Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The Flyover of 4 military jets before the Super Bowl cost taxpayers $450,000. The fuel alone for this trip cost $109,000. (Daily Mail Reporter).

According to the Pentagon, it costs $2 billion each week to stay in Afghanistan.

More than 100 military contractors providing everything from aircraft to wrist cuffs for gloves, committed civil or criminal fraud between 2007 and 2009, yet many continued to receive funds from the Pentagon, including some barred from contracting.

The security firm SOC Inc. has a contract for protecting the billion dollar embassy in Iraq worth as much as $974 million. (Wired magazine, 1/1/11) The estimated operating expense for the embassy is $1.5 billion a year.

The military budget is as large as the budgets of the rest of the world. The Pentagon, CIA and Homeland Security budgets account for the $1.1 trillion of the federal deficit that is forecast for fiscal year 2012.

In the 1980s, Franklin "Chuck" Spinney, a long-time employee of the Pentagon, told Congress that the Pentagon cannot account for $1.1 trillion. Donald Rumsfeld said the Pentagon cannot account for 25% or $2.3 trillion of its funds. (CBS News, 5/29/02) The military has already spent over $1 trillion on the invasions and occupations in the last 9 years, and there is no accurate record as to how that was spent. The reward for this is an increase in the military budget, which now totals 57% of the budget (FCLN, NWTRCC)

The Pentagon this year will spend over $1.7 billion just for recruiting our young, including $100 million in the last 10 years sponsoring NASCAR drivers. Racer Ryan Newman recently got $11.9 million from the military.

The U.S. has in the past supported as many as 43 dictators, and continues to support with military funds and equipment, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, the following dictators: Idriss Deby of Chad, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Burganguly Bereymukhamedov of Turkmenistan, Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, and recently ousted Hosni Mubarek of Egypt, who received $60 billion over the last 10 years.

Last year, the U.S. deported thousands of immigrants which cost taxpayers $5 billion, and still indefinitely detains undocumented workers with taxpayer money. The U.S. oil companies last year received $4 billion in subsidies and tax breaks. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 61% of agricultural subsidies go the wealthiest 10% of farmers, mainly for farming corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat. (Alternet, 2/7/11)

In light of these facts on waste and accountability, is there a question as to where cuts need to be made? Would you not rather have your tax money go toward healthcare and education for all?

Rev. Don Timmerman

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