WASHINGTON, D.C. – The next president of the United States should embrace dramatic cuts in Pentagon spending – at least $200 billion annually from the current $716 billion – and reallocation of the money to human needs, a broad coalition of progressive organizations urged today in a letter sent to all announced presidential candidates.
The letter launches a new coalition initiative to shift fundamentally the debate over Pentagon spending and infuse the issue into the presidential campaign.
Speaking to the letter’s purpose, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, remarked, “Spending more than half of discretionary taxpayer dollars on the Pentagon fails to make America safer at the cost of other vital needs like job creation, health care and solving climate chaos. At the same time, the U.S. short shrifts funding for diplomacy, development and other tools that prevent wars in the first place. We need bold leadership to break the hold of what President Eisenhower deemed ‘the military-industrial complex.’”
Under the banner of “Put People Over the Pentagon,” the 22 groups say that “it’s time to stop misdirecting hundreds of billions of dollars away from domestic and human needs to pad unnecessary budget lines for endless wars, failed weapons and the Pentagon’s corporate handouts. Doing so will make our country stronger and more just.”
The groups say that “Military spending should be reduced by at least $200 billion annually, freeing up $2 trillion or more over the next decade for domestic and human needs priorities. With those spending cuts, the Pentagon’s budget would remain more than enough to keep America safe at a level well above our nation’s post-World War II historical average.”
The groups’ agenda also urges that “the United States should never again go to war without congressional authorization, and Congress should not authorize military action without identifying revenue to pay for current and future costs, including taking care of injured veterans.”
The groups state that “by adhering to our values and promoting international cooperation, we can prevent war, address the underlying causes of conflict and meet humanitarian imperatives.”
Organizational signers of the call to “Put People over the Pentagon” include: 350.org, Center for Popular Democracy, Code Pink, Credo Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Indivisible, Just Foreign Policy, MoveOn.org, National Priorities Project, Peace Action, Public Citizen, RootsAction, Social Security Works, United We Dream, Win Without War, Women’s Action for New Directions and World Beyond War.
Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to international conflicts. The public may learn more and take action at www.PeaceAction.org.