“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children.”

These were not the words of any of the liberal Democrats who sought the presidential nomination of their party this year but rather the words of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower 50 years ago, reprinted last week in an article on a popular website for Wall Street stock brokers. The appearance of the article by University of Pennsylvania Wharton School’s James Quinn on the Seeking Alpha website shows that a section of big business is actually hurt by the neo-con strategy of military spending like there’s no tomorrow and that some believe, if it isn’t curbed, there actually may be no tomorrow.

The United States, Quinn said, currently spends more on the military than the next 45 highest spending countries in the world combined, “Where did the peace dividend from winning the Cold War go,?” Quinn asks.

The U.S. spends on weapons 5.8 times more than China, 10.2 times more than Russia and 98.6 times more than Iran. “The Cold War has been over for 20 years, but we are spending like World War III is on the near time horizon. There is no country on earth that can challenge the U.S. militarily.”

The report notes that with America spending as if it is preparing for a major conflict the conclusion naturally drawn by much of the world is that we have aggressive intentions.

Iran provides a good example. President Bush says Iran is a threat to our security.

Quinn counters, “Iran spends $7.2 billion annually on their military. We could make a parking lot out of their cities in any conflict. Does anyone really believe that they would make a nuclear weapon and use it on Israel? Their country would be obliterated.”

Military spending was just under $400 billion per year in 2000. Since 9/11 it has more than doubled.

The Wall Street stock analyst goes on to say, “The natural response of the U.S. should have been to increase spending on border protection, upgrading the CIA, and increasing our ability to gather intelligence. Defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan and cornering Bin Laden in the mountains was more than enough to deter other countries from allowing terrorists to operate within their borders.”

Quinn points out that instead of stopping there the U.S. spent billions on weapons, aircraft, tanks and missiles. “The neo-cons, led by Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, saw the 9/11 attack as their opportunity to change the world. They’ve gotten their wish.”

As the Bush administration closes out its last full year in office, the U.S. has troops stationed in 70 percent of the world’s countries. The Pentagon says it has troops in 147 countries and 10 territories.

If there were no aggressive intentions behind this policing of the world it would be particularly difficult to explain current U.S. troop deployments in Germany and Japan where the Pentagon has 57,000 and 33,000 troops, respectively. Quinn asks: “Germany and Japan each spend $40 billion on their military. Can’t they defend themselves at this point? We defeated them 60 years ago. It is time to leave.”

He warns, in the report, “This is a prelude to decades of occupation in Iraq. Don’t believe the blather about withdrawal. The military has no intention of withdrawing.”

Quinn said that part of what angers him about military spending is the effect it has on his home state, Pennsylvania:

“Taxpayers in Pennsylvania have paid $20 billion for our share of the Iraq War, so far. This amount of money would pay for 1,650,000 scholarships for University Students for one year. Does a $20 billion investment in rebuilding Iraqi bridges that we blew up with $1 million cruise missiles make more sense than investing in our best and brightest young people? $20 billion would provide 24,000,000 homes with renewable electricity for one year. That is 20 percent of all the homes in the United States.”

The greed of the defense contractors is what prevents us from making the choice Quinn says should be made. They resist sharing their profits not just with their own workers but with the many corporations whose wealth comes from a whole range of other types of investment – like the renewable energy projects Quinn would like to see in Pennsylvania.

The top five defense contractors generated almost $129 billion in revenues and $8 billion in profits in 2006, double their revenue and profits in 2000 when Bush became president.

“The War on Terror,” Quinn says, “has been a windfall for the defense industry and their shareholders. They contribute tremendous amounts of money to Congressional candidates and have thousands of lobbyists pushing for still more defense contracts. It appears,” he adds, “that the biggest winners of the War on Terror are the CEO’s of the defense contractors. I wonder if they realized how rich they would become as they watched the Twin Towers crumble to the ground.”

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