To the Editor
The inability of our towns and counties to afford a broad range of needs and desires can be traced directly to the wars our leaders have led us into. These wars are an enormous drain on our finances. Of President Obama’s 2011 Recommended Discretionary Spending, over 50% goes to the military (the wars, the Pentagon, Veterans Affairs, Nuclear Weapons). But for our urgent local needs? For Health and Human Services, the 2011 budget provides only 6%; for Transportation, 6%; for Education, 4%; for Housing and Urban Development, 3%; for Justice, 2%; for Agriculture, 2%; for Environmental Protection Agency, 1%. Everything is shorted for the military.
Yet We, the people are largely silent. Why is that? We are not entirely to blame. Particularly, we are deceived about the real financial costs of the wars. We are not paying as we go the present costs of the wars directly by taxes, because payment has been delayed through loans from Japan and China, for our children and grandchildren to pay.
Also, the true costs are hidden from us through Pentagon secrecy, government subsidies to corporations, corporate public relations, media complicity, and sheer complexity. The cost of gasoline for the tanks and planes, for example, is substantially higher than the price the Pentagon pays, because much of this cost is hidden from the public. Especially uncounted and unmeasured is the destruction to the environment by U.S. wars.
Even our local officials are complicit in the cover-up. When lamenting the shrunken budget, our public officials do not confront the major cause in the four to six trillion dollars the Iraq and Afghan wars are to cost (not including the expansion of the wars into Pakistan and Yemen, and throughout the world via our network of some 900 military bases). Not until the people are told the real costs of the wars and the true causes of municipal and county shortfalls will the public ever know enough to be motivated to change the war economy of the U.S. National Security State.
I turn to our officials then: the next time you speak to the public about your struggle to find money for the services We, the people need, don’t omit the facts of the wars.
2582 Jimmie Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72703