay and benefits because they do a dangerous job would appear to have only limited validity. To be sure those who actually fight have paid a heavy price with 6845 dead since 9/11, but relatively few soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are ever actually in harm’s way. Overall what has been described as the tooth-to-tail ratio in the U.S. military is one to three, which means that for every soldier who has a combat military occupational specialty (MOS) or a combat support role there are three more who are non-combatants. And the ratio is actually more unbalanced than that as combat units also include numerous soldiers in headquarters and support functions. As a general rule, anyone in a war zone receives combat pay or equivalent bonuses whether they actually are engaged in fighting or not, meaning that providing cash incentives for those who actually endure extra risk has largely been expunged from the system.

A 2010 study revealed that fully 40% of military personnel had never been deployed overseas at all during the decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The branches of military service that are highly infrastructure dependent, the Navy and Air Force, have very few personnel that play any kind of combat role at all in the type of warfare that has prevailed in the past fifteen years. Studies have demonstrated that it would be far cheaper to turn over many of the support and noncombatant functions to civilians or contractors who would not require the military’s extensive health care and other benefits or the generous retirements.

So it should surprise no one to learn that we Americans have a military establishment poorly designed to fight twenty-first century wars that is above all a money pit. Soldiers have been rightly or wrongly idolized since 9/11 and Pentagon brass have been able to take advantage of that fact to push pay and allowances up well beyond the point where there is a reasonable return and commitment based on the actual service provided. To be sure personnel costs are only one part of Defense Department extravagance but it is a highly volatile part driven by an increasing awareness of the physical and mental damage inflicted on many of the soldiers and marines who actually do the fighting.

Perhaps it is time to begin to come to the realization that America’s apparently insatiable appetite for war has just become too expensive for the nation to bear. The United States does not need a modern Praetorian Guard that is becoming overindulged with pay and privileges and it is perhaps time to return to the principles of the Founding Fathers who envisioned a military establishment consisting largely of citizen soldiers who would be prepared to fight to the death to defend their homes but would find it unimaginable to be going to war in Fallujah or Kandahar.

 
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  1. Vendetta says:

    866,181 casualties? Of our soldiers?

    What the fuck?

    Where is this number coming from and what went into it?

    • Replies: @Philip Giraldi
  2. It truly is insane and the outlook for all of us employed neither by the military, the military-industrial complex and its banker/investors, as well as for our children, surely is bleak.

    That cannot improve without greater hardship, because the country is addicted to the war economy, without adequate good paying jobs outside the warfare/national security/prison economy.

  3. donut says:

    I went in the service in the 70′s , the draft ended while I was in and I remember a warrant officer complaining that the military had become one big job program . From my own observations I would have to agree with him. The economy at the time was shit and I noticed a lot , not all , but a lot of the people staying in the service were doing so only for the security and benefits. I can remember also meeting a fair number of CPO’s that had never been on a ship , one warrant officer I met had 31years in the service and two weeks ! of sea time , a transit from Seattle to Hawaii .

    I also remember reading a comparison of ratios of combat troops to support for the various armies in ww2. As you might expect the US Army had an embarrassingly long “tail”. I believe the Germans and the Russians had the lowest ratios.

    • Replies: @Steve Naidamast
  4. @Vendetta

    Vendetta – WTF yourself. The number comes from the Harvard Kennedy School report which you can read for yourself if you go to the link. It includes both those who were wounded and those who are injured or have permanent disabilities as a result of their time in service.

    • Replies: @Vendetta
  5. Blobby5 says:

    Jihad me at hello, ( maher). How can we cut back in this United States of hysteria?!

    • Replies: @JustJeff
  6. The deployment of one soldier for a year outside the US is $1 million. The health costs after deployment are $2 million. They could be minting millionaires and living in peace. It’s a racket so they are spreading poverty offering work for shitty pay promoting violence.

  7. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    All US interventions post-WW11 were and are completely illegitmate. The several trillion saved could have been used for two things:1)subsidizing the college education or job training for potential Native Born White American Male Teenager Youth Canon Fodder and 2) A massive investment in a renewable energy infrastructure with the goal of World Wide energy independence from the Middle East.

    I have violent hatred of Bill O’Rielly….and the Catholic Church for producing the Subhuman Scum known as Bill O’Rielly.

    I am a socially and culturally ultra-conservative highly racialized…highly zenophobic….Irish ex-Catholic Anarcho-Syndicalist(as a staring point).

    General Smedley Butler:”War is a Racket”….GD obvious!!!!

  8. JustJeff says:
    @Blobby5

    We all know that’s never gonna happen. Nothing changes while the government can just print its own money.

  9. Wally [AKA "BobbyBeGood"] says: • Website

    The US military, aka: The Dept of Offense, consists largely of low skill losers who would rarely find such well paying work in the real world. These are not “heroes” motivated to “protect our freedoms”, which are decreasing by the day since the absurd & impossible 9/11, and I do not thank them for their “service”. They deserve nothing but disrespect.

    It’s all just another welfare scheme for the ‘security’ industry and those who do not accept personal responsibility in carrying their own weight.

    And those vast sums going to’Homeland Security’:

    “Jame Bamford of Wired subsequently reported that the NSA had hired secretive contractors with extensive ties to Israeli intelligence to establish 10 to 20 wiretapping rooms at key telecommunication points throughout the country.”
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-impact-of-nsa-domestic-spying-2013-6#ixzz3NxPMujNo

    and:
    “Two Secretive Israeli Companies Reportedly Bugged The US Telecommunications Grid For The NSA”
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/israelis-bugged-the-us-for-the-nsa-2013-6#ixzz3NxPnnUFg

    and:
    “IDF Unit 8200 Cyberwar Veterans Developed NSA Snooping Technology”
    Read more:http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/06/08/idf-unit-8200-cyberwar-veterans-developed-nsa-snooping-technology/

    and:
    “Jewish groups get up to 97% of grants from the Homeland Security”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/islamophobia-shmislamophobia-97-of-homeland-security-security-grants-go-to-jewish-orgs

    Thanks.

  10. Biff says:

    The dollar is not backed by gold, it’s backed by the military..

    Any threat to the dollar(Gaddafi, Saddam, et al) and you will be liberated(war inc)

  11. The Grate Deign [AKA "Fake Name"] says:

    By all means let’s cut federal spending. But if the actual concern is financial, let’s go after the giant hog first, which is the whole realm of federal transfer payments. Well over fifty percent of federal spending consists of taking earnings from workers and giving them to non-workers. Source: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_budget_pie

    Along with that, yes, let’s put the brakes on the wildly excessive military spending.

    But even if military spending were instantly cut in half, the government would still be running a deficit.

    So can we put an even bigger brake on the practice of confiscating my earnings to give them away to other people?

    • Replies: @Bill
  12. Vendetta says:
    @Philip Giraldi

    You and I are in agreement about the wastefulness and foolishness of these wars, and about overspending on defense.

    But using these figures of nearly one million ‘casualties’ is misleading horror mongering. These are NOT the figures for number of Americans wounded in action (which falls more into the realm of 50-60,000). 800-900,000 is the number of veterans who’ve received treatment through VA hospitals for any sort of injury, disease, or impairment, combat-related or not.

    This is not consistent with the way casualties from previous historical wars have been reported. By a metric as broad as this, I’d wager there have been about 15 million Iraqi ‘casualties’ of the U.S. occupation. By that metric, I’d bet there have been a few million sports-related casualties over the same time period among children in this country.

    Remember, I’m on your side, more or less. I don’t think we should have invaded Iraq, I think we should have left Afghanistan as soon as we ran the Taliban out of Kabul, I think the defense budget needs to shrink.

    But I think you need to consider the effect of using a figure like 866,181 casualties without an explanation of what that actually means. Less intelligent anti-war voices are going to interpret that as 866,181 (a third of those who went) having been shot or blown up or are suicidal PTSD invalids. They are going to quote it as that and make fools of themselves because that is absolutely untrue.

    • Replies: @Philip Giraldi
  13. @Vendetta

    I agree with you completely but the point the Harvard study was trying to make was that there will be enormous legacy costs no matter how the troops involved in the conflict became “damaged goods.” But you are also right in that referring to them as casualties, as the study does, can be very misleading and subject to misinterpretation.

    • Replies: @richard vajs
  14. @War for Blair Mountain

    All US interventions post-WW11 were and are completely illegitmate.

    Evidence is mounting that the WWI and WWII “interventions” were likewise “completely illegitimate.”

    Recently Robert Cohen wrote

    “Holocaust denial will remain a fringe issue. The documentation is secure in its veracity and overwhelming in its volume. If anything, today’s school children are in danger of thinking that Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin went to war against Hitler because of what was happening to the Jews.

    Which begs two questions:

    WHERE, pray tell, would students in US taxpayer-supported have gotten that absurd idea? (hint: ADL holocaust institute holocaust Curriculum for High School Students ); and

    IF “Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin” did not go “to war against Hitler because of what was happening to the Jews,” why did they go to war against Hitler?

    Consider a brief chronology:

    According to Stephen Kotkin, by 1923, Josef Stalin’s sociopathology was on display, but his acolytes, Polish Jews Grigor Zinoviev and Lev Kamanev, were not alarmed; Stalin was carrying out the genocidal wishes written into Vladimir Lenin’s utopian scheme, even as Zinoviev & Kamanev, who craved Stalin’s position and power, carried out their mission of attempting to subvert Germany to the International Communist ideology.

    By 1932, Stalinists had killed anywhere from 2 million to 10 million Ukrainians and Russians.

    Yet “within a fortnight” of the Jan 30, 1933, appointment of Adolf Hitler to the chancellorship of Germany, Louis Brandeis urged that “all Jews must leave Germany,” [p. 242] and six weeks later, by March 24, 1933, International Jewry Declared War on Germany and the ‘Hitlerites’.

    “International Jewry” was not concerned with Stalin’s psychopathology,

    nor with the active genocide taken place under the eyes and hands of Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky;

    nor with the subversive activities of Zinoviev and Kamanev,

    but they declared that the actions of German leaders to halt assaults on the political, economic and cultural systems of the German people to be — wait for it — antisemitic, thus worthy of the imposition of the threat or actual occurrence of economic destabilization in order to bring about the same round of famine and starvation that had cost the lives of 800,000 German civilians in WWI.

    Moreover, consistent with Brandeis’s decree, the great majority of the “587,000 Jews in Germany” did leave the country, and most of them took their wealth with them, one way or another. Walk into any of the obscenely large number of holocaust museums and try to find the display the memorializes Jews killed in the Allied firebombing campaign against Germany that took the lives of 600,000 German civilians, including women, children and infants.

    To recap: Stalin was considered a sociopath and by 1932 with the knowledge and assistance of numerous influential Jews had followed a Jewish-composed ideology and killed millions.

    Hitler led the German people in a campaign to nonviolently reassert German values and to legally and nonviolently eject forces that would subvert those values. (According to Breitman & Lichtman, between 1933 and late 1938 Hitler and the NSDAP actually quelled violence against Jews.)

    Churchill and FDR embraced Stalin as an “ally” in a “special relationship”, much like US leaders embrace the equally psychopathic and genocidally inclined Benjamin Netanyahu & his Jewish cohort.

    Churchill and FDR — and “International Jewry” — demonized Hitler and the German government and people for the crime of resisting Stalinist ideology and psychopathology.

    The American people are constrained from examining these contradictions, and are forced to spend their tax dollars to teach their children that “Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin went to war against Hitler because of what was happening to the Jews.”


    btw, Bill Blizzard,
    The Catholic church did not “produce” Bill O’Reilly.

    I join you in fury against the church and creed that formed my childhood.

    I want to know when they are going to stiffen their spines and tell all those who slander the Church, and Pius XII, and decent Christians everywhere, to STFU.

    I want to know when the Conference of Catholic Bishops is going to
    excommunicate John Boehner for betraying his country;
    excommunicate Michael Hayden for betraying his country;
    and hold excommunication from the right and privilege of Catholicism as Sword of Damocles over the heads of all those many Catholics in leadership positions who have prostituted their reason and loyalty by kneeling in the presence of the psychopath Benjamin Netanyahu.

  15. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:
    @SolontoCroesus

    I would have stayed out of WW1….gung ho for WW2…I truly hate the Nazis who are always at war with other European ethnic groups. The Nazis were allies of the Japs and aided and abetted the Bosnian Muslims. And yes…Japan deserved to nuked to save Native Born White American GIs who otherwise would have died. Imperial Japan=White Australian Women and White New Zealand Women sex slaves for Tojo’s Men…..White Women in Hawai next on the menu.

    Revisionists need to give up their fantasies about some imaginary peacefull alternative to destroying Germany and Japan.

    Gar Alperwitz is full of s……t….Revisionists want to administer a revisionist purity test otherwise you are a war mongerer!!!!…Revisionist can go F themselves!!!!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @solontoCroesus
  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    The U.S. entered WWII to save and defend Russia (and Stalin). There was no other reason. Pearl Harbor (or something like it) was eminently foreseeable and avoidable.

    If you’re “gung ho” with the results, that’s your affair.

    Roosevelt was one of the most ruthless and ambitious men America has ever produced, but he made a crucial error thinking he could control Stalin–hence Yalta.

  17. @War for Blair Mountain

    I don’t think of myself as a revisionist.

    I just don’t like being told crap and people expecting that I’m too dumb to know it’s crap.

    The story about an alleged holocaust that we (Americans & Europeans) are expected to internalize and recite as our Credo is a lie. The phenomenon is taking on the qualities of a religion; it is being demanded of me that I worship a false god and false dogma, and I am required to pay taxes to support public schools where the next generation of Americans are forced to worship this false god.
    This flies against the very essence of what it is supposed to mean to be a citizen of the USA.

    I can’t fathom it: American citizens are forced to subsidize enforced worship of the god of a foreign entity.

    You speak of a “peaceful alternative to destroying Germany and Japan.”

    Maybe not telling lies to involve the nation in an unnecessary war? That coulda’ worked.

    I should frame my original quest more succinctly:

    Precisely what was the casus belli that required US to go to war in Germany — let’s talk about the period 1933 – 1937, when Jews & others pulled out all the stops to stir up war fever in the US.

    Why? Why should US get involved in war against Germany ( esp. contrasted w/ Stalin)

  18. Bill says:
    @The Grate Deign

    I know when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think is “Let’s take away Social Security and Medicare, condemning millions of old people to finish out their lives in poverty and disease. That way, we can cut Lloyd Blanfein’s taxes.” All my neocon friends agree with me! The libertardians too! Why can’t we just get ‘er done!!?!

    • Replies: @Kiza
  19. Kiza says:
    @Bill

    When I wake up in the morning, my first thought is – will the US go bankrupt today? This would mean that it would have to stop doing horrible damage around the World. The cost of its military that Giraldi outlines here is nothing compared with the cost of the whole US establishment. The whole sick global show (military, media etc) is financed by limitless printing of US$, for which there still appears to be demand around the World. As long as the US can print as much of its currency as it needs for its “global adventures”, the things will be as they are now. In other words, it does not matter how much the US military costs, your taxes are paying only for a very small percentage of this cost, it is mostly financed by fiat.

  20. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    The Catholic Church did not produce Bill O’Reilly! You are a bigot, sir!

  21. @SolontoCroesus

    If the Church ever does any of that, maybe I’ll consider re-joining. As of now, they are promoting the illegal immigrant invasion of my nation, so the odds don’t look too good.

  22. Priss Factor [AKA "K. Arujo"] says:

    War Street.

  23. Joe Webb says:

    War is in our genes. The anti-war people, most of them…. and I am basically anti war, but no longer a dreamer…went to jail over Vietnam, etc….are dreamers.

    War is to protect yourself, your family, your country, and increasingly, your race. So the issue is not how to end war, a stupid endeavor if there ever was one. but how to limit it.

    The first thing is not to fight other people’s wars, like Israel. The second thing is to recognize that other countries like Russia have just as much right to their national interest as we do.

    The third thing to do is recognize that war is a fact of life and not to get hysterical about the war du jour.

    The fourth thing is to recognize that all the wars these days are ethnic, national, and racial, except for the Arabs/Muzzies, who are fighting clan and tribe wars as much as they are fighting religious wars.

    The fifth thing to recognize is that Pat Buchanan is about 99% correct on what wars should be fought and which not.

    All these wars we have been fighting now for nearing 25 years are for the Jews/Israel. Why is that?
    The standard explanation is that Jews have too much secular power, which they of course do. But.

    The fundamental reason for the Jewish Power is not their money, monopoly on the media, their ten point advantage in IQ, etc.

    The fundamental reason is our Protestant religious culture that has adopted the Jews since the Reformation. For Protestants, Jews are indeed chosen by God. WE got about 50 million fundamentalists who want the rest of us to die for Israel, etc. This is where the JewishPower comes from. Criticize the Jews, for this crowd, and you are not only an anti-semite, you are trying to kill god, a favorite trope for Jews by the way who usually don’t get too excited any more about G-d. They do however get excited about their tribal/racial survival, as they should. (Time for Whites to do the same.)

    What is fun these days is watching the judaized Protestant churches whine about Apartheid Israel.
    The Chosen are way too much more equal to Palestianins, Arab lives, etc. even for the Protestants. This does not let the Catholic Church completely off the hook, since it no longer hammers the jews as the anti-Christ, which they more or less are if you take Old Testament “kill them all” morality, a Darwinian morality to be sure….for the tribe you know.., you kill even their little ones….if you compare that to Christian morality, for want of a simpler term, love your neighbor as yourself as the fundamental. God is for everybody, not just the jews.

    That is another subject and it has its difficulties, but ancient Greek had two words for enemy, basically one being the private enemy and the other being the public enemy. The private enemy you turn your other cheek to, but the public enemy, the invader, gets handed his guts.

    So, the wailing and chest-beating about War…boo hoo, boo hoo, is just stupid. If you want to get realistic about Ending War, think otherwise…think national rights to self-preseveration, racial rights not to be genocided, and limited war for limited objectives…one’s share of the pie, but not the whole pie, as the “West” is doing now with its saber rattling over Ukraine.

    Right now we are also invading the Arab world for the Jews. About as insane a proposition as one could imagine. Then to mollify the muzzies, we tell them they can take Europe. Wrong, they cannot. They are an invader and will be shot accordingly. We should be shot for invading theArab World, and they are legitimately trying to shoot us, since they cannot get a bead on the real thing, Israel.

    By the way, 9-11 happened cuz of Israel and US backing. The Jews caused 9-11, along with the White shabbas goyim who do the water carrying for them. Again, it all goes back to our Protestant nuttiness. The Puritans, when they arrived in Massachussests in 1610-20, thought the Red Men were one of the Lost Tribes of Israel. Old Testament insanity and Yahweh foaming at the mouth.

    Joe Webb

  24. The U.S. military is the best gig in the USA, if you can avoid combat, which 90% evade, and less than 1% see serious combat. Some career GIs never serve outside the USA, to include Coast Guardsmen who get the same benefits. Someone with a high school diploma can make over $100,000 a year by age 35, then retire at age 38 with 75% pay for life, nearly free health care for life, and then collect VA disability pay for any minor ailment that occurred while in service (to include depression or stress), even if not work related. Here are details from something I wrote in 2010, and military pay has risen another 7% since then ahead of inflation.

    http://www.g2mil.com/pay.htm

    Then while collecting military retirement and VA disability, one can get head of the line priority for federal jobs, and work full time to collect a third regular check. Citizens would be shocked at the thousands of vets who are rated 100% VA disabled after they somehow finished at least 20 years of service to get retirement, then are still able to work full-time with the U.S. government, or go to college for four years at taxpayer expense.

    This is why the U.S. military turns away 75% of healthy high school graduates who try to enlist. If the truth were known, more college graduates would enlist as privates. After four years, they can be an E-4 and earn more than the average college graduate, without any student loans.

  25. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It works only to protect real friend: Israel. Good nigt Americans, have a beautiful dream.

  26. joe says:

    They should be retired after twenty years at full salary plus medical. They deserve the financial support of all those flag flying, flag waving fools that delight in cheering them on while they themselves, as well as their loved ones, do not serve, or ran from serving (chickenhawks) when their time came during the Viet Nam conflict. You know those “heroes” such as Bush, Cheney, Bolton, all the neo-cons,
    And think of all those sports star signing multi-million contracts and while those men and women of the same age are supposed to be grateful for a free ticket to a game or a phony salute before game time or at half fime.

  27. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:
    @joe

    Found the following photo on google images:a young man from the state of Pennsylvania wearing his brand new metallic insect legs-his legs were blown off in Afghanistan-supporting himself on metal crutches surrounded in a circle by massive Penn State football players including future NFL multimillionaire, Penn State starting quaterback Christian Hacklenberg in the middle of the field before kickoff. Obviously, we are sending the 5’6″ highschool benchwarmers to Afghanistan for delimbing to protect 6′ 5″ Christian Hacklenberg’s FREEDOM!!!!!

    Another reason why I am no longer Catholic:The Pope is a farting Old Queen who is clearly pushing for homos to be married in Catholic Churches….take that Mary from Minnesota!

  28. @Philip Giraldi

    A whole lot of those military retirees earned their disabilities by being in the EM clubs for extended periods of time. You can get a disability for a lot of reasons beyond getting shot – arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, etc. There are organizations dedicated to helping military retirees put in for and get ‘disabilities’. Yes, the number is enormous, but our civilian work force also has an enormous number (about 13 million) who also claim disability. It is all an indicator that our society has become just too complex for ordinary people. Becoming disabled allows one to sit on the sidelines where one doesn’t have to deal with matters beyond one’s control and collect a check.
    For some people, fear of our “winner-take-all” society is disabling in itself. A society built upon greed, lies and exploitation will come to no good end – there should be no surprise in that

    • Replies: @Steve Naidamast
  29. Bill says:

    Some bitter and angry people here; and I am terrified that I agree with most of them…

    • Replies: @solontoCroesus
  30. @donut

    @Donut

    I believe I read that the US service “tail” was between 1 combat soldier for 12 to 17 support personnel during WWII, which as you noted was quite bad.

    I believe the US equation was the worst for all the forces involved…

  31. @richard vajs

    @Philip Giraldi, @richard vajs

    As a senior software engineer, I can completely agree with the comments regarding the exorbitant numbers regarding people on disability.

    I see this number continuing to increase as richard vajs noted in his response simply due to the level of complexity that is being thrown increasingly at the average person.

    I have developed software for a little over 40 years and the complexity involved in just this effort has increased to the point that it can no longer be effectively managed by technical managers who have little or no understanding of the technologies involved let alone those that do; and this unskilled technical management segment in US society is quite overwhelming in the profession.

    That being said, this mix inside the profession with the rush by technology companies to automate everything under the sun with smart devices and their corresponding applications has just about reached a breaking point whereby such technologies are actually having a reverse effect on the proper accumulation and use of knowledge which is destroying the basis of curiosity, the basis for all basic knowledge acquisition.

    As these stresses increase, more and more people will look to literally get out of society to simply draw a check. And this combined with the increasing number of veterans who will be drawing on such benefits from being casualties of war or other military-related injury will surely cause a catastrophic financial issue in the future…

  32. @Bill

    Bill –

    “Bitter” and “angry” are opposite emotions.

    “Bitter” connotes a fearful sense of being disempowered.

    “Anger” is a useful emotion: it signals that something is wrong; marks the location of the offense; and marshals energy to combat the attack.

    Anger is such a powerful emotion that it frequently overwhelms all systems and bypasses critical thinking; smart anger processes energy through the frontal lobe, but that requires a deliberate act.

    The Netanyahus of the world and the many, many minions of the zio network trade on fear: they can, and do, destroy the careers, finances, homes, relationships, reputations, even lives of people who resist their demands. That’s frightening, and it’s real, but I for one refuse to allow fear to silence my anger or cause me to cower and accept the debasement of my culture and creed.

    In the script for Exodus, (which is what many Americans consider the history of Israel), the Paul Newman character attempts to dissuade the leader of the Jewish terrorists from further acts of terror; [Newman] says: —

    “How can we ask the UN for a just decision when we keep blowing up things like a bunch of anarchists?”

    The terror chief replies:

    You have just used the words “a just decision.”
    May I tell you something?
    Firstly, justice itself is an abstraction completely devoid of reality.
    Second, to speak of justice and Jews in the same breath is a logical uncertainty.
    Thirdly one can argue the justice of Arab claims on Palestine just as one can argue the justice of Jewish claims.
    Fourthly no one can say the Jews have not had more than their share of injustice these past years.
    I therefore say, fifthly Let the next injustice work against somebody else for a change.

    For at least the last 70 years, Jews have had “more than their share” of a victor’s justice (which is always of dubious “logic.”)
    For those same 70 years and more, “injustice” has worked against those whom Israel has sought to destroy.

    Let the next injustice work against Jews for a change. “

    It is time for Jews to experience the fear by which so many of their leaders and those leaders’ acolytes have reduced entire nations and peoples to “bitter,” disempowered and despairing shells of human souls.

    Jewish leaders who throw their influence around with impunity must be made to understand that we are not afraid of them.

    Gandhi led squads of ordinary Indian people to march to the sea and gather salt, even as British forces on horseback and armed with sabers slashed and trampled them. Row upon row of Indian men marched forward against the brutality of the British, who cut them down.

    Indian women came from behind, carried off the wounded, and the next row of men marched forward, demonstrating to the brutal British that tho they may be beaten, even killed, they would not succumb to fear.

    Let the British fear their moral force.

    And let those zionists who think they can subvert the American people with impunity be made to fear the moral force of the American people.

    This is my country.
    I am an American.
    I have no obligation whatsoever to Israel or to Israelist demands.

    Quite the contrary.

    Bibi, Fear my anger.
    We know what you did.

  33. moi says:

    Time for the last patriot to turn off the light….it’s over.

  34. “Some career GIs never serve outside the USA, to include Coast Guardsmen who get the same benefits.”

    The Coast Guard does send it’s members overseas. There are pictures of Coast Guard members “guarding the coast” in Afghanistan and Iraq (At least Iraq has a coastline).

  35. Escher says:

    The US has become a modern Sparta, where the entire society is devoted to support of the military, directly or otherwise, and any questioning of this military-centric society is vilified and suppressed.

  36. I never thought about it until now, but since modern wars serve partially as entertainment for a dumbed-downed American public, it stands to reason that US soldiers serving in combat areas should be rewarded with about the same compensation package as the highest paid professional football player. This being true because in addition to providing public entertainment, both professions require roughly the same level of intelligence and education, along with the risk of acquiring a disabling physical injury.

  37. Dessenter says:

    The MIC operates w/the steely eyed will of those who spend our money w/o accountability.

  38. I don’t have the reference, but it was a direct source from the DoD.

    The death rate for active duty members from all causes in 1980 was roughly equal to the death rate in the 12 year GWOT 2002/2013. Actually, it exceeded it for most years, just for a few years when things were hot in Iraq did the death rate exceed that of 1980.

    A lot of this discussion about our heroic service members is similar to the bloviation about how police guys never know if they are coming home after work, etc, but they aren’t even in the top ten or 20 most dangerous jobs in the U.S., being a roofer is far more perilous.

    But at the same time, some cops do have dangerous beats and some U.S. military do have hazardous jobs, the problem is that it is a small minority and the rest are all Brian Williamsing.

    Stolen valor is not just a civilian phenomenon. This is why in the service CIB, flight wings, etc, are such a big deal, shows who are the real fighters and who are the desk jockeys. Inside the military, everyone knows what jobs are the real deal and who are the posers but everyone presents a united front externally that everyone in uniform is a hero, kind of like teacher solidarity.

    The pay/retirement could easily be reformed by making only certain MOS’s/qualifications held for a certain number of years to be eligible for the full panoply of benefits and the others give a limited/reduced benefits. Really, a lot of these people are just camp followers.

  39. Hawkeye says:

    It is easy to sit in a comfortable armchair and write articles about military pay and benefits, while omitting, either by design or lack of knowledge, entire elements that influence the advantages that Phillip Giraldi addresses.

    The United States either maintains a professional military force or it once again resorts to the unpopular concept of conscription. There are some who point to Israel’s national requirement of serving in the military or the country’s option of national service for those who are not physically qualified to serve, but such an option is not realistic for our country. Israel does not pay conscripts much more than a basic stipend during the three years young men (two for women) complete their initial military obligation. Imagine the outcry from America’s mothers and fathers if their sons and daughters were taken for two years and given only a monthly stipend. The horror.

    Even with only a basic allowance, the cost to the United States would be staggering as several million young people turn 18 each year.

    If we dismiss the false option of no military at all and we leave behind the concept of universal conscription, the two choices that remain are a partial draft or a professional military force. The current professional military is a legacy of the distaste so many citizens had for the draft during the Vietnam War and is not likely to change for the foreseeable future. This doesn’t mean it cannot or should not change, but a realistic and workable plan must first be developed and none appears to be on the horizon in serious circles that can implement such change.

    For the time being, a professional fighting force is our military of choice.

    It is true that that of those who don the uniform of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and the Coast Guard do not all serve in the combat arms specialities, but many non-combatants do serve in high-threat areas and combat zones. Air Force personnel, who one would not think of as combatants, apart from aircrew, were called upon for convoy duty in Iraq — a very high risk endeavor on the best of days. Other professions that one would not associate with a hot zone also serve in combat areas — personnel specialists, public affairs, chaplain’s assistants, avionics technicians, aircraft engine technicians, airframe specialists, parachute riggers, and almost every other career field represented in the military deploy forward and are subject to mortar and rocket attacks, terrorist bombings, IEDs, and other threats.

    The tooth-to-tail ration that Giraldi mentions does not mean that the non-combatants don’t serve in harm’s way.

    When an aircraft carrier deploys with a full battle group, everyone aboard those ships places his or herself at risk. Non-combatants who fuel the aircraft, upload the weapons, maintain flight deck safety, and those who quickly turn around combat aircraft are not working in the combat arms, yet a flight deck of a U.S. nuclear carrier is among the most dangerous environments in which to work. The ever present risk of an arresting gear cable snapping, a flight deck mishap with a recovering or launching aircraft, or a flight deck fire place the entire ship at risk.

    Escort ships such as cruisers, destroyers, and frigates place their crew in danger simply by their small size in contrast to an aircraft carrier. Those smaller ships can be tossed around to quite an extent with only a moderate sea state.

    An underway replenishment, accomplished by non-combatant supply and fuels specialists, is an extremely dangerous evolution that can easily result with a deadly collision at sea due to the slightest miscalculation.

    Deployments from home are long and arduous — not only to hot zones. Soldiers, airmen, and sailors leave their families for weeks and months at a time for joint exercises conducted around the globe, they deploy in support of training missions, and they deploy in support of real world operations. For most enlisted personnel and officers, the long periods of time away from home are simply part of the job, yet it takes a toll on relationships and whole families.

    In addition to the constant deployments, some jobs require shift work — the military never closes and watch centers and other facilities are often manned 24/7 for 365 days a year, another strain on families as uniformed personnel work weekends, nights, and holidays.

    There is also the issue of the constant changes of station. Enlisted and officers typically receive orders to a new duty station every two or three years. Some are lucky and are able to make their entire careers in an area with a sizable military presence such as Norfolk, Virginia, home to the Atlantic Fleet. Most uniformed members, however, move every few years, uprooting entire families, enrolling children in new schools, leaving friends behind, and finding a new home. It is a vagabond way of life. One might argue that the military should bring an end to the constant changes of station, but as individuals are promoted, as they learn new skills, and as changes occur, such moves become essential to fostering readiness.

    For the 20 years of constant moves, the years of deployments, and the risk of being sent to a combat zone, military members receive a pension. Those who serve less than 20 years receive no pension and if they are healthy they receive no health benefits. Military pensions are not calculated on the full income of an officer or an enlisted person — base pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence (food), sea pay, hazardous duty pay, etc. A 50% pension is provided to retirees after 20 years of service, but only on their base pay. Allowances are not calculated into military pensions.

    It is true that the military budget is far above that of any other country in the world. The U.S. funnels money into a “military industrial complex” that has a deep stomach and an apparent never-ending appetite. But, there are some considerations that must be understood. The time to design and build new aircraft, ships, missiles, and other pieces of hardware is not when the bubble has burst, but long in advance of any potential conflict. It takes years and years of developing requirements, soliciting proposals, research and development, and manufacturing, testing, and ultimately fielding a revolutionary new design. Using each new generation of aircraft as an example, the technologies that are implemented are typically revolutionary in such a way that in many cases certain requirements are for capabilities that simply do not exist at the time of design.

    In the 1960s, the Navy’s F-14 Tomcat was deliberately built to carry the Phoenix missile, an air-to-air missile with a distance far beyond anything that had been fielded at the time. This didn’t simply require a new missile, but the attendant avionics in the aircraft that could detect the target and provide the initial lock-on of that target. Computer systems were rudimentary and cumbersome at the time, but the miniaturization efforts were successfully introduced to the F-14. As computer technology — hardware and software have improved so has our capabilities with systems that often serve as force multipliers because of their advanced technology.

    Aircraft carriers carry systems far greater than any carrier launched during WW II and are far different than what we sent to sea in the 1960s. In every respect, our carriers are far more lethal and carry the attendant systems to maintain the advanced air force parked on the flight and hangar decks.

    Submarines and their internal systems are extraordinarily advanced and are constantly being upgraded and improved.

    The advanced systems in today’s military are so revolutionary that cost overruns by overly optimistic defense contractors becomes the norm for new weapon systems.

    This does not mean that improvements can’t be introduced into the military procurement system; it certainly can be massaged and problems can be fixed. Ironically, however, when there is waste or fraud it is frequently the military that is first to identify the problem and take action.

    What is the threat for which the U.S. must dump hundreds of billions of dollars? That’s the $64,000 question. How do we prepare for a threat one year, five years, or ten years into the future? This is the challenge to the Pentagon — preparing for threats that can only be anticipated, but can never be confirmed. Regardless, the Pentagon assigns substantial manpower at attempting to understand how global threats may evolve over time and attempts to prepare for any and all contingencies — however real or imaginary those threats may be. One can war game an infinite number of potential threats and still get it wrong. The only realistic option is to prepare for multiple scenarios. Compounding an already complex challenge is the fact that the U.S. is a global presence and it depends upon open and free economic markets to grow its own economy.

    Make no mistake about it, the United States is a maritime nation that depends upon open and safe sea lanes around the world. Choke points such as the Straits of Gibraltar, Messina, and other areas are key shipping routes that are easily threatened. The same with the thousands of ports in which merchant shipping is conducted. Economic markets in the world’s nations suddenly shut down when governments fall, when civil war erupts — whenever destabilization occurs. The U.S. depends upon those markets.

    Is our system perfect? Hardly. Can it be improved? Most certainly. Do we require such a huge military? That depends upon the role we wish to see for the U.S. as a global power. It is easy to pull back and advocate for greater isolation, but from pure economics the days of isolation are long over. In the meantime, we continue to plan for whatever threats may appear on the far horizon – be it a new form of terrorism, a sleeping giant that suddenly tests its strength, or a more modest threat that we simply failed to anticipate.

    The U.S. is a global power and it remains so because of its strength. Russia and China may not be immediate threats to us and it is very unlikely we are about to engage with either country in the near future. But, they are not standing still with respect to their preparedness. Both nations seek to introduce new systems and advance their militaries. It would be unwise for the United States to stand idly by as other countries increase their military readiness.

  40. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:
    @Carroll Price

    Bill Blizzard and his Men

    I like your post because it goes to he heart of the issue. Of course, that will never happen. If you are a F-up-confused varsity benchwarmer from an economically distressed Native Born White American Family from the American Heartland your destiny is coerced-low wage labor in the US Military fighting for Tom Brady’s…Eli and Peyton Manning’s FREEDOM!!!!! with the risk of being delimbed….face blown-off…a deaf and blind stump attached to a bedban twitching in a filthy Walter Reed Army Hospital bed spat upon by a Haitian nursing attendant…while Tom Brady bangs the German-Brazil Teutonic beauty Michelle Bunchen at night in a warm bed in Tom Brady’s Mansion.

    Native Born White American Males are sealed off in a social and cultural Universe that is at the extreme end of a continuum of social,cultural,moral, and physical dissipation…just get invited to a Superbowl Party and you will see its full glory.

    NY Giants headcoach Tom Caughlin=War Mongerer and Vietnam War era draft dodging Chickenhawk….likes to send other peoples teenage sons off to Afghanistan for delimbing….

    Saw another Obama-Biden 2008 bumper sticker with the iconic hippie-yippie peace symbol next to it on the car in front of me this morning….

    Saw a photo of a WW1 basket case on google images…all I can say is this:the war mongering-chickenhawk-jocksniffing-Sports Entertainment Culture that is so thoroughly integrated with all of the Catholic and Protestant US Christian World is a monumental-vaulting blasphemy against Creation Itself!!!!

  41. @Hawkeye

    Thanks very much for posting this! I’m glad you took the effort to counter the misinformation in this thread.

  42. Hawkeye says:

    Ex Submarine Officer, if you really are a former bubblehead than you know my point. The article carefully omits a large part of the story for the sake of sensationalism and to prove the writer’s point.

    As I said, there are definitely problems within the defense establishment and there are savings to be had, but attempts to prepare for unknown threats upon U.S. interests on a global scale lead to the kinds of budgets associated with U.S. defense. Of course, the alternative is to withdraw inwardly and watch China and Russia expand their military programs as they become the unchecked arms suppliers of the world while we bury our heads.

    No, China and Russia do not threaten the U.S., but both can threaten U.S. interests abroad that would have a tremendous impact on the U.S. economy. Our economy depends upon international trade, something we cannot ignore.

  43. German says:
    @Hawkeye

    Sounds like an post from direct from the pentagon. However, global hegemony and global aggression is costly, and surely you need a big military to plunder all the countries not able to defense themselves.

    Maybe your country needs to meddle with all the other ones in the world. Maybe you think that operational costs and 24/7 shifts are an excuse for all the murder you killers do and maybe money really never stinks.

    But a war machine (nothing more is the US killing everywhere misconception of defense) has it’s own rules. You can see this on the Nazi Wehrmacht over here. Lot’s of studies has made how Hitler was able build up such a big military in this short time and the answer is debt.

    Debt debt debt everywhere and scam and fraud. This was not called wall street, names where Mefo Wechsel and a lot of other financial constructions (aka products) at that time similar to the current bubbles.

    That wasn’t enough because it’s never enough. The german world war II was financed with the plunder of the raided countries. Like now but not Poland or Greece but Iraq Libya a Syria and all the other ones where your “US-trades” has needs for goods and hold there weaker and weaker $Hegemony. Everywhere the glory of the US Military has spends it’s wonderful spirit there is nothing more than a devastated country with destroyed structure and civil wars.

    Thats neither coincidence nor intention. It’s simply that the costs of the military leaves nothing left than to feed the military. There is simply no energy for nation building left. Compare the actual desasters with what the USA did after invasion in Germany in WWII (where the germans are very thankful for) and you see how your operational logic will turn into desaster.

    Like the actual desaster in Ukraine. The US regime change is turned into a civil war, puts the worst right wing Nazi troops in power and forwarded direct confrontation with Russia. There is no money in the world which can turn the defeat.

    Pleas excuse my bad english, will work on it.

  44. Hawkeye says:

    German, the western nations all maintain advanced militaries with some of the most modern weapons systems in the world — Germany, France, England, etc. This comes at a cost. Yes, the U.S. has an enormous and costly military, but we also have global interests upon which our economy depends. And, as a global power we don’t have the luxury of burying our heads in the sand.

    We continue to guarantee Japan’s security 70 years after WW II. We maintained a strong presence to monitor the Greenland, Iceland, UK gap in which the old Soviet Union operated freely for decades, we have interests across Europe, Asia, and the Near East. We depend upon free and safe sea lanes for trade, safe air passage for travel, we require open markets in which to sell our goods. And, we don’t have the luxury of hoping some other nation will step up to the plate and make things right when the crap hits the fan. What other Navy ensures that no country will attempt to close off choke points? Back in the 1980s when Libya declared territorial waters that stretched 100 miles in the Mediterranean Sea, threatening any shipping that came into the area it was the U.S. that routinely challenged Libya’s effort by crossing Ghaddafi’s imaginary line of death. All too often, the nations of the world do zippo. Nothing. Germany’s experience in WW II left it very reluctant to commit troops elsewhere in the world and it’s only been in the past one or two decades that Germany has finally stepped up to the plate in that respect.

    A perfect example is ISIS — where are the Arab nations that have been sponging off the United States or Russia for decades by purchasing advanced weapon systems. Saudi Arabia hasn’t done a damned thing. It was only after a fighter pilot was brutally murdered that Jordan has committed to battling ISIS with tremendous force. Where is Kuwait? Turkey? They’re all still in their convenient holes hoping the problem will go away.

    The United States, just like any other country, screws up. We should never have gone into Iraq. We were unprepared to answer the question of who or what group would fill the power vacuum that would be left after the Hussein government fell. Instead, we had this stupid and naive idea that just like when the wicked witch of the west melted in “The Wizard of Oz,” the loyal people would welcome us and all would be well. Wrong! It never works out that way.

    The U.S. may not be perfect, but when push comes to shove — the U.S. is there for the world. Our military is usually the first to respond to natural disasters around the world — typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions — the U.S. military is on the scene. I’m sure you don’t know that when military personnel deploy around the world aboard carriers and in other capacities our chaplain’s corps often organizes humanitarian efforts. Our soldiers, airmen, and sailors are helping to build schools, refurbish buildings, assist children. They dig wells for water, help with sanitary issues, and more.

    Here in the United States, we accept that our military budget has gotten out of hand. It’s pathetic that we should be spending more than $500 billion on defense — it’s crazy.

    But, in the end, if we are going to develop next generation weapon systems, support a professional military force (in the absence of conscription, which he American public rejected years ago), and take care of veterans who place their lives on the line for their country , we can expect it to cost a lot.

    By the way, German, I don’t know if you’re aware that many of those advanced technologies that are injected into weapons systems often translate into civilian purposes as well. The next time you type a response on unz.com keep in mind that you are doing so because of the United States Department of Defense. The initial foundation for the internet was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration.

    All the best to ya!!

    • Replies: @Wally
  45. Wally [AKA "BobbyBeGood"] says: • Website
    @Hawkeye

    You are utterly ignoring the fact that the problems that the US military faces are of it’s own making.

    The US attacks other nations based upon blatant propaganda, usually upon the demand of Jewish supremacist Israel, and when the resultant and normal blowback occurs our Dept. of Offense labels it “terrorism” and demands more, more, & yet more money.

    Your ‘sea lane protection’ is a canard that ignores the fact that regardless of who its is, they all need those sea lanes open. Arabs cannot eat their oil, the Chinese must ship their manufactured products in order to survive.

    You also ignore the fact that any increases in Russian & Chinese expenditures are merely a reaction to the threat that the US military poses to them. The US military are the bad guys, the US military is reviled worldwide.

    You also seem to ignore the fact that Russia’s and China’s expenditures are a mere fraction of US’s outrageous expenditures.

    The US military is manufacturing excuse after excuse for their unsustainable demand for taxpayers hard earned money.

    The US military is destroying the US, not protecting it. The US military is parasitic monkey on the back of US taxpayers.

    Please get off welfare and get a real, productive job. But then I’m sure you have a nice job lined up somewhere in The Complex.

  46. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    [Our website provides commenters a great deal of freedom, but that does NOT include trying to post under someone else's identity. I'll assume you made an inadvertent mistake, but repeat it and you'll be banned, with all your future comments summarily trashed]

  47. @Wally

    Russia could never match US spending. In the end we had $600 hammers and they had cheap hammers and were beating the Berlin Wall to pieces. Now we have magic helmets and $6000 hammers. By 2030 we’ll have corn powered fighters. Until then, get bombed.

  48. @Wally

    Russia’s and China’s expenditures are a mere fraction of US’s outrageous expenditures.

    The biggest expense in the Pentagon’s budget is personnel cost–salaries, health care (including for dependents), retirement benefits, etc. You could add to that the cost of such things as living conditions and food.
    In addition, the American armed forces spend a lot of money on things Russia and China neglect, such as battlefield protection and care. This includes not only such things as ever-improving personal body armor, but medical treatment of the wounded. In Afghanistan we achieved the goal of getting casualties to a treatment facility within the Golden Hour, but were pushing hard to get them to a treatment facility within the Golden Ten Minutes: Wounded in combat and in surgery within 10 minutes! And not only that, have sensors on the individual marine or soldier that would automatically relay to the treatment center vitals, and characteristics of such things as the overpressure produced inside the skull by an explosion. Thus just the experts needed to treat the type of injury sustained would be waiting when the patient arrived. What other nation’s armed forces could even imagine such a capability, let alone afford to implement it?
    And let me add, addressing salaries, if, in an all-volunteer force, you want to have the best doctors, surgeons, specialists in traumatic brain injury, post-concussion care, psychologists, engineers, experts in logistics, intelligence, analysis and all the many other specialized fields of expertise a warfighting enterprise needs, you have have to pay them competitively. It’s only fair.
    And to address a recent discussion on “tooth-to-tail” ratios: it’s good that we can afford a long tail. It not only means those on the pointy end of the stick get what they need when they need it, it also means that when they come back out of the field to rest and recover, they can have hot showers, hot meals served in variety and plenty, clean, comfortable beds, internet to skype with loved ones, movies to watch, games to play, books to read, gyms to work out in. Do they not deserve these things? Why should they be forced to live in expeditionary conditions when we can afford to provide them some of the comforts of home?
    Russia and China have little more than slave armies. In particular, the callousness and brutality of the Russian army towards its own, is notorious.
    As far as how we Americans use our armed forces, yes, we are a mighty nation and we have our own world view and interests which we pursue for our own advantage–how could it be otherwise?
    What that world view is and those interests are, and how we pursue them is a matter for internal domestic debate and decision among our own citizens. Foreigners don’t get to have a vote. Even those who think they do, such as Israel today or the BCE in the past, in the end really don’t.

  49. Hawkeye says:

    BobbyBeGood, I must have clicked on your ID by accident — it was not my intent to post anything under yours or anyone else’s name.

    Your reference to “Jewish Supremacist Israel” is an ignorant joke. How can a nation of all of 7 million people be supreme to anyone or anything? But, that’s a different matter.

    As for the U.S. Department of Defense — keep in mind that the very person who’s work you are reading made his career in the U.S. Army and in the Central Intelligence Agency. If you find DoD so offensive, why bother to read the works of one of their more successful products?

    You are correct that maintaining safe and open sea lanes is in everyone’s best interest. Unfortunately, not everyone sees the world as you do. My, isn’t that a big surprise? You forget that in the 1980s, Muammar Ghadaffi tried to extend the standard territorial waters of Libya to extend outward across the Gulf of Sidra and declared a line of death. It was the U.S. Navy that routinely challenged his assertion and stopped his nonsense.

    In the 1990s, the U.S. reflagged Kuwaiti tankers as U.S. vessels to protect them from Iranian surface-to-surface missiles as the ship’s transited the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow choke point that the U.S. depends upon for moving the very oil you require for your car. I don’t think you’re the type who cycles everywhere so I’m assuming you drive a car.

    Most recently, pirates have been engaging in the practice of hijacking commercial vessels and holing them for ransom, a practice that the U.S. has engaged with Navy ships and Navy SEALs (ala: Captain Phillips).

    But, of course, you knew all that because you’re a bright guy, right?

    Russian and China do not need the U.S. as an excuse to build their respective militaries. The U.S. has not posed a threat to Russia since the wall came down, but that has not stopped Putin from stretching his wings into other places, the most recent being the Crimea Peninsula and Ukraine.

    China has long had a large military, but we have relatively good relations with China and haven’t threatened the country. In fact, we have good trade with China, U.S. goods are manufactured in China, and we have an abundant academic exchange with China. China, however, is growing and with that growth so does its need to defend its own interests around the world. Among other things, China has been very active across Africa by building stronger relations with countries, providing economic support, and more. But, you already knew that right?

    If the U.S. military is destroying America as you say it is, why not fight for universal military service and end the professional military we now support? As was posted by another, professional militaries are very expensive to maintain due to manpower costs. It is the military pay and benefits that take up the great majority of the defense budget, but you knew that, too, right? Of course you did.

    Push for universal military service. In fact, model it on the Israeli system in which every young man and woman must serve, while only being paid a small stipend. Upon completing their active duty (3 years for men and 2 years for women), the men then must serve two months of every year as reservists. Of course, even with a stipend, the idea of bringing in a million young people in the military each year and paying them for annual reserve duty until they’re 45 might bankrupt us faster than a professional military force — but you probably figured that out as well.

    The U.S. military is reviled the world over? Yep, the U.S. military was reviled when American troops went into West Africa to build facilities to stop the Ebola epidemic. The U.S. Military was reviled when it responded to the earthquake that destroyed much of Haiti, the Tsunami that took out so many Pacific nations, when it arrived to provide humanitarian support to any number of earthquakes, volcanos, hurricanes, and disease.

    The military does not make policy — it carries out the policies of the President as approved by Congress. Ooops, I’m sure you’ll argue that he isn’t your President. Which President was yours? G.W. Bush who put us into Iraq and Afghanistan? G.H.W. Bush who put us into Kuwait to kick Iraq out? Maybe it was Clinton who put us into Somalia? Or maybe none of the Presidents are your President. The simple fact is that the military does not start wars — that is achieved by our politicians so educate yourself and put your effort to work to vote for intelligent candidates.

    I should get off welfare and get a real, productive job? I’m kind of lucky — I don’t need a job. But, when you say such things you suggest to me that you’re one of those bitter, old welfare recipients who blames the entire world for all of your miseries rather than to take stock of your own shortcomings and then doing something about it. Have a great day!!

  50. […] Trillions for defense – the unz review A collection of interesting, important, and controversial perspectives largely excluded from the american mainstream media. […]

  51. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    As a practicing Catholic my advise is simple: forgive all those who persecute you. Bill O’Reilly is a heretic who exercises his God-given free will to further the cause of Judeo-neoconservatism, the worse element which is war mongering for the benefit of the Zionist state. Many innocent Palestinans, Catholic or Muslim, were wantonly slaughted by the Zionist-Israelis military in the 25-years with little outrage from American media,

    Jesus in Mary, have mercy on us all!

  52. CPO Price says: • Website

    Hurrah, that’s what I was looking for, what a stuff!
    present here at this weblog, thanks admin of this website.

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