Sometimes I think too much and when I think I always know I need more information which causes me to pick up my laptop computer. As soon as I do that I find information that seriously upsets me and that causes me to write a blog.
Today I was daydreaming about nothing in particular. The TV was on but the volume was down so I didn’t know what they were saying but there were pictures of Submarines being built. I don’t often think of submarines. Why would I? But those images got my attention, it was like a sign from above so I began to give the subject more serious thought. I immediately recalled the words of President Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell speech to the nation in 1960.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex,” he said in his farewell address. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
Eisenhower’s warning was all the more powerful coming from a five-star general.
“Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals,” Eisenhower said in his address.
Eisenhower was simply saying we cannot and should not give in to every demand made by the military or those who would enrich themselves by advocating for military expansion. The former President is simply asking for balance in our decisions. Some would have us choose between Guns and Butter (Both terms should be understood in a general sense like Military requests versus the “Butter” of better schools, food for the hungry, a clean environment, etc). I say we shouldn’t have to, that our economy is strong enough to ensure that we have both and most certainly the richest country in the world should not have a single person go hungry.
That’s when one of those little electric charges in my brain arced from left to right and caused me to think about what submarines cost. That thought reminded me that in the new budget President Trump wants us to build more submarines. Then I was reminded that we are a nation in debt, we don’t have a surplus from which the President can draw to build a new submarine or two, so where the hell is he going to get the money? He will take it from programs that make living easier and healthier, that’s where he will get it.
As I Googled submarines, I remembered that the United States spends far more money on developing and maintaining the most formidable killing machine the world has ever seen than any country in all the world’s history. Most people have no idea just how massive our military is. It is overwhelming in its size and capability so I had to wonder why? Why do we spend more on personnel and material aimed at killing than we do on living? At around $600 billion a year, yes, a year — our military budget is equal to the next 7 countries combined. Our nuclear capacity alone is so massive we could immediately wipe out 1,027 cities the size of London (in all the world there aren’t 1,027 cities the size of London) killing somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion people. And now we are told that we must spend $54 billion more on our military.
Mr. Trump wants $54 Billion more but he also doesn’t want to increase the debt so here’s just part of what he proposes. His new budget would drastically cut funds for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are the ones that help to make sure our air is clean so people like me with Asthma and COPD aren’t dying in the streets. He also wants to cut the State Department budget by 35 percent. They are the people who through diplomacy, keep us from killing each other. Even American Generals and Admirals don’t want the State Department budget cut. And — his most heartless act is that he would even cut funds that provide breakfasts for children who come to school hungry….all of that so we can build more bombs, tanks, airplanes, and nukes, boy do we need more nukes. Imagine what shape we’d be in if we could only wipe out 1000 cities the size of London. My God! Shame on us for being so weak. .
A nuclear submarine has absolutely no purpose other than to kill. They don’t provide a single service that would help us live better lives, they are the ultimate killing machines. From deep under the ocean they can release scores of nuclear weapons on unsuspecting cities. Just one of these boats costs in the neighborhood of $2 billion dollars. We have 75 of them. No one else has that many and even those that come close don’t have the capabilities of ours.
What about jet aircraft, you know those super stealthy and very fast fighters we hear so much about. Did you know that an F-22 jet fighter costs $330 million, we have 187 of them. We have a total of 2,308 other jet fighters as well. Most of them are a lot cheaper, maybe only $150 million each. No one else even comes close to having the air power that we do.
I’m not going to list all of our military assets it would
take forever but there is one more that deserves your consideration. Aircraft carriers. They bring our massive air power to any spot in the world. We have the capability of bombing anyone at any time of the day or night and they likely will never know we were there. Aircraft carriers are big and very expensive. The newest class is the Gerald R. Ford class. We have one of them and it was just recently launched. It cost $4.5 billion to build. But we also have 9 or 10 others. Of course they were all cheaper, more like $3 billion each.
Could we do with one less $2 billion submarine? If we could that amount of money would buy 800,000,000 breakfasts for children in the U.S.A, those very same breakfasts that the Trump administration wants to cut so they can add $54 billion to the defense budget. This is one of the cruelest, most heartless cuts I’ve heard of in my lifetime. With my own ears I heard Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney say that spending the money wasn’t doing any good because, “there is no evidence students get better grades as a result.” Better grades? Who the hell cares about better grades if a kid is hungry he should be fed but no, these heartless numbers crunchers only see expenses and results. If you pay $50 for a bomb and it kills 20 people those are results. But if you feed a kid and he gets a D, take his food away. Bad results. To them, this twisted, cruel and absurd logic makes sense. What makes sense to me is kids shouldn’t go hungry. No one should go hungry.
But this is 21st century U.S.A. and our new government doesn’t seem to care about the elderly, the poor, the sick and Children. That same attitude prevailed in the mid 18th century when Marie Antoinette (1755-93), the Queen consort of Louis XVI. is supposed to have said, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, That’s French for, “Let them eat cake.” She is supposed to have said this when she was told that the French populace had no bread to eat.
In French brioche’is a form of cake made of flour, butter and eggs. Marie-Antoinette is said to have understood little about the plight of the poor and cared even less.
What does that have to do with the military budget.? Well, not much really. I just kind of had the impression that Trump and Mulvaney are saying “let eux mangent bullets.”
And from where I sit, that’s the truth.