Posts Tagged ‘Cost of War’

Raleigh City Council Cost of War Resolution

RESOLUTION NO. 2013 – 733

A RESOLUTION TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE
RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL REGARDING THE USE OF FEDERAL
FUNDS TO MEET LOCAL FINANCING NEEDS.

Whereas the United States is currently engaged in military actions which are
nearing the end of their intended durations; and

Whereas, the ongoing economic situation in this country has resulted in reduced
revenue to both the private and public sectors, revenue which could be used to meet
critical infrastructure and other public policy needs;

Whereas, funding cuts to various programs such as community development
block grants have caused local governments to curtail certain services which are
beneficial to the public; and

Whereas, both state and local governments in this country face unprecedented
needs for repair and replacement of roads, water plants, waste water facilities and many
other public needs for which funding does not currently exist;

Whereas, funding for a constructive economy that sustains high level educational
opportunities, quality medical care, affordable housing, infrastructure repair and
maintenance, and environmental protections; and

Whereas, the end of the previously mentioned military conflicts may result in less
pressure on the federal budget in years to come; and

Whereas, the maintenance of a strong national defense is one of the primary
duties of the federal government as well as recognizing and caring for those who have
borne the battle in defending against terrorism;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE RALEIGH CITY
COUNCIL THAT:

1. The President and the United States Congress are requested to use any savings
occurring due to the end of any current military conflicts for distribution to state and
local governments for use in meeting human and infrastructure needs for those areas
in years to come.

2. The President and the United States Congress are requested to also use those funds
to begin and complete federal infrastructure and human needs, including support for
veterans of these conflicts.

Adopted:

March 5, 2013

Effective:

March 5, 2013

Prepared by the Raleigh City Attorney’s office

 

Raleigh City Council calls on Congress to “Bring Our War Dollars Home”

January 16, 2013

Press Release

CONTACT: JOE BURTON 919-851-5596

At its January 15th meeting, the Raleigh City Council joined the US Conference of Mayors and cities in 14 other states in approving a “Bring Our War Dollars Home Resolution.” The original resolution was submitted to the Council by ROWD (Return Our War Dollars) of Wake County with support from NC Peace Action and American Friends Service Committee.

After amending the wording, the Council approved the following: BE IT RESOLVED that the Raleigh City Council call upon the U.S. Congress and President Obama to end our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring our war dollars home, and use those and other savings in Pentagon spending to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.

ROWD of Wake County coordinator Joe Burton (pictured above) said: “Thanks to the Raleigh City Council for its approval of the Bring Our War Dollars Home resolution and the good message it sends to North Carolina’s Congressional delegation regarding federal funding priorities, as budget negotiations go forward in Washington.”

To read the rest of the resolution, please click here.

Raleigh City Council Resolution

 

January 2013

Proclamation calling on Congress to Fund Urgently Needed Services and Infrastructure Repair in Raleigh and Throughout the United States by Bringing Our War Dollars Home and Reducing Military Spending.

WHEREAS the members of the Raleigh City Council and the constituents we represent want to ensure the safety, as well as the physical and mental well-being of U.S. soldiers, veterans, and their families, and

WHEREAS more than 100,000 American soldiers have been officially injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 520,000 veterans or our Middle Eastern wars have filed disability claims with costs of their care expected to total between $600 billion and $1 trillion by 2040 (1), and WHEREAS, the US government has spent well over 1 trillion dollars nationally on the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, with North Carolina taxpayers’ share of that total at $34 billion, and Raleigh taxpayer’s share of that total is $1.7 billion (3), and

WHEREAS the core defense budget has gone up for an unprecedented 13 straight years and reduction in defense spending will help reduce the federal deficit (2), and

WHEREAS the $50 billion reduction in defense spending required by sequestration under the Budget Control Act (adjusted in real dollars) is equivalent to what was spent in FY2007 and will keep defense spending above the Cold War average (2), and

WHEREAS even with a reduction of $50 billion, the United States will spend more on defense than the next 17 nations combined, most of whom are our allies, and 3 times more than the Chinese (2), and

WHEREAS the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to reexamine our national spending priorities; and in Wake County budget cuts causing layoffs, cutbacks, and continual damage to our public education system (4), and

WHEREAS 1.6 million residents of NC live in poverty with nearly 50% of those having incomes less than half of the federal poverty level; in Wake County 1 in 6 children live in poverty (5, 6, 7), and

WHEREAS, cuts to federal programs such as Community Block Development Grants (CDBGs) and the Home Investment Partnership program (HOME) have forced Raleigh and local agencies and non-profits to lay off staff, reduce or eliminate services, delay infrastructure projects and reduce program benefits to low and moderate income families; and

WHEREAS, funding for a constructive economy that sustains high level educational services for the K through college, job growth, equal access to medical care, low cost housing, infrastructure repair, environmental protections, and family financing throughout North Carolina, especially in cities such as Raleigh, has been diverted to wars and occupations, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that the Raleigh City Council call upon the U.S. Congress and President Obama to end our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring our war dollars home, and use those and other savings in military spending to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.

 

1. Gusterson, Hugh, “The Costs of War”, 2011 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 6, 2011

2. Korb, Lawrence J., “6 Reasons to Keep the Defense Budget Sequestration Cuts”, Center for American Progress, April 3, 2012.

3. National Priorities Project, http://costofwar.com, Nov. 1, 2012.

4. Warren, Louisa B. “A Better Future Begins in Pre-K,” Policy & Progress, North Carolina Justice Center, Spring 2012, p. 13.

5. Hawes, Julia, “Poverty Tour Exposes Lack of Economic Opportunity,” Policy & Progress, North Carolina Justice Center, Spring 2012, p. 1.

6. Sirota, Alexandra Forter and Burch, Brenna Elford, “Dismantling Pathways to Economic Mobility in NC,” Policy & Progress, North Carolina Justice Center, Spring 2012, p. 1, 10-11.

7. http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NC-County-Data-Poverty-and-Deep-Poverty-Rates.pdf

 

6 Reasons to Keep the Defense Budget Sequestration Cuts

By Lawrence J. Korb

Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

April 3, 2012

About Lawrence J. Korb: Lawrence J. Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, served as assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

Unless Congress acts to repeal sequestration, the core defense budget (exclusive of war costs) for FY 2013 will be “only” $472 billion, about $50 billion less than the Pentagon requested. There are at least six reasons why Congress should not act.

1. First, a budget of $472 billion is more than sufficient to protect our national security. In inflation adjusted or real dollars, this is what we spent in FY 2007, the penultimate year of the Bush administration, when not even defense hawks were complaining about the budget being too low. Additionally, this budget would keep real defense spending above the Cold War average, despite the fact that we then faced an existential threat from Soviet Russia, a real “geopolitical foe.”

2. Second, in real terms, the core defense budget has gone up for an unprecedented 13 straight years. As Dick Armey, the former House leader, has noted, despite their rhetoric, the Pentagon has not yet made any real reductions.

3. Third, if Congress allows sequestration to remain in effect over the next decade, the total reductions in projected levels of defense spending will be $500 billion or 14 percent, much smaller than previous reductions. Dwight Eisenhower reduced defense spending by 27 percent in real terms over eight years, Richard Nixon by 29 percent in six years, and Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton by 35 percent in 11 years.

4. Fourth, reducing defense spending by $500 billion over the next decade will help reduce the federal deficit, which military leaders, like former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, correctly label the greatest threat to our national security.

5. Fifth, sequestration will force the Pentagon’s leaders to make the tough decisions, which even they admit they have not had to make over the past decade. These include: reforming the military retirement, healthcare, and compensation systems, as recommended by their own task forces; canceling or reducing the numbers of unnecessary or underperforming systems like the V-22 and the F-35; and cutting our nuclear arsenal to a realistic level, as recommended by the Air War College’s School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.

6. Sixth, and most important, the alarmist claims of those opposed to cuts are bogus. Even with a FY 2007 level budget, the United States will still spend more on defense than the next 17 nations combined, most of whom are our allies, and three times more than the Chinese. We would still have more ships than the next 11 navies in the world combined, more manned and unmanned aircraft than any other nation, and a total ground force (active duty and reserve) of 1.5 million highly-trained people. As Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was forced to admit, even with these cuts the United States will still be a global power.

Tax Day 2012: Report

NC Peace Action helped organize a very active presence in Chapel Hill with John Heuer and an SDS student speaking, entertainment by the Raging Grannies and Sacrificial Poets, and smaller groups at two sites in Raleigh.  We got a total of about 100 signatures on a Costs of War petition, great picture and description in the Raleigh paper about the the display brought by Vicki Ryder with beads on a dowel.  “They represented the projected 2012 US tax dollars that would go for military needs as opposed to other government programs.”  Another small local paper, Carrboro, will publish a picture in its weekly edition.

In Raleigh, the large 40′ banner on the ground is the AFSC representation of their “One Minute for Peace” strip that lines up discretionary spending for the various departments. We also had a penny poll which engaged several passersby.  In Chapel Hill, the balloons also represented the size of the military vs other departments.

The bottom photos are of the 2nd part of the event in Chapel Hill that merged with a protest of the Bank of America organized by a coalition planning a big action in Charlotte in May.  We marched down to the BOA to deliver a letter to the CEO.  They got the branch manager to fax the letter.

Betsy Crites

      

 


    

War Warnings

Letter to the Editor, by Betsy Crites. Published March 2nd 2012, News & Observer. 

As Afghanistan comes unraveled and U.S. officials scramble to justify 11 years of war, four North Carolina members of Congress signed a letter to President Obama saying it’s time to leave, and sooner is better than later. As The N&O reported, U.S. Reps. Walter Jones, Brad Miller and David Price all spoke to the issue at a Town Hall Meeting on Feb. 20. (The fourth congressman, Howard Coble, was not present.) Jones was especially passionate about questioning the human and economic toll, asking “Where is the outrage?”

At the same meeting Matthew Hoh, a former Marine and State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of U.S. policies, said our soldiers are caught in the middle of local feuds that have nothing to do with our security. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion in direct costs and will cost at least that much in ongoing care of wounded vets and war debt, according to Hoh.

Now, some U.S. senators and media are pushing for war in Iran. As Gen. Anthony Zinni said, if you liked Iraq and Afghanistan, you’ll love Iran.

See the original Letter to the Editor here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/03/02/1897373/war-warnings.html#storylink=cpy

 

October 29, 2011: Planning Conference for Long-Term Change


Reordering Priorities – Connecting Issues
A Planning Conference for Long-Term Change
October 29th, 2011

Report

Reordering our Society’s Priorities and Connecting our Peace and Justice Issues were the themes of the October 29, 2011, NC Peace Action/AFSC conference in Raleigh.  Fifty attendees representing 8 Congressional districts shared what’s happening around the state on the Move the Money campaign, collaboration with HKonJ, the Occupy movement, and other social/economic justice issues.  People traveled from Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro, Burlington, Pittsboro, and Chapel Hill, as well as from Durham and Raleigh.  The conference opened with readings from inspirational figures.

Representatives of the Durham Peace Action organizing committee reported on their successful campaign “Bring the War Dollars Home/Fund Our Communities”.  After getting 125 citizens to sign an invitation to elected local leaders, they held a Town Hall Meeting attended by 13 elected officials including Rep. David Price of the 4th district.  An op-ed was printed in the Durham News section of the News & Observer, and cost of war resolutions have passed the Durham City Council and Durham County Commissioners.
Read the rest of this entry »

November 13 – 15: Lake Junaluska Peace Conference

 

NOVEMBER 13-15

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference
“Abundance, Poverty and Peace: Seeking Economic Justice for all God’s Children”

The root and cause of war: the economic system. Keynote speakers will include David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World; George McGovern; Bishop Nkula Ntanda Ntamba, and more. Register by phoning 1 (800) 222-4930 or online at:  http://www.lakejunaluska.com/Peace/

September 10, 2011: Report on 9/10/11 Durham Town Hall Meeting: Cost of War Resolution


UPDATE! Durham County has already had great success with its flagship Cost of War campaign in the City of Durham. Due to this Durham Town Hall Meeting, in the Fall of 2011:

  • The Durham City Council called upon the president and Congress “to bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy and reduce the federal debt.”  (Read full resolution here.)

Do We Have Our Priorities Straight?

~
An Op-Ed by Betsy Crites, from The Durham News – August 31st 2011
  
What do Durham and Afghanistan have in common?

We are worlds apart, but we both have people who need jobs, health care, schools, transportation and sewers, and help for our homeless, elderly and hungry. Neither of us is getting our critical needs met in part because a war neither of us really wants is draining our economies, killing and injuring our young people, and depleting our spirits.

We don’t often make the connections with this far-off country, but we need to.

We’ve been told that deficits and debt are why we must endure major cuts in educational programs, health care, environmental protection and a wide array of services offered by non-profits. We are rarely told that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to account for 23 percent of our deficits since 2003 (as reported in an article by N.C. Rep. Walter Jones in the Feb. 18 Washington Post).

A look at the numbers helps to understand how Durham and the countries where we’ve been at war are connected. In fiscal year 2011, the United States funneled $122 billion into the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan and $47.4 billion for military in Iraq. The combined $169.4 billion amounts to $3.2 billion a week.

Taxpayers in Durham are paying $106.8 million of that bill in 2011. With just a fraction of that money, we could easily cover the shortfalls in Durham’s education budget. Instead we will need to raise the sales tax just to keep schools afloat and begin funding a light rail system.

What else could Durham do with that $106.8 billion in war taxes? We could pay for:

  • 45,204 children receiving low-income health care for one year;
  • Or 1,977 elementary school teachers for one year;
  • Or 13,817 Head Start slots for children for one year;
  • Or 15,351 military veterans’ VA medical care for one year;
  • Or 2,111 police or sheriff’s patrol officers for one year;
  • Or 19,238 students receiving Pell Grants of $5,550.

With state and federal deficit hawks cutting everything from education programs to environmental protection, we have an obligation to ask: “Do we have our priorities straight?”

In case anyone thinks that Afghanistan is profiting from the huge influx of money and soldiers, consider these sad numbers: The per capita annual income is $330. The entire gross national product of Afghanistan is only $11.7 billion. (Recall the U.S. war there costs $122 billion.) It is a desperately poor country that needs schools, clinics, water systems, and health care. One out of eight Afghan mothers dies in childbirth. If they are ever going to rebuild, they need peace.

Neither Durham nor Afghanistan, Pakistan nor Iraq is getting what is needed to sustain a decent, secure life for their citizens, and they won’t until we make the connections and speak up about our priorities.

Durham citizens and community leaders are posing this question to our local elected officials. The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Los Angeles City Council passed resolutions to end the wars and fund human needs, sending a clear message to federal officials. Durham can do the same.

We invited concerned citizens to join the discussion with our local elected officials on Sept. 10, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 305 E. Main St., Durham. Members of the City Council, Board of County Commissioners, Board of Education, and members of the General Assembly from our area will be present. All are welcome.

Betsy Crites is the director of NC Peace Action in Durham; ww.ncpeaceaction.org

© Copyright 2011, The News & Observer Publishing Company