Remember that quote from President Eisenhower?
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people….
[The full quote and its origins here.]
Well, a recent short piece in Foreign Policy magazine by Christopher Preble entitled, Lies, Damned Lies, and Defense-Job Statistics, does a great job of bring us up to date on the issue. We had to read this twice to screen for libertarian double-speak. We were unduly suspicious due to the source publication and to Mr. Preble’s title, “vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute.” But, when it comes to defense spending and foreign affairs, the peace & justice community and the libertarians share a fair bit of common ground.
We will acknowledge there is a small-government message winding through this piece though. Okay, duly noted. Still a thought-provoking read.
Mr. Preble’s final line, “[T]here has been too much focus on the visible effects of ships and planes that are built, and not nearly enough on the houses, schools, and businesses that never are.” Sums it up nicely, but this article deserves a complete read here. We would welcome your thoughts, using the “Leave a comment” link below.