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17 March 2005

16 Facts About the U.S. Addiction to War

I finished Joel Andreas' well researched, highly informative Addicted to War the other day. Good stuff. You'll learn more about the United States' fetish for its military in this 80 page graphic novel than you probably did in high school and college combined.

I don't have much else to say about it. But here are some factoids from Andreas' book that you should know. (In some cases I'm quoting directly from the book. In some cases I'm not. I'm not going to go back and look to see which are which. I'm sure you can deal.)

1) The United States spends more than half its discretionary spending on its military
2) The U.S. military budget is now larger than the next 15 biggest spenders put together. The U.S. accounts for 36 percent of total global military spending.
3) Since 1948, the U.S. has spent $15 trillion to build up its military. This is more than the cumulative monetary value of all human-made wealth in the U.S. The U.S. has spent more on the military over the last four decades than the value of all factories, machinery, roads, bridges, water and sewage systems, airports, railroads, hospitals, power plants, office buildings, shopping centers, schools, hotels, houses and churches in this country, put together.
4) The current Pentagon budget, the nuclear weapons budget of the Department of Energy, the military portion of NASA’s budget, foreign military aid, veterans’ benefits and interest payments on debt incurred by past military expenses add up to $670 billion a year. This costs the average American household nearly $4000 a year in taxes.
5) With the $1 billion it takes to maintain an aircraft carrier for one year, you could build 17,000 homes, provide free prenatal care for 1,600,000 expectant mothers, enroll 384,000 kids in Head Start, provide drug and alcohol treatment for 333,000 or give 500,000 malnourished children three meals a day.
6) Between 1898 and 1934, the U.S. Marines invaded Cuba four times, Nicaragua five times, the Dominican Republic four times, Honduras seven times, Haiti twice, Guatemala once, Panama twice, Mexico three times and Columbia four times.
7) The defeat of Japan was already assured before the United States dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The main purpose of dropping the atomic bombs was to show the rest of the world, particularly the Soviets, the deadly power of America’s new weapons of mass destruction.
8) During the Cold War, Washington intervened militarily in foreign countries more than 200 times.
9) In 1965, 3000 people were gunned down in the streets of Santo Domingo, after the Dominicans rose up to demand reinstatement of their overthrown president. The president, who had been elected in a popular vote, was overthrown in a U.S.-backed military coup.
10) Blacks make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, yet 22 percent of U.S. casualties in Vietnam were black soldiers.
11) In 1983, Ronald Reagan, fearing the threat to U.S. security posed by the 110,000 people living on the Caribbean island of Grenada, ordered the Pentagon to seize the island. A new government more to Reagan’s liking was subsequently installed on the island.
12) There is evidence that in 1990, the U.S. lured Iraq into invading Kuwait, so as to have a pretext for an intervention. Washington, when Saddam Hussein informed the U.S. about his plans, gave him a virtual green light to attack Kuwait. But immediately after the invasion, Bush made preparations for a massive strike, and blocked all possibilities for negotiation. Iraq had even begun to withdraw from Kuwait when Bush launched the ground war.
13) The U.S. deliberately and systematically destroyed Iraq’s electrical, sewage treatment and water treatment systems in the Gulf War. Worse, severe economic sanctions were put in place, leading to, as UNICEF estimated, 7500 deaths a month, mostly children. Well over one million children died in the 90s between the reigns of the two Bushes.
14) GE is the third-largest military contractor in the U.S. It produces parts for every nuclear weapon, makes jet engines for military aircraft and creates electronic gadgets for the Pentagon. GE also owns NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.
15) In 1971, 14,000 people were arrested in Washington, D.C., when they moved to shut down the city for three days to protest what was happening in Vietnam.
16) “There’s a variety of theaters. So long as anybody’s terrorizing established governments, there needs to be a war.”—George W. Bush, October 17, 2001
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Comments on "16 Facts About the U.S. Addiction to War"


Anonymous Adam said ... (3/18/2005 01:16:00 PM) : 

This makes me incredibly sad.


Anonymous Cortney said ... (3/18/2005 06:26:00 PM) : 

There's an old Rusion proverb you might want to consider: "Half a loaf of bread is still bread, but half the truth is a lie."


Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (3/18/2005 06:32:00 PM) : 

Good advice, Cortney. That's why I don't watch TV news.


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