The US government is now conducting counter-terror activities in 80 countries. We spend more than $1 trillion each year on national security and defense. Polls show that Americans are tired of our military involvement in Middle East wars, and the US Senate—in a bi-partisan vote—approved measures to block sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia. But the Senate was unable to get enough votes to override a pledged veto by President Trump, who has now dispatched an additional 1800 American troops to Saudi Arabia.
Therefore, we actively support ways to reduce the war fever that grips so many of our national leaders.
- Use diplomacy rather than boots and guns to resolve conflict. This means rebuilding our State Department and giving our diplomats the funding and standing they need to best represent US interests. Former defense Secretary Robert Gates—a Republican who served under President Obama—has said that we have more musicians in our military bands than diplomats in the State Department. Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that “US foreign policy is still too dominated by the military, too dependent upon the generals and admirals who lead our major overseas commands.”
- Expose the waste in national security and defense spending, including the Pentagon budget and the vast overspending on nuclear weapons.
- Follow the US Constitution, which gives Congress—and only Congress—the authority to take the country to war, a provision that the Executive Branch has ignored in recent years and that Congress has allowed.
- Oppose the vested interests that produce and support endless wars.
- Demand that members of Congress take a stand on whether the US should go to war—before troops are sent abroad.
- Insist that government officials define what they mean when they declare that military force is needed because of threats to what they call our “national security.”
- End credit card wars. If there is a need to go to war, leaders must say how the war will be financed. In the past, the government has sold bonds or raised taxes to pay for war. But, recent wars have been financed with credit—money we borrow from China and other lenders and that our children and grandchildren will have to repay.
- Consider some form of national military or civil service for young people that offers college tuition assistance.
- Help return civics to the classroom so young people better understand how our government is supposed to work, based on the US Constitution, which gives Congress—rather than the President—the authority to take the country to war and send our sons and daughters into harm’s way and possible death in conflicts.
- Rethink America’s role in the World. We need a vigorous but civil debate to determine the best way forward from the Trump years of disruption and chaos so we can more effectively deal with the challenging new world of drones, cyber warfare, and surveillance that threatens our civil liberties.
Molly McCartney, Chair, War Fever Task Force