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Can the U.S. Afford Another War?

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The Pentagon cuts would account for nearly half of the total of automatic cuts mandated by the debt deal. If the Pentagon is immune from cuts, it will force greater cuts in domestic programs, like education, environmental protection, health care, veterans' benefits, college scholarships and more.

The Pentagon already spends almost as much on the military as the rest of the world combined. The total budget for the military in 2011 was almost $800 billion. A modest 25% cut in those funds would free up $200 billion, enough to eliminate every state's budget deficit with funds left over! This is the time for these mandatory cuts to take the pressure off federal and state budgets.

A recent announcement by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta suggested that American combat troops could be withdrawn from Afghanistan as early as mid-2013. That move could save hundreds of billions of dollars while keeping our troops in Afghanistan for one more year will have minimal impact on the Afghan Security Forces.

According to a January 27, 2012 article in The Hill, through drawdowns in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and reductions of troops in Europe, the United States should be able "to reduce our 1.5 million member active-duty military by much more than the roughly 100,000 troops stated as a goal." It costs almost $1 million per year per soldier, so these reductions would also save significant money.

NJPA urges you to contact Representatives and Senators (in New Jersey you can call Senator Frank Lautenberg at   (888) 398-1642 ; and Senator Robert Menendez at ( 973)645-3030)  to tell them NOT to shield the Pentagon from spending cuts. Genuine security depends on all our towns having enough money for education, affordable housing and health care, and clean air and water. It's time to prevent the military-industrial complex warned of by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower from draining dry the rest of the economy.

Let's advocate for our communities, move the money and make our communities the nation's top priority!

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Madelyn Hoffman is the Executive Director of NJ Peace Action, based in Bloomfield, New Jersey. She has held that position since August 2000. Madelyn Hoffman traveled to Afghanistan with Global Exchange in June 2005 and has given dozens of (more...)
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