While reading the weekly notes for my seminar in media communication and society: war news, entertainment and persuasion, I came across an alarming fact and remedy for all of our nation’s economical problems our politicians seem to be having such trouble with: extremely excessive military spending. I know, I know, you have heard this solution a million times before, but this is not your normal Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, War on Terror spending I am talking about. The United States is involved in almost 100 countries and we are not swinging by to help jump start an industrial revolution or drop off some of our excess processed food. This is full on military involvement I am talking about and it is the catalyst for instability and unrest.
If you were to ask the average United States citizen to name the countries that our military is actively operating in their answers would probably include Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and possibly Somalia. This lack of knowledge is exactly what allows the government to justify using 25% of the federal budget on defense spending because if the American people think that their tax dollars are going solely to conflicts that are in our best interest to continue fighting in then they will have less of an issue with only receiving 3% of the budget for education costs. I am not sure what is going on in Peru, Madagascar, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados or Paraguay just to name a few of the 76 new countries troops are now active in, but I sure don’t feel like trading in the future of our nation’s children so that we can scope out possible terrorists in small impoverished tropical islands.
Compared to George W. Bush and his administration, Obama seemed like a much more peaceful president that was interested in reducing troop numbers abroad, but it appears that is not the case. Doubling Bush’s numbers, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye said that involvement may reach 120 countries by the end of the year. Not only is our international military involvement increasing, but the type of warfare is becoming more controversial thanks to technological developments. Obama is authorizing the use of drone attacks more and more frequently and the recent drone killing of al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki proved that he believes that Constitutional right to due process does not apply and he can overlook things like that according to “the September 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act, which empowered the president to “all necessary and appropriate force” against nations, organizations or persons who planned, committed or aided the Sept. 11 attacks.”.
Not only are we occupying an extravagant amount of countries, but also the State Department’s and Pentagon’s International Military Education and Training program has trained over 7,000 locals in the ways of the United States military so that they can fight potential terrorists too. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an incredibly stupid plan to me. We have already seen entire countries of young, disgruntled citizens incite civil wars against their oppressive leaders or corrupt governments, imagine how escalated revolutions will be when most of the rebels attended military training camp before they start to fight.
This colossal waste of money is not even creating positive change in the world order. Most of our involvement is being used against the people who risk their lives for a chance at change and freedom as U.S military forces fight with the opposed government helping slaughter their citizens. At a time when our economy is failing, students are ranked “14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.” and the highest number of households ever recorded are food insecure I think it is time for a change of focus and our troops to head home to their families so that we can all work together to rebuild the strong United States that we all have heard so much about.