FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Fouling Our Own Nest & Draining Our Wallets: It’s Time to Divest from Endless Wars

Just one month into a new decade, we face an ever-increasing risk of nuclear apocalypse. The U.S. government’s assassination of Iranian General Soleimani on January 3 intensified the very real threat of another all-out war in the Middle East. On January 23, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists accordingly reset the Doomsday Clock to just 100 short seconds to midnight, apocalypse.

We are told that war is good to protect us from the “terrorists” but the return on the U.S. taxpayers’ $1 trillion a year investment in “defense spending” was slim to none from 2001-2014, when terrorism peaked. According to the Global Terrorism Index, terrorism actually increased during the so-called “war on terror,” at least up until 2014, finally slowing now in numbers of deaths but actually increasing in terms of numbers of countries suffering terror attacks.

Countless journalists, federal intelligence analysts, and former military officials have suggested that U.S. military interventions, including the drone program, may actually cause an increase in terrorist strength and activity, generating more violence than they prevent. Researchers Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan have demonstrated statistically that, from 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance was twice as successful as armed resistance and resulted in more stable democracies with less chance of reverting to civil and international violence.

War does not make us more safe; we are impoverishing ourselves by hemorrhaging taxpayer dollars on far-away wars that traumatize, wound, and kill our loved ones, along with millions of unnamed victims abroad.

Meanwhile, we’re fouling our own nest. The U.S. military is among the top three largest polluters of U.S. waterways. The military’s use of so-called “forever chemicals,” such as PFOS and PFOA, has contaminated groundwater in hundreds of communities near U.S. military bases at home and abroad. We hear about notorious water poisoning cases like Flint, Michigan, but very little is said about the public health crisis unfolding within the U.S. military’s widespread network of over 1,000 domestic bases and 800 foreign bases.

These toxic and potentially carcinogenic PFOS and PFOA chemicals, which are used in the military’s firefighting foam, have well-documented health impacts, such as thyroid disease, reproductive disorders, developmental delays, and infertility. Beyond this unfolding water crisis, as the world’s largest institutional consumer of oil, the U.S. military is the biggest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. Militarism pollutes.

While we’re poisoning our waters, we’re also draining our wallets. Thirty million Americans don’t have health insurance. Half a million Americans sleep out on the streets every night. One in six children live in food-insecure homes. Forty-five million Americans are burdened with more than $1.6 trillion of student loan debt. And yet we sustain a war budget as large as the next seven largest military budgets combined if we use the US military’s own figures. If we use actual figures that include non-Pentagon budget military expenditures (e.g., nuclear weapons, which are paid for out of the Department of Energy budget), we learn that the actual US military budget is more than double what the Pentagon official budget is. Therefore, the US spends more on its military than all the other militaries on Earth combined.

Our country is struggling. We hear it repeatedly throughout the 2020 presidential race, whether from the democratic hopefuls or from Trump, many candidates harken back to talking points about the need to fix our broken and corrupt system, although admittedly their approaches to system change differ widely. Yes, something has run amok in a country with seemingly endless trillions for a military that’s never been audited, but scarce resources for everything else.

Where do we go from here? Number one, we can withdraw our support for reckless military spending. At World BEYOND War, we’re organizing divestment campaigns around the world to give people the tools to divest their retirement savings, their school’s university endowments, their city’s public pension funds, and more, from weapons and war. Divestment is our way of bucking the system by saying that we won’t fund endless wars with our private or public dollars anymore. We led the successful campaign to divest Charlottesville from weapons last year. Is your town next?

More articles by:

Greta Zarro is Organizing Director of World BEYOND War, and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
Wade Sikorski
Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of Vengeance
Hilary Moore – James Tracy
No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing
Linn Washington Jr.
Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’
L. Michael Hager
Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity
Jim Goodman
Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump
Olivia Alperstein
We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is
Jesse Jackson
Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Home Sweet Home: District Campaign Financing
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
Wendell Griffen
Grace and Gullibility
Nicky Reid
Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe
David Yearsley
Dresden 75
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail