My Thoughts on Militarism: My words at the Good Noise, Good Neighbors Festival Oct 20, 2019
We don’t need the jets. We don’t need the base.
I served for 13 years in the US military, including 9 years here at Truax Field with the 115 Fighter Wing. During my time with the Air Force, I was deployed to the Middle East to combat zones and Southwest Asia five times.
Years ago, President and General Dwight Eisenhower warned Americans about the big money of the Military Industrial Complex. Through the years this corruption has gotten worse. Over the past 50 years, big business led by entities like the Chamber of Commerce and ALEC have purchased our legislators.
There are too many lobbyists in our government. A good example of a conflict of interest is the Secretary of Defense who is a former lobbyist for Raytheon. Raytheon makes at least four components of the F-35.
The activist courts have invented law taking away our ability to regulate bribery. With the decisions leading up to Citizens United, we now have a Military Industrial Complex on steroids.
Jimmy Carter and others have stated that the US is now an oligarchy. There are a few wealthy people, the 1%, that our government is serving. [Although, we could change that tomorrow if we had the will.]
Now is the time to talk about how much military assets we have. How much we spend on war and where we want to spend our money.
We don’t seem to be having an effective discussion on these questions. Instead we have propaganda about whether we support the troops or if we love the flag. Those are games being played. Those are not valid, logical arguments relative to the situation.
According to a poll from September, most Americans want more money spent on the domestic needs of people and less spent on the Pentagon.
Defending our homes and our constitution is very important, but we could do that and spend more money on…
- More hospitals, clinics, staff, nurses and doctors for veterans and civilians
- Clean energy
- Giving teachers the tools they need
- Art and music funding
- Heating assistance and other help for the elderly
- Processing refugees in a more humane manner
- Dealing more effectively with substance abuse, trauma, mental health and PTSD
- Protecting our natural world, our air, our water, our soil
A few numbers…
- According to the US Government Accountability Office, the US is purchasing 2,500 F-35’s, costing over $1 Trillion.
- The US spends more than the next 7 highest spending nations combined on war related spending, according to the Peterson Foundation.
- The US has over 800 bases around the world, which is 20 times more than the rest of the world combined, according to Nick Turse in Mother Jones magazine.
This is not defense. This is empire.
Some of our children, go to schools where the textbooks are 30 years old and dilapidated, while our government is buying weapons like the F-35 for one hundred million dollars, a jet that has a windshield made of sapphire and has a helmet that cost $400,000.
I think we can have a better balance. Part of that balance is pushing for laws to be enforced instead of bombs dropping so often, and we need a government that is not out there creating enemies for Americans.
Two priorities we should have in order to achieve real progress:
We need people to be involved and informed.
We need to get the big money out and the people in.