Before You Enlist Video -
Researching Pop Culture and Militarism -
If you have been Harassed by a Military Recruiter -
War: Turning now to Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson - Christian Science Monitor
Click through to find out
Religion and militarism -
‘A Poison in the System’: Military Sexual Assault - New York Times
Change your Mind?
Talk to a Counselor at the GI Rights Hotline
Ask that your child's information is denied to Military Recruiters
And monitor that this request is honored.
Military Recruiters and Programs Target marginalized communities for recruits...
..and the high schools in those same communities

 Militarization of our Schools

The Pentagon is taking over our poorer public schools. This is the reality for disadvantaged youth.


What we can do

Corporate/conservative alliances threaten Democracy . Progressives have an important role to play.

 Why does NNOMY matter?

Most are blind or indifferent to the problem.
A few strive to protect our democracy.


Cost Of Militarism

Cost of militarismIn 2007, the world spent approximately $1.1 trillion on military expenditure - for making weapons and training people to kill, rather than for creating a better and sustainable world for all. An enormous amount of skills, resources, and energies go towards developing better killing machines and weapons and supporting the military-industrial complex, instead of going towards the betterment of society and the planet.

The US spends over half of this $1.1 trillion dollars on defense (approx. $623 billion). And the US is going to spend an additional $200 billion or so for the war in Iraq. Imagine how much better the world would be, had that same $200 billion been used for social and humanitarian activities (like poverty reduction, food, housing, education and sanitation) in Iraq and the Middle East.

As of December 2007, at least 18 significant ongoing armed conflicts were raging around the world (the UN defines "major wars" as conflicts that induce 1,000 or more deaths). Armed conflict costs more than human lives. The 1999 Report of the UN Secretary-General says that the economic costs of seven major wars (not including Kosovo) in the 1990s to the international community is at least $199 billion. This does not even include the economic costs of war to the countries in conflict.

Other important areas affected by armed conflict are:

Eco-terrorism: destruction of the environment as a weapon.
A well-known example is the U.S. military's use of Agent Orange to destroy food sources and foliage during the Vietnam Var. More recently, the destruction of Kuwaiti oil wells by retreating Iraqi military forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, released tons of gaseous pollutants like carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, causing black, greasy rains to fall in Saudi Arabia and Iran and black snow in Kashmir (over 1,500 miles away). Environmental destruction as collateral damage
The explosion of a heavy bomb creates temperatures of approximately 3,000 degrees Celsius. This annihilates all flora and fauna and completely destroys the lower layers of soil, which can take anywhere from 1,500 to 7,400 years to regenerate.

Long after conflicts have ended, land mines can continue to render conflict zones uninhabitable. Once laid, land mines can stay active for up to 50 years. These weapons cost little to manufacture, but can cost up to $1,000 to remove. Land-mines can be laid by mine-laying vehicles or ejected by cluster bombs at rates of over 1,000 per minute, but it requires a skilled expert an entire day just to clear 20-50 square meters of contaminated land by hand.

Over 20,000 sites on more than 1,700 U.S. military facilities are contaminated with conventional toxic wastes.

Depleted uranium (DU) - weapons are made from nuclear waste products.
DU is extremely dense, sharpens upon impact, and self-ignites. DU weapons are used to penetrate and detonate heavily armored combustible vehicles like tanks. On impact, DU produces a dust cloud that is chemically toxic, radioactive and light enough to spread quickly in the wind. These airborne particles are small enough to be inhaled, thus causing birth deformities, cancer, degenerative diseases, paralysis, or death depending on the level of exposure.

DU is so fine that it seeps deep into the soil, penetrating the water aquifers and contaminates any and all crops grown in the area where DU weapons were exploded. Any animal grazing in those areas ingests the contaminated grasses and any human eating that animal ingests the contaminated animal. Mothers who have breathed the dust or eaten contaminated crops or animals produce contaminated milk when they breastfeed their infants.

DU was first extensively used by US forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War (the first break with the post-Hiroshima convention against use of nuclear arms), then again by NATO in 1994-95 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1999 in the Kosovo conflict. It is currently used by US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

DU cannot be cleaned up and there is no known medical remedy. The environmental consequences of DU weapons residue will be felt for thousands of years as its decay products continually transform into even more hazardous radioactive substances. And, as one nuclear scientist wrote, "Radiation has no borders, respects no races or socio-economic classes…it’s going to get all of us”.

Social Casualties

  • As of October 2006, forty countries (out of 195) face food shortages. One of the predominant causes of food shortages is civil strife.
  • Hunger As A Weapon - Food stocks, means of food production, or food producers themselves are seized or destroyed. Food relief is diverted from intended beneficiaries to the military and their supporters.
  • Hunger As Collateral Damage - Conflict creates poverty, which results in hunger. Markets and livelihoods are disrupted, leaving households without sufficient resources to get food.
  • Children As Victims - Recently, the proportion of war victims who are civilians has jumped from 5 per cent to over 90 per cent. At least half of these war victims are children. During 1986-96, around 2 million children were killed in armed conflict. Three times as many were seriously injured or permanently disabled. Assault rifles are cheap and widely available, thanks to the international arms trade. In Uganda, an AK-47 can be purchased for the cost of a chicken. In some countries, government or rebel armies have recruited (often forcibly) tens of thousands of children to use these lightweight weapons. Most are adolescent boys, but some recruits are 10 years or younger.
  • Physical Security - The 2006 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook estimates that there are 9.9 million refugees, 744,000 asylum-seekers and 12.8 million internationally displaced persons protected/assisted by UNHCR.

Military Spending

  • World military expenditure estimated to be 1.2 trillion dollars in the year 2006.
  • The US will spend $598 billion on military, but only $58.6 billion on education and $52.3 billion on health.
  • The US will spend 48.6% of the world’s total military expenditures. This is almost as much as the rest of the world.
  • There are still around 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world. A few hundred could destroy most of the world.



Revised 04/17/2016

Realities Of War

Iraq WarOld soldiers in the Civil War coined a phrase for green troops who survived their first taste of battle: "He has seen the elephant." This Army lieutenant sums up the combat experience better than many a grizzled veteran:

"Well, I'm here in Iraq, and I've seen it, and done it. I've seen everything you've ever seen in a war movie. I've seen cowardice; I've seen heroism; I've seen fear; and I've seen relief. I've seen blood and brains all over the back of a vehicle, and I've seen men bleed to death surrounded by their comrades. I've seen people throw up when it's all over, and I've seen the same shell-shocked look in 35-year-old experienced sergeants as in 19-year-old privates.

"I've heard the screams - 'Medic! Medic!' I've hauled dead civilians out of cars, and I've looked down at my hands and seen them covered in blood after putting some poor Iraqi civilian in the wrong place at the wrong time into a helicopter. I've seen kids with gunshot wounds, and I've seen kids who've tried to kill me.

"I've seen men tell lies to save lives: 'What happened to Sergeant A.?' The reply: 'C'mon man, he's all right - he's wondering if you'll be OK - he said y'all will have a beer together when you get to Germany.' SFC A. was lying 15 feet away on the other side of the bunker with two medics over him desperately trying to get either a pulse or a breath. The man who asked after SFC A. was himself bleeding from two gut wounds and rasping as he tried to talk with a collapsed lung. One of them made it; one did not.

"I've run for cover as fast as I've ever run - I'll hear the bass percussion thump of mortar rounds and rockets exploding as long as I live. I've heard the shrapnel as it shredded through the trailers my men live in and over my head. I've stood, gasping for breath, as I helped drag into a bunker a man so pale and badly bloodied I didn't even recognize him as a soldier I've known for months. I've run across open ground to find my soldiers and make sure I had everyone.

"I've raided houses, and shot off locks, and broken in windows. I've grabbed prisoners, and guarded them. I've looked into the faces of men who would have killed me if I'd driven past their IED (improvised explosive device) an hour later. I've looked at men who've killed two people I knew, and saw fear.

"I've seen that, sadly, that men who try to kill other men aren't monsters, and most of them aren't even brave - they aren't defiant to the last - they're ordinary people. Men are men, and that's it. I've prayed for a man to make a move toward the wire, so I could flip my weapon off safe and put two rounds in his chest - if I could beat my platoon sergeant's shotgun to the punch. I've been wanted dead, and I've wanted to kill.

"I've sworn at the radio when I heard one of my classmate's platoon sergeants call over the radio: 'Contact! Contact! IED, small arms, mortars! One KIA, three WIA!' Then a burst of staccato gunfire and a frantic cry: 'Red 1, where are you? Where are you?' as we raced to the scene ... knowing full well we were too late for at least one of our comrades.

"I've seen a man without the back of his head and still done what I've been trained to do - 'medic!' I've cleaned up blood and brains so my soldiers wouldn't see it - taken pictures to document the scene, like I'm in some sort of bizarre cop show on TV.

"I've heard gunfire and hit the ground, heard it and closed my Humvee door, and heard it and just looked and figured it was too far off to worry about. I've seen men lined up outside a house, ready to enter - some as scared as they could be, and some as calm as if they were picking up lunch from McDonald's. I've laughed at dead men, and watched a sergeant on the ground, laughing so hard he was crying, because my boots were stuck in a muddy field, all the while an Iraqi corpse was not five feet from him.

"I've heard men worry about civilians, and I've heard men shrug and sum up their viewpoint in two words - 'F--- 'em.' I've seen people shoot when they shouldn't have, and I've seen my soldiers take an extra second or two, think about it, and spare somebody's life.

"I've bought drinks from Iraqis while new units watched in wonder from their trucks, pointing weapons in every direction, including the Iraqis my men were buying a Pepsi from. I've patrolled roads for eight hours at a time that combat support units spend days preparing to travel 10 miles on. I've laughed as other units sit terrified in traffic, fingers nervously on triggers, while my soldiers and I deftly whip around, drive on the wrong side of the road, and wave to Iraqis as we pass. I can recognize a Sadiqqi (Arabic for friend) from a Haji (Arabic word for someone who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, but our word for a bad guy); I know who to point my weapons at, and who to let pass.

"I've come in from my third 18-hour patrol in as many days with a full beard and stared at a major in a pressed uniform who hasn't left the wire since we've been here, daring him to tell me to shave. He looked at me, looked at the dust and sweat and dirt on my uniform, and went back to typing at his computer.

"I've stood with my men in the mess hall, surrounded by people whose idea of a bad day in Iraq is a six-hour shift manning a radio, and watched them give us a wide berth as we swagger in, dirty, smelly, tired, but sure in our knowledge that we pull the triggers, and we do what the Army does, and they, with their clean uniforms and weapons that have never fired, support us.

"I've given a kid water and Gatorade and made a friend for life. I've let them look through my sunglasses - no one wears them in this country but us - and watched them pretend to be an American soldier - a swaggering invincible machine, secure behind his sunglasses, only because the Iraqis can't see the fear in his eyes.

"I've said it a thousand times - 'God, I hate this country.' I've heard it a million times more - 'This place sucks.' In quieter moments, I've heard more profound things: 'Sir, this is a thousand times worse than I ever thought it would be.' Or, 'My wife and Sgt. B's wife were good friends - I hope she's taking it well.'

"They say they're scared, and say they won't do this or that, but when it comes time to do it they can't let their buddies down, can't let their friends go outside the wire without them, because they know it isn't right for the team to go into the ballgame at any less than 100 percent.

"That's combat, I guess, and there's no way you can be ready for it. It just is what it is, and everybody's experience is different. Just thought you might want to know what it's really like."

About the Writer

Joseph L. Galloway is the senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and co-author of the national best-seller "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young." Readers may write to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Militarism & War

Chilean repression 1973Militarism is a value system that stresses the superiority of some people over others. Under militarism, the people deemed inferior are dehumanized as enemies who must be overpowered by any means necessary. Those who deem themselves superior are permitted to take whatever they want from others — land, freedom, natural resources, cultures, lives — by force.

Militarism derides cooperation, equality and nonviolence, and instead enforces strict hierarchical relationships. Hierarchical systems create a winner at the top and render all others losers, so in a desperate attempt not to be a loser, each individual or group struggles to keep others down. As long as it is possible to see someone else as inferior, even those victimized by the hierarchy believe it is beneficial and continue to endorse it.

This same value system creates racism, sexism, homophobia and other types of discrimination. It is not surprising that these types of discriminatory behavior are inherent in military systems. The artificial creation and dehumanization of an "enemy" is used to manufacture hatred of certain groups of people and fuel wars. The system is so powerful that it does not stop with the enemy: within the military itself, women, ethnic minorities, gays, lesbians and others are treated as inferior due to their religion, language, nationality or other identities.

Militarism is the root cause of many of the global and domestic problems we face today. Solutions to these problems will only come about when enough people actively challenge this destructive way of thinking. This must include challenging and resisting the influence of the most powerful purveyor of militarism, the military establishment itself.


Some of the ways that militarism is evident in the U.S.:

FundingOver half of the federal government’s discretionary funds are devoted to war instead of essential civilian needs li ke housing, healthcare and education.


Schools invaded by militarismThe traditional independence of secondary and post-secondary schools has been eroded by laws forcing them to grant the military access to campuses and student records, even when it violates personal privacy and campus policies banning organizations that discriminate.

Military without limitsUnquestioning deference is given to the military by civilian government, the media and other institutions that we have traditionally counted on to help safeguard us from military encroachment on democratic civilian rule.

Military without limitsThe military is granted significant exemptions from laws concerning pollution, discrimination, civil rights and claims of injury, including death, that result from neglect and harmful acts by the military.

Schools loosing freedomsThe public school system, our primary mechanism for teaching democratic values, is being militarized with a growing presence of the armed forces, including the expansion of programs like high school Jr. ROTC that teach military values and hierarchy.

Lawa without civilian protectionsMilitarism can be seen in the weakening of laws prohibiting armed forces involvement in civilian law enforcement and immigration control, and in the growing militarization of civilian police agencies.


Here are some recommended links that offer other arguments against militarism and war. This is a work in progress and NNOMY will be adding new documents as they are prepared and as policies change that effect enlistment. Check back periodically.


Organizations you should know:

Articles on the web:


Revised: 10-19-2019

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