First note that a similar letter to the one sent to Representative Mfume was sent to Reps. Brown, Hoyer, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes and Trone. Thanks to those who signed that letter.
My media diet includes NPR, MSNBC, CNN, Democracy Now, The Baltimore Sun, lots of online news sources, including liberal and progressive outlets. With the exception of Democracy Now and some progressive online media, the reporters and anchors rarely discuss the US military budget. Because Bernie took a stand against the $740 billion going to the military and for $2000 stimulus checks, the Pentagon budget got some media attention. However, invariably it was called a "defense" [sic] budget.
In 2021, I am advocating that we do a full-court press against the military budget in lobbying our elected officials, we strive to avoid falling into the trap of calling this a defense budget, and do what we can to educate the media and others that the military budget is an immoral document as it does not protect us, it takes tax dollars away from needed services and makes us less safe. Remember it used to be accurately called the Department of War.
Yes, LET US CUT THE MILITARY BUDGET. BUT PLEASE DO NOT CALL IT A "DEFENSE" BUDGET. It is an offense budget, which steals tax dollars away from much-needed social services. This $740 BILLION is not going to protect us from CLIMATE CHAOS or from COVID-19. In fact, wasting money on war-mongering contributes to ecocide and surely will not stop the pandemic. Remember the USS ROOSEVELT which was a floating super-spreader with the captain and some 1,000 sailors testing positive for the virus. A DEFENSE BUDGET means improved MEDICARE FOR ALL, A GREEN NEW DEAL, A REBUILDING OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE and an END TO INCOME INEQUALITY. Please do not say or write defense budget, and take action by supporting a slashed Pentagon budget which can lead to the end of the U.S. Empire.
- CounterPunch.org - https://www.counterpunch.org -
Yes, Americans are Fat. The US Military is Fatter.
Posted By Thomas Knapp on December 31, 2020
Photograph Source: Robert Couse-Baker – CC BY 2.0
“Military leaders are worried about the shrinking pool of young people who qualify for military service,” Gina Harkins reports at Military.com. “More than 70% of young Americans remain unable to join the military due to obesity, education problems, or crime and drug records.”
Mission: Readiness, a group of retired military officers, wants the US Department of Defense [sic] to create an “advisory committee on military recruitment,” with a view toward getting the next generation in shape so that they’re qualified, as the old saying goes, to “travel to exotic, distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people; and kill them.”
I’ve got a better idea: Instead of trying to trim fat off America’s adolescents, trim fat off the US Armed Forces.
The US military employs nearly 1.4 million active duty personnel and about 850,000 reservists.
The latest National Defense [sic] Authorization Act — vetoed by President Trump but looking likely as I write this to be passed over his objection — calls for $740 billion ($2,300 for every man, woman, and child in the country) in theoretically “defense” [sic] -related spending next year.
The US, which is separated by oceans from all credible potential enemies and hasn’t fought anything resembling a defensive war in 75 years, boasts the third largest (after India and China, far more populous countries with real adversaries on their borders), and far and away the most expensive, military apparatus on Earth.
While the US defense [sic] budget and the armed forces’ staffing levels could probably be cut by 90% without significantly degrading actual national defense capabilities, I understand the impulse to moderation.
So how about a 50% cut in military spending and active duty troop levels over five years, with an upward bump in reservist numbers to a full million?
That would leave the US with 700,000 active duty personnel (still the world’s fifth largest military), and still the world’s number one military big spender (about twice as much as China, three times as much as Saudi Arabia, and nearly five times as much as Russia or India).
With 2 million Americans reaching military age each year and some veterans re-enlisting, the Pentagon would have little problem finding the skinny, literate, non-criminal people it needs to fill its ranks.
Yes, some US arms manufacturers would take big hits to their lavish corporate welfare paychecks, but they could retool — every American taxpayer would be better off by about $1,250, meaning fatter markets for products that don’t kill people.
It’s time to put the Pentagon on a diet.
Article printed from CounterPunch.org: https://www.counterpunch.org
Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212. Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs