WHEREAS the United States spends more on its military — about $700 billion in 2018 — than the next 11 countries combined;
WHEREAS over 50% of federal discretionary spending goes to the military;
WHEREAS the 2018 attempt to audit the Pentagon was unsuccessful: the Pentagon could not account for $21 trillion in budget items, with Senator Charles Grassley (R) saying that the Pentagon’s “resistance to auditing the books runs deep”;
WHEREAS “the ridiculously huge plugs [fabrications] in the Defense Department’s budgets are never even questioned at Armed Services or Budget Committee hearings” (ibid);
WHEREAS the Pentagon buried evidence of about $125 billion in waste;
WHEREAS there is a revolving door between the Pentagon and defense contractors;
WHEREAS according to Politico, “the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad” ;
WHEREAS U.S. wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Libya, Syria, South America and elsewhere killed millions of people, wasted trillions of dollars, created enemies, emboldened terrorists, and caused massive suffering, migration and consequent destabilization of societies;
WHEREAS President Trump plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and to upgrade U.S. nuclear weapons capability;
WHEREAS President Trump has slashed staff and funding for non-Pentagon federal agencies, including the State Department, which was already seriously under-staffed even before he took office and has gotten much worse since then;
WHEREAS a 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world, and a Pew poll in 2017 found majorities in most countries polled viewing the United States as a threat;
WHEREAS Rep. Adam Smith (WA, 9th CD) is the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee;
WHEREAS Rep. Smith is coming under tremendous pressure from his campaign donors and from what Dwight Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex,” to increase military spending and to overlook accounting fraud and obsessive secrecy;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we Democrats of the _____ call on Rep. Adam Smith to oppose increases in the Defense Department budget and to aggressively hold hearings about Pentagon accounting practices.
Contact me ThinkerFeeler@gmail.com for a pdf or word version of the resolution, with hyperlinks as footnotes.
This issue is central for Democrats, progressives and all Americans. The fight against Trump must not be an excuse for neglecting the fight against permanent war. This is where the rubber meets the road. If we don’t act, who will?
It might be reasonable to edit the THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED to call for a decrease in defense spending.
Rep. Adam Smith is called a progressive, and a great hope for pacifists, in this Politico article Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup.
Adam Smith wrote an article in Defense One decrying Pentagon secrecy: The Pentagon’s Getting More Secretive — and It’s Hurting National Security.
The Risks of Permanent War by the RAND Corporation
America’s Permanent-War Complex, from the American Conservative.
“Eisenhower’s worst nightmare has come true, as defense mega-contractors climb into the cockpit to ensure we stay overextended.”
Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, by James Risen.
See this related resolution by World Without War.
This article in The Atlantic, The Democrats Keep Capitulating on Defense Spending, discusses how Congressional Democrats agreed to increase defense spending in early 2018:
In the run-up to the deal, Nancy Pelosi’s office fired off an email to House Democrats proclaiming that, “In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense.” Chuck Schumer’s office announced that, “We fully support President Trump’s Defense Department’s request.” Not all congressional Democrats voted for the budget agreement: Thirty-eight percent of Democrats backed it in the House [Adam Smith opposed it.] and 76 percent did in the Senate. But even those who voted no mostly did so because they were upset about its lack of protection for immigrant “dreamers”—not because they oppose a higher defense budget. Last year, in fact, when Democrats were offered a standalone vote on big increases in military spending—in the form of House and Senate defense authorization bills—large majorities in both bodies voted yes.
What makes this so remarkable is that the arguments for a large increase in defense spending are extraordinarily weak.
Earlier, there were additional WHEREASs:
WHEREAS the $21 trillion in federal debt is being used as justification for calls to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare, despite our having paid for those programs out of our paychecks;
WHEREAS the debt was caused largely by tax cuts for rich people, bailouts for corporations, a for-profit health care system, and fraudulent, disastrous wars;
WHEREAS 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cuts to foreign aid;