David Swanson: Mapping Militarism

I welcome any and all stories that document the enormous discrepancy between what the U.S. spends on war-mongering and everybody else. Just stunning, how we we are conditioned to focus here at home on consuming stuff (however, check this out: dead malls), while not noticing that as a “nation,” like a ravenous beast, “we” are consuming the rest of the world as well!

For example, for a few years now, when in conversation, I’ve been mentioning that the Military Industrial Complex, that is, the MIC) has over 1000 bases overseas! Huh? This remark usually goes right over people’s heads. Just too terrible to contemplate. Reminds me of those who still can’t see chemtrails in the sky.

And what makes this parasitic militaristic economy really difficult to face: those “jobs” we do have, are much too often either directly or indirectly tied to militarism in some guise, whether that be university research, or product development, or technology, or servicing all those bases with food, water, uniforms, entertainment — whatever! Strip the military foundation out of our economy, and what would be left? Thus, transforming the economy is inextricably tied to, indeed is identical with, releasing “war” as the engine that fuels everything else.

And that’s why the whole focus on letting go — of stuff, money, and jobs, creating new forms of exchange, sharing, etc. is also extremely vital, in order to fuel this emergent, genuine economy that includes everybody and heals the Earth rather than the old egonomy that “enriches” the few while they plan their Breakaway Civilization either elsewhere or underground, once the surface of the Earth has been completely destroyed.

Which reminds me, if you’re anywhere California, if at all possible, please do attend this weekend’s conference.

Mapping Militarism

June 26, 2014

by David Swanson


World Beyond War has created a set of online interactive maps to help us all see where and how war and preparations for war exist in the world today. You can find the maps we’ve created thus far at http://bit.ly/mappingmilitarism and send us your ideas for more maps here. We’ll be updating some of these maps with new data every year and displaying animation of the progress away from war or the regress toward more war as the case may be.

The following are still screen-shots of some of the maps available in interactive form at the link above.



This map displays annual spending on war and war preparations. When you view the interactive version, the key at the bottom left is adjustable. Here the darkest color is set to $200 billion. You can raise or lower it. Or you can click on one of the colored squares and change the colors if you don’t like blue. When you run the cursor over one of the countries on the interactive version it will give you details. You can also choose to see the same data as a graph without the map by clicking the full-screen symbol on the graph at the top of the page. Then you’ll see this:


At the moment, the nation “United States” has been clicked on. The bar for the United States is noticably larger than for the other nations. It would be about twice as high if all U.S. military spending were included. But then at least some of the other nations’ would be higher as well. The data used here for the comparison across nations comes from a report called “The Military Balance” by IISS. By comparing, as well as possible, absolute spending dollars, it becomes clear that the U.S. military dwarfs all others. Maps and charts that show military spending as a percentage of GDP (of a nation’s economy) have their own use, but they seem to imply that if a government has more money if can buy more weapons without becoming more militaristic, that in fact it will become less militaristic if it does not buy more weapons.



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