As early as the times of the Roman Empire, warfare plays a huge role in the determination of who dominates a territory. The scramble for resources has made war a necessary evil that is hard to ignore. The geographical and economic expansion of the United States of America can to a large extent is attributed to the military and the naval supreme powers that it possesses. The United States of America is considered a world hegemon due to its involvement in world politics. The other states in other world possess resources that are often of interest to the United States. For instance, the invasion of the Iraq by the military forces of the United States of America was partly due to the desire to control the vast oil resources in Iraq. The United States has also been involved in a war of ideologies such as the Cold War which was a war of the Communist Bloc and the West due to the differences in economic policies. In all these instances, a huge chunk of the United States budget was allocated to war. It is estimated that the military expenditure of the United States accounts for about two fifths of total military expenditure of the world. It is also estimated to be about 47 times more than that of the rogue states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Sudan). The military expenditure of the United States serves different purposes in world politics and justice. In the recent upheaval that led to the overthrowing of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, the Unite States was implicated as having funded the rebels who eventually overthrew Muammar Gaddafi. In Iraq, the post war period has been marked by attempts to rebuild the state which to a large extent have been funded by the United States of America. There has been an attempt to cut out on military spending particularly with the Obama administration. The gradual withdrawal of the American troops from Afghanistan has to some extent aided in implementing this. The George Bush administration is still remembered for the excesses when it comes to military expenditure.
The states in the world cannot be considered equal on account of the differences in their military powers, economic abilities and ideologies. The inequality in the states therefore leads to competition among the states for resources and in turn dominance by the states that possess the military and economic prowess. The United States has for the longest time been a key player in shaping world politics. It is regarded as a bully of sort who calls the shots but rarely sticks to the ideologies that it is so vocal about.
The military expenditure of the United States accounts for about 54% of the total military expenditure in the world. It is estimated that the military expenditure of the United States loosely translates into 9,000 dollars per household. The cost per year comes to about 1 trillion US dollars which goes into defense programs, federal agencies such as Homeland and funding the war against terrorism. The current expenditure has had both negative and positive social and economic effects on world politics and justice.
The funding of the ousting of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi marked a by period of unrest that disrupted a flourishing state that a stable health system, education system and social amenities for its citizens. Although it was argued that Muammar Gaddafi was an impediment to the attainment of democracy, he had a great track record when it came to ensuring that the citizens had all the amenities at their disposal. He was however a staunch opponent of the ‘big brother’ activities of the United States.
In Iraq, the military funds from the United States have in handy in rebuilding a nation that had been under an oppressive regime. This paper shall examine the effect of United States military funding in war in several countries and efforts to address the expenditure.
2.0 War against Iraq
In 2003, the United States of America troops invaded Iraq under the pretext that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. As a member of the Security Council at the United Nations such an allegation warranted investigation before any form of action could be taken. A special task force known as the IAEA conducted the investigation and drew the conclusion that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction. The invasion of Iraq by the US military troops happened under the administration of George W. Bush. However the United States mainly used this opportunity to penetrate the vast oil and gas reserves that are present in Iraq. In so doing, they were assured of control of about 28% of the world total oil reserves which are found in Iraq.
This invasion was marked extra judiciary killings of innocent citizens. The presence of the US military in Iraq heightened the ethnic tensions among the Shiite and Sunni with the increased suspicion as to who was siding with the ‘enemy.’ The war in Iraq destabilized the lives of the citizens with several schools being closed, the health amenities receiving massive casualties of the war and family set up being disrupted. In 2005, the Haditha retaliatory killings happened in Iraq. During this incident 24 civilians were killed by US soldiers as an act of retaliation for the killing of one US corporal during an ambush on a military convoy.
In 2009 alone, the United States of America spent 700 billion US dollars on war among the war in Iraq. The George Bush administration is credited as having been responsible for increasing the amount that the US was spending on the military having declared the war on terror.
3.0 The War in Afghanistan
Since the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade center, the United States of America has intensified its war on terror. It has therefore increased its funding in secret agencies, defense programs and initiated war on nations that are suspected to harbor terror suspects. It is under these conditions that United States military troops invaded Afghanistan inn order to flush out terror suspects key among them Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden has been linked to Al Qaeda a terrorist network that is said to be the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks in addition to other bombing incidents targeting the United States of America in Kenya and Uganda.
The presence of the US military in Afghanistan marked the beginning of an unnecessary expenditure on a war that would drag for several years. The US military incurred huge costs in terms of equipment that was required for ‘fighting the enemy’ such as guns, bombs, tankers and planes. In addition to that, the military personnel also required to be paid and the causalities compensated. The huge expense of the war was incurred by the tax payers. In 2009, the government had to approve a budget of about 700 billion US dollars to continue funding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although the occupation of America in Afghanistan was a huge expenditure, it had some form influence in restoring justice to a society that had for long been oppressed by the Taliban. Women can now access basic social amenities such as schools funded by the US military funding in addition to being able participate in elections. Children who have been denied access to education courtesy of repressive Taliban policies could now attend formal schools and learn.
There have been efforts by the Obama administration to withdraw the American troops from Afghanistan but this has been a painfully slow process which has been frustrated by proponents on the war on terror.
4.0 War in Columbia
In Columbia, the war is a three sided affair that involves the guerillas, the right wing paramilitary groups and the government. It started as early as the 2960’s as a result of communist insurgency. The current insurgency is led by the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Columbia and the National Liberation Army. The conflict is heavily funded by illicit trade in cocaine in addition to kidnapping, prostitution rings and extortion. Several operations have been launched by the government in order to wrestle the control of entire neighborhoods and communities from the guerillas.
The US military has come in handy in joining the fight against the guerillas. This has been attained by disbursing a chunk of its military expenditure to the fight against guerillas. The money is disbursed to specific groups that are a part of the government programs in the fight to regain control from the militia groups. This has however been met by the challenge of excessive human right abuses by the military brigades. To rectify this, the Congress came up with the “Leahy agreement” which dictates that funding can only be disbursed to groups that have a track record of respecting human rights.
The Columbian armed forces have evaded this vetting process through several ways. They constantly reshuffle the leaders accused of human rights abuses across different brigades and conceal this information when applying for US military funding. They also form new brigades which act as a hiding place for the old excesses. The information about violations on human rights is rarely handed over to the US authorities.
In 1994 during the reign of President Samper the military aid to Columbia drastically reduced. However in 1998 when Santana came into power, an ambitious plan known as “ plan Columbia” was launched by the United States. It was meant to train the military to deal with the problem of narcotics and insurgency. However due to the deep entrenchment of the military officials in the drug trade and paramilitary operations, these funds have done little to promote justice and restore order to the communities in Columbia.
5.0 War in Libya
Since 1969, Muammar Gaddafi served as the leader of Libya. He had iron grip over the country and went to great lengths to keep it by providing the citizens of Libya with all amenities that they required at the expense of the state. He was often accused of quelling voices that were pro- democracy violence. The Libyan leader had frosty relations with the West and in particular the United States. This only served the purposes of strengthening his grip over Libya until 2011.
The North African country of Libya has experienced several changes in recent times which have resulted in demarcation of the closely knit ethnic communities. The United States of America therefore found a loop hole in appealing to the westernized urban groups and therefore stir a revolt against Gaddafi. What began as protests in Benghazi later became a revolt that spread to the entire nation which was marked by intense fights between the government and the discontent citizens. The rule of law ceased to be upheld as the citizens took to the streets to demand for the end of the leadership of Gaddafi. The international community in particular the West seemed to be a spectator at first but in essence they supported and funded the protests.
The efforts paid off with the toppling of the Libyan leader eventually. This was followed by the fragmentation of a system that had for decades been providing for its citizens. There was also wide spread looting during the upheaval in Libya which affected individuals who had invested in the country for years. The United States was quick in its efforts to rebuild the country although this was mostly an opportunity to realign itself so as to benefit from the vast oil resources possessed by Libya.
The involvement of the United States military funding was not only in Libya but also in the rest of the North African nations that experienced an uprising in the past year. These countries include Egypt where Houssni Mubarak was toppled as the leader.
6.0 The Measures Taken To Cut On Military Spending
The cost of being involved in world politics has weighed down heavily on the citizens of the United States of America. There have been major cut backs that have been made in order to continue to fund wars in different countries. Some of sectors that have been affected include; education and health. The Bush administration was heavily criticized for its invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan which are both deemed to be some of the most expensive military endeavors undertaken.
The effect of being involved in the two wars trickled down to the Obama administration. As a result, there were elaborate plans to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. However the implementation of this plan has been quite slow with little result in terms of cutting back on military expenditure. This is because of the efforts to rebuild in addition to the maintenance of the casualties of war through provision of health care and pension. Several proposals have also been made to cut back on investments made in nuclear weapons, sub marine weapons in addition to the number of secret agencies deployed to survey on the happenings of different parts of the world where the USA has interests.
In conclusion the military funding has had both negative and positive effects. A review ought to be conducted in each scenario in order to come up with effective ways to disburse the funds in addition to engaging in other forms of conflict resolution besides war fare.
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