Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back at it?

Blogging? I seriously blogged for a number of years. I did it solo and then as a member of a collective blog. At several points along the way I had established a large, or at least large to me, audience. I'm not sure if I'm really going to start blogging again or just use this as a way to share the things I'm reading and checking out. We'll have to see.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The High Cost of Militarism

As tragic as the it is, today's collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis is not at all surprising. The American Society of Civil Engineers have been telling us that our bridges were in need of serious repair. They gave our system of bridges a C grade in their last report in 2005:

Between 2000 and 2003, the percentage of the nation's 590,750 bridges rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete decreased slightly from 28.5% to 27.1%. However, it will cost $9.4 billion a year for 20 years to eliminate all bridge deficiencies. Long-term underinvestment is compounded by the lack of a Federal transportation program.
The overall grade of our infrastructure was a D, and they estimate it would take $1.6 trillion in investment to get things back in shape. It's a shame, really. And when you consider that over the past four decades we have spent more than $15 trillion on our military, it's just plain wrong.

You've probably heard that we spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined. Maybe you've heard that the Pentagon has land holdings around the world that if combined would be about the size of North Korea. Maybe you've heard that we have military stationed in just about every nation on earth. Maybe you've heard all of this and just couldn't really grasp the immensity of our killing machine. But if you want to make it real and tangible, it's bridges collapsing, it's electrical grids failing, it's the things we all depend on not working because the resources are being wasted.

Maintaining our global empire is expensive. The book Addicted to War tries to put this in some kind of perspective:
The $15, 000, 000, 000, 000 we've wasted on the military over the past four decades is more than all the factories, machines, roads, bridges, water and sewage systems, airports, railroads, power plants, office buildings, shopping centers, schools, hospitals, hotels, houses, etc., in this country put together!
Basically we've spent more of our resources on death and destruction than anything else. When is enough enough?

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