“Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.” Eisenhower, 1961 Military Industrial Speech http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/indust.html )
While we send our love and support to those so horribly impacted by the earthquake and tsunami, we must not allow this shock to divert us from the tsunami headed our way. Our business and political leaders will try to use this terrible catastrophe as a diversion to hoodwink us into budgetary reductions that will fatten their wallets and leave us and our children devastated.
It does not matter on what side of the political fence you sit during the current budget debates. The fact is that if our leaders are not willing to take into account our over-dependence on a militarized economy and change it, we will never balance the budget. Our progeny will face an endless struggle to clean up the debris.
Each year the Department of Defense’s tidal wave grows more menacing. We witness countless billions allocated for weapons research and development; nuclear warheads; and the secret and often illegal activities of the CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland Security, and other “intelligence” agencies. We watch countries that are caught up in natural disasters and political upheavals and see how this “crisis elixir” attracts and profits predatory capitalists. Turmoil in foreign lands encourages U.S. hawks to party on at their military orgies. They stagger out to launch campaigns into new areas of conflict.
And they have the gall to do this under the guise of promoting democracy.
It is time for us to tell them that they are exposed, that we comprehend that what they are really doing is reaping huge profits and making other nations their financial servants for generations to come. Meanwhile, at home, we face severe cutbacks in social services, transportation, health care, the environmental and educational sectors, and other civil services.
Now is the time for us – you and me – to let our leaders know that we are no longer duped by their rhetoric. We understand they cannot bring our financial house to order without significant reductions in military spending. This includes calling our troops back from the Middle East and Afghanistan.
In 1961, President Eisenhower said, “As we peer into society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.” There is a very sad irony in those words. We need to let those who have followed Ike’s footsteps to the halls of power in Washington know that we understand the relevance of those words to today’s economic and military crises.
The United States accounts for almost 50 percent of the world’s total military spending; yet our share of the world’s GDP is less than 25 percent. This official budget does not take into account the money that is secretly allocated in the “black” budgets of the Pentagon, CIA, and other clandestine operations.
We must all ask ourselves:
How can a nation that prides itself on government “of, for, and by the people,” justify hiding these black budget allocations from taxpayer scrutiny? How can a nation continue to prosper by ignoring its own long-term demise at the hands of a militarized economy?
If we truly want a real democracy to survive for generations to come, then we must demand extensive military reductions. We must demand a peaceful and sustainable path for our country and for the world at large. We must bring our soldiers home. We must protect ourselves from the tsunami that is building on Wall Street and in the halls of Washington DC.