Tired of runaway war and weapons spending? Write a letter to the editor!
What better way to make clear the obscene level of U.S. war and weapons spending, than to put it into perspective -- comparing it with both other countries' military budgets and with unmet needs in your own community?
Those are the goals of our Bring Our War $$ Home (BOW$H) campaign -- and you can help.
Why a letter to the editor?
Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is an easy, effective way to broaden budget conversations and support peace. Your letter will make clear that it's not only possible -- it's necessary -- to redirect funds from the Pentagon to needs at home.
Letters to the editor should be short (200 to 250 words, tops), focused on one issue, mention current events or a recent news story or opinion piece, include relevant facts and mention any relevant personal experience.
Make sure to include your name, email, phone number and any relevant title, position or affiliation. (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a handy list of letter-writing tips, here.)
Just the facts
The facts are certainly on our side, when arguing that the Pentagon budget can and should be cut.
Some of the more jaw-dropping ones are listed (with references) below. Don't forget to also look up your community's share of the war and weapons bills on our online database, here.
- The U.S. military budget could be cut by 80% and remain the largest in the world. - SOURCE Global Issues
- When asked whether Pentagon spending should be cut to address the federal budget deficit, 68% of those polled in May and June 2012 said yes -- a ten percent increase from 2010. - SOURCE 2012 Chicago Council Survey
- U.S. military spending has almost doubled since 2001. The U.S. spent an astounding $698 billion on the military last year, an 81% increase over the last decade. - SOURCE SIPRI via ThinkProgress and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (see table 5-1: military spending was $334,705 million in 2001, compared to $722,138 million in 2010)
- Military contracts are not a job-creation engine. Military dollars spent in a state yield the least number of jobs, compared to investments in health, education, transportation, and even tax cuts. - SOURCE University of Massachusetts study (.pdf) and Friends Committee on National Legislation (.pdf)
- The number of U.S. military bases around the world is staggering, including a reported 550 in Afghanistan alone. Worldwide, there are at least 1,077 bases, with the U.S. military maintaining on its overseas bases "close to 52,000 buildings, and more than 38,000 pieces of heavy infrastructure like piers, wharves, and gigantic storage tanks, not to mention more than 9,100 'linear structures' like runways, rail lines, and pipelines." A 2007 estimate of U.S. military base expenses totaled $372 billion annually. - SOURCE TomDispatch and Global Research
- Nearly all the automatic budget cuts the Pentagon might face are not true cuts, but reductions in the rate of military spending growth. Even if the "sequestration" cuts are made, the Pentagon's budget would remain larger than it was in 2006 (adjusted for inflation), which at the time was the among the highest levels of military spending since World War II. - SOURCE Bloomberg News
- Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history, having lasted 11 years and cost an estimated $517 billion for military operations. (The Vietnam war lasted 103 months, the Iraq war 105 months, while Afghanistan is at 132 months and counting.) - SOURCE Christian Science Monitor
- Although the Obama Administration has said it will "end the war" in Afghanistan by 2014, the President signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that will likely keep 15,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for another decade, or as late as 2024. - SOURCE Congressional Research Service (.pdf)
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If your letter is published, congratulations!