Some of you will recall newspaper reports that our defense spending is only about 3.6 percent of GDP, reflecting a defense budget of only – I emphasize – only $499.4 billion. But a lot of defense-related spending is outside the Defense Department's budget. This fiscal year we will actually spend at least $934.9 billion (or about 6.8 percent of our GDP) on our military. Outside DoD, the Department of Energy will spend $16.6 billion on nuclear weapons. The State Department will disburse $25.3 billion in foreign military assistance. We will spend $69.1 billion on defense-related homeland security programs and $69.8 billion for treatment of wounded veterans. The Treasury will spend $38.5 billion on unfunded military retirements. We will pay $206.7 billion in interest on war debt. Other bits and pieces, including satellite launches, will add another $8.5 billion. Altogether, I repeat, that's about $935 billion.
—Chas. W. Freeman, Jr., formerly Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs 1993-94, writing in
"Can American leadership be restored?"
A few more billion here, a few more billion there, a little inflation and the "defense" budget should top a trillion in no time. Are you feeling safer?
A war we can't afford to win (1/24/07)