The level of American military spending comes up a lot, because it IS a lot; more than any other country.  Let's turn our focus to military spending in another country: Costa Rica. 

There's very little, because Costa Rica disbanded its permanent military decades ago, in favor of spending the money on improving the quality of life. 

The situation is summed up in the documentary film "A Bold Peace," produced by Matthew Eddy and Michael Dreiling. 

U.S. Navy/Public Domain

“The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined." 

So said President Obama in his final State of the Union address. 

But there is constant pressure from Congress to further expand military spending, even at the expense of domestic programs to help people in poverty. 

Economist Mike Prokosch tracks the trends in federal spending.

PBS / Debt of Honor

What does society owe its Veterans? How are Southern Oregon communities responding to the human cost of war? 

Please tell us what you think by completing this brief survey

Everyone's input is valued, and the results will inform collaborative reporting on Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon Public Television

Metropolitan Books

If you've ever wondered how many American military bases exist around the world, and why, David Vine has some answers for you. 

He calls his book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World an exposé of the vast network of American bases. 

His thesis: that the bases do more harm than good, annoying many societies around the world and providing launching points for military adventures far from home. 

Patricia Murphy/KUOW

The massive data breach at the federal Office of Personnel Management that was revealed last month has exposed the Social Security numbers and personnel records nearly every federal worker.

The implications for federal employees, military service members and the intelligence community could be huge. But at a very basic level, US service members have been at high risk for identity theft for decades.



  The admission of more females to the military has resulted in more opportunities for women, but that's a sword that cuts two ways.

They now hold positions of greater responsibility, but they also get to fight in dangerous places. 

AND there are issues with their treatment by fellow (male) members of the military. 

We spend the hour delving into the issues. 

Field Exercises That Don't Train For Battle

Nov 17, 2014

"Field Training Exercises" is a military term. 

The FTX, as it's known, does what the name implies… gets soldiers ready for battle in realistic conditions in the field. 

Stephanie Westlund turns the terminology on its head in her book Field Exercises: How Veterans Are Healing Themselves through Farming and Outdoor Activities. 

She details the work some veterans are doing in nature to get past their military experiences. 

On The Battle Lines With "Soldier Girls"

Sep 18, 2014
Simon & Schuster

The 21st century American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan represented a departure from the American military adventures of the past. 

Put aside the political for a moment and consider the gender issue: both wars featured large numbers of American women in uniform for the first time. 

Using The Tax Return To Protest War

Apr 2, 2014
U.S. Navy/Public Domain

There are probably few people who look forward to April 15th.

It is, after all, the day when our income tax returns are due. 

But there are people who relish the opportunity to make a statement about where our tax money goes.

Military Interest In Sex Assault Program

Dec 30, 2013
Ashland Police

The very title of Ashland's program for sexual assault victims says a lot: "You Have Options." 

Those options include waiting to decide whether to file charges, which can make a big difference in a victim's well-being. 

Veterans Come Home In Redding

Nov 4, 2013
Robert Neff/Fifth World Art

The political figures came out recently for the ribbon cutting; now it's time for the veterans to move into the new veterans home in Redding. 

It took most of a decade to locate and build the facility, eventual home to 150 military veterans. 

Look out for military marine markers on the Oregon Coast. That is the warning from Oregon State Police. The markers are silver canisters about 18 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Last week, three of them were found along the Oregon coast.

State Hazardous Device Technicians say it is not unusual to respond to one a month, but three in a week is very unusual.

The devices are dropped by military aircraft to mark the location of something floating in the ocean. The trouble is, they contain white phosphorous, which burns in contact with air.

Considering Syria More Carefully

Sep 11, 2013

The news about Syria came so fast this week, news organizations struggled to keep up.  Just as Congress returned for a likely vote on authorizing military action, Syria showed a willingness to consider putting its chemical weapons under international control, perhaps rendering an American attack moot.  We'll get two viewpoints on Syria in this interview--from Arcadia University professor Samer Abboud, who studies politics and the economy in Syria and other countries, and from Veterans for Peace past national president Leah Bolger.