ACTION ALERT: Defund the Pentagon; Defend the People

July 10th, 2020 - by David Swanson / World BEYOND War

“We Need $2 Trillion/Year for Other Things”

David Swanson / World BEYOND War

(July 9, 2020) — It would cost about $30 billion per year to end starvation and hunger around the world.

That sounds like a lot of money to you or me. But if we had $2 trillion it wouldn’t. And we do.

It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water. Again, that sounds like a lot.

Let’s round up to $50 billion per year to provide the world with both food and water. Who has that kind of money? We do.

Of course, we in the wealthier parts of the world don’t share the money, even among ourselves.

Those in need of aid are right here as well as far away.

Everyone could be given a Basic Income Guarantee for a fraction of military spending.

About $70 billion per year would help eliminate poverty in the United States.

Christian Sorensen writes in Understanding the War Industry, “The US Census Bureau indicates that 5.7 million very poor families with children would need, on average,

$11,400 more to live above the poverty line (as of 2016). The total money needed . . . would be roughly $69.4 billion/year.”

But imagine if one of the wealthy nations, the United States for example, were to put $500 billion into its own education

(meaning “college debt” can begin the process of coming to sound as backward as “human sacrifice”), housing (meaning no more people without homes), infrastructure, and sustainable green energy and agricultural practices.

What if, instead of leading the destruction of the natural environment, this country were catching up and helping to lead in the other direction?

The potential of green energy would suddenly skyrocket with that sort of unimaginable investment, and the same investment again, year after year.

But where would the money come from? $500 billion? Well, if $1 trillion fell from the sky on an annual basis, half of it would still be left. 

After $50 billion to provide the world with food and water, what if another $450 billion went into providing the world with green energy and infrastructure,

topsoil preservation, environmental protection, schools, medicine, programs of cultural exchange, and the study of peace and of nonviolent action?

US foreign aid right now is about $23 billion a year. Taking it up to $100 billion — never mind $523 billion! — would have a number of interesting impacts,

including the saving of a great many lives and the prevention of a tremendous amount of suffering.

It would also, if one other factor were added, make the nation that did it the most beloved nation on earth.

A recent poll of 65 nations found that the United States is far and away the most feared country,

the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world.

Were the United States responsible for providing schools and medicine and solar panels,

the idea of anti-American terrorist groups would be as laughable as anti-Switzerland or anti-Canada terrorist groups,

but only if one other factor were added — only if the $1 trillion came from where it really ought to come from.

Some US states are setting up commissions to work on the transition from war to peace industries.

ACTION: Resources with additional information.

20 US Senators and Representatives Now Want Pentagon Funds Redirected to Human Needs

World BEYOND War

(July 9, 2020) — The US Congress has 100 Senators and 435 House Members.

Out of the full 535, there are 20 thus far who have made themselves sponsor or cosponsor of a resolution 

to do what is most badly needed, move major amounts of money out of wars

and war preparations and into human and environmental needs.

There are members of both houses who have arranged for there to be votes in the coming weeks on moving a mere 10% of the Pentagon budget to useful things.

One way in which we can help them grasp how powerfully we demand yes votes on this is to start celebrating t

he 20 who have put a more serious proposal on the table. These are the 20 to thank and support and further encourage:

Barbara Lee, Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, Raul Grijalva, Bonnie Watson Coleman,

Peter DeFazio, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jared Huffman, Andy Levin,

Rashida Tlaib, Jan Schakowsky, Ayanna Pressley, Earl Blumenauer, Ilhan Omar, Jim McGovern,

Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nydia Velasquez, Adriano Espaillat, Bobby Rush.

You can promote this on Facebook here and Twitter here.

Here’s what else you can do:
1) Email your Representative and Senators.

2) Use the tools on the next page to share that action by email, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Or click these links: Facebook,Twitter.

3) Phone the US Capitol at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak with your Representative and Senators. You just have to know your own address and that you want them to vote to move money out of the military. If you have more time, phone the local offices and ask for a meeting!

Some more information:

The US government is expected to spend, in its discretionary budget in 2021, $740 billion on the military and $660 billion on absolutely everything else: environmental protections, energy, education, transportation, diplomacy, housing, agriculture, science, disease pandemics, parks, foreign (non-weapons) aid, etc., etc.

Moving $74 billion (10% of the Pentagon budget) would result in $666 billion on militarism and $734 billion on everything else.

Moving $350 billion would result in $390 billion on militarism and $1,010 billion on everything else.

Where Would the Money Come From? According to Rep. Lee’s resolution:

(1) eliminating the Overseas Contingency Operations account and saving $68,800,000,000;
(2) closing 60 percent of foreign bases and saving $90,000,000,000;
(3) ending wars and war funding and saving $66,000,000,000;
(4) cutting unnecessary weapons that are obsolete, excessive, and dangerous and saving $57,900,000,000;
(5) cutting military overhead by 15 percent and saving $38,000,000,000;
(6) cutting private service contracting by 15 percent and saving $26,000,000,000;
(7) eliminating the proposal for the Space Force and saving $2,600,000,000;
(8) ending use-it-or-lose-it contract spending and saving $18,000,000,000;
(9) freezing operations and maintenance budget levels and saving $6,000,000,000; and
(10) reducing United States presence in Afghanistan by half and saving $23,150,000,000.

Where Would the Money Go?

The priorities of the US government have been wildly out of touch with both morality and public opinion for decades, and have been moving in the wrong direction even as awareness of the crises facing us has inched upward. It would cost about $30 billion per year, according to UN figures, to end starvation on earth, and about $11 billion to provide the world with clean drinking water. Less than $70 billion per year would wipe out poverty in the United States. Spent wisely, $350 billion could transform the United States and the world, and certainly save even more lives than are spared by taking it away from the military.

Whatever funding is needed to aid anyone in the transition from military to non-military employment will be a small fraction of the whole.

Actions You Can Take!

Votes are now expected in the coming weeks in both houses of Congress on moving a mere 10% of the Pentagon’s budget to useful human and environmental purposes. Here’s what you can do: 

1) Email your Representative and Senators.

2) Use the tools on the next page to share by email, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Or forward this email and click these links: FacebookTwitter.

3) Phone the US Capitol at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak with your Representative and Senators. You just have to know your own address and that you want them to vote to move money out of the military. If you have more time, phone the local offices and ask for a meeting!

4) Publicly celebrate the Congressmembers who have cosponsored a resolution to move major funding out of the military and into urgent needs.

We haven’t seen this sort of thing in Washington, DC, since the days of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, with support from Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a growing list of Congress Members, has introduced a resolution to move $350 billion per year out of militarism and into useful things.

On a smaller scale, but with the potential for a more immediate result, a growing list of both Senators and Representatives have created, in both Houses, amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act to move $74 billion a year from militarism to human needs.

We urgently need to move all of Congress in this direction. Click here to email your Representative and Senators. Then please forward this email to everyone you can!

Click here to email Congress now!
Please share this on social media: 
Full Text of Resolution and List of Cosponsors