President Obama is continuing the process of reinflating the Pentagon that began in late 1998-fully three years before the 9/11 attacks. The rise in national defense spending since 1998 is as large as the Kennedy-Johnson surge (43 percent) and the Reagan increases (57 percent) put together. The Department of Defense has been given about $7.2 trillion since 1998, which is when the post-cold war decline in defense spending ended. Current spending is above the peak years of the Vietnam War era and the Reagan years, and the Pentagon plans to remain there at this point. The radical increase in military spending now, compared to the cold war and World War II, is justified by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, even if today’s wars are taken out of the picture, there has still been a 54 percent increase since 1998.
This is happening while we already spend 7 times as much on the military as the next-biggest war economy (China), and almost as much as the entire rest of the world combined. What are we in the Home of the Brave afraid of, that we need to expend so much of our resources on war? Or are we just hell-bent on becoming the Arsenal of Plutocracy?