The groups in the War Industry Resisters Network hope to play a small part in the nonviolent uprising that’s needed as we demand nothing less than a massive cut in the Pentagon budget, the implementation of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and the conversion of our military contractors — with all the vast talent, skill and resources they control — to useful production that sustains all life on earth.
Clearly, there are no winners in the terrible war in Ukraine — except one: U.S. and British military contractors that are weighed down as they carry their increased profits all the way to the bank.
We may have differences about this latest war. But there can be no argument that these merchants of death and the 2 political parties they own are using the Russian invasion of Ukraine to turn our country and Europe into a massive armed fortress, ruining the quality of life of all of us. When the war started NATO’s military budget was 16 times larger than Russia’s! And yet that NATO war spending not only did not stop the Russian invasion, it provoked it. The truth is that the Ukraine war started with the expansion of NATO in the late 90’s (goaded on by our military contractors) in violation of solemn agreements with Russia. There is no doubt that this massive war machine on its border along with the 2021 U.S. military agreement with Ukraine helped incite Russia into launching this disastrous war, as top U.S. officials warned for decades that it would.
Since 2001 these war budgets have totaled 14.6 trillion. That’s $14,600,000,000,000. Of that, $6 trillion went to military contractors. Those trillions have funded some very big wars, supported occupations, destroyed ecosystems, poisoned ground water, tortured legions, and inflicted suffering on a scale hard to imagine. But the devastation of this war machine doesn’t end abroad. It comes home in the form of militarized police departments (think Cop City in Georgia), surveillance and repression of indigenous water protectors, the grooming and recruitment of our children into a culture of war and violence, and of course the pain and suicides of so many soldiers.
When 54% of our discretionary budget gets spent on war and military contracts, there is not enough left to provide for affordable housing, public transportation, raising up low-income people, student debt relief, pre-school education, green jobs, and so many other things we need to truly thrive.
The fact is that our military encirclement of Russia and China, along with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, guarantees that the international cooperation and resources needed to effectively deal with escalating global warming we see all around us are off the table. And the danger of nuclear war between the biggest nuclear powers has grown by leaps and bounds.
The antidote to this disaster on our doorstep is an organized, and alert citizenry that is willing to go up against this war machine and join with peace movements around the world. That is the job of our peace movement. Can we rise to the occasion? We have in the past, and we must do it again.
Big campaign contributions. 700 lobbyists. Militaristic think tanks. Government advisory boards. Hiring 1700 former Pentagon officials and stacking the government with their own people. These military contractors have numerous ways to determine Pentagon budgets, shape our foreign policy, create false narratives on our media, encourage war fever, and pick our friends and enemies.
The result is an $858 billion dollar Pentagon budget in 2023. And that doesn’t count tens of billions more for military aid to Ukraine. In 2024 the President and Congress are asking for even more as Democrats and Republicans fall all over each other to throw more money at Raytheon, Lockheed and the rest — at the same time they prepare to cut everything that improves life here at home. That’s also $858 billion worth of new fossil fuel emissions to be created by the single biggest single source of carbon pollution on earth: the U.S. war machine.
And yet, while we spent trillions on military engagements abroad, a tiny virus was able to bring us to our knees in a way no enemy ever could: over 1,000,000 Americans dead; millions of wrecked lives; a mental health catastrophe. Our million dollar Raytheon Patriot missiles could not shoot the virus down. Our billion dollar General Dynamics battleships could not sink it. Our most sophisticated Lockheed and Boeing jets could not bomb it to pieces – the way they do to the homes and bodies of people abroad.
Our weapons, our armies, our adoration of the military are useless in defending us against the actual threats to our national security: an approaching climate catastrophe; the growing danger of nuclear war; pandemics; and of course the racial, class and political divisions that militarism and our economic decisions only exacerbate. Here the solutions are an effective and well-funded public health system; a green new deal; the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) with its abolition of nuclear weapons, and a commitment to building a society and a world in which each person feels valued and respected.