Most American taxpayers are not aware that the biggest reason for our poor economy is not the bailout of the corporations that are "too big to fail" and the subsequent big bonuses given to the CEOs. The biggest reason is the U.S. military budget. It's the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.
Last year the U.S. military received, according to the War Resisters League, 54% of each tax dollar or $1,449 billion. This year the military will get 48% of the budget or $1,398 billion. In fact, last year the U.S. accounted for 48% of the world's total military spending, more than the next 45 countries combined, and continues to be the number one exporter of weapons to cruel governments that use these to kill or maim their own citizens. Israel, a violator of 77 U.N. resolutions, received $2.775 billion in military aid and is now asking for $4 billion more. Since 1973, Israel has cost the U.S. taxpayers about $1.6 trillion.
The U.S. continues to spend $12 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has already spent close to $1 trillion on these invasions since 2003. The U.S. still has to pay to rebuild what it destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan, has to pay for the recovery of the young who were physically and mentally damaged, pay for the upkeep of the families of the many thousands of the vets who did not return or are disabled for life, and compensate the tens of thousands Iraqi and Afghan civilians who were killed and disabled for life.
Donald Rumsfeld said the Pentagon cannot account for as much as $2.5 trillion it was given. Chuck Spinney, a retired employee at the Pentagon, said it could not account for as much as $1.1 trillion. When he told this to Congress, nothing was done. No legislator will criticize or deny money to the U.S. military for fear of not getting re-elected to office. It is a "sacred cow."
Meanwhile, only 0.15% of the U.S. GNP goes toward assisting the 2 billion most needy in the world. My wife and I cannot, in conscience, give any money to the military because it leads to more invasions and occupations leading to more destruction of property and lives, more orphans and widows, more wounded for life, more sickness and death due to weapons tipped with depleted uranium, more hatred and determination to gain revenge, more waste of tax money that could be used to save lives both here and abroad, and more suffering and misery for the world. For this reason we continue to live below the taxable poverty level. If we have any extra money it goes to those who lack the basics of life.
On April 4th, we remembered the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, "A nation that continues to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." Why pray for peace while paying for war? Henry Ford once said, "Show me who makes a profit from war, and I'll show you how to stop the war." Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Basically, we get what we pay for.
Rev. Don Timmerman