Now is the moment to cut the military budget
Peter Lems and Mary Zerkel American Friends Service CommitteeLoading... Sep 13 (
Ask your representative to sign on to the Frank-Paul letter.
Mural panel on the cost of war by Jessica Munguia, part of AFSC's upcoming Windows & Mirrors exhibit.
In our work for peace, there are pivotal moments we cannot let pass us by. For the first time in years, we have a real chance to make some significant cuts in the United States’ enormous military budget. Let’s seize the moment and reach out to Congress today.
Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001—nine years ago this week—U.S. spending on the military has increased dramatically. Money we’ve desperately needed here at home has been poured into weapons and warmaking, creating huge deficits that have crippled job creation and drained needed funds for housing, education, and healthcare.
Today, with our country awash in foreclosures, our school systems bankrupt, our infrastructure crumbling, and with at least 14.9 million Americans unemployed, policymakers in Washington know that something must be done to cut spending and address our rising deficit. But when it comes to targeting military spending, almost 56 percent of the entire discretionary federal budget, they are still hesitating. Funds for weapons and warfare continue to enjoy a privileged status in this country, protected from significant cuts even in the worst economic crisis in decades.
That’s where you come in.
As you may know, the President’s special commission on reducing the deficit is meeting now. We have a brief window in which to make it clear that when it comes to cutting spending, the military budget must be on the table.
Here’s our best opportunity to do this now:
Democrat Barney Frank (MA) and Republican Ron Paul (TX) have presented specific recommendations for cutting almost $1 trillion from the Pentagon’s vast budget over the next ten years. But they need your U.S. representatives to join them in sending this message.
Your previous work on these issues have helped bring us to this moment. Millions of people are now aware of how vast spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has wasted resources and caused destruction and suffering at home and abroad. With more voices every day calling for cuts, the Pentagon is beginning to feel the heat and even Secretary of Defense Gates is calling for “restraint” in military spending.
We believe we must go beyond “restraint.” But our window is limited.
If we can send a strong message in the next days and weeks, we can help shatter the privileged status enjoyed by military spending. We can refocus our country’s priorities on what’s most important—jobs, health care, education, human services—efforts that affirm the worth and dignity of every person.
Ask your representatives to sign on to the Frank-Paul letter, strongly recommending that substantial cuts in military spending be on the table in all of the Obama Administration’s work to reduce the national debt.
Peter Lems and Mary Zerkel
P.S. We’ve spent $1 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. AFSC has been asking young people from all over the country to make videos showing how they’d rather see that money spent. Join the One Trillion Dollar Video contest by making a short video before the November 30 deadline. Please share this with any young people or youth groups you know. The winner gets a trip to Washington, DC, to show the video to members of Congress.
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