"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trimming the Budget: or, What would you do with $75.5 BILLION???


It's safe to say that every man, woman (and probably child) in the United States knows that we are in pretty bad shape, economically speaking that is. Families are trimming budgets right and left, trying to make ends meet. Now President Obama is asking his Cabinet to do some cost cutting as well; he's looking for a total of $100 million in cuts. Wow! I am overwhelmed.

"None of these things alone are going to make a difference," Obama conceded, emerging from the meeting. "But cumulatively they would make an extraordinary difference, because they start setting a tone." If they cut "$100 million there, $100 million here," Obama said, "pretty soon, even in Washington, it adds up to real money." (Seattle Times)

Well, let's talk about "real money", and I don't mean in the way that conservative Republicans (or many Democrats) have been talking about it. Real money is the $75.5 BILLION dollars in supplemental spending that President Obama is requesting to cover the cost of fighting wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan for fiscal year 2009. That's right; we've added Pakistan to the list of lucky Drone War winners.

But that's not all. The President has requested a paltry $7.1 billion to support the international affairs budget to secure peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations. What will that $75.5 billion get us? Lots more drones, missiles, bombs and "aggressive new military tactics that could widen the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan." If you think this looks like the U.S. following its previous failed policies, but with new packaging, you're right! It's just going to suck us into and endless cycle.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation wants Congress to restructure the package to focus funding on the expanded diplomacy, development assistance, and international cooperation that are key to ending these conflicts and promoting a stable peace in the wider region. Bullets and bombs won't bring any kind of peace to the region. There is NO military solution!

If you agree, you can send an email urging your Representative to carefully examine the President's request for war funding, and consider how to better spend our money (on things like long-term diplomacy and development assistance). You know the old saying, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Well, it's high time we put away the hammer, and start buying some new tools. They are a heck of a lot cheaper (in both the short and long runs), and perhaps we can free up enough extra cash so that we won't have to cut some really important things like health care and education.

Families are being forced to trim their budgets. Isn't it time to trim the military budget???



Read FCNL's letter to Congress on the president's war supplemental request.
Read the Seattle Times article, Obama's cabinet cuts would equal 1/10,000th of spending.
Click here to send a message to your Representative about the President's war funding request.

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