Peace is Possible

  fcnl.org    Peace Is Possible    8 December 2019

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone….. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good…. All the commandments are summed up in this one rule:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to its neighbor.

Romans 12:18,21; 13:9,10

Isn’t It About Time to Count the Cost?

 According to the group Win Without War, by the end of 2020, the conflicts fought since September 11, 2001, will have directly cost at least 801,000 lives (over 6950 of them US soldiers) and more than $6 trillion.  From just the Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria wars, over 21 million people live as war refugees and Internally Displaced Persons.  The “endless war” with all those costs is now happening in 80 countries around the world — and we are not, nor is the world, safer as a result.

Our country and its economy are addicted to war, fueled by greedy Pentagon contractors who spend millions ensuring that the solution to every problem is the purchase of yet another bomb, another bullet, another warship. In adjusted dollar terms, military spending today is higher than it was at the peak of the Vietnam War.  It just doesn’t add up.

 Ending that addiction will require tackling its root causes, and acknowledging that the existential security challenges the United States and the world face today – climate change, mass inequality, the global spread of authoritarianism – do not  have military solutions.  The tools actually needed to resolve these challenges receive a tiny fraction of funding compared to the $1 trillion+ spent on the military each year — billions of which go directly to unaccountable Pentagon contractors.

 Writing in late November for OtherWords, Lindsay Koshgarian states that only one quarter of the official $738 billion Pentagon budget actually goes to the troops.  The rest is spent maintaining 800 military installations all over the world, paying for those costly military contracts, and paying for Middle East wars. 

Koshgarian suggests that by closing unneeded foreign bases, canceling wasteful weapons contracts, freezing spending on nuclear weapons (with a view towards eventually eliminating them), and ending US involvement in the never-ending wars in the Middle East, the US could begin spending its resources on things that provide true human security, without sacrificing our national military security.  She suggests specific program savings that could enable the US actually to provide real medical coverage for all its citizens, eliminate student indebtedness and provide affordable university education to all who want it, and repair America’s crumbling infrastructure to keep us competitive in the global economy.

 It is all a matter of priorities and choices.  As Congress works finally to approve its overdue 2020 budget bills, your members should be reminded that your priority is upon the genuine, lifegiving human security provided by affordable healthcare and education, renewable energy and a healthy environment, and adequate housing and nutrition for all Americans — not upon expensive, unneeded death-dealing weapons systems and military bases all over the planet.

 Sample Letter

 

Sen. Todd Young    400 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.    Washington, DC  20510

        202-224-5623                    www.young.senate.gov

Sen. Mike Braun    374 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.     Washington, DC  20510

        202-224-4814               www.braun.senate.gov

Rep. Greg Pence          222 Cannon HOB          Washington, DC  20515

        202-225-3021                www.pence.house.gov

 

Sen. ______________, Rep. Pence:

As you wrap up work in Congress at the end of 2019 and seek to pass 2020 budget and spending bills, I am writing to remind you that the decisions you make should take into consideration the priorities of the constituents and taxpayers who send you the money Congress is spending.

 According to recent reports, the conflicts in which the US has participated since September 11, 2001, have cost our nation over $6 trillion and the lives of almost 7000 of our soldiers.  We have military operations under- way in 80 countries, and we are maintaining 800 military bases around the world.  Our actual spending on the military exceeds $1 trillion each year, as do our budget deficits.  And for all that expense, we are less safe, not more.  Infrastructure degrades, healthcare becomes less affordable and less accessible, and the environment slowly slides toward ruin.

 As Congress works finally to approve its overdue 2020 budget bills, I urge you to remember that the priority for many of your constituents is upon full funding for the genuine, lifegiving human security provided by affordable healthcare and education, renewable energy and a healthy environment, and adequate housing and nutrition for all Americans — not upon expensive, unneeded death-dealing weapons systems and military bases all over the planet.

 Please use your influence in Congress in 2020 to help shift our national priorities in the direction of spending that enhances life, not towards waste and greed and violence bent on destroying it.

                                                          Sincerely,