Supposedly, military spending is an effective estimation of how much a country cares about their military might. Right? You would think, the more money you invest into something, the more you care about that thing. Maybe that’s true for you or me, but we aren’t on the same level as the United States Military. Normal people math does not apply. Nor does the goals of average Americans. We might be concerned about our status in the world as the preeminent superpower. But our overlords have an entirely different agenda. According to CSIS, China spent 245 billion dollars (equivalent) on their military in 2020. By comparison, the United States spent 765 billion dollars (actual). We care a LOT more about our military then China, according to that metric. We have the largest, strongest, most powerful military in the world, or so the fable goes. Purchasing power, a commonly neglected partition when reviewing military investments, makes up the difference when reviewing Chinese vs US might. In the United States, the average salary of a US soldier is 60,000 dollars per year. While it’s hard to find an exact equivalent pay average for Chinese service members, the best estimate I could find puts the average yearly income of a Chinese military member at 14,000 dollars per year (calculated by taking official but out of date data from Chinadaily and then multiplying it by a factor of 1.4 as per modern increases in payroll requirements announced by the CCP).
So, simply from a payroll perspective, China can support 4.2 active service members for every 1 active service members in the United States. That’s just payroll. Let’s look at equipment. The Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle is the most modern and capable fighter jet deployed by the CCP. Cost per unit is currently estimated at 110 million dollars (equivalence). The total program cost is currently estimated to be 4.4 billion dollars (equivalence) to manage, fly, and maintain the CCP’s flight of J-20 fighter jets. The US’s equivalent, the F-22 Raptor costs 350 million dollars (actual) per unit. The total program cost to the United States is 66 billion dollars. Obviously, the total number of J-20 fighter jets in service is a closely guarded secret to the CCP. Official procurement numbers for the F-22 are currently held at 195 units, although this metric is outdated. According to estimations and long term predictions from the Rand Corporation, the United States currently maintains ultimate air superiority in the event of a war with China, but, that superiority is fast fading and may be gone by 2027.
So, why are we on the brink of losing a cold war with china in the next 5 years, when we are outspending them by a factor of 3 to 1? Good question. let’s talk about that.
The Purpose of the Military
I think Simon Sinek sucks. But, I do think that his core concept of “Start with Why” is a useful one. So, in that spirit, let’s consider why any nation should have a military. Now, before you get huffy, remember that some nations get along just fine without any standing military (looking at you Iceland). So, why have a military? The official mission statement of the US Department of Defense is to “Provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security.” Cool. I don’t think people will be upset by that. But, does their mission statement and their actual budget and decisions line up? Emphatically no. In fact, the Department of Defense (specifically the Army) is currently the subject of brutal meme’ing on this subject. See below exhibit A:
Furthermore, the DoD now apparently needs to have a Climate-Policy Czar? Since when does managing DoD emissions promote the deterrence of war and ensure our nation’s security? You don’t see our enemies making those same expenditures. This gets to my main point. The purpose of the military is NOT to deter war and ensure national security. The purpose of the military is to perpetuate the Military Industrial Complex. Much has already been said about the gross mismanagement of military funding. I won’t try to make that case. If you don’t already understand and affirm the statement that our military abuses their budgets, please read the following articles: House Committee on Oversight and Reform, DCMA Oversight On Contracts, Afghanistan produced massive waste, CIA mission in Syria backfires. Those are just a few examples.
So, the official “why” for the military is not actually why our military exists. The US military is EXTREMELY good at spending money. WHY? Because it’s encouraged. Here’s the lifecycle of the Military Industrial Complex, courtesy of MilitaryIndustrialComplex.com:
It all starts with you, the taxpayer. You make money at your job. That money gets taxed. Some of that money goes to roads. Some of it to social security. Some to funding libraries. But about 25% of it goes to the Department of Defense. Why? Because you elected politicians who told you we needed a strong military. Why? “Because we support our troops and they protect freedom overseas.” Of that 25%, some of it goes to pay for the salaries of active and reserve service members. But, about half of it goes to Defense Contractors. In return, those defense contractors spend a small percentage of that money, just 2.5 billion dollars annually, on campaign contributions, lobbyists, and perks to elect politicians who tell you that we need to “Support our troops and protect freedom overseas.”
The actual “why” of the military is to produce revenue for the powerful and keep the oligarchs in their positions of influence. And it’s not a Democrat or Republican thing. Big Military has it’s claws firmly latched onto both parties. And who would dare say they are NOT pro-military? That’s a cardinal sin to our national pride. You could be labeled a terrorist. A freedom hater. A socialist. Well, I am not pro-military. And I love freedom. It’s because of freedom that I despise our military leadership and what they have done to our national defense. And while we dump money into the bottomless hole which is our Department of Defense, China (an actual socialist nation) is quickly building a military capable of destroying our own.
The Ramifications of Our Sins
On August 29th, 2021 Ayat Ahmadi (age 2), Sumaya Ahmadi (age 2), Malika Ahmadi (age 3), Binyamen Ahmadi (age 3), Armin Ahmadi (age 4), Farzad Ahmadi (age 9), Faisal Ahmadi (age 10), Zamir Ahmadi (age 20), Nasir Ahmadi (age 30), and Zemari Ahmadi (age 40), were all killed in a drone strike approved by top military officials at the Pentagon (Members of the Ahmadi family are pictured at the top of this post). They died in a “Rightous Strike” intended for terrorists. They died because of the US Defense Department’s 20 year, 2.261 trillion dollar “Peace Keeping” operation in Afghanistan. Within the last few years, the documents formally known as “The Afghanistan Papers” were released as part of a Freedom of Information request. These documents prove that our government KNEW that the war in Afghanistan was unwinnable. Our elected officials knew that the war was costing thousands of innocent afghani lives. But they did nothing. Because of one simple reason. Supporting the war funds their re-election campaigns. So, they perpetuated the war, allowed the context that killed Zemari and his brother and their children, along with the lives of at least 120,000 afghan civilians and military/para-military forces. For the sake of power, our elected officials murdered them.
It reminds me of the Holodomor. In 1932-1933, the USSR murdered millions of Ukranian peasants. While there is still much debate on the subject, most historians believe that the starvation was at least partially unintentional. Rather than purposefully starving the population, the policies and structures put in place by the USSR created a context which ultimately produced the Holodomor. For the most part, I don’t think the powers that be in the US government intended for the Ahmadi family to be destroyed. Nor do I think they intended for us to lose the war in Afghanistan. We went into that war to free a nation from tyranny and to protect our homeland from terrorists. At least, that’s why I thought we went to war. I just don’t think our leaders were thinking that when they signed us up. It never was about the war was it? It was about dollar signs.
Rest In Peace Ayat, Sumaya, Malika, Binyamen, Armin, Farzad, Faisal, Zamir, Nasir, and Zemari.