U.S. Military Spending Is Out Of Control: 12 Facts That Show That We Cannot Afford To Be The Police Of The World

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Today, the United States has become the police of the world.  The U.S. military has a total of over 700 military bases in 130 countries around the world.  Total military spending by the U.S. government is nearly equal to the combined military spending of the rest of the globe.  Meanwhile, the federal government is literally drowning in debt.  So if we make some significant cuts to military spending will we fix the national debt problem?  Of course not.  In fact, it would only put a small dent in it.  But at least it would help.  The truth is that we cannot afford to be the police of the world and the Pentagon wastes so much money that it is almost incomprehensible.  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once publicly admitted that the Pentagon lost track of 2.3 trillion dollars and cannot tell us how it was spent.  Just imagine how your boss would react if you lost track of just 2.3 thousand dollars.  So why wasn’t there more of an uproar about losing track of 2.3 trillion dollars?  Have we become so accustomed to military waste that we don’t even care anymore?


Not that we don’t need a strong military.  The truth is that liberals are dead wrong when they claim that we now live in a world where a strong military is no longer necessary.  China is a bigger threat than it ever has been before.  Russia is a bigger threat than it ever has been before.  North Korea is absolutely insane and they have nuclear weapons.  There are several other radical regimes around the globe that are working hard toward getting nuclear weapons.

But you know what?  The U.S. military is spread so thin right now that they could not even respond adequately if a real threat did emerge.  Trying to be the police of the world is not only incredibly costly, it is also strategic suicide.

What possible justification could there possibly be for having U.S. troops in 130 different nations?

Why in the world do we still need huge contingents of troops in Germany and Japan?  It is funny when people talk about us pulling out of Afghanistan or Iraq, because we never even pulled out of Germany or Japan after World War II.  Once the U.S. military gets boots on the ground somewhere, they very rarely ever leave.

Look, it is about darn time that nations like Japan and Germany learned to defend themselves.  Nobody is going to invade them any time soon.  Everyone knows they are protected by U.S. nukes.  So why do we have to station so many troops in both countries?

We are spending so many resources patrolling the streets of Iraq and rounding up goat herders in Afghanistan that we aren’t even preparing ourselves for the real threats.  If World War III does break out in the coming years, it is probably going to be the United States against an allied front of Russia and China.  But we aren’t preparing to fight that war.  Instead, Bush and Obama have been slashing our nuclear arsenal to the bone as they obsessively hunt for “boogeymen” in the caves of the Middle East.

So in our attempt to police the world, we are spending way too much money, our military is stretched far too thin and we aren’t even preparing to fight our real threats.

The truth is that U.S. military spending is totally out of control.  The following are 12 facts that show that we cannot afford to be the police of the world….

#1 Today the U.S. military has over 700 bases (some say it is actually over 1000 bases) in 130 different countries around the globe.  It is estimated that it costs about $100 billion a year to maintain these bases.

#2 The U.S. military budget for 2010 was $693 billion.

#3 However, when you throw in all “off budget” items and other categories of “defense” spending not covered in the Pentagon budget you get a grand total of somewhere between $1.01 and $1.35 trillion spent on national defense in 2010.

#4 The truth is that U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.

#5 Total U.S. military spending makes up approximately 44 percent of all the military spending on the entire globe.

#6 The Pentagon currently gobbles up 56 percent of all discretionary spending by the federal government.

#7 Together, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost more than $150 billion a year.

#8 Up to this point, it is estimated that the U.S. government has spent over 373 billion dollars on the war in Afghanistan.

#9 Up to this point, it is estimated the the U.S. government has spent over 745 billion dollars on the war in Iraq.

#10 Since 2001, the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan breaks down to $3,644 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

#11 The total price tag for each F-22 fighter jet is approximately $350 million.

#12 The Sustainable Defense Task Force has produced a report which shows that the U.S. could easily slash a trillion dollars from the defense budget over the next ten years.

But isn’t the U.S. the wealthiest nation in the world?

Can’t the U.S. government afford all of this military spending?


The truth is that the U.S. government has accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.

The U.S. national debt is 13 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.  We are literally drowning in red ink, and the farther you project things into the future, the more apocalyptic the financial outlook becomes.

We have become so addicted to debt that we have borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars from China, Russia and other strategic enemies in recent years – thus putting our national security at risk.

Sadly, as bad as they are, the “official” budget deficit figures are largely a fraud.  If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion.

But establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans have both refused to take a stand on all this debt.  That is one of the reasons why so many Americans have been attracted to the Tea Party movement.

Unfortunately, we have now reached a point where an economic collapse seems virtually inevitable.  There is no way that we are going to be able to continue to police the world.  In fact, unless our military spending becomes far more efficient and far more focused on the real threats we may not even be able to protect our own nation when the time comes.

I have a feeling that the vast majority of my readers are going to disagree with something that they have read in this article.  That is okay – debate is healthy and is good for our country.  If you disagree with any of the points made above, please post a comment below and tell us what you think….

  • Gary

    The rich should never have gotten tax cuts from Bush at the same time we fought 2 wars of choice.

    I am sure you can figure pout my solution to the militaries money problem…

  • ken

    Defense is indeed expensive, but so-called “entitlement” programs are a far larger portion of our federal budget.

  • William

    This obscene spending on the military is for the support of EMPIRE. The desire for, and pursuit of, EMPIRE is for the benefit of Israel. Thiessen’s (from the American Enterprise Institute) recent oped in the Washington Post praised EMPIRE. Do you know the power and people behind the American Enterprise Institute?? Hint: it is the same as AIPAC. Do you know WHO Thiessen is?? This is WHY The Smirking Chimp and war criminal attacked Iraq, a country that had NOTHING to do with 911 (Israel was behind 911). EMPIRE!! The list of countries against which America was to wage war included Syria and Iran. However, the Iraqis fought back (the so-called insurgency) and the US did not have the power to continue the war plan for Israel. This is all hard fact. The DOD budget must be cut in half. We just can not afford EMPIRE for Israel.

  • dbvanhorn

    Blather. Simply blather. Talking points off some one else’s power point, and a common practice in the propaganda war. I came here seeking real answers, and what I got was nothing more than the common, ‘take our toys and go home argument.

    You also don’t answer the question, what happens if we aren’t the police man of the world, and who or more likely, what, will fill the vacuum?

    As to responding to threats, that’s BS too, because threats can’t form with us deployed the way they are. You further don’t mention how technology plays a role in threatening our safety if we pull in our horns.

    You are an idiot. What should we all do? Buy gold coins from you, run through your affiliate links for storing food, and sit home playing video games?

    The only constant is change. Create, conquer, adapt, or die. What is your solution? nothing. We’re freaking doomed listening to people like you.

    Sure hope you have the stones to post this.

  • ajehals

    What the hell did I just read? Now I do think that it is in the US’s interests to reduce it’s military spending, hell it is probably vital, but lets face it, it isn’t spending currently to defend the Germans or the Japanese, it isn’t policing the world, it is abut pushing US interests and attempting to maintain a superpower status.

    China is a bigger threat than it ever has been before. Russia is a bigger threat than it ever has been before. North Korea is absolutely insane and they have nuclear weapons. There are several other radical regimes around the globe that are working hard toward getting nuclear weapons.

    And at best they are regional threats to US global interests, they certainly aren’t direct military threats to the US (and the capabilities they have that are aren’t defendable against anyway..).

    Look, it is about darn time that nations like Japan and Germany learned to defend themselves. Nobody is going to invade them any time soon.

    US troops haven’t been in Germany or Japan in order to defend them since the end of the cold war (neither faces a credible threat and when it comes to hypotheticals pre-positioned equipment might be useful, large troop establishments aren’t).

    We are spending so many resources patrolling the streets of Iraq and rounding up goat herders in Afghanistan that we aren’t even preparing ourselves for the real threats.

    Indeed, but then the US has invaded those two states and really should be on the hook for ensuring that they fix what they broke.. Still, that isn’t overly likely, again it comes down to strategic interests in the region, not freedom, democracy or even dealing with a threat to the US.

    If World War III does break out in the coming years, it is probably going to be the United States against an allied front of Russia and China.

    Only if someone gets Tom Clancy to write the plot (hell, even then it would probably be the US and Russia vs the Chinese..).

    Unfortunately, we have now reached a point where an economic collapse seems virtually inevitable. There is no way that we are going to be able to continue to police the world.

    No, but using force to prop-up a failing US might well be a direction someone decides to take… The US cannot afford to spend as it has been it can however at least attempt to continue the status-quo by being the biggest bully on the block…

    • munyi

      Weve shut down most of our bases in Germany over the past 10-15 years. All that’s left for the most part are a few major bases for army multinational training and airforce mobility hubs…

  • er

    Er I’m not so sure we have such a great need for a huge military to defend the US. We’re very well armed in this country and I think it would be difficult to invade and occupy us. I mean, even our women can shoot…’cept for Sarah of course.

  • Monica

    About the missing $ and cooked books ~ I suppose that this is “extras” in the black ops category that wouldn’t be great to have listed. No one LOSES that much money.

  • tony c

    “the police of the world”, who the f@!* are you kidding? Parasite of the world would be more in line with reality.

  • Sam


    Far from DISagreeing with you, I AGREE with you. And, I’ve been ranting about it for years.

    Ever since the Spanish-American war, this country has been bent on empire-building. And, ever since Korea, this country has been feeding that with undeclared wars (wars declared by a president, which is illegal, instead of Congress). According to our Constitution, our military is supposed to be there for DEFENSE – but, are they? What is going on now is UNConstitutional – and an honest Congress would not only end this “police action,” but would shut these bases down as well. Well, not only shut the bases down, but also FIRE the majority of the high-ranking officers – those welfare bums who can’t see that their JOB is to defend the Constitution and the people – and not further their own gains.

  • Piglet

    “Total military spending by the U.S. government is nearly equal to the combined military spending of the rest of the globe.” And the great majority of that non-US spending is done by US allies. So what justifies these enormous expenditures? Certainly it’s a profitable venture for those making money off of military expenditures.

    As for Germany, Japan, Korea, and everywhere else, US forces are not there for the benefit of those countries, or to defend them from enemies. They are there primarily to extend US military, economic and political influence. Don’t think so? Imagine if some other country had a large military contingent stationed in the US, supposedly for “our benefit.” The very thought of it makes people’s blood boil. Why? Because it’s understood the other country would have military, economic and political influence over us. Of course, since our motives are pure, no one should object. (Yeah, right.)

    Before US forces arrived in Korea in 1945, there had been a large US force in China since the turn of the century. It was, in fact, the largest overseas stationing of US forces until the post-WW II occupation of Europe, and it has largely fallen down the memory hole. Most US units were forced by Japan to leave shortly before the US entered WW II, and those still there after Dec 7, 1941, went right into captivity. After the war, US forces came back to China but were forced to leave in the late 1940s when the Nationalists lost the Chinese civil war. No longer in China, US forces are now based on the Asia mainland in Korea. Looking at the Big Picture, you come to understand that the US has occupied parts of Asia for a long time, and it doesn’t intend to ever leave. There will always be some (false) justification given for staying indefinitely.

    Had not the French invited US forces to leave in the 1960s, we would probably still be there as well. The very thought of this departure still angers many Americans to this day. “Ingrates!” we hiss. Instead of expecting endless and costly overseas base hosting, we should thank the French for giving us the opportunity to save a few dollars when we didn’t have the gumption to do it ourselves. Did our departure lead to any sort of calamity? No.

    The huge amounts of money flowing into the Big Green Machine only makes it hungrier for more. As the late Chalmers Johnson said, when you spend this much money on war, you ensure that you’re going to get a lot more of it. Too many influential people and organizations are getting rich off of it, and this will continue until the collapse arrives.

  • Tim

    I don’t disagree with anything in this article. I am outraged when I think of all the money that has been wasted on these unncessary wars in Irag and Afghanistan, not to mention the money that is wasted by maintaining military bases in so many countries around the world.

    But the sad truth is our wasteful military spending is not our biggest problem, though it will certainly contribute our downfall. If we were to completely eliminate the budget for the Department of Defense, our long-term fiscal outlook wouldn’t change much. Our biggest problem is social insurance programs. If the U.S. government included the annual increases in our unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., we’d have annual budget deficits from those programs alone.

    The U.S. government cannot continue on its current fiscal path much longer. It is simply unsustainable. I don’t see how this can continue much longer. Prepare yourselves.

    • munyi

      All that money wasted on those bases would still be wasted else where if you got rid of them. Probably on more social programs like you mentioned…since all the people employed by the military would now be out on the streets looking for jobs, living off of freebies and handouts paid for by taxpayers.

  • WhiteSnow

    Tim, not just unnecessary (we were lied to about Iraq by our president) but also undeclared wars that congress did not approve baased on the US Constitution.

    Had enough of these costly wars & waste of our tax dollars? Need to read a new book just out about Americans who actually take a stand against tyranny (based in part on real people & events). It’s a thriller so I recommend it.


    About the only jobs left four our young children is the military so they go & fight & die just so they can have a job. It’s just wrong! Great article with the facts!

  • mondobeyondo

    What is the justification for such insane military expenditures? Who or what are we fighting?

    This is the kind of money countries would spend fighting world wars. Just how many warplanes, battleships and armies does it take to fight Al-qaeda?

    We don’t have much of an economy anymore, but by God, we’re still a military superpower!

    So, why such a mighty military arsenal? Hmmm. Might as well take all the oil we can, while we can. There’s lots of thirsty SUV’s, semis and Hummers on American highways. And there’s a couple thousand really bad terrorists who need to know the meaning of justice.

    Other than that… maybe we could invade Sweden or Switzerland. They need our protection!! Some loony terrorist might crash his Cessna into the Swedish royal palace. (Hey, you never know!!)

    Apart from that extreme… there’s plenty of farmland and cows we could occupy.

  • chon
  • William James

    I agree with much of the article.
    I appreciate the work the author put into the writing.
    There are a few points which in my opinion might be worthy of reconsidering.
    1. North Korea is not as crazy as the main stream media makes it appear to be. It makes sense to me that N Korea would want a nuclear weapon to deter an invasion. And it was South Korea which fired artillery into waters claimed by North Korea which started the recent mess. N Korea felt that S Korea was implicitly claiming those waters for itself.
    2. US military presence in other countries does much to increase animosity and rage and fear against the USA. Those foreign bases increase the threat to the USA.
    3. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have also increased animosity against the USA.
    4. The downfall of the USA might not be such a bad thing because:
    a. It might allow the US people to reclaim their country from the international bankers and international financiers.
    b. The world will be safe from further US imperialism.

  • Concerned Reader

    It is obvious that the day when we have to choose whether to be the world’s police man or nanny state is quickly appraoching.

  • Let us have two criteria for defense treaties with other countries:

    1. At least 60% of the population must have a favorable opinion of the US.

    2. It must be in the interest of the US.

    I would add that in the majority of cases the other country should pay all of our costs.

    I think over 90% of the treaties would be void using the above criteria.

    • lala

      in regard to your third criterion, 100% of overseas
      defense treaties will consequently, become null and void.

  • The Cold War ended when both the US and the former Soviet Union became bankrupt. The US Government, however, is in a state of denial and spending money like drunken sailors.

    World War III is an economic war and the US is losing. This war can not be won in the bushes of Afghanistan or Iraq.

  • Joe

    One small point. There have been no recent ‘wars’ in Afghanistan and Iraq. Perhaps you were referring to the US invasion and occupation of those countries which killed over 1 million civilians in each nation?

  • A Dodgy Bloke

    The lesson of history is all empires fail, The Persian The Byzantine, The Roman The British, The French. They all failed for the same reason arrogance, overreach and over spending. Populations grown fat, lazy, entitled living of the sweat and work of prior generations. Well here we are as Nicole Foss of Automatic Earth once said in her Blog “Reality Dictates” This will correct it’s self and the vacuum created by the withdrawal of American power will be filled but not before much wailing and mashing of teeth. Look ar history the collapse of Empires is never pretty.

  • TruthTeller

    “Look, it is about darn time that nations like Japan and Germany learned to defend themselves.”

    You are not well-informed.
    Japan wants to get rid of the US bases off its territory, but the US government does not want to close them down.

  • Concerned Reader

    What I find trully sad about this whole situation we are all in regards to the wars is that you really do not see that many signs that support the troops either in people’s yard or on the back of their car. It is like the vast majority of Americans are in complete denial. I guess they think that if they stop thinking about it will eventually go away.

    There are many reason as to why we should stop being the world’s policeman:

    Growing national debt and deficits for both national and state entities.

    Increasing dependance on foreign nations for money, energy and food.

    Decling quality of education with high school dropout rates above 70% in some cities.

    Decaying cities and infrastrucuture.

    General declinging of quality of health for citizenery.

  • zack

    Historically empires seem to last for shorter and shorter periods. Perhaps our time at the top of the pile is just about over.

    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. Visit http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs/ for details.

  • Stray Cat

    Personally, I will encourage my children to stay at home and jobless before they take the military option.

  • sabastion

    were in afganistan to get the oil we were in iraq to get the oil we are friends with the saudis for the oil now were pushing iran for the oil. We use more oil the most any one except china. If we left those places we would be paying 9.00 a gal like the rest of the world. So think about why our military is everywhere. We have hit the 50% point in oil production now. Its just going to get more and more expensive.

  • Mr. dbvanhorn, you are the idiot. You might as well sit at home and play video games. If you can’t recognize the fact the the U.S. is rapidly becoming a second-rate economic player in the world then you are obviously out of touch. It’s people like you who have voted for idiots over the last 30 years that have really messed up this country. Thanks a lot.

  • And still, US keep on poking their noses and deploying military men and women all over the world…

    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. Visit http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs/ for details.

  • wolfman

    Mr. dbvanhorn – what is your solution? Maintain the status quo as the US economy slides into economic oblivion, a banana republic run by a bunch of fascist-corporatists sucking on the teet of the Amerikan taxpayer while they play war games. Give your head a shake, idiot. History will repeat itself as the Empire falls under the weight of its’ own arrogance and folly.

  • ___________

    The US Industrial Complex has 28,500 troops in S.Korea, for 60 years with the US taxpayer footing the bill through taxes and the USD created out of thin air. There are 40,000 US troops in nearby Japan, has been since 1945. Again, paid for by Americans. Can you Americans think of any other use for those billions of dollars wasted every year?

    I can. I got sick and tired of paying over 50% of my income for taxes to make profits for the US war machine. I left the States back in 1999. Now, I keep my income and you Americans pay for my “protection” here in Asia. Thank you so much, suckers. Asians laugh at Americans.

    Had enough yet?

    • Munyi

      But most of the asain population lives in squalor and extreme poverty….especially in korea. So youre welcome for the protection you couldnt supply yourself.

      • Jake

        Yeah, clearly that money could be used for education. You seem to lack the ability to do any research.
        If you are talking about North Korean squalor, you would be right…but the US isn’t really involved there. Unless you count Rodman.
        South Korea is actually highly developed. I prefer living here to the states. The cost of living is lower and comparable, public transportation is reliable, and most of the population knows what it’s talking about before making statements, unlike you. The internet is also 6 times faster and 1/3 the cost. The number of homeless and poor I see is actually less than the number is see stateside.
        Keep ignoring the country falling apart around you and making ignorant comments from your computer. That ignorance keeps that military budget nice and high.

  • Communist

    yes! USA must fall! just as what you did to us!


      what you mad becasue you failed and your still a fail .. sorta like how your a fail at life ????

  • Chicken

    Who is the source? or author if the article?

  • Con-man

    There is a funny quirk to all this. So, we’ve got a lot of debt. If one of these nations asked to collect it, who is going to make sure we pay? Clearly not the government. So these people would have to come and take what we owe by force. Good luck with that, seeing how powerful our military is.

  • Allen m

    So aside the fact that all this money is being drained from taxpayers hard-earne dollars, what about all the innocent lives that have been taken in both Iraq and Afghanistan? In the end, what comes around goes around, there is a God who oversee’s us and our actions. Those who blindly support the war “on terror” cannot see past the bs that the media displays to them. There are so many problems in our country, why not dwell on our country and its borders rather than other counties? I understand the fact that we only occupy for our own interest, but for once why can we not think about others and how they are affected by our actions? Why can’t we be a country that serves the Lord , like we began it! We came here not for dominance, the pilgrims came here for religious freedom! They established this country with guidelines that are there to support stability. We must change our ways and follow the path of light and righteousness. Doin wrong has its counsequences, sometimes those consequences not only affect that person and their life, but those around them (in this case us as American citizens). And if God doesn’t strike us down, those poor children raised without a mother and a father who realize it is because of the damn American government, their going to do everything in the power to destroy our nation and those who lead it. The present America sickens me, it is corrupt to its core and we are the ones who will be affected by their poor judgment. I can honestly say I hate this government and each time I turn on CNN and listen to their pre-written reports on the supposed war on terror, it boils my blood and makes me want to leave this country before a catastrophe happens .

  • me

    imagine if all that was spent on policing our nation instead.

  • Munyi

    You know, I’ve never met a person in the military who wants to be away from home for months on end in shitty dusty countries full of people that will blow themselves up to kill you. Truth is most of them go in the military for the same reason as people who sell articles bashing the US and its military…. money. We all have to eat and support our families. No one wants to have to kill one another, but if that’s what our President, congressmen, and politicians say needs to be done for us to feed our children, then so be it. Also, did it ever cross anyone’s mind that without our military presence, it would only be a matter of time before we were all Russian or Chinese? As long as there are greedy people in the world, there will be conflict, and as long as there is conflict there will be armies to fight in those conflicts. So quit bitching. Unless you can invent a way to give every country everything they want and need, then back off and shut up… your contributions and opinions are meaningless in the grand scheme of things and in a couple generations your existence on this planet will have most likely been already completely forgotten. So unless you do something noteworthy other than bitch on forums, you will be forgotten.

  • Mak

    Hi. I am doing a Junior Research Paper on the over-extension of American troops and how it can lead America into the “ripening” of disaster. This article has been greatly providing me with useful information and I have more in depth questions that could really help support my thesis. Mind if I ask?