Published in the Syracuse Post-Standard, April 2002

To the editor:

President Bush has asserted that we are in a "permanent war," and has requested enough money for the military to carry out this frightening concept. Much of the world has come to understand that security comes through equality, opportunity and economic stability. However, the current U.S. administration continues to seek security through overwhelming military power.

This creates devastating prospects for other people around the world, as well as for vulnerable people within our country. Bush has requested an increase of $48 billion in spending for war in 2003. This proposed increase is larger than the annual military budget of any other country besides Russia. Even before this outrageous increase (which appears likely to pass through Congress), the U.S. spent more than 26 times as much as the combined spending of the seven countries traditionally identified by the Pentagon as our most likely adversaries–Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. It is more than the combined spending of the next 15 nations in terms of military spending.

I oppose this massive commitment to militarism on its own merit, but am also pained by the theft of resources which it represents. We can’t afford universal medical insurance, adequate resources for education, investments in mass transit, environmental clean-up, adequate support for housing, food and other basic necessities for poor people within the United States as well as other vitally-needed programs because of this massive military budget.

As someone who is conscientiously opposed to war I cannot fund these deadly and misguided priorities. Instead, I will again redirect my federal income tax money to fund programs which empower people, provide for their needs and create a society based on principles of justice and equality for all.



Andy Mager