FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

We Can’t Bomb Our Way to Better Schools

by

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” ~ Dr. King

From the left and the right, policy proposals are flying fast and furious. It is an election year, after all.  But one topic is completely off the agenda from both sides of the party line: decreasing military spending.

Today’s political candidates are universally unwilling to discuss the military budget, overseas aggression, nuclear weapons, militarism, or imperialism – except to recommend more of it.

The problem is, we can’t bomb our way into better schools.

Year after year, we continue to pour our tax dollars into the war budget at the expense of other social programs. And, even as we overfund the military contractors, we also fail to care for our veterans and renege on our recruitment promises of education and jobs for the youth. Neither of the two major-party presidential candidates will discuss ending the endless war, bringing our troops home, or investing in improving the infrastructure, education, and opportunities here at home.

Those who study the rise and fall of empires know that the obsession with military expansion, and the pouring of a nation’s resources into militarism at the expense of other programs leads to collapse. The fall of many powerful empires throughout human history has been preceded by such a cycle. Regardless of one’s views on whether or not the United States should be pursuing the goal of imperialism, the obvious truth is that we are, in fact, a heavily militarized empire, with five colonial territories, and nearly 700 military bases in countries around the world.

We’re operating on increasingly shaky ground. As we head into the elections, where are the candidates who will frankly acknowledge this danger?  Who will commit to investing in our youth, our communities, and our people?  Will we continue to obsessively and aggressively try to demonstrate our greatness through military might or will we find ways to humbly and compassionately strive for basic goodness – not even greatness – in the way we treat one another here at home?

We may be modern people with smartphones, airplanes, and entrenched beliefs in our political divisions, but at the end of the day, human values haven’t changed much. We’re still hoping and longing for the same things. We all want our kids to be healthy. We want our schools to be engaging and empowering. We want our communities to be safe. We want to have enough. We don’t want to be hungry or homeless. We don’t want bombs dropping on our heads. We want meaningful opportunities for our young people (and ourselves). We want a world for our great, great grandchildren.

The question is: how do we get those things? Although the policies, platforms, and proposals abound, one thing is clear: continuing to overfund the military at the expense of programs of social uplift is not going to improve the situation of the average American.  As Dr. King adroitly pointed out so many years ago, we are approaching spiritual death by continuing on this path. At the end of our endless wars, what are we defending? As we gut our schools, incarcerate our populace, over-police our poor communities, let roads and infrastructure crumble, what exactly are we sending our sons and daughters overseas to protect? We cannot bomb our way into better schools. Instead, we must beat the swords of our bombers into plowshares, study war no more, and rebuild the spiritual, moral, and cultural integrity of our nation.

More articles by:

Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail