America’s Economy Is Not Here to Pay for Wars

by: Jason Ditz

In a recent speech at Wayne State University in Detroit, America’s top military commander, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen declared that the most serious threat to America’s national security is the national debt. His argument for this was that the debt and its deleterious effect on America’s economy could hinder the growth of military expenditures.

Mullen further lamented that current estimates have the federal government paying some $600 billion in interest on the debt in 2012 adding, “That’s one year’s worth of defense budget.”

But America’s civilian economy isn’t just something to be taxed to pay for war, and America’s civilian population is not just a collection of potential recruits and sources of revenue for the military. The military is supposed to be here to serve America, not the other way around.

And without downplaying the various serious economic consequences of America’s national debt, Admiral Mullen’s comments betray a very disturbing (and increasingly common) view of the American economy as little more than fuel for its ever-growing war machine.

In fact the $600 billion interest payment is coming in no small part because Admiral Mullen and the rest of the military’s leadership has been pressing for unprecedented increases in military spending. Now, having spent America’s economy to the brink of ruin, Admiral Mullen has the nerve to complain that the harm he has already done is hampering the harm he intends to do.

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