US Military Boondoggles

20:28 Mon 25 Aug 2008. Updated: 17:55 28 Jan 2009
[, ]

The United States outspends the next five or ten countries on the list combined when it comes to military spending. However, I’ve always been sceptical about translating this into actual military power, because it seems that tremendous amounts of waste clearly go on… even if other countries waste a percentage of their own military budgets on boondoggles and industrial subsidies, I suspect that the US is even worse due to the huge amount of money concerned.

George Monbiot covers this in a discussion about the US “missile defense system”, which is, amazingly, still sucking up huge amounts of money. I’m not sure if part of its appeal is that if it did work, it would be extremely effective… but so would all kinds of other fantasy weapons. One hopes, for the good of the planet, that those actually making decisions are aware that it doesn’t work and that no “missile shield” is going to be effective in any sense when it comes to actually using it. In other words, that the pressure to report good results for face-saving/budget purposes doesn’t come to actually affect policy decisions.

What the Monbiot article does make clear is that regardless of whether or not decision-makers think it works, they are quite willing to screw around with international diplomacy just to keep the money flowing, as is the case with the recent decision to push Poland to accept the current incarnation of this wishful-thinking “system”.

Monbiot estimates that the US will have spent over two hundred billion dollars on this system since 1983. That’s rather a lot of money. Granted a lot of that money ends up back in the economy in other ways, provides jobs, etc., but it’s still quite horrific to consider the ways in which it could have been spent that would have been better for more or less everyone.

« (previous)

Leave a Reply