Quick: what’s the biggest boondoggle in the history of the human world?
Answer: Oh, it could be the ziggurats and the cathedrals, the pyramids and the temples of doom that religious believers led their slaves to build to non-existent gods. Or it could be slavery itself, the fully corrupt, mendacious and genocidal imposition of death and destruction upon certain categories of people.
We are living during the actual biggest boondoggle in the history of the human world: the US military-industrial-academic complex.
Just try to put a price tag on the expenditures of US militarism since, oh, the start of airplane bombing. Imagine the continued, continual appropriation of taxpayer wages and human lives in order to perform the arms race of arms races. Given our computational abilities since the dawn of the Information Age, an approximate figure should be able to be established- $10 trillion? $100 trillion? This will be an an enormous cognitive effort, to understand this disbursement of all that fossil fuel, all that earnest wage earning, upon the practice of high tech bombing and surveillance and shooting and flying and killing.
William Hartung’s The Prophets of War, a relatively sober, journalistic account of the rise and then exponential rise of Lockheed Martin should occasion a glimpse of the greatest story that will go untold, the enormously criminal, entirely bestial drive to fund, equip, and defend the use of American worker taxes to fund gargantuan overseas flyovers, machine- gunning, spying, official and corporate corruption, and the political ownership of this overmassive project of waste and destruction.
Yet no lowly blogger or apprentice social critic can put this into commensurate words – there are jail cells aplenty waiting for anyone wanting to “make a statement” about the on-going expansion of the world’s biggest polluter, the world’s biggest armamentarium, the world’s biggest propaganda outfit, the world’s most politically corrupting enterprise – the US military.
The official US military budget for the last available year, 2011, according to the faceless drones working for free at Wikipedia, was $686 billion, though anyone living in any bureaucratic institution knows that the real figure could be double, triple, quadruple that. Instead of slashing social programs, instead of electing criminal plutocratic overlords, and in the face of climate catastrophe, horrific violence across the globe, rising economic inequality, how about the good people of WordPressland call for a US “Defense” department budget of, oh, $6,000 for the next fiscal year. Sound about right?