Our Investment: Policy Predicated on the Official Account
It would be difficult to overestimate the degree to which US foreign policy is predicated on the official account of the attack of September 11, 2001. Although the Pentagon and other agencies described as fulfilling national security roles are seldom compelled to justify their astronomical budgets as meeting any specific threat, much less that personified by Osama bin Laden, the specter of the Islamic extremist threat is clearly a key underpinning of the US militaristic posture.
With the end of the Cold War, marked by the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the American public and the world was promised a peace dividend. Although the US Pentagon budget as a fraction of GDP decreased somewhat during the 1990s, it has increased steadily since 2001.
Merely examining the Pentagon's budget does not reveal the depth of resources committed to the "War on Terror", which is accounting for significant shares of the budgets of domestic agencies such as the FBI, HSA, and TSA.