Military spending is out of hand

Bridget Maxwell

More stories from Bridget Maxwell

The American government doesn’t love their troops

The American government doesn’t love their troops

Content warning: Mention of suicide.

Horrifying fact: The United States consists of 5% of the world’s population yet is also responsible for 39% of military spending worldwide. For those keeping track, this is the third consecutive year of growth within the U.S. military spending. By 2020, the military had spent a whopping $778 billion.

Let me break down that insanely large figure with some comparisons. Canceling all medical debt would cost roughly $81 billion, canceling all student debt would take about $1.6 trillion and $79 billion a year to make public college free.

However, instead of improving our country and providing humanitarian aid, the U.S.  decided it’s more important to fund wars and give money to other countries for military aid. In 2019, the U.S. dispersed $16.05 billion in military aid to Afghanistan, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Ukraine, Lebanon, Iraq and Mexico, to name a few. 

And yet, none of this money seems to trickle down to the soldiers themselves.  

If our country truly cared about their troops as they claim, then why are 22 veterans a day committing suicide? Why is it that less than 50% of returning veterans that are in need of mental health care receive any? 

Since 2001, the U.S. has spent more than $2 trillion on the war in Afghanistan. 

We helped by costing 66,000 Afghan military and police lives, 47,245 Afghan lives, then packed up and left Afghanis to fend off the Taliban. America leaving Afghanistan led to more deaths and horrible repercussions.  

Unfortunately, our country prioritizes shiny new equipment over basic human needs. Redistributing this insane budget is a pipe dream, this I know. However, holding our government accountable and raising concerns can impact future change. 

Arguing against the military is difficult, however, since it is easy to label those who critique as unpatriotic or against our troops. When, in actuality, the government is supposed to be held accountable for its spending and actions. Without this check and balance, you have an untouchable force.

This is why our military budget rises year to year. Any criticism against the military makes you un-American. In actuality, the most American thing you could do is oppose the government and its spending habits. 

Accountability does not equal hostility, you can support something or someone without putting them on a pedestal. 

If those in control want land to fight over and conquer, they need to throw their finances into stopping and reversing damage from global warming. It is the leading threat to not just our nation, but the world. 

If those in power want soldiers to fight their grievances, leaders must see soldiers as human beings, not expendable bodies. Even those we oppose should be viewed as people rather than as targets. 

We must shift our focus to humanitarian aid and the epidemic of global warming. There are far more important issues to focus on rather than the weapons we have in our arsenal or how tough we are as a nation. Our strength is irrelevant and diluted because of the major internal struggles the U.S. faces.


If you’re in need of help, contact one of these hotlines below:

  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
  • ​​National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

Maxwell can be reached at [email protected].