Tuesday, June 22, 2010

War: the gift that keeps on taking

"The Boeing Co., Defense, Space and Security, Global Mobility Systems, Long Beach, Calif., was awarded a $1,528,454,053 contract modification that will procure eight C-17 aircraft."(pictured)
Sigh. I get these every day. You can too, if you are as masochistic as I am. You can get them in your emailbox daily from the Department of Defense. You can subscribe to all DoD media releases, and so you'll also get each report each time a US soldier is killed in Afghanistan or Iraq. Who benefits--Boeing shareholders and corporate executives benefit the most--and who dies? Follow the trails of money and blood. Rich people die of natural causes with their artificially high wealth. Poor people die in battle in artificially created conflicts.
Since the US spends a nominal $895 billion in the next year, plus the other budgets that don't get officially counted as military (e.g. Veterans Affairs or nuclear weapons or military spacecraft), we are spending approximately $2.7b/day on the military. This works out to something close to $2m/minute. Pretty soon that adds up to real money.
All this--100 percent of it--is paid for by taking it from the paychecks of working Americans. We are dragging, carrying and toting the entire war machine on our shoulders and what do we get for it?
DoD and its contracting corporations are responsible for more Superfund sites than any other sector of the US economy. DoD is the largest single consumer of transport fuel in the world. Domestic abuse is widespread and increasing in the military. Brain injury is common and commonly untreated.
All these 'benefits' come out of your paycheck. Isn't it time to ask about our spending priorities and isn't it time to call a halt to the supplementals that Obama promised he would never do? We are about to see yet another Bush-era-style vote on yet another $33b above and beyond the DoD budget for more war.
Meanwhile, the jobless recovery continues to pauperize more and more Americans--how do you create enough jobs when each $b spent on the military creates the fewest jobs? even as it consumes more of our strategic oil and minerals that will never be available for anyone to use. Oil is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico and our money is spewing into the Persian Gulf--and now, increasingly also into Afghanistan.
Time to declare victory and go home. If you are worried about security in Afghanistan or Iraq, donate 10 percent of the US military budget to the UN and simply make it their problem. They will make $100b go a long ways, Iraqis and Afghanis will settle their differences with no more violence than we have introduced and enabled, and our national security will be enhanced. We will be free to cut $200b from our military budget immediately and begin substituting alternative methods for our own defense even as we enable the UN to develop alternative methods to gain and maintain security in the world.

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