Increase Military Spending?
JusticeWatch May 2000
from NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice
THOSE WHO WANT TO INCREASE MILITARY SPENDING USE THE FOLLOWING
1. Defense spending has declined since the 1980s.
2. Even though the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union is
no longer a threat, the U.S. still faces threats from smaller
"rogue" nations (North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Libya,
Sudan, and Syria.)
3. U.S. military forces must be ready to fight (and quickly
win) two major regional wars at the same time.
4. Readiness will decline if funds are not increased for training
5. There are many long-term demands on U.S. troops, such as
peacekeeping in the Balkans.
6. The armed services have problems recruiting and retaining
qualified personnel, due to low pay and benefits. Some military
personnel qualify for food stamps.
7. Increased spending will enable ailing defense contractors
to keep their factories open, and retain jobs at military bases
around the country.
8. National security is our nation's first priority.
OPPONENTS OF INCREASED MILITARY SPENDING COUNTER WITH THE
1. Even though military spending has declined since 1989 (the
peak year for spending before the Cold War ended), U.S. share
of total worldwide military spending has increased from 30% to
34% of the total. (Based on 1997 figures.) Military spending by
the U.S. and its allies (NATO, Japan, South Korea) account for
60% of total worldwide military spending.
2. The U.S. spends 18 times the combined military budgets
of the "rogue" nations and twice as much as the rogue
nations plus Russia and China.
3. The current two-war strategy is unrealistic-it assumes
that we would fight two simultaneous wars with no help from our
4. The rhetoric about "readiness" may not accurately
reflect reality. The fact that U.S. forces were overwhelmingly
superior to the opposition in the last two wars (Iraq and Yugoslavia),
seems to contradict the idea that our forces may not be ready.
5. If the budgets for foreign aid and diplomacy were more
in balance with the military budget, there would be a better chance
of preventing conflict and avoiding military involvement.
6. Enlisted men and women who are struggling to support their
families should receive a fair wage and adequate housing and health
care-as should all people who work. Money would be available for
these needs if the Pentagon improved its financial management
systems to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse and shifted money from
weapons procurement to personnel.
7. One billion dollars creates 25,000 jobs in weapons manufacturing;
but that same $1 billion could create 50,000 jobs in health care
or 40,000 jobs in education. If Congress would agree to the Pentagon's
request to close unnecessary bases, this could ultimately save
$3 billion per year and convert the bases to more productive economic
8. National security means mote than military power. To sustain
a secure nation, federal spending must be balanced among military
defense, diplomacy, and programs that provide economic security,
such as education, health care, and job training.