Primary candidates barely mention war and military spending

The Washington State Voters’ Pamphlet for the presidential primary election barely mentions the costs of wars and military spending.

Tulsi Gabbard’s statement says the most about the topic. “Let us enter into a new century free from the fear of nuclear war, a world where there is real peace….” In the next paragraph she says, ” Our economy must not be dependent on war, but driven instead by innovation, green technology and renewable industries.” She ends with “We overcome the current pulling us toward war, and usher in a new era of international peace and prosperity built not on conflict but on cooperation.”  But she gives no history and doesn’t summarize the costs.

Bernie Sanders lists the “military industrial complex” as one of the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life, along with Wall Street, health insurance corporations, Big Pharma, the fossil fuel industry, and the private prison industry.  His last paragraph says, “Together we can create a nation that leads the world in the struggle for peace and for economic, racial, social and environmental justice.”  But he doesn’t mention the costs of wars.

None of the other candidates mentions “war”, “military”, “Pentagon” or “soldier” except to say they served in the military.

This is a shame, because military spending is central to the mess we’re in.  We killed hundreds of thousands of people and wasted over $5 trillion on disastrous ill-begotten wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The U.S. has about 800 bases in scores of countries, while Russia has only nine overseas bases, mostly close to its borders.  U.S. wars, coups and proxy wars in the Middle East and South America destabilized the regions and caused migration, refugees, and political problems in other nations.   Under Trump, the U.S. has withdrawn from international treaties, has increased spending on nukes (including tactical nukes), and has instigated an arms race in space.

Apparently, anti-war messaging doesn’t motivate voters — or, perhaps it motivates pro-war interests who could destroy a candidate. In any case, why don’t more candidates mention the costs of war?

BTW, Tulsi’s first paragraph has a grammatical error: “My personal commitment to you, to all of my fellow Americans, is to treat you with respect and compassion, something us [sic] Hawaiians call Aloha,” and it sounds unpresidential and sentimental. Sigh.

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