Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Runaway Military Spending

Associated Press, Monday, June 2, 2008; Page A03
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- On leave from the violence he survived in Iraq, this young Marine was so wary of crime on Cleveland streets that he carried only $8 to avoid becoming a robbery target. Despite his caution, Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield, 21, was shot point-blank in the neck during a robbery at a bus stop.

Feeding and breathing tubes kept him alive 4 1/2 months, until he died of an infection May 18, 2008. Marines provided an honor guard at his funeral at Sacrificial Missionary Baptist Church and carried the casket to his grave at Western Reserve National Cemetery near Akron. He was buried there the same day as a Vietnam veteran, two from World War II and three from Korea.

Two men were charged in the attack. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason said officials were reviewing the case to decide whether or not to seek the death penalty. “It is an awful story," said Alberta Holt, the young Marine's aunt.

Crutchfield was attacked Jan. 5 while he and his girlfriend waited for a bus. He listened to the commanders' warnings that Marines on leave might be seen as a robbery targets with pocketfuls of money, so he carried only $8, his military ID and a bank card.

"They took it, turned his pockets inside out, took what he had, and told him since he was a Marine and didn't have any money, he didn't deserve to live. They put the gun to his neck and shot him," Holt said.

Ean Farrow, 19, and Thomas Ray III, 20, both of Cleveland, were charged in the attack, police said.

I do not in any way justify this dastardly deed by these two young men, whose lives are now irreparably ruined except for the grace of God. I know so many just like them and this story illustrates a problem we have. America is not yet a “police state” but it is a profitable “military economy”--unnecessarily.

Neither do I justify our making America a military economy. Note for example: the Global Peace Index 2009 attempts to rank nations on various indicators of peace. The ten nations listed most peaceful were: New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland, Slovenia (and Japan’s PM is currently apologizing for the agonies caused by the Japanese in WWII). Don’t see us, do you?

The United States was listed as medium - neither “very high” nor “very low.”

U.S. Military spending has forged upward since 1998 (if not earlier, says Chris Hellman: “The Runaway Military Budget: An Analysis (3-06). Since 2001 it has surged from just over $400 billion to almost 900 Billion 2010 dollars ($700 billion congress approved for 2008 and $126 billion pending before house & senate (at time of reporting).

The Global Distribution of Military Spending as of 2009 was (percentage of global spending):
United States - 46.5%; rest of world, 14%; next ten combined, 20.7%, and
Russia, 3.5%,
United Kingdom 3.8%,
France, 4.2%,
China, 6.6%.

Chris Hellman who writes on such matters for the government noted that with inflationary adjustments the 2007 request for military and nuclear “exceeds the average amount spent by the Pentagon during the cold war, for a military that is one-third smaller than it was just over a decade ago.”

Yet, some legislators want to peg our military spending to our Gross National Product, regardless of need or purpose. As an aside we note that Osama bin ladin likes to take lots of credit for the Afghan resistance to the Russian invasion, but he could NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT “great Satan” friend turned enemy (U.S. Military Complex).

I can think of few subjects “ wrote Hubert Humphrey (Forward of 2nd edition of World Military and Social Expenditures by Ruth Sivard) “that should be of deeper concern to all humanity than the problem of how to restrain the world’s military colossus and turn the race for arms into a race for peaceful development.”

To the respected Senator, may I add,
when our military continues to add to “overkill” capabilities that are not needed.
when those military expenditures are robbing the budgets of the poorer nations of the world and leaving them without adequate funds for taking care of their own vulnerable and impoverished.
when our Industrial Complex gets fatter and our middle-and-lower income peoples are doing without needed basics more and more.

From Warner’s World, What does it say about our national priorities when fully 57% of our national budget is devoted to systems of violence, agression, and military might? Yet, some charge socialism because Health and Human Services gets 6%.. How absurd!

I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

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