The Divest From War Machine campaign is calling upon members of Congress to declare independence from the military-industrial complex.
On April 16, 1953, President and former Five-Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower explained, “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. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
He underscored the real costs of spending on weaponry explaining, “The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”
On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower warned: “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.”
Decades later, few would deny that his warnings have not been heeded. Bipartisan support in Congress has driven an explosion in overspending on weapons and wars. Even allowing for the underreporting of “dark ops” and other military budgeting, the United States overspends far beyond any legitimate or reasonable security needs.
Politico reported, “Despite recently closing hundreds of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad—from giant “Little Americas” to small radar facilities. Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined.”
The Guardian reported, “The bipartisan budget was expected to include $716bn for military spending in 2019, up 13% from 2017 spending levels and a solid 7% rise from what the White House had requested.”
The United Nations’ special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston reported, “The United States is one of the world’s richest and most powerful and technologically innovative countries; but neither its wealth nor its power nor its technology is being harnessed to address the situation in which 40 million people continue to live in poverty.” This while the U.S. “spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined.”
Please join us calling on your Senators and Representative to sign on to the peace pledge: “I will not seek nor accept donations from weapons manufacturers or from their executives or lobbyists. I understand that taking such money while voting on their funding is a fundamental conflict of interest.”