ELIMINATING WARS AND GUNS
Updated: Jul 20
“...we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” Those prescient words were spoken by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the US, in his farewell address to the nation in January 1961. And, he was correct. An unholy alliance between our nation’s military and the huge defense industry that supplies it has become a major driving force influencing our public policy and our foreign policy.
We, the Sojourners for Truth and Justice, grew up during the Cold War and Korean Wars, the sending of US marines into Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and the Bay of Pigs, Cuba debacle. We witnessed and demonstrated against the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. We’ve watched as capitalism became unbridled. We heard the incessant anti-communist propaganda following WWII, used to justify the sacrifices made by our society while America increased its role as an imperial oppressor.
The children of working people, of the poor and newly arrived immigrants seeking a promised path to citizenship, are those sent to fight on the battlefronts of wars perpetrated by this military-industrial complex. While purporting to advance the ideal of democracy throughout the world, the US has repeatedly propped up dictators for its own interest, oil, rare minerals and metals.
US foreign policy has destabilized not just regions of the world but also countries by promoting the sale of arms. This was done under the guise of enabling self-defense but only increased the suffering of the people there. Then the fraudulent Iraq war upended the world completely.
Doubts about the US government’s ever-increasing budget for its war machine and the war machine’s insatiable hunger for government handouts are valid. Military spending has reached the highest level since the Cold War. According to The Balance and US Economic News the US military budget has almost doubled from $404.91 billion in 2003 to approximately $721.5 billion in 2020. The military budget is the second-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security.
It may surprise some to know; the US has been in a constant state of war or conflict since it was founded. The US refusal to participate in world organizations, such as Climate Change Initiatives and the World Health Organization has jeopardized its legitimacy as a partner among nations. As the world becomes more interconnected, the US must become a better team player in the world of nations. Its ever-increasing spending on the Defense Industry must stop. Weapons can’t feed, house, clothe, or educate people. Defense spending does not provide health or mental health care, can’t create democracies, won’t save the planet or eliminate racism and discrimination.
Within our borders, in recent years, increased gun ownership has resulted in more mass shootings, many killing our children. The justification for the ability of citizens to bear arms comes from the Second Amendment. It sanctioned the formation of militia’s to put down slave rebellions. That justification does not apply to the 21st century and definitely not to guns such as bump stock and semi-automatics. Without guns, we will be less destructive. Gun ownership must be eliminated.
Imagine if all the money spent on war, armaments, armies and guns was used to fund the items called for by Sojourners for Truth and Justice; how green, beautiful, healthy, safe and wholesome our society and the world would be for generations to come.