• End Regime Change Wars – Apparently IKE was right
The United States is a country born from war and war has been an integral part of who we are as a culture and as a people since our beginning. Nonetheless, during my graduate training years ago, I was shocked to learn the United States has invaded 40 plus countries over the course of its history – many of which multiple times – with as many invasions since World War II as since declaring independence.
While I believe that wars fought in defense of a nation or an ally are justifiable, wars fought in the name of ‘prevention’ and/or under the obscure rubric of ‘protecting US national interests’, are typically wars of opportunity. These types of wars have repeatedly gotten the US into trouble over its history.
A recent example of this is how following 9/11 – after routing the Taliban in 2001 from Afghanistan – US forces were received as liberators by the Afghan people. However, the very next year then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld and his Deputy Paul Wolfowitz, diverted the almost $1,000,000,000 ($1 Billion) in US aid – meant to help Afghanistan rebuild – to instead prosecute a war of opportunity falsely presented to the American people as ‘protecting US national security interests’ in Iraq.
In 2011 during my 2nd year in Afghanistan as a US Foreign Service (Health) Officer, I began to question the strategy of the United States Government (and our coalition partners). At that time after almost 10 years into the war, the United States was expending some $1,300,000,000 ($1.3 Billion) EACH MONTH in support of the 100,000+ troops and 1,000+ civilians on the ground in Afghanistan.
Fast forwarding to present day, Iraq remains more unstable and dangerous than ever and alas we are still at war in Afghanistan and with little to nothing to show in return. Or do we? Certainly the American, Iraqi, and Afghan people have little to nothing to show for the near $2,500,000,000,000 ($2.5 Trillion) (CBO) spent in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. However, for large DOD supplier and contractor corporations – lobbyist for whom carry immense influence in Congress – business is booming!
Suffice to say, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, retired 5 Star General and former Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, warned the American people in his 1961 Farewell Address of the following:
“Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors ….
We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience…. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.…We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes….”
Considering that the yearly discretionary spending of the United States on defense is now more than 50% of the entire national budget – while programs of the people e.g. healthcare, education, social security, veterans affairs, and the environment all combined are barely 25%. And considering the absence of transparent accountability re. the expenditure of nearly $2.5 Trillion over the last two decades in Afghanistan and Iraq, I say it is time we heed the prescient advice of one of our greatest leaders Pres. Eisenhower (nickname of IKE).
As such, join me in calling for an immediate curbing of the unwarranted financial influence of the DOD on Congress starting with a full accounting and reporting to the American people of the $2.5 Trillion expended in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. *FYI: $2.5 Trillion is the estimated 10 year cost to begin reversing climate change under the Green New Deal!
Further, I ask that you join me in calling for a rationalizing of future DOD spending – presently greater than the defense budgets of the next seven countries combined – to more appropriately align with the greatest national security threats that exist to the United States today, climate change.
• A 21st Century National Security Act – Tanks vs. Terrorists doesn’t work
The United States has been on an overall upward trajectory in military spending from the time following World War II until present day. Certainly there are dips and spikes in the spending over the years but still the direction continues upward with more and ever greater spending. The United States government spends +50% of each year’s budget, some +$600,000,000,000 ($600 Billion), on defense, with one result being that the DOD has become the single greatest consumer of fossil fuels in the United States as well as the single largest institutional emitter of Green House Gases in the entire world. (Brown University)
Further, the US DOD has upwards of 800 military bases around the world and likewise that 11 US Navy Aircraft Carrier Strike Groups – capable of imminent warfare anywhere on the planet – are now on around the clock patrol of the worlds’ oceans 24/7/365. (DOD) In effect, the United States has maintained a permanent war footing worldwide and a permanent war economy in support of this preparedness for more than 70 years.
With such an immense force, my questions are:
Who are we at war against? &
What ever happened to post-war de-escalation?
It is time to rationalize the spending of the DOD to align with the greatest national security threat that exists. The greatest threat is not terrorism nor cyber-attacks, which we cannot fight with tanks and aircraft carriers anyway. The greatest threat is climate change!
I fully support maintaining a force more than capable of defending the borders and shores of the United States but otherwise:
– It is time to begin eliminating force redundancy while reducing emissions at the DOD!
– It is time to retrofit and convert the DOD from the single largest institutional polluter on the planet, to the institution that is leading the charge to reverse climate change!
If elected I will propose a 21st Century National Security Bill where the DOD evolves into the flagship US institution leading the WAR TO REVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE.