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River Cities' Reader Issue 794 December 22 2011

River Cities' Reader Issue 794 December 22 2011

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River Cities’ Reader 
• Vol. 19 No. 794 • December 22, 2011 - January 4, 2012
2
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
Thelessyouspendgettingtowork,themorethatstaysinyourpocket.
Simple math. And Metro can help.Metro’s new
Get On Board
program offers employees areliable, cost-effective means to work.And it offers employers tax benefits and confidence knowingemployees have a reliable ride to work every day. There aredifferent levels of participation, all offering advantages forboth employees and employers.Which makes it a WIN-WINfor everybody.Ask your employer about the Get On Board Program today.
www.getonboardmetroqc.com
SAFE, RELIABLETRANSPORTATIONLOWER CAR EXPENSESSAVE ON PRE-TAX INCOMEHELP THE ENVIRONMENT
Employers-Contact
Heather Roberts
at
309-786-3503
for more information.
_
 
River Cities’ Reader 
• Vol. 19 No. 794 • December 22, 2011 - January 4, 2012
3
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
F
or decades, the political machine has per-petuated a deliberate void in the averageAmericans knowledge and understandingof our foreign policies, militarism versus defense,and the relative budgets for all three. The main-stream media gives these subjects a wide berth asfar as meaningful coverage goes. Even the federalbudget for defense breaks out military spendingfrom other significant defense expenditures.Let’s review how U.S. defense spendingcompares to the rest of the developed world.Military spending in 2010 for Germany was$46.8 billion, United Kingdom $57.4 billion,France $61.8 billion, Japan $51.4 billion, Russia$52.5 billion, and China $114.3 billion. The U.S.was $687 billion! That is nearly twice as much asall these other countries combined, adding up to$384.2 billion by comparison, according to
2010World Military Budgets
, issued by the StockholmInternational Peace Research Institute Military Expenditure Database.This $687 billion covers military spendingbut does not include other defense-budgetitems – which account for an additional $225.1billion (RCReader.com/y/defense) includinginternational development and humanitarianassistance ($28.6 billion); conducting foreignaffairs ($15 billion); foreign information andexchange activities ($1.6 billion); foreignmilitary trust fund ($26.9 billion); import-export bank loans program ($600 million);contributions to international organizations($1.7 billion); veterans ($141.4 billion); anddefense-related activities ($7.3 billion).There is a breakdown of these budgetcategories at the above link that furtherillustrates the exhaustive spending that goes wellbeyond actual military defense. Interestingly,these budgets have caps, but if items aremoved from base defense-budget spending towar-related spending, they avoid such caps.Regardless, Americans need to understandthe rationale behind these excessive military expenses and decide for themselves how muchof it complies with national goals for a strongdefense and border protection.With the exception of veterans’ care, whicharguably deserves a greater portion of thefunding, Americans need to make the distinctionbetween actual national-defense spending andmilitarism or interventionism spending. Thedistinction matters. We need to determine howmuch interventionism is justified and, in keepingwith our values, actually contributes to ournational security while honoring commitmentsto our allies within reason.It is the height of hypocrisy to claimfriendship with one one country while, in the
Defending Defense – or Not: Let’s Have The Debate
by Kathleen McCarthykm@rcreader.com
spirit of equal opportunity, funding and/orarming it and its enemies. How is this honorable,let alone justified or productive foreign policy?These are serious questions for Americans toconsider, but we need the proper data to makeinformed decisions.Which brings us to the more important issue:All these military expenditures, whether fornational security or interventionism, are madeusing borrowed money – 40 cents of every dollar. We are literally going broke implementingforeign policies that may or may not bedemonstratively achieving goals of nationaldefense but are definitely enriching a military industrial complex beyond imagining.During last October’s congressional hearingon war contracting, it was revealed thatout of the annual $150 billion spent on warcontracting, $60 billion of it was identifiedas either waste, fraud, or abuse – 40 percent!(These hearings can be viewed in their entirety online at C-SPAN’s video archive.)Many of these defense contractors, tokeep revenues flowing, are tailoring military weapons for domestic deployment to policeagencies across the nation. This proliferationis unconstitutional because it is military-grade weaponry for use against U.S. civilians.Weapons, including new technologies innonlethal crowd control, armed helicoptersand SUVs, and surveillance drones, are beingdeployed in our larger cities, funded mostly withfederal grants. This is vital information almostcompletely ignored by the mainstream media.What threats could possibly justify ignoring theU.S. Constitution with such extreme measuresdomestically? What else don’t we know?It always comes back to money. America’sinfluence in the world, both at home andabroad, will greatly diminish if we do not havethe economic fortitude necessary to successfully implement whatever foreign policies we adoptin the future. Without financial strength andstability, all the military posturing is for naught.History has proved that economic might wieldsfar greater power to influence peace than all theweaponry in the world. The status quo, however,resists this ideology above all others.Let’s at least have an honest, informed debateon whether more non-interventionism is truly isolationism, and whether there are alternativeswith more merit. We must know more, andsince the mainstream media isn’t sharing, wehave to investigate for ourselves. Clearly thedebate is needed, considering that we couldalmost cut our defense spending in half andstill spend more than all the other major globalpowers combined.

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