George Carlin, among his many astute observations, made this one about the United States shortly after the first Gulf War:
We like war, we are war like people. We like war, because we are good at it. You know why we are good at it? Because we get a lot of practice. This country is only 200 years old and already we have had 10 major wars. We average a major war every 20 years in this country, so we are good at it! And it’s good thing we are, we aren’t very good at anything else anymore. Can’t built a decent car, can’t make a TV set or VCR worth a fuck. Got no steel industry left, can’t educate our young people can’t get health care for our old people, but we can bomb the shit out of your country alright?!
This bit comes back to me today because of a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute explaining that global military spending fell for the first time in 15 years to $1.75 trillion. And who leads the world in this orgy of bombs and missiles? The United States of course, spending more than the next 10 countries combined, or 39% of all military spending on earth.
Here is an illustration of US Defense spending, circa 2011, from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog:
What could the world do with $1.75 trillion that may be more productive? Added to the $1.6 trillion the rich and powerful are able to avoid in taxes each year you have a nice pot of funds to feed, shelter, educate, and care for people. I’m not a peacenik, but if this doesn’t make you shake your head I don’t know what will.