Firing General McChrystal was necessary and Obama is absolutely correct that the foundation of our democracy depends on civilian control over the military. However, firing a loose-lipped general does not begin to make a dent in the control our military has over our society. President Obama is as susceptible as every past president to the lure of the giant military machine that consumes almost two thirds of our government’s discretionary funding. Obama has done previous presidents better by proposing to increase the military budget by 3.4% over last year and declaring the Pentagon exempt from the freeze on spending that applies to every other area of government. In FY 2010 the military took $19.6 billion of NC taxpayer’s money. That’s an average $2,086 per taxpayer.
In NC, jobs are always cited as the great benefit of the military presence here. According to the National Priorities Project, one billion dollars can create 11,600 military jobs, but it could be creating 29,100 jobs in education. (Both figures include indirect and induced jobs created in these sectors.) Meanwhile, Durham Public Schools beg for money to reduce the number of teachers being fired. The military has a strong hold on our minds and our pocket books and it will take more than firing one general to rectify that.
—Betsy Crites, Executive Director, NC Peace Action