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Old 04-24-2007, 11:21 PM   #196
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Originally posted by STING2
[B]

First, the amount that has been spent on the war as well as the entire military is far less than what the United States spent on the military in the peace time of the 1980s as a percentage of GDP.

but, you see, this totally dodges the issue as to whether or not this was money well spent and if it could have been better spent in other areas. further, keep in mind that the Soviet Union existed in the 1980s and calling it "peace time" both understates the Cold War as it overstates the GWOT.

so stop with these pointless diversions and deal with the issues at hand.

let us ask ourselves how growth in the GDP necessitates growth in defense spending. does a more prosperous economy increase the risk that we will be attacked by a foreign power or by a terrorist group? no. a growing GDP may increase the level of defense spending we can afford, but it has no bearing on the level of defense spending we actually need.

simply, "defense spending as a percentage of GDP" is a worthless statistic, especially when no one ever needed an invasion of Iraq to defend the country.

further:

[q]The current (2005) United States military budget is larger than the military budgets of the next fourteen biggest spenders combined, and over eight times larger than the official military budget of China. The United States and its close allies are responsible for approximately two-thirds of all military spending on Earth (of which, in turn, the US is responsible for the majority). Military spending accounts for more than half of the United States' federal discretionary spending, which is all of the U.S. government's money that is not used for pre-existing obligations.[4]

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2003 the United States spent approximately 47% of the world's total military spending of US$956 billion.

Aa percentage of its GDP, the United states spends 3.7% on military. This is higher than France's 2.6%, and lower than Saudi Arabia's 10%.[5] This is historically low for the United States since it peaked in 1944 at 37.8% of GDP. Even during the peak of the Vietnam War the percentage reached a high of 9.4% in 1968.[6]

Because the U.S. GDP has risen over time, the military budget can rise in absolute terms while shrinking as a percentage of the GDP. For example, according to the Center for Defense Information, the US outlays for defense as a percentage of federal discretionary spending, has from Fiscal Year 2003 consumed more than half (50.5%) of all such funding and has risen steadily.[7] Discretionary spending accounts for approximately 1/3 of all federal outlays[2]. Therefore, comparing nominal dollar values of military spending over the course of decades fails to account for the impact of inflationary forces, for which military spending as a percentage of GDP does account.

The recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are funded outside the Federal Budget (through supplementary spending bills), so they are not included in the military budget figures listed above.[8] In addition, the United States has black budget military spending which is not listed as Federal spending and is not included in published military spending figures. Other military-related items, like maintenance of the nuclear arsenal and the money spent by the Veterans Affairs Department, are not included in the official budget. Thus, the total amount spent by the United States on military spending may be considered higher, if one considers these other expenses to be military spending.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militar..._United_States

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Old 04-24-2007, 11:43 PM   #197
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[q]Th e George H. W. Bush administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2007 budget request of $439 billion marks an increase of approximately
27 percent in real terms since September 11, 2001. That figure does not include $21.8 billion for Department of Energy (DOE) spending on nuclear weapons activities. Nor does it include spending on the wars we are actually fighting. When these costs are added in, military spending for 2007 will exceed $600
billion—a figure that surpasses the spending heights of both the Reagan military buildup and the Vietnam War in inflation-adjusted
terms.2 Moreover, the 2007 budget figure does not include funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The administration’s FY 2007 budget request for DHS is $42.7 billion,3 but in terms of real budget authority the actual appropriation provides $34.8 billion. As it turns out, the FY 2007 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which Congress passed and the president signed on September 29, 2006, totals $447.6
billion. But that figure excludes $58.9 billion in military construction and “quality of life” programs. Additional money will be requested at some point early in 2007. Thus, the FY 2007 appropriations for the DOD are likely to come to at least $545.7 billion and perhaps as much as $565.7 billion. However,
even that is not the grand total. Still missing are amounts for DOE nuclear weapons activities and for “Other Defense-Related
Activities.” When they are added, the grand total ranges from $566.9 billion to $586.9 billion.

http://www.independent.org/pdf/polic...-budgeting.pdf

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Old 04-24-2007, 11:49 PM   #198
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Originally posted by STING2
The cost of a worldwide economic depression worse than the 1930s as a result of the seizure or sabotage of Persian Gulf oil supply would easily dwarf the cost of the current Iraq war and military spending, combined.
Are you now conveniently forgetting how completely outclassed/outgunned/outmaneuvered the Iraqi army was to our coalition forces? We practically strolled in there. Do you honestly expect that the Iraqi army at that time would be able to seize ANYTHING for more than a day before being routed?

More irrational fear-mongering. It's not as if the option was A) invade Iraq or B) let Saddam run wild.

And your earlier point about our current military spending being less comparitively than 80s military spending is still completely irrelevant. The majority of this country believes we should not be in this war. One could reasonably infer from that the majority of the people feel the money would have been better spent elsewhere.

All the comparative stats you can summon won't change that.
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:52 AM   #199
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Originally posted by Irvine511



but, you see, this totally dodges the issue as to whether or not this was money well spent and if it could have been better spent in other areas. further, keep in mind that the Soviet Union existed in the 1980s and calling it "peace time" both understates the Cold War as it overstates the GWOT.

so stop with these pointless diversions and deal with the issues at hand.

let us ask ourselves how growth in the GDP necessitates growth in defense spending. does a more prosperous economy increase the risk that we will be attacked by a foreign power or by a terrorist group? no. a growing GDP may increase the level of defense spending we can afford, but it has no bearing on the level of defense spending we actually need.

simply, "defense spending as a percentage of GDP" is a worthless statistic, especially when no one ever needed an invasion of Iraq to defend the country.

further:

[q]The current (2005) United States military budget is larger than the military budgets of the next fourteen biggest spenders combined, and over eight times larger than the official military budget of China. The United States and its close allies are responsible for approximately two-thirds of all military spending on Earth (of which, in turn, the US is responsible for the majority). Military spending accounts for more than half of the United States' federal discretionary spending, which is all of the U.S. government's money that is not used for pre-existing obligations.[4]

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2003 the United States spent approximately 47% of the world's total military spending of US$956 billion.

Aa percentage of its GDP, the United states spends 3.7% on military. This is higher than France's 2.6%, and lower than Saudi Arabia's 10%.[5] This is historically low for the United States since it peaked in 1944 at 37.8% of GDP. Even during the peak of the Vietnam War the percentage reached a high of 9.4% in 1968.[6]

Because the U.S. GDP has risen over time, the military budget can rise in absolute terms while shrinking as a percentage of the GDP. For example, according to the Center for Defense Information, the US outlays for defense as a percentage of federal discretionary spending, has from Fiscal Year 2003 consumed more than half (50.5%) of all such funding and has risen steadily.[7] Discretionary spending accounts for approximately 1/3 of all federal outlays[2]. Therefore, comparing nominal dollar values of military spending over the course of decades fails to account for the impact of inflationary forces, for which military spending as a percentage of GDP does account.

The recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are funded outside the Federal Budget (through supplementary spending bills), so they are not included in the military budget figures listed above.[8] In addition, the United States has black budget military spending which is not listed as Federal spending and is not included in published military spending figures. Other military-related items, like maintenance of the nuclear arsenal and the money spent by the Veterans Affairs Department, are not included in the official budget. Thus, the total amount spent by the United States on military spending may be considered higher, if one considers these other expenses to be military spending.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militar..._United_States

[/q]
You totally miss the point. The most accurate way to estimate the burden of military spending, or any type of spending for that matter on a country is to compare the spending total to the country's GDP. In the 1980s, the USA was spending far more of its wealth on defense then than it is today, despite the fact that the country is involved in two wars at the moment.

Even when you pile on all the additional spending area's that the second article you posted discusses, your still coming in at 4.5% of GDP, well below the defense burden in the 1980s.

Iraq's actually been invaded twice by the United States and its coalition allies, once in 1991 and once in 2003. Both invasions were necessary to insure the security of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia which United States national security has been tied to for decades. The potential cost of not insuring US national security in either case dwarfs the other cost associated with the war and in fact insures spending on other matters within the country would not be impacted by a massive economic depression that would bring the country to its knees.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:56 AM   #200
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Originally posted by Diemen


Are you now conveniently forgetting how completely outclassed/outgunned/outmaneuvered the Iraqi army was to our coalition forces? We practically strolled in there. Do you honestly expect that the Iraqi army at that time would be able to seize ANYTHING for more than a day before being routed?

More irrational fear-mongering. It's not as if the option was A) invade Iraq or B) let Saddam run wild.

And your earlier point about our current military spending being less comparitively than 80s military spending is still completely irrelevant. The majority of this country believes we should not be in this war. One could reasonably infer from that the majority of the people feel the money would have been better spent elsewhere.

All the comparative stats you can summon won't change that.
Are you forgetting that the United States and the Coalition had to deploy large numbers of troops to Kuwait to launch the invasion because it was not politically possible to have such massive numbers of Coalition troops stationed in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on a permanent basis. Despite Saddam's weakened state after the 1991 Gulf War, CIA analysis showed that if Saddam was determined, he could still overrun Kuwait. Lets not forget that it only took 12 hours for Saddam to do that in August of 1990. The Problem is that the number of US ground troops that could be stationed in Kuwait on a regular basis was too small along with the Kuwaiti military to withstand a determined thrust by Saddam's weakened military. In late 1994, Saddam moved two Iraqi Republican Guard divisions near the border with Kuwait. The movement caused the massive deployment of over 100,000 US troops to the region. The problem is that it took 2 months to move all the elements of that force into place. Saddam probably would have needed more than two Republican Guard divisions to overrun Kuwait given forces that could be stationed there and in the region, but the point is that a race is involved in defending Kuwait from an all out invasion by Saddam, a race that if Saddam is determined he will win at least temporarily being able to do plenty of damage to Kuwaiti oil supply and potentially causing a recession as did happen in 1990/1991.

But it is Saudi Arabia that is really the huge concern, where the siezure and sabotage of its oil reserves would cause a massive global economic depression like the 1930s. Much of its large oil fields are located in the northern part of the country near Kuwait. While its nearly a certainty that Saddam after the 1991 Gulf War could temporarily still overrun Kuwait in a determined thrust, its questionable how far he would be able to get into Saudi Arabia given his reduced military capabilities.

But keeping Saddam's military capabilities at the post 1991 Gulf War level required that the international community maintain a permanent large Sanctions and Weapons Embargo on the regime. Unfortunately, the sanctions and weapons embargo placed on Iraq in 1990 as a result of its invasion of Kuwait started to decline towards the end of the 1990s. By the summer of 2000, there was effectively no sanctions or embargo across the entire Syrian/Iraqi border. Saddam was making Billions of dollars on the black market per year. It was only a matter of time before Saddam would be able to rebuild many of the military capabilities that he lost in the 1991 Gulf War and potentially add new weapon systems and equipment that would improve the Iraqi military's combat strength vs. coalition and US forces.


If you could insure a change of Saddam's behavior through compliance, suddenly rebuild the dismantled sanctions and weapons embargo, plus permanently station large numbers of US troops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, you could have an excellant case for a containment policy instead of regime change. But, since none of that was possible or would happen, regime change through military force was the only option left, and the sooner the better given the nearly complete end of sanctions and weapons embargo on Saddam and the potential rise of Saddam's military capabilities in all area's.


As for military spending, while the majority of the country may be against the war currently, that was not the case just two years ago. The United States still has fundamental security needs in the region, plus Al Quada cannot be allowed a safe haven in Iraq, which is what the Democrats proposals for withdrawal will give them. Protecting the US and global economy and fighting Al Quada and preventing the next 9/11 are vital to this country and trump just about every other spending priority. Whatever non-military item your thinking about spending US tax dollars on, it won't be possible to do so if the US and global economy is severely damaged or Al Quada is able to successfully launch a new 9/11 level or greater attack on the USA. Proper funding of US security needs in a way protects the current level of non-US military spending by helping to prevent a disaster that cripples the economy and would reduce GDP and government revenue as well as skew what money the government still had even more towards the military and other specific security needs.
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:01 AM   #201
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You know, I am sick of this implication that only the U.S should control the oil in the Middle East. God forbid the people who live in those countries decide how to develop it and whom to sell it to. It's such a condescending view of the world. If the West never spent the last century or so fucking around over there, maybe they wouldn't have half the troubles they have today. I guess it's ok when dictators or oligarchies control the oil when you control them.
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:18 AM   #202
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You know, I am sick of this implication that only the U.S should control the oil in the Middle East. God forbid the people who live in those countries decide how to develop it and whom to sell it to. It's such a condescending view of the world. If the West never spent the last century or so fucking around over there, maybe they wouldn't have half the troubles they have today. I guess it's ok when dictators or oligarchies control the oil when you control them.
Preventing the siezure and sabotage of Persian Gulf oil has nothing to do with the United States controlling oil but making sure that the oil is available to the entire global economy. The issue here is the global economy and how damaging the sudden seizure and sabotage of Persian Gulf oil would be to the global economy, especially given the planets growing dependence on it. Where a specific country in the Persian Gulf sells its oil, or which country's buy the most oil from the Persian Gulf is not the issue. The issue is how the supply of Persian Gulf oil on the world market impacts the global economy which impacts everything. Even a country like Brazil which imports no oil now, is impacted by the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf because its economy is still deeply connected to the global economy and not immune to the negative impacts a severe oil disruption would have on the global economy.
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Old 04-25-2007, 06:39 AM   #203
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You totally miss the point.
Is this the "I know you are but what am I" strategy?

It doesn't matter what the most accurate way to estimate the burden is if the burden itself is not necessary!
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Old 04-25-2007, 07:03 AM   #204
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One could reasonably infer from that the majority of the people feel the money would have been better spent elsewhere.
The ultimate "liberal" dichotomy, there is of course the third option of not spending it at all.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:51 AM   #205
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Originally posted by STING2


You totally miss the point. The most accurate way to estimate the burden of military spending, or any type of spending for that matter on a country is to compare the spending total to the country's GDP. In the 1980s, the USA was spending far more of its wealth on defense then than it is today, despite the fact that the country is involved in two wars at the moment.


no, you've missed the point and continue to present a statistic that has nothing to do with the necessity or prudence of military spending. the best way to compare is not thorugh GDP but in inflation adjusted real dollars.

GDP has nothing to do with this.

not even a little bit.

your definition of "national security" is complete bogus.

this invasion has killed more Americans, and done more to damage the abilities of the US to project soft and hard power, than Saddam could have ever dreamed of being able to do.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:53 AM   #206
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Originally posted by STING2


Preventing the siezure and sabotage of Persian Gulf oil has nothing to do with the United States controlling oil but making sure that the oil is available to the entire global economy. The issue here is the global economy and how damaging the sudden seizure and sabotage of Persian Gulf oil would be to the global economy, especially given the planets growing dependence on it. Where a specific country in the Persian Gulf sells its oil, or which country's buy the most oil from the Persian Gulf is not the issue. The issue is how the supply of Persian Gulf oil on the world market impacts the global economy which impacts everything. Even a country like Brazil which imports no oil now, is impacted by the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf because its economy is still deeply connected to the global economy and not immune to the negative impacts a severe oil disruption would have on the global economy.

you're thoroughly alone in this opinion. if this were remotely true, assembling countries to remove Saddam would have been a cakewalk and we wouldn't have had to resort to bribes and manufactured "coalitions" (go Marshall Islands!).
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:34 PM   #207
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listen, in some ways, it's all very simple.

the idea of taking out Saddam Hussein is not a new one. it had been discussed since the end of Gulf War 1 within the intelligence community and the military community. a policy of containment and sabre-rattling defined the 1990s, and in a weakened state, most thought it best to contain Saddam rather than confront him. further, while there were many strategic benefits to taking out Saddam, there were enormous risks in taking him out -- the cauldron of ethnic violence being just one of them -- and many saw some strategic advantages to keeping him in power as he effectively contained Iran.

the debate went backwards and forwards, but most came to the conclusion that the risks involved in taking out SH outweighed the potential benefits.

then 9-11 happened, and the Bush administration -- filled with people from the AEI and the Project for a New American Century -- manipulated this national tragedy to create a sense of crisis and urgency and overstate the danger SH presented to individual Americans. this is where the WMD issue came into being -- no talk about persian gulf oil, regional stability, arab democracy, etc., was going to be able to convince Joe and Jane American to send their sons and daughters to Iraq to die. thus, we had Cheney and Scooter driving across the Potomac every Wednesday in 2002 to check in on the CIA analysts (this is well documented) and how their "assessments" of the threat was coming along.

and you know what then happened.

and it turns out that the skeptics of the removal of SH were correct. what has happened has not justified his removal. we have a worse situation today than we did in 2001, and there's been tremendous damage to US soft and hard power as the US sits at it's lowest standing internationally since the late 1970s. Bush is no Truman; Bush is the flip side of Carter -- where Carter's passivity emasculated the US, Bush's belligerance has made us fall on our own sword.

and, tragically, the biggest crises facing the planet -- global AIDS, global warming, Israel/Palestine, NoKo, genocide in Africa -- are precisely the issues that would benefit most from effective US engagement. the US, for all it's myriad faults, has been a force for good in the world, and it may be once again. but the damage done to the US by this foolish invasion and years of now laughable bellicosity will take decades to undo.
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:43 PM   #208
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Originally posted by Irvine511
no talk about persian gulf oil
Quite to the contrary, it was always stressed that it was not about oil, and that there was no interest in the oil. Nobody believed them, and the term Blood for Oil was very popular around the world, but the administration said over and over again that oil was no reason for the invasion.

And now Sting has no problem to repeat over and over again how important it was to secure the oil in that region, and how serious a threat Saddam was for the oil.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:13 PM   #209
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you're thoroughly alone in this opinion. if this were remotely true, assembling countries to remove Saddam would have been a cakewalk and we wouldn't have had to resort to bribes and manufactured "coalitions" (go Marshall Islands!).
Sorry, but US national security in the Persian Gulf since the late 1940s has been based on preventing the siezure and sabotage of oil there by a hostile power because of the impact it would have on the global economy. The largest deployment of US troops anywhere in the world since World War II happened in 1990/1991 to remove the threat of Saddam's military in Kuwait and southern Iraq. Assembling a coalition in 1990 also involved what many would have considered to be "bribes" and the United States constituted 75% of the total force. More importantly, the United States, and United Kingdom did nearly all the fighting when it came to the war itself. The other forces that deployed from other country's saw almost no fighting. In contrast, the United States made up 85% of the 2003 coalition, not much of a difference in the percentage from 1991. In addition, non-US and non-UK casualties have been higher among the other coalition country's in this conflict which shows that that non-US/UK forces have been more involved in the actual fighting than such forces were in 1991.

Look at Afghanistan. The "good" war, the one that everyone "supports". Well, how many NATO troops and forces from other country's(non-US/UK) has the world been able to send to Afghanistan, just under 16,000, which is actually less than the total that was in Iraq at its peak.

The fact of the matter is, many of these country's have armed forces that are small and often do not have forces that are trained and prepared for such deployments. More importantly, they have no independent power projection capability and must rely on other country's in order to get into the region.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:29 PM   #210
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Nobody loves the war in Afghanistan, people just view it differently.
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