PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

May 1, 2011

Stop the War

Filed under: — frosty @ 3:56 pm

Specifically, we believe the Iraq war was one of choice, not necessity. The Iraqi military was not in possession of, or in the process of developing, weapons of mass destruction. What’s more, prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the country was neither a harbor, nor training ground, for Al Qaeda and similarly affiliated terrorists, which it has now become. We supported President Obama’s promise to withdraw all military and mercenary personnel form Iraq and are extremely disappointed in the President for breaking that promise.

In general, diplomatic measures should be exhausted before resorting to military force. Referring again to the Iraq war, the Bush Administration refused to give United Nations inspectors the time they needed to do their jobs and the United States invaded a sovereign state based on faulty or doctored intelligence information, thus bypassing the diplomatic process entirely. In the case of the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, the Bush Administration refused to deal diplomatically with the Taliban in the handing over of Osama bin Laden, instead insisted on unilateral demands and military action.

We also call for the redistribution of wasteful military spending to address human needs in both the U.S. and abroad. While we spend a seemingly small 4.7 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on our military, that figure is deceiving. In January 2010, the Department of Defense (DOD) budget accounted for about 19 percent of the total budget and if you add to that the non-DOD spending, the total cost as a percentage of the federal budget rises to somewhere between 28-38 percent. Add to this the fact that, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 2010 Yearbook, U.S. military expenditures make up over 45 percent of the world’s total military spending.

Without speaking directly to the pros and cons, and while President Obama has not involved the U.S. directly militarily in the events unfolding in Libya, the U.S. is the single largest contributor to NATO’s military budget, according to the Congressional Research Service. So, indirectly or otherwise, NATO’s involvement in Libya puts us into yet another military conflict in the Middle East.

It’s also important to note, given the current budget debate in D.C., that military spending since 2000 has almost doubled from $300 billion to more than $300 billion. What seems to be “on the table” to address the current U.S. budget crisis is around 12 percent of discretionary spending and doesn’t include military expenditures.

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