A Chart Is Worth 1,000 Words

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Todd Harrison, the defense-budget whiz over at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, has a new report out on how the prospect of sequestration might affect the Pentagon. Lots of interesting data.

But it was a slide from his briefing that caught Battleland’s eye. It simply charts, adjusted for inflation, the amount of money the nation has invested annually in its military since World War II.

Kind of provocative when you realize it shows that we’re spending well above the Cold War average, even without adding in the funding for the Iraq and Afghan wars. Battleland stares at the blue chunk of the chart, rising and falling with the world’s turbulence, but seeing its basic, steady rise since 1947.

The ascendancy kind of resembles the Himalayas. Folks warning of disaster following any more budget cuts seem a little like novice mountaineers standing on the 28,251-foot summit of K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, and complaining that Everest’s 29,029-foot peak is higher.