Nov. 5, 2012
To the editor:
The growth of U.S. spending on war threatens our ability to address essential human needs. Current law — the Budget Control Act of 2011 — requires a reduction in projected Pentagon spending of $1 trillion over 10 years. The possibility of reducing our military spending by this amount without reducing our security, without domestic base closures, and without cuts to benefits and programs for veterans has been well documented by the Sustainable Defense Task Force in “Debt, Deficits and Defense: A Way Forward,” http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/1006SDTFreport. Even with cuts of this magnitude, U.S. military spending will remain at the same real dollar level as at the height of the Iraq war, and equal the total spending of the next 29 countries combined. Chena Ridge Friends Meeting (Quakers) endorses the enacted reduction in projected Pentagon spending and the preservation of a federal budget that supports the peaceful prevention of deadly conflict and other human needs.
We often hear that military and defense spending generate jobs, but studies demonstrate that comparable spending in other sectors, including health care and education, create twice as many jobs for equivalent spending.
The Budget Control Act’s reduction in military spending gives us an opportunity to eliminate unneeded and outmoded weaponry, including nuclear weapons that are no longer needed, thanks in part to the New Start treaty, ratified with leadership from Sens. Murkowski and Begich. Other savings can come from eliminating overseas bases that are left over from past wars.
In spite of the recession, major military contractors have realized substantial profits throughout the last decade. Spending on procurement from these contractors and others amounted to roughly a trillion dollars between 2001 and 2010. By its own admission, the Pentagon lost more than $100 billion. Procurement and contract reform, better accounting methods and competitive bidding could save billions of taxpayer dollars.
As Quakers, we agree with Sen. Begich that the budget is a moral document, reflecting our nation’s priorities. We challenge readers to speak up for true justice for all Americans, trimming wasteful military spending and returning our country to international moral leadership.
Chena Ridge Friends Meeting