New Jersey Peace Action Executive Director Madelyn Hoffman in the Bloomfield Life
The Pentagon cuts would account for nearly half of the total of automatic cuts mandated by the debtdeal. If the Pentagon is immune from cuts, it will force greater cuts in domestic programs, like education, environmental protection, health care, veterans’ benefits, college scholarships and more.
The Pentagon already spends almost as much on the military as the rest of the world combined. The total budget for the military in 2011 was almost $800 billion. A modest 25 percent cut in those funds would free up $200 billion, enough to eliminate every state’s budget deficit with funds left over! This is the time for these mandatory cuts to take the pressure off federal and state budgets.
A recent announcement by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta suggested that American combat troops could be withdrawn from Afghanistan as early as mid-2013. That move could save hundreds of billions of dollars while keeping our troops in Afghanistan for one more year will have minimal impact on the Afghan Security Forces.
According to a Jan. 27 article in The Hill, through draw-downs in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and reductions of troops in Europe, the United States should be able “to reduce our 1.5 million member active-duty military by much more than the roughly 100,000 troops stated as a goal.” It costs almost $1 million per year per soldier, so these reductions would also save significant money.
NJPA urges you to contact U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell at 973-523-5152; U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg at 888-398-1642; and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez at 973-645-3030 to tell them not to shield the Pentagon from spending cuts. Genuine security depends on towns like Bloomfield having enough money for education, affordable housing and health care, and clean air and water. It’s time to prevent the military-industrial complex, warned of by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from draining dry the rest of the economy.
Let’s advocate for our communities, move the money and make our communities the nation’s top priority.
The writer is executive director of New Jersey Peace Action, based in Bloomfield.