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Issue Position: Downsize the Military Budget and Create a Peaceful World

Issue Position

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We need to lay the groundwork to create a peaceful world and to do that we need to change how we look at the world around us. We need to acknowledge our interconnectedness with the world community and promote a new type of security. A security based on healthy individuals, families, communities, nations that are economic stable. Our collective security should drive our foreign policy by focusing it on international collaboration, assistance and a shared goal for a peaceful world. We can no longer be ruled by our fears and manipulated by those who promote fear.

We need to recapture the revenues that have been squandered on our endless wars and reinvest them in our people and communities. We must care for those that have served during this long war and make them whole again. Furthermore, we need to protect the environment from the devastating impacts of war and war-related technologies such as nuclear energy production.

Transform our Military Policy: The transformation of our military policy and reduction of our military budget are the critical components to revitalize our economy, heal our citizens and create a peaceful world. Paradoxically, our military policy touts rhetoric about creating a safe world but in fact delivers one of permanent insecurity. It is essential that we demilitarize our economy and our national policies and disengaging from war as a means of profit under the guise of protection. The world will start to become safer and healthier as we begin to view others as potential friends and allies and not enemies.

Real national security is derived from international alliances, respect for international law and institutions, non-proliferating of weapons, and development of green, and renewable energy capabilities. The "whole-of-government' approach to international relations should replace the might-makes-right approach by replacing it with a combination of diplomacy, economic incentives and self-sufficient development aid.

We now have a standing arming and highly developed military-industrial complex that thrives on private contracts to support an endless war with its associated technology. High-levels of military spending have little to do with the well-being of our nation but instead support laboratories, university research centers, corporations, think tanks and lobbying firms. This industry continually looks for threats to our "security." Threats are identified, magnified and then - high-tech responses to these threats are mounted. This must cease.

Reduce the Military Budget: The endless war machine damages our international relations and destroys the lives, minds and hearts of our soldiers. The pain and misery of war echoes through out the international community and will haunt us for generations. Wars also rob us of revenues that could - provide funds:

to create employment
restore our infrastructure
provide quality education, and
conduct research on green, renewable energy technology and reduced the deficit.
We are not getting much from our tax money spent on defense and clearly massive military spending does not equate with making the world "safe". The Pentagon must wean itself from its addiction to endless vast appropriations and lack of accountability particularly in weapons procurement and outsourcing of military functions.

Support Those Who have Served: The endless war has had a distressing effect on our soldiers and their families as they have had to bear the responsibility for implementing our defense policy. The burden of this war belongs largely to those who have served and their families. The consequence of a standing army that consists of long-serving professionals is that they become separated from the society they serve. We need to move to a civilian army, augmented by a small standing professional army, which is responsive to a democratic voice. We must promote an active conversation about the morality of war that reflects our desire for a peaceful, healthy world.

The Veteran's Administration is seriously under-staffed and under-budgeted. The VA is ineffective in treating the vast population of soldiers returning from active duty. Many of today's veterans and their families have to battle the bureaucracies for years to attain proper diagnosis, adequate care, and disability benefits. Returning soldiers should be provided the option to go outside of the system for second medical opinions and treatment if the system can not provide for them. Retiring soldiers should be allowed to join the Medicare program and hence not be forced to live next to a military base for the balance of their life to receive health care. The Administration's effort to increase healthcare fees for military families and retirees should be opposed.

Reports from Joint Base Lewis McCord indicate an expanding crisis for those serving in our military characterized by:

increasing suicides,
extensive reports of post-traumatic stress disorder and
several high-profile crimes involving past and present local soldiers.
This pattern is no different than that seen on other bases across the country. It reflects the deleterious effect of an endless war and the impact on the soldiers and their families. The events should be viewed as symptoms of the problem caused by the long war, resulting in our swift action to demilitarize our nation and our economics.
Ways for Transforming the Military Policy:

shift foreign policy to diplomacy, fair trade agreements and humanitarian aid for self-sufficient development
bring our troops home from Afghanistan and stop expanding our military efforts in other nations
move to a civilian defense force with only a minor standing professional army.
Ways to Reduce the Military Budget:

bring our troops home from Afghanistan
drastically reduce weapons research and development, weapons procurement and conventional force size.
close nearly all foreign bases - why do we still have a base in Germany?
oppose the development of missile defense capabilities
cut the nuclear weapons arsenal
eliminate tactical nuclear weapons
prioritize operations and maintenance expenditures and military pay
increase efficiency and improve accountability particularly in procurement practices
eliminate the department of Homeland Security
Ways to Support Those Who have Served:

allow those in the military the option to have a civilian second medical opinion and treatment
allow soldiers who leave the military the option to receive Medicare
provide sustainable jobs for those having trouble finding employment
provide housing for veterans without a place to call home
veteran educational benefits should not expire

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