In his latest book, Dismantling the Empire, Chalmers Johnson explains that empire building and defense spending is not only leading to militarism and weakening of democracy in the United States, but that it is also leading to an economic disaster. Consider the following from Dismantling the Empire:
- “The Department of Defense’s planned expenditures for fiscal year 2008 were larger than all other nations’ military budgets combined.” (page 137)
- “The supplementary budget to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not part of the official defense budget, was itself larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China.” (page 137)
- “Some 30 to 40 percent of the defense budget is ‘black,’ meaning that these sections contain hidden expenditures for classified projects. There is no possible way to know what they include or whether their total amounts are accurate.” (page 137)
- Relying on the reports of William D. Hartung of the New America Foundation’s Arms and Security Initiative and Fred Kaplan of Slate.org, Johnson provided the following breakdown (page 138): “In 2008, the Department of Defense requested $481.4 billion for salaries, operations (except in Iraq and Afghanistan), and equipment.An additional $141.7 billion was requested to fight the war on terror.
$93.4 billion was requested to pay for “hitherto unmentioned war costs in the remainder of 2007.”
An additional allowance of $50 billion to be charged to fiscal year 2009.
$23.4 billion in the Department of Energy “goes toward developing and maintaining nuclear weapons.
The Department of State receives $25.3 billion for foreign military assistance to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Pakistan.
“The Department of Veteran Affairs currently gets at least $75.7 billion, 50% of which goes for the long-term care of the grievously injured among the at least 28,870 soldiers so far wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“Another $46.4 billion goes to the Department of Homeland Security.”
The Department of Treasury receives $38.5 billion to the Department of Treasury for military retirement.
Finally, let’s not forget the interest on debt for military outlays, which totals $200 billion.
Professor Johnson believes that the U.S. conservatively spent $1.1 trillion on the military-industrial complex in 2008.