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Published 01/02/2019 | Reading Time 3 min 17 sec
By Daniel Rogers, Contributing Writer
In a recent survey from the Bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Foreign Policy, 78% of Americans want clearly defined goals to authorize military engagement, 77% wish to require federal congressional oversight and accountability regarding where troops are stationed, and 84% wish to require any donation of funds or equipment to a foreign country be matched by a pledge of that country to adhere to the rules of the Geneva convention. Unfortunately, with today’s Congress, we get nothing of the sort.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the approved military budget of $738 billion “will enhance our national security and invest in middle-class priorities that advance the health, financial security and well-being of the American people.” With the military budget rising higher and higher every year, it can be easy to gloss over that number but just think of how astronomical $738 billion really is.
To put it in perspective, it’s about $2 billion a day with an extra $22 million a day for kicks — or genocide, depending on who’s asking. A week after Trump cut food stamps — within the week of getting The Afghanistan Papers, learning we’ve been repeatedly lied to about the Afghanistan war and having spent $1,472,031 (1.47 million) a day since 2003, just in Iraq and Afghanistan, without any real knowledge of why we’re still there nor any indication of when we would be getting out, after losing tens of thousands of American lives to endless wars, (we’re currently involved in 7 never-ending military conflicts) and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians — our Congress has decided to break a record.
What’s worse: The few provisions that gave any hint of non-interventionism, that most Americans overwhelmingly support, were stripped away before the senate signed it into law.
One of these provisions was an amendment backed by the progressive flank that the Democratic Party would have denied the Trump administration from using any funds to launch an unauthorized, offensive war against Iran. This is the same Iran that the war hawks of Congress and President Trump have been eyeing to poke since the President took office. This is a week and a half after the Trump Administration considers sending 14,000 more troops on top of the 80,000 troops already deployed to the Middle East and Afghanistan to counter Iran.
Many recall that Trump broke the Iran nuclear deal even though the United Nations (UN) said they were completely adhering to the terms of the agreement and complying with the UN. Then he placed devastating sanctions on medicine going into Iran, and when the UN said no people will die this is illegal, the Trump administration left the UN Human Rights Council and continued the sanctions.
Another provision removed from the bill was a measure that would have prohibited US military support in the genocide of Yemen, and another that would have banned the sale of air to ground munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Trump repeatedly talked about non-interventionism and ending the endless wars on the campaign trail in 2016. This is within the same week a Saudi National soldier training in Pensacola, Fla. killed 3 American citizens and wounded several others in what can only be called a terror attack. Earlier this year, Congress passed bills that would block Trump from selling weapons to the Saudis; Trump vetoed both.
So why leave it out of the bill that you know Trump wouldn’t veto? Because Congress is seemingly in the pocket of the military-industrial complex, and they’re hoping a little change falls their way.
The defense sector only had to spend a little over $126 million in lobbying to our corrupted politicians and look how they fold.
Maybe they need reminding that we have 40,000 homeless veterans here at home, or that we’ve killed hundreds of thousands — if not, millions — of innocent civilians, and destroyed entire generations of social, economic, and environmental ecosystems. The military-industrial complex will tell us these massive increases over the years are necessary to support a shifting power competition with China and Russia. Nevertheless, the truth is: The United States spends more on its military budget than the next ten countries combined.
In 2017, former Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the Pentagon needed a 3% to 5% annual increase in its budget each year until 2023. That’s a billion-dollar increase every year, over $2 billion a day. The most disgusting thing of all is that I haven’t heard one person ask: How are we gonna pay for it?
We must hold our elected officials accountable and force them to face their vote at the polls, come November.
When our elected officials have agreed to spend more money than the military-industrial complex has ever seen, our so-called representatives have let us down.
We need to get big money out of politics, or we’re doomed.
Something has got to change.
Daniel Rogers is committed to objectivity and fact-based reporting that speak truth to power, holds our representatives and public officials accountable, and bring awareness of a corrupt and broken system in need of repair. Daniel’s biggest influence is his aunt, Joyce Ann Rogers, who was an honoree and award recipient of multiple human rights organizations for her activism in the Tulsa community and a leading member of the NAACP. When not contributing to the Black Wall Street Times, Daniel is a freelance audio engineer and co-founder of The Lab Recordings est. 2010. Daniel is an Oklahoma native who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and a strong believer that one must be the change they want to see in the world.