Published on political affairs pa, by Judith Le Blanc, August 9, 2011.
Something is missing in the swirl of news reporting on the debt ceiling deal struck on August 2 by the Congress and the President for close to $1 trillion in cuts in discretionary programs over the next decade. Will the 56 percent of discretionary spending that goes to the Pentagon take a hit in the name of deficit reduction? Protest against war funding at the office of Representative McCollum. The short answer is not necessarily, not unless we are ready to rumble.
Even the Senate Armed Services Committee leaders Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain have no idea what the deal does to the Pentagon budget … //
… In June, 2010,the bi-partisan Sustainable Defense Taskforce initiated by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), working in cooperation with Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), proposed ways to cut Pentagon spending in their report “Debt, Deficits and Defense: A Way Forward.” It can be done if the political will is mustered.
That’s where the peace and economic justice movements come in: generating the political will.
Along side of the misery of the budget cuts, there is an opportunity to win real cuts in military spending. Joel Rubin in Ploughshares Blog, “There is still much to be defined, yet the inherently competitive situation now shaping up on defense spending is welcome news to those who have been long seeking to get rid of the bloated weapons systems that weaken our economy while doing scant little to advance our national security.”
The President said in April when he announced his framework for dealing with the federal budget that “we’re going to have to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world.”
New movements are taking the opportunity for such a fundamental review and a change in the spending priorities. On August 4, the AFL-CIO issued a statement, “Fake Political Crisis and Real Economic Crisis- A Call for Leadership and Action.” The AFL-CIO Executive Council said, “It doesn’t have to be this way. There are real solutions to the job crisis, but real solutions require government action.”
They also noted, “There is no way to fund what we must do as a nation without bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The militarization of our foreign policy has proven to be a costly mistake. It is time to invest at home.”
It’s going to take a an adamant, militant grassroots rumble to demand demilitarization of US foreign policy, to end the insanity of endless and countless wars draining the scarce resources needed for people, the world over, to have jobs and a decent life. (full text).
Podcast: On Trial for Their Ideas: The Smith Act Trials and Anti-Communism, on Political Affairs, by website owners, August 9 2011;
Rain in Downtown: A True Story of a Woman in Poverty, on Political Affairs, by D. Noyes-More, August 9 2011.