Are We Safe Yet?

Glenn Greenwald posted an amazing summary the the United States’ military strength yesterday.


That’s right. The United States spends more on military than every other nation on the planet combined!

This fact has not become a widely caught meme. Why else, as Greenwald points out, would the leading Democratic presidential candidates say things such as these:

Hillary Clinton:

To help our forces recover from Iraq and prepare them to confront the full range of twenty-first-century threats, I will work to expand and modernize the military so that fighting wars no longer comes at the expense of deployments for long-term deterrence, military readiness, or responses to urgent needs at home.

John Edwards:

I will double the budget for recruitment and raise the standards for the recruitment pool so that we can reduce our reliance on felony waivers and other exceptions. In addition, I will increase our investment in the maintenance of our equipment for the safety of our troops.

Barack Obama:

To renew American leadership in the world, we must immediately begin working to revitalize our military. A strong military is, more than anything, necessary to sustain peace. . . .We must use this moment both to rebuild our military and to prepare it for the missions of the future. . . . We should expand our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the army and 27,000 marines. . . .

I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened.

We must also consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability — to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities.

 Ugh. And yet politicians remain vulnerable to the “weak on defense” meme. All of this indicates that the people of the United States have a critically ill misconception about themselves. Like a person suffering from anorexia who believes s/he is overweight, or rather a morbidly obese person who believes s/he is starving, the United States feels weak and vulnerable.

How critical is our condition? Consider this:


— and then consider these words Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on April 4th, 1967:

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

With all the yakking about religion this cycle, I wonder why nobody else is bringing this up.

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