No, it isn't. It's critical. Not for estimating the burden of military costs on the US. It wouldn't be a good stat even if "defense spending" were a reasonable and accurate measure of the cost of the military, and GDP were a reasonable and accurate measure of the absolute size of the US economy. "Defense spending" as a percent of GDP is an almost completely meaningless statistic for estimating the burden of military costs on the US. So the fact that your estimate of 3.5% is obviously nonsense is irrelevant. So? The most significant "bad" of the leadership was overreliance on the military and overindulgence in its military , burdening the empire with military costs it could not handle. The return to conquest was a diminishing one, while the expenses of conquest were ever increasing. The "locals" left would be (will be) largely Iranian allies, friends of Hezbollah and Hamas. That probably cannot be avoided any more. Libya, meanwhile, is a bad scene for years to come - for which the US will now be blamed. And rightly so, from some pov.