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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/20/20

A Real Chance to Cut Defense Spending

Message Medea Benjamin
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The tide is turning: Senator Schumer, ranking Democrat in the Senate, has expressed his support for Senator Sanders's amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act to cut the Pentagon budget by 10%. This is exciting news and means we now have real momentum to make sure a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget and other progressive amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act are passed.

Tell your senators and representative to support progressive amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. The votes are expected to take place next week.

The National Defense Authorization Act is must-pass legislation. This year, we're supporting the following amendments to the NDAA:

Sanders-Markey's amendment (S. Amdt. 1788) in the Senate and Lee-Pocan's amendment in the House to cut the Pentagon budget by 10% and reinvest in our communities to reduce poverty and address COVID

Udall, et al's amendment in the Senate to condition the $3.8 billion we give annually to the Israeli military so that it does not fund illegal annexation of the West Bank.

Markey's amendment (S. Amdt. 2051) to prohibit the use of funds for nuclear weapons test explosions

Udall-Paul, et al's amendment (S. Amdt. 2059) in the Senate and Khanna amendment in the House to prohibit military operations against Iran without authorization from Congress

Schatz-Murkowski-Harris-Paul's amendment (S. Amdt. 2252) in the Senate to limit the transfer of surplus military-grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies across the country.

Sanders-Lee-Murphy's amendment (S. Amdt. 1919) in the Senate to end U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen

Elizabeth Warren's amendment (S. Amdt. 1860) in the Senate to rescind medals of honor awarded for acts at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890

Barbara Lee's amendment in the House to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Tulsi Gabbard's amendments (H. Amdt. 341 and H. Amdt. 498) in the House to require reports on the impact of U.S. sanctions on foreign countries.

Want your senators and representative to vote YES on all of these amendments to the NDAA? Contact them now!

In 2020, the Pentagon budget was $740 billion about half of which went directly into the hands of private contractors, not our troops. Since 1990, the Pentagon has sent over $7.4 billion worth of "surplus" military equipment to local police departments, bringing the full force of the U.S. military home to terrorize people of color and the working class.

On top of our bloated Pentagon and municipal police budgets, we also send billions of our tax dollars in military aid to human rights abuses around the world. No country gets anywhere as much money for it's military than Apartheid Israel. For decades, unquestioned military and diplomatic assistance to Israel has received bipartisan support Obama, before he left office, increased military assistance to Israel from $3.1 to $3.8 billion a year with the Israel lobby holding would-be champions of Palestinian human rights hostage. But no more! Thanks to the incredible work we and our allies have done, progressive champions like AOC, Betty McCollum, and Ayanna Pressley have been able to break the silence. Now, Senator Chris Van Hollen has introduced legislation.

Now is the time for our representatives to show true leadership by taking the first step towards creating a society that addresses security by investing in human needs, not endless war and militarization.

Tell your senators and representative to support progressive amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act!

Towards human needs, not corporate greed,

Medea, Ariel, Ann, Angela, Asia, Carley, Caty, Cody, Emily, Jodie, Kelsey, Leila, Leonardo, Makena, Mary, Michelle, Nancy, Paki, Teri, and Yousef

P.S. These are the Senate amendments to the NDAA. Stay tuned to support companion amendments in the House and Rep. Lee's legislation to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force. The 2002 Iraq AUMF enabled the U.S. to invade Iraq 18 years ago, costing $2 trillion, over 270,000American lives, and millions of Iraqi lives.

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Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace and author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. 

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