It’s common knowledge that the U.S. devotes more money to our defense budget than any other industrialized nation. But just how much we spend is remarkable. This year, the nation is on track to spend over $1 trillion on national security, after factoring in nuclear weapons funding, military pensions and “overseas contingency funds,” in addition to the Pentagon’s $580 billion operating budget. In total, this figure accounts for about 4 percent of the United States’ income—double what most other countries spend. Yet all of this budgetary bloat has done nothing to advance our strategic interests in countries like Syria and Iraq. In an investigative piece in the most recent Atlantic, James Fallows explains why.