Feed the People, not the Pentagon, on Dec. 13
we want to feed people hungry people or feed the weapons industry?
It's critical to show that we, as a people, choose food, education
and green energy over bombs," said Medea Benjamin of Code Pink.
is the choice that Congress has to make on December 13 as part of the
budget resolution process agreed to to end the recent shutdown of the
federal government. Right now, Congress plans to feed the Pentagon,
focusing on how to reduce the $50 billion cut in Pentagon spending
mandated under sequestration - out of a budget that runs between $650
billion and a trillion, depending on how and what you count.
human service, and community groups have launched a campaign to call
upon Congress to enact deep cuts in the military budget (at least 25%
to 50%) as part of the December 13 resolution. Groups initiating the
campaign include the Backbone
Against Nukes ;
of Reconciliation ,
Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space ;
Shadow Cabinet ;
Hop Congress ;
Hunger Action Network of NYS;
Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution ;
FEAR Coalition ;
Consumers Association ;
People's Economic Human Rights Campaign ;
(Here is the open
group wants Congress to focus on providing jobs for the 25 million
plus who need them. Other spending priorities include:
Adequately funding critical social needs, including food stamps,
Social Security, improved and expanded Medicare for all, and public
education including college,
-- Creating a full employment public jobs program to jump start the green economy (a Green New Deal) - making wars for oil obsolete and rescuing our climate future. We need to ramp up investment in clean renewable energy to $300 billion annually. and,
- Rebuilding vital infrastructure.
Stein, Green Shadow Cabinet president, noted, "After $5 trillion
and a decade spent on bloody military excess, with no real gains for
democracy, security or stability - it's time to put these resources
where we need them, including an emergency full-employment program to
jumpstart the Green economy, halt climate change and make wars for
On December 7, we will observe the 72 nd anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor which propelled the United States into WWII. Before WWII, the country demilitarized and sent the troops home after every war. This time, the U.S. decided to create a permanent army, transitioning into the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the threat to capitalism. President Eisenhower, the former chief of the Allied forces, famously warned America to guard against giving allowing the military-industrial complex to gain too much power and money as a threat to our democracy.
It is time for Congress to end America's constant war after WWII and demilitarize, re-investing the hundreds of billions of dollars in savings into rebuilding America. Putting people back to work - like FDR did with the WPA public jobs program during the Great Depression.
usual, the biggest challenge isn't convincing voters, it is
convincing Congress to side with taxpayers rather than campaign
contributors. A Feb. 25, 2013 poll by The Hill found that forty-nine
percent of respondents would support cutting military spending, while
just 23 percent said they would support slashing Social Security and
Washington Post/ Bloomberg News Poll ( October
6-9, 2011) found that 51% support reducing military spending in
order to reduce the nation's budget deficit. Americans on average
want to reduce military spending by
the military budget in half would reduce it to where it was before
9/11 -- when it was way too high. The amount of money spent on
the US military is a crime against humanity. It steals our children's
future and it oppresses people across our planet. We spend almost as
much on the military as the rest of the world combined -- and most
of the other big military spenders are our allies. Our military
spending is six times that of China -- though their population is
three times as big.
Nader has become one of the most vocal critics of the enormous
military budget. " The end of
the Soviet Union in 1991 and the move of much of our manufacturing to
a beckoning China raises the question -- since we no longer have
major adversaries, why is the overall military budget larger than
ever -- taking over half the discretionary expenditures of the
federal government? Our country needs to rollback the Empire, really
cut the so-called defense budget and apply those monies to repairing
and rebuilding our public works with good paying green jobs
everywhere that cannot be exported."
are many ways to cut military spending. The campaign has outlined 10
waste and abuse is rampant in the military. More savings are possible
if we changed the purpose of military spending from world domination
to the traditional position of defending our national borders. Even
greater savings would be possible if we adopted a cooperative
approach based on mutual security and respect and worldwide
improvements in quality of life. Nuclear disarmament would save $60
billion plus annually -- and make the world a much safer place.
wonder why the U.S. spends tens of billions of our tax dollars to
continue build tanks and planes that the generals don't want, that
end up being mothballed on parking lots in the deserts because there
is no need for them? Because military contractors make sure to spend
tax dollars in every Congressional district in the country.
were numerous examples of war profiteering
involving billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan by firms such
as Halliburton and Blackwater/XE/KBR. Congress turned a blind eye.
military budget is so out of control and government oversight is so
lax that the federal government has given up trying to audit it.
There was an effort late in the Clinton administration to start
reconciling transactions with documentation in the Department of
Defense. They audited $7 trillion in transactions and found that they
could not justify $2.3 trillion of it.
build weapons to fight long ago wars that will never happen again. We
continue to build weapons system because contractors make money
building them. Various armed services waste tens of billions
arming themselves with competing and duplicative copies of the same
weapons (e.g., Joint Striker Fighter jets). The Pentagon gets rid of
tens of billions of "surplus equipment", often in new
condition, for pennies on the dollar, while spending enormous amount
to replace the equipment.
Pentagon overhead for its back-office bureaucracy to the level of the
private industry average of 25% would save roughly $80 billion a
year. The largest government domestic programs--Social Security and
Medicare--get by with overhead costs in the single-digits
traditional American approach to national security was defending our
borders. With oceans being two of our borders, and two allies (Canada
and Mexico) being the other borders, US is one of the safest
countries in the world in terms of external military threats. (And we
do not need to waste money or violate human rights by militarizing
our borders). The annual cost of our 1,100 overseas bases in over 130
countries is over $100 billion. Stop Using our military
to protect oil companies and multinational corporations.
Even some of Ronald Reagan's advisers believe that even the Democrats should be able to protect the country for $350 billion. Cutting to that level would be a good initial target. By the way, we spend almost as much on the military as the rest of the world combined.
we talk about cutting the military, we are not talking about
Veteran's benefits or soldier's pay. Our treatment of veterans is
than debating how to pressure Iran to say they will never possess
nuclear weapons, it is time for the U.S. to give up its own. Nuclear
weapons should be outlawed just as we have outlawed (most) chemical
weapons. There is no sane military strategy that supports the use of
nuclear weapons in the 2lst century. We waste $60 billion plus
annually on our nuclear arsenal. Cutting our massive nuclear arsenal
in half would save $30 billion.
10 is International Human Rights Day. People have a right to be free
from the threat and horrors of war and armed conflict. The groups
plan to turn in their letter and petitions to Congress then. They are
looking for groups and individuals to join them. ( Sign
the petition here .)
Kristin Stoneking, Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation
added, "Money in itself is morally neutral, but what we do with
money has ultimate moral significance. Our runaway military spending
impairs and diminishes the very soul of our country as we
ignore needs for food, jobs and health care among our citizens, and
perpetuate a culture of violence abroad. Redirecting millions away
from exporting violence and toward creating a culture of peace at
home by responding to the basic needs of Americans is not only wise