The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have approved a version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Each authorizes expenditures of over $600 billion for national defense. (Please note that the $600 billion does not include the $182 billion budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs, nor the $48 billion for Homeland Security). Although military spending constitutes 54 percent of all discretionary spending, the NDAA commands little public attention. The lack of public attention is dangerous and foolhardy, as is the NDAA itself. Why?:
l The Department of Defense, unlike all other federal agencies, has never passed an audit. The waste, fraud, graft, cost overruns and arms contractor profits are abominable. As Pope Francis said of arms dealers, “money drenched in blood.”
l These expenditures are the single largest contributor to our national debt, which in itself is a threat to national security.
l Our annual passive acceptance of a bloated NDAA reveals an addiction to violence, and, like many addicts, we are in denial. We claim to be a peaceful nation, but the only levers we fund are violent. More Reaper drones and new bombers and militarization of our police forces won’t bring peace.
l As $600 billion for war gets an almost automatic OK, bridges collapse, water quality deteriorates, mental health care becomes deathly scarce, and school librarians are laid off.
This list barely scratches the surface. Let’s take the profit out of war and work for peace.