This is no revelation, nor is it the only vehicle for the GOP. However, the military is the preferred method for Republicans to move taxpayer money to those they favor. The whole system coincides with the natural Republican disposition toward a strong defense and so is easy to sell to the public.
But just as the Democrat’s preferred method of rewarding its constituency is via social programs that have roots somewhere in good intentions but now often constitute little more than a socialized gravy train, so too has the military budget evolved from “defense” into something else far beyond what was ever intended.
Let me be clear. I grew up a Navy brat. I am a Navy Football fan. I still careen my neck to see the aircraft carriers when I drive by NOB near my old home. I know the military culture, and I respect the military. But its budget has gotten out of control. The DOD is the largest employer in the world. This should not be.
It should be no surprise then that many of Gingrich and Romney’s foreign security advisors come from the defense industry. Between the 2 candidates roughly $40 billion has gone to the firms of said advisors since 2008. BAE Systems has been the chief recipient. BAE makes the Bradley Fighting Vehicle among other things for the military.
As we face a growing economic crisis, and don’t be fooled, it continues to grow, we must look very hard at the amount of money we channel to “defense.” We must ask if it makes sense. We must ask if we can even afford it. I submit that we can not.
As I write this I am haunted by the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his final address to the nation. In the address, this 4 star general, Supreme Commander of US forces in Europe during World War II, warns an American public of the “military industrial complex” and to be on guard against it. It is chilling to watch and I include it below.
Nick Sorrentino 12-23-2011