“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower
Since President Eisenhower uttered those words, with their allusion to the Gospel of Matthew (25:31-45), the US military budget, funded by our tax dollars, has grown to the point of consuming more than half the discretionary budget; i.e., the part of the federal budget, unlike social security and Medicare, not mandated by law. We spend more on the military than the next seven heavily armed nations combined-including Russia and China. For instance, we fund:
800 military bases throughout the world
More than 3 times the number of aircraft than Russia
More than 4½ times the number of aircraft than China
By 2017, wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan cost over 4 trillion dollars (for perspective: one trillion seconds is equal to 31,688 years).
As the military budget increases, tax money is taken away from such things as the Head Start program, medical research, repairing the 58,000 defective bridges in the US, or cleaning up the 1,300 Superfund sites scattered throughout the country. Tax money goes largely to global weapons manufacturers, with their CEOs receiving $20,000,000 or more in total compensation per year.
War and preparations for war contribute to environmental destruction-including climate change-and drain the treasury of money for the common good.
According to environmentalist Paul Hawken, there are over a million organizations worldwide dedicated to environmental sustainability, peace, nuclear abolition, and economic justice. Whether focused on such issues as rainforest protection, conflict resolution, nuclear disarmament, or action for a living wage, all these organizations have values in common. They all want a healthy natural environment for themselves and for future generations, they all want equal opportunity, and they respect all life. In their vision of a better world, they are all connected.
“The fate of the climate movement and the fate of the peace movement are intimately bound together.”
—Paul Shannon, American Friends Service Committee
“”Our house is literally burning, and it is only logical that environmentalists expect the social justice movement to get on the environmental bus. But it is the other way around; the only way we are going to put out the fire is to get on the social justice bus and heal our wounds, because in the end, there is only one bus.”