Slaying Goliath: Give David A Stone

By Bo Filter

07/08/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- America’s behemoth, the military-industrial complex (MIC), has raked-in from taxpayers since WWII a cool $21 trillion.* If we consider the MIC to be Goliath, then the logical counterpart as David would be a peace-industrial complex (PIC). According to myth, David can bring down Goliath with a single stone. We can envision the stone to be some sort of taxpayer funding. To keep David from finding a stone, from obtaining federal funding, the MIC imperative needs to maintain zero funding for PIC. They say follow the money. Well then, the score so far since WWII is David $0———Goliath $21,000,000.000,000

Well, this is stupid, one might say. Everyone knows there is no such thing as a peace-industrial complex. If a PIC doesn’t exist, it naturally has no federal funding, which brings me precisely to point. The time has come to directly counter-poise the military juggernaut at minimum, but better still reverse the current reality of spending. Many people lend endless hours to peace work but with no taxpayer support whatsoever.

Let’s start with a little arithmetic. If we divide the $21 trillion of U.S. spending alone by the 60 years since WWII, the result is $350 billion per year. Now let’s compare the cost of war per year just for the US against the estimated cost per year of providing adequate food, water, education, health and housing for everyone in the world. The Campaign Against Arms Trade based in London puts this number at $17 billion.

Now we can figure out how many times more expensive war is than peace. By dividing $350 billion by $17 billion, we get 20.5. So war costs twenty times more than caring for the world’s population, just using US military spending. Moreover, we cannot imagine the accumulative dollar value of life lost, the collective mental degradation of humanity and the cost to the earth’s eco-system caused by war.

The MIC needs our continued allegiance to fear and “defense,” what the U.S. allegedly does in nearly every other country of the world. Remarkably, let any other country land 100,000 troops directly on American soil and see how fast they would be called aggressors, as opposed to defenders of “democracy.” Warmonger denial of their double standards is part of the mental illness of war. Denial desensitizes people to the damage they generate.

Part of the problem is that we don’t have a solid vision for peace, a plan for peace. What we envision today, we can move on tomorrow. Let’s begin. Imagine what PIC could have done with the full $21 trillion, or just half, or just one twentieth, the amount needed to feed and cloth the world.

Imagine thousands of people demanding that money be pulled away from the military to fund a PIC. Imagine across the street or next door to every recruiting office is an equally funded peace office extolling the virtues of exporting bread instead of bombs. Imagine peace generals dispersing caretakers to every family where children are raising children, as so common among AIDS victims. Imagine a day in the near future, where the world’s people go to the gates of the nearest military base and declare them “out of business.”

Remember, a PIC would usher into line the true aspirations of a consistently polled 80% of the world’s population that seek genuine peace and the end of war profiteering. What is missing is the unification of that 80%, and strong images from the past can help us find our common strength. Let’s imagine creating a PIC equipped with tax dollars. Let’s give David a stone.

* Extrapolated from FIGURE 1: U.S. MILITARY SPENDING, FISCAL YEARS 1945-2008: Center for Defense Information, Washington, D.C. ISSN: 0195-6450, Volume XXXII, Number 5, November/December 2003 [downloadable as a pdf]

Bo Filter, free-lance social science researcher and author of The Cause of Wars and Aggression :

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