GLOBAL MILITARY SPENDING OR SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY?
- A new report from a Swedish-based think tank (SIPRI) reveals that U.S. military spending has almost doubled since 2001. The U.S. spent more than $700 billion on the military last year, an 81% increase over the last decade. Writing for Time magazine, Romesh Ratnesar says:
For all the posturing in Washington about confronting the "existential threat" posed by the country's dire fiscal state, there has been, until now, almost no serious discussion about reducing America's vast military expenditures. The White House says Obama's speech on the deficit this week will call for Pentagon cuts. But as TIME's Mark Thompson has shown, neither Obama's 2012 budget proposal nor Representative Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" contemplate a major decrease in overall military spending anytime in the near future. At best, Ryan's proposal would slow the rate of growth of the defense budget over the next 10 years but won't halt it. Even after pocketing the expected savings from a pullback of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Ryan's budget projection calls for nearly $8 trillion in military spending over the next decade — more than the government's Medicare obligations, which Ryan asserts (correctly) must be reformed. The justification for continued runaway defense spending? "The U.S. cannot retreat in its aggressive campaign against the global network of terrorists intent on taking American lives and destroying the American way of life."
- One way we could spend our money would be to dramatically invest in sustainable technologies. We do have a serious problem ahead due to climate change. The citizens of Germany seem to get it. They are demanding (successfully it appears) that their country abandon nuclear power production. They are also building a giant wind farm with 89 turbines, set for completion off their North Sea coast in 2014, that will supply electricity for 330,000 homes. Over the next 20 years, Germany plans to install enough wind power to replace what's now produced by its 17 nuclear reactors. About 21,000 wind turbines produce 7% of Germany's electricity, one of the highest rates in the world. (Note above the military spending of Germany.) China meanwhile is now the world leader in clean energy investment, having spent $51.1 billion last year alone. China also moved to the top of the installed wind power list. (Thanks to Nukewatch for this info.)
- Associated Press reports, "The military is investigating what appears to be the first case of American troops killed by a missile fired from a U.S. drone. The investigation is looking into the deaths of a Marine and a Navy medic killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator after they apparently were mistaken for insurgents in southern Afghanistan last week, two senior U.S. defense officials said Tuesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing."