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Militarism, Terrorism, and Safety
By: Faloku  |  April 26, 2009

This might be news to you, but the United States has a huge military budget.

No, really. I'm talking very, very big. I could tell you that the Department of Defense's military expenditure for this fiscal year is $515.4 billion. And that doesn't include the Department of Energy's budget for maintaining and making nuclear weapons, $23.4 billion. Total, that comes to $538.8 billion. This number does not include the black budget, which is spent on secret projects and is secret itself. The black budget probably amounts to a few more tens of billions of dollars.

I could tell you that, but those numbers are simply too big to be truly comprehended by anybody's mind. Since I just finished watching a few South Park episodes online, I'll give you something much easier to comprehend: the military expenditures of the United States are even bigger than Eric Cartman's big, fat ass.

But aside from Cartman's ass, there's an even better way to comprehend the United States' military spending: We don't just do more of it than anyone (which you probably guessed already), we do about half of all military spending in the world. No joke, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that in 2003, the United States spent about 47% of all the money that was spent on militaries for the whole world. You should believe them, because Stockholm is in Sweden, and Sweden has been at peace since 1814, which means they're probably really good at researching peace as well.

I am a citizen of the United States, and I call myself a patriot. I am asking, why do we need this military spending?

Of course the first answer to this question, usually advanced by people like Bill O'Reilly, is that the United States needs all these weapons and soldiers to defend herself from her enemies. But think about it for a moment. What enemies?

I'll tell you what enemies. The United States hasn't been truly at peace for at least a hundred years. But during most of those years, we haven't been at war with actual adversaries, except during both World Wars. During the first one, we helped clean up a giant shitstorm that happened in Europe because of lots of empire-building and secret treaties that were made among the major powers of Europe. During the second World War, we cleaned up another big ruckus that happened because of how the first one was handled. But except for those two short periods, the United States has been fighting only to build or maintain its own empire, or to jack up the Soviet empire. Before the Great War, we fought all kinds of people in South America and the Caribbean in order to make the world safe for United Fruit to do business. After the second World War, we were fighting to keep those pinko commies from gaining any ground. This all happened in places like Argentina, Korea, French Indochina Viet Nam, and other such places. In those wars, United States troops were fighting either against local forces defending their homes, or local forces acting as a proxy army for the Reds. Sometimes we had a local proxy army too.

In all of these cases, United States forces were fighting militaries or local militias that were vastly inferior, in numbers, training, and ability, to our own. Accordingly, the United States has always prevailed. And for what? Business interests, mostly. But even though we've just about always won (a couple of incidents in Viet Nam and some desert place called Iraq didn't go as well as we hoped, but other than that we kicked ass), our military hasn't gotten complacent. We've always been improving, upgrading, retraining, expanding, and investing in much more effective ways to utterly destroy things. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the U.S. had a crack army and navy who could do any job, anywhere, to anyone. At the end of that century and the beginning of the twenty-first, we find ourselves with a military who will FUCK YOU UP HOLY SHIT NO OWW THAT HURTS OHH GOD MY SPLEEN. For the United States, things have only gotten better, and for people who aren't the United States, things have gotten much, much worse.

So who threatens us? Good people, I humbly submit that no force on Earth exists that can threaten the United States. I further submit that through all our military spending, the United States has been made safe. In other words, we have done what we set out to do, with finality, and except for maintenance work, there is no reason to keep doing it. With our military, the United States fears no military enemy. This isn't even counting our nuclear arsenal, which for obvious reasons can't be used for anything and has no military value. Furthermore, I do believe that any further efforts to "make the United States safe" are not merely unneccessary, but are in fact attempts to conquer and subjugate other nations and peoples, and that such efforts are pure villainy. The United States, my nation born of freedom, has been for too long working to take freedom away from others, as if we believe it's a limited resource like petroleum.

Of course I'm not the only one who's noticed this effort by the United States. Lots of other people have too. Some of them are really twisted or are religious fanatics, and aren't interested in the well-being of all, like I am. One such person is Osama bin Laden, the guy that Bill O'Reilly thinks the Army can protect us from. He's got a grand plan for a global Muslim fundamentalist caliphate, but despite being a loony raghead, he's not retarded. He sees that the biggest threat to his grand scheme is U.S. imperialism, but he knows that nothing can challenge the U.S. militarily, and so he isn't using military force. Instead of becoming the leader of a nation and using that nation's army, he's using terrorism. Military force, as he knows, is utterly powerless against terrorism.

If you don't believe me (and him), just ask George W. Bush. Even though he declared the mission to be accomplished, the United States Army is still bogged down in Iraq, because shooting terrorists creates new ones faster than it kills them. Bush was actually right, in a way, when he put on that "Mission Accomplished" show. When he announced that, the military victory had been achieved, and we had conquered the country. But after that, all the way up to right now, we are no longer fighting an opposing army. We're fighting civilians who have decided that they hate us and that they want to take action against our occupation. Taking action against our occupation is exactly what they're doing, but unlike an army, killing them doesn't help. With an army, if you kill enough of its members, it realizes that it can't fight you anymore, and it surrenders. Even if it doesn't surrender, since most of it is dead, it can't prevent you from doing whatever you want, especially if what you want is take out its leadership (a foreign government). But with terrorists, they aren't an army. Each terrorist is a dude who, all on his own, got it into his head that you are bad and that he's willing to take risks to kill you. Usually terrorists organize, communicate, and coordinate with each other, but every single one of them is there because of personal situations, beliefs, and initiative. If you shoot them and knock down their houses, it doesn't do anything to correct the conditions that led them to become terrorists in the first place. When their neighbors see them headless or shot full of holes in the street, their children fatherless and their homes in ruin, it will likely encourage the neighbors to believe that you are bad, and then even more people will take up arms against you than before. In short, the reason people are willing to die for Osama bin Laden, but not the schizophrenics at my university, is that conditions exist that make the lives of bin Laden's followers very unhappy, and those conditions are somewhat the fault of the United States, or at least appear to be the fault of the U.S. from where they are standing. This, in turn, is why military force can never defeat al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations like it.

It's high time that the leaders of the U.S. stopped telling the people that foreign military entanglements make the U.S. safer. And even when you really are driving a nail, you don't keep pounding after you've beaten the nail all the way through the other side of the wood and onto the ground. Let there be no more money funnelled into the Pentagon to be frittered away on fruitless conquest. Not another damn dollar.

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