With the US fighting two wars costing 53% of the annual budget, we may wonder whats the reason for this huge spending, especially since the economy is not doing very well? Danny Schechter gives some explanations. He argues that the war on terror replaced the cold war and so the US population never got a “peace dividend” which would have been expected if there is less military spending:
[…] as the terror war replaced the Cold War. This war was never really just about terrorists, of course. It’s largely about keeping the military-industrial complex steaming ahead with all of its jobs in key congressional districts, while sustaining the profits earned by military contractors.
He cites Joseph Stiglitz, who calculated that the Iraq war carries a bill of $3-5tn (interesting, by the way, that in this case 2 trillion (!) dollars of uncertainty exist).
In fact, according to the experts who really understand the consequences of both wars, they now look like very bad ideas - although ones with so much momentum, and money behind them, that they have taken on a life of their own.
Why did that happen? There maybe many political reasons like showing a strong leadership of the president, the militarization of the American economy and the enormous lobby power of the pentagon. Furthermore, the money spend on war is coming back. All the money used for the wars will go into military equipment, food, supplies etc. So at the end of the day, this money is not lost it is moreover part of a “stimulus package” for the US economy.
This has several implications, one of them is moral. Can it be that a country tries to revive its economy by invading other countries, sending its own people to war and accepting civilian casualties? Additionally, many other countries are forced into the war as well, especially for rebuilding the attacked country. All this using their tax payers money.
Again, tax money is used for this wars and interestingly in the US the rich people pay less taxes than the poor people. You may remember the examples of Mitt Romney and Warren Buffet. And even if we assume the money spend in these wars comes back to the society, at the end the rich will profit a lot more than the poor, given the huge income inequality.
So in order for a small percent of the US population to become even more richer and more powerful, countries are destroyed, other countries involved into war and many, many people are killed. Unfortunately, those people who profit have their hands on the power of the US economy and successfully subverted the democratic system.