Even as the Obama administration acknowledges that 21st century conflicts will not be fought with tens of thousands of boots on the ground or colossal weapons systems, Washington continues to carry through bloated military budgets and outdated armaments.
In his State of the Union address this month, President Obama said “we don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations,” in order to fight the terrorist threat. And cyber-warfare is the only other major threat, as opposed to hot wars with other world powers.
“Nevertheless, the defense budget contains hundreds of billions of dollars for new generations of aircraft carriers and stealth fighters, tanks that even the Army says it doesn’t need and combat vehicles too heavy to maneuver in desert sands or cross most bridges in Asia, Africa or the Middle East,” reports Gopal Ratnam at Bloomberg News.
“There’s a fundamental need to have a conversation about what kind of military we need to have and what we should expect it to do,” Andrew Bacevich, a West Point graduate and former Army colonel who now teaches at Boston University, told Bloomberg in an interview.
Not only does the military industrial complex insist on continuing to overspend on irrelevant weapons systems, but lobbyists and government officials have issued desperate warnings of doom in the face of minor sequestration budget cuts that would cut $500 billion over ten years (merely a reduction in the rate of growth in spending).
The defense budget and the military it pays for has no direct relationship to the actual threats America faces. Instead it serves as a boon to defense corporations on the public dole and to politicians eager to project power the world over.