Why Does America Love Its Military So Much?

In 2014, the United States spent nearly a trillion dollars on national defense The military budget alone made up more than the next 7 highest spending countries combined

With nearly 20% of federal budget going towards defense, it’s clear that the economy as well as the US’s international status, are extremely dependent on this continued spending So, why do we spend so much? What exactly is the military-industrial-complex? Well, the term is most attributed to President Dwight D Eisenhower He was one of the highest ranked generals in US history, and served during World War II As he left office in 1961, he advised that military power was necessary to maintain peace

However, he warned against the military-industrial complex, or the self perpetuating relationship between the economy, the military, and the government In the mid 1940s, the US government began shifting away from producing all of their own military equipment Instead of attempting to create monopolized government industries, they started offering defense contracts to private companies As military technology became increasingly complex, the amount of money the government was willing to spend increased as well This led to massive payouts and intense competition to secure those defense contracts

The Cold War created a situation where no direct fighting was going on, but the US was still forced to militarily outspend their enemy, the Soviet Union This led to massive spending and military stockpiling costing over 10 trillion dollars Today, the Department of Defense employs 3 million people directly They also indirectly employ another 3 million through defense contracts 2 and a half million more are employed through the US military

Effectively, a good portion of the US economy relies on the ability of the government to continue financing war-planning Massive companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing derive significant percentages of income from defense contracts In recent years, the entire world spent about 17 trillion on military expenditures The US comprises nearly half of that figure

This cycle incentivizes continued military expansion Unfortunately, this expansion is based on a necessity to defend oneself When there is no threat, there is no reason to invest, and millions could be out of a job Some have described this situation as creating a “psychological, moral, and material interest” in propagating military development, and international crisis In his Farewell Address, Eisenhower said “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex

” There is no question that that’s already happened But whether or not it has led to abuses of power, or a decay in liberty and democracy, is an often debated topic Considering the substantial impact of the military in the US’s political, economic, and social process, it certainly seems that it might be too deeply ingrained to ever go back If you want to learn more about how the military-industrial-complex manifests itself in actual wars, check out our video on private defense contractors fighting overseas Thanks for watching, make sure to like and subscribe, for new videos every day

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