[Sayma-Announce] write letters urging cuts in the military budget

Joe Parko jparko90 at charter.net
Tue May 3 13:38:51 JEST 2011

Below is an op-ed of mine that was published in the Crossville Chronicle on 4/27. I wrote this article in response to FCNL's efforts to get the military budget on the deficit cutting table. I urge Friends throughout the SAYMA region to write letters to the editor of their local newspapers urging readers to support cutting the military budget. Please use my article and the FCNL talking points at    http://fcnl.org/issues/budget/ten_reasons_why_congress_should_cut_the_pentagon_budget/
     to write your own letter. As Quakers, we share the responsibility to shape public opinion in the direction of peace.
Joe Parko
article follows:
 War is not the answer
By Joe Parko
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE - It's as if a giant octopus has wrapped its tentacles around the body of America and is smothering any attempts at honest debate or even discussion over the never-ending promotion of war. That octopus, the ultra powerful military-industrial complex, is the tight-knit combination of the Pentagon and the arms industry.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell address to the nation in 1961, warned that, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together."

This was a Republican president and the former Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe that achieved victory over Hitler's powerful war machine in World War II. This famous general, because of his long military career, might have been thought to be a war hawk but he certainly was not. He was a brilliant war strategist but he knew from personal experience the horrors of war and that it was not a thing to take lightly.

Eisenhower also knew all about the military-industrial complex from his experience in the military and in leading our nation and our government. He knew exactly the dangers it posed as evidenced by his very strong remarks in that farewell address 50 years ago. He was issuing a warning about the perils of this massive war-making machine, fearing that, without proper restraints and controls, it would evolve into exactly the highly influential, powerful force that it is today.

Ever since 9/11, the military-industrial complex, together with most of the media, has aggressively promoted the war on terror and the threat of another terrorist attack to justify continued military actions. We are now faced with the very real threat that the military-industrial complex is actually controlling decisions about war in Congress and the White House.

I'm afraid that the injection of fear into the American mind has been very successful. Just think about how many times throughout any given day, whether on the radio, cable TV channels or in newspapers, you hear and read comments about terrorists, insurgents or some potential threat to our security. It is almost non-stop and appears to have been woven into the mental fabric of America.

The military-industrial complex has fed off this tragedy for years. It has made massive profits from the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a result. And you can bet that it will continue to use the media to maintain that sense of fear in the minds of Americans.

This nation and our people must come to the realization that we no longer can live under a constant cloud of fear and apprehension. This is a course leading to disaster. Somehow, some way we must cleanse ourselves of this pervasive war mentality. This constant marketing of fear is making us all insane. We have become a paranoid nation that is willing to bankrupt ourselves in a vain attempt to keep ourselves safe. We have spent over a Trillion dollars on these distant wars when reason tells us that covert intelligence work, not war, is the key to stopping any terrorist acts against us. But, unfortunately, intelligence work is not as profitable as war for the military-industrial complex because our intelligence agencies rely on information instead of expensive weapons.

Endless war not only bankrupts America financially. It also bankrupts us morally. The use of violence against other nations promotes the use of violence by our own people here in our own nation. When you approve of bombing and killing on the other side of the planet, you also legitimize the use of violence here at home. Look at the dramatic rise in the number of hate groups in America. Look at the way computer war games are influencing our young people. We are rapidly becoming a nation addicted to violence.

We the people must not let President Eisenhower's worst fears about the military-industrial complex become a reality. We must demand an end to endless war that is bleeding our nation dry. Tell Congress and the White House to bring our troops home and to cut funding for war. Let us beat our swords into plowshares and start producing products that help our people lead better lives, instead of weapons that destroy lives. Half of our nation's budget now goes to the military. Just think what we could do if we shifted a sizeable portion of that money to new technologies and products that served our people here at home. Instead of talking about cutting Social Security, Medicare and education, let's talk about cutting our bloated weapons budget.

As we begin the process of leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, must we start a new war in Libya? Must we allow the war machine to endlessly create new wars to keep itself going? It's time for We the People to say loudly and clearly that endless war is not the answer to America's problems.

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