|You are in: Talking Point|
Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 14:14 GMT
US defence spending: Does it add up?
President Bush has announced the biggest increase in US defence spending in the last 20 years.
A 15% rise of $43bn will be allocated to fight the war against terror to fund missile defences, precision weaponry, hi-tech equipment and salary increases for uniformed personnel.
The President said, "The most basic commitment of our government will be the security of our country."
A quarter of the money will fund homeland defence - extra FBI officers and airport security workers, research into bio-terrorism and equipment to improve safety of the mail system and postal staff.
US defence analysts have criticised Bush for making a return to deficit spending during the recession and taking advantage of the current climate in America to boost traditional defence programmes. They argue that advancing the national missile defence shield is inappropriate in a war against terrorism.
Do you think the increased resources are justified given the economic climate? Is the funding of traditional defence programmes suitable for the war on terrorism?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
All this talk about increasing military forces does not solve the issue at why people are so fed up around the world that they would resort to suicide murders. These issues need to be addressed individually and a united council such as the UN needs to make unbiased decisions to improve political outcries internationally. As for airport security increases. This is a myth, I have travelled on an airline recently and security took away a pair of nail clippers for security reasons, then the airline served dinner with stainless steel knives and forks, how does this make sense?
The American defence budget was decimated by 8 years of the military hating Clinton administration. President Bush is merely playing 'catch-up', plus attempting to get our soldiers off public welfare.
Although many improvements have been needed for some time in our immigration controls, the huge shift of funds from already hideously under funded social services to the military-industrial complex will only serve to hurt the poor and disenfranchised.
America must take care of its own, while learning to live as a responsible member of the global village. To do otherwise is to risk ridicule and leave the faltering democratic experiment of the United States of America as an historical lesson in learning how to be a civil society.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that the pro-business Bush would rather give money to further inflate the military industrial complex. Defense contractors will get fat while millions of Americans go without jobs, without health insurance, and in the case of Enron employees, without retirement savings after years of slaving to achieve the "American Dream". But the wrongness of Bush's choice will come to light when we see how little a missile defense shield protects us from terrorists who live next door, who board our boats, our planes and other vehicles. A missile defense shield won't protect one American from the next terrorist attack. And the way the U.S. government is recklessly sowing more seeds of hatred around the world through its policies (supporting Israel, ignoring the Geneva Convention), you can bet there will be more terror.
Leslie, Good Old USA
If America was completely isolationist, I would agree that the rest of the world wouldn't have a right to argue how it spends its money. But the fact is that the US takes an active and substantial roll in world affairs and so should come under the scrutiny of the rest of us.
Who cares? It's their money although it does seem rather silly. The 'war' in Afghanistan has cost about $4billion to date - they could have probably BOUGHT the country for that!
Samsher Khan, Windsor, Canada
It is interesting how the Republicans are constantly accusing the Democrats of spending out of control. Where is this $45 billion going to come from after the biggest tax cut in US history, and in the middle of a recession? It is just flat-out irresponsible.
This spending is justified in the name of defence but the real aim is to protect US economic interests by remaining the biggest bully in the neighbourhood. Looking back over recent history, it's clear that the US uses military might to destroy regimes that it doesn't like, then offers millions to rebuild the shattered country afterwards in a form that is acceptable to the US - this is exactly what is happening in Afghanistan, where the prize for US companies is OIL.
Barry P, England
The evidence of the last few months suggests that terrorism can indeed be defeated by overwhelming military force. "Understanding" why Islamic countries despise the West won't ever stop the extremists.
President Bush has so far in his term been very generous to the donors of his campaign. Do I have to say Enron? How do we know whether the defence expense increase is good for the country or good for the defence contractors?
Why does anyone from Europe care how much we spend on defence? Americans certainly don't tell England how to spend its money. If we did, you might have a health system that worked.
Kris Vamadevan, USA
I think it entirely appropriate because the previous administration decimated the value of the military and therefore placed our security in jeopardy. WE have to put that right now and we have a leader who has the courage to do something about it.
If 300 billion dollars was not enough to prevent September 11, what good will another 48 billion do? Better to get away from the fossil fuel addiction by funding alternative energy sources and conservation.
Rodger Edwards, UK
The US defence umbrella allows those who live comfortably beneath it to happily neglect their own defence spending and rely on the US to clean up messes in their back yards (such as former Yugoslavia). I fail to see how these countries are in any position to complain about how the US spends its defence budget. Why is there a moral imperative that the US does everything while the rest of the world sits around acting indignant?
Terrorism is a shadowy figure that hides in the darkest of corners: intelligence should be the key spending area for the US Government.
Shaun, Teignmouth UK
Europeans are going to tell America how to spend our money - what is this world coming to? Worry about your own fiscal spending and keep out of ours.
Mr Bush, what about Medicaid and US healthcare for the jobless? What good is a country that can defend itself, if you don't start to care for the people who live in it first?
Peter C Kohler, US
Does anyone truly believe this will really help bring an end to terrorism? Of course it won't! No matter how expensive a bomb is, it's useless against something like terrorism, which breeds from poverty, deprivation, lack of education and lack of hope in an unfair world. Those billions should be spend to help rebuild, not to help further destroy!
Janet S, US
Considering all the wars fought over oil by and for the US, $48bn invested in non-oil energy development would go much further towards making the US - and thus the rest of the world - a safer place, and cleaner too.
I am unconvinced that any additional spending will help win the war on terrorism; it can only be won when America realises that understanding, not bombs, will heal the growing gap between it and the Muslim world. More missiles and more collateral damage only increase the demand for terrorism amongst populations who have their security and dignity taken from them. If anyone can explain to me how the missile defence system is supposed to defend against scattered stateless terrorist organisations (who most likely don't have warheads, let alone missiles to mount them on) I'd be glad to hear it.
Guy Hammond, England
The cost of everything on this scale is tremendous but if the government was more responsible with spending on luxuries for elected officials then the use of money on real issues would become more feasible. I think Bush doesn't want too much money in the bank to avoid the corruption and scandal that large surpluses usually tempt.
24 Jan 02 | Americas
Big boost for US military spending
21 Jun 01 | UK Politics
'Confront Bush on Star Wars' - MPs
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Other Talking Points:
Links to more Talking Point stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy