Letter: The cost of endless war

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
The cost of endless war

I am responding to Bill Walker’s thoughtful opinion piece, “Addicted to War” (Monitor Forum, Dec. 14). Walker begins with a reflection of where Ben Franklin might or might not have imagined America would be right now: “He would have expected the end of slavery and that women could vote,” but he would be “baffled,” in Walker’s words, by how we are “using our great technological, philosophical and economic power in the 21st century to support dictatorships, monarchies and to bring the slave trade back to Libya.”

We spend an obscene amount on our military budget, far more than the rest of the world. Imagine if we spent a fraction of that money on education or a solution to homelessness, we could be miles ahead of where we are now. In 2015, the military commanded 54 percent of the federal budget, at that time $595 billion out of an overall budget of $1.1 trillion. Education and housing both got 6 percent, and environment and energy got 3 percent.

There is no reason to keep devoting so much of our federal budget to the military. The United States military budget is the equivalent of the next seven nations combined: China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the U.K., India, France and Japan. With all due respect to those who serve our country, it is time for those who allocate federal funds to spread the wealth and not continue to spend more than half of our federal budget on the military. There are so many other national problems we could solve.