Yes, Americans love war. And yes, wars cost money. Add debt. New taxes. Still, we love war. Why else let the military budget burn 48% of your tax dollars? But why is it “off the table” when the GOP talks “deficit cuts?”
Why? We love war. We’d rather attack with a macho battle cry like “Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!” than listen to a warning from historian Kevin Phillips: “Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant, wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, ultimately burning themselves out.” Which dominates our Congressional deficit-hawks? Which is China’s military strategy?
Admit it, we love war. Marine Corps posters grabbed me as a kid. Trained me as an aviation weapons system tech. I volunteered for Korea. And I couldn’t resist Erik Sofge’s edgy thriller, “China’s Secret War Plan,” about a China-USA war. Like a fast-paced Tom Clancy thriller. Leaked to Popular Mechanics: One of my favorites as a kid working in a small-town magazine store. Yes, war’s “popular.” Locked in our DNA long ago. Sofge’s thriller was based on war games played by Pentagon generals and Rand Corporation strategists.
Admit it, Americans love war. Can’t resist videogames, war movies: Hunt for Red October. Platoon. Dirty Dozen. StarWars. Terminator. War turns us on, a testosterone virus in our brains. Blinds us to costs, collateral damage, unintended consequences, new debt for our kids. Besides, they’ll grow up “loving” war. DNA is passed on. Can’t resist. That hot button gets pushed by photos of China’s first Aircraft Carrier, or its new Stealth Bomber exposed during the state visit of China’s President Hu Jintao. Sofge’s thriller begins:
August 9, 2015, 0400. China’s war for “Taiwan starts in the early morning. There are no naval bombardments or waves of bombers … 1,200 cruise and ballistic missiles rise from heavy vehicles on the Chinese mainland … Taiwan’s modest missile defense network … a scattered deployment of I-Hawk and Patriot interceptors … slams into dozens of incoming warheads … a futile gesture … The mass raid overwhelms the defenses as hundreds of Chinese warheads blast the island’s military bases and airports.”
Do taxpayers have a choice? No? Just plan for big wars? Bigger deficits? No retirements.
The GOP wants to cut America’s massive debt. But “off-the-charts” military spending is “off the table.” Back in the forties WWII consumed 57% of our GDP. Today, war eats up about half America’s budget. We’re sinking under Iraq war debt. Nobelist Joseph Stiglitz estimates Iraq at $3 trillion, with $2 trillion for future costs, like VA medical. The Afghan war maybe another $3 trillion. Plus endless terrorist threats. Future wars are “planned” years, even decades in advance, strategies based on Pentagon-Rand wargames.
America talks peace. But deep inside our collective brain is a dark monster: We’re little kids who love playing war. Later fighting real wars. Age ten I had a collection of model fighter planes, played air wars. Age fifteen, owned three guns for hunting. Then the Corps. Like a moth to the flames, Americans cannot resist our destiny in war …. read more about this China-U.S.A. war in my column in MarketWatch