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Peace: The Real Deficit Buster

For the first time in decades, real cuts in Pentagon spending could be on the agenda.
But military contractors and some members of Congress are demanding that no cuts be made in their favorite Pentagon projects.
Tell the deficit commission: Cut military spending, not Social Security

Joe Volk, Friends (Quakers) Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

Recognizing that federal budget deficits will put military spending under the microscope, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has called for the Pentagon to “restrain spending.” In response, military contractors and some members of Congress are demanding that no cuts be made in their favorite Pentagon projects.

We need to mobilize thousands of concerned people to persuade Congress that deficit reduction and smart security call for real cuts in military spending.

Members of Congress should hear from you, right now. Before they return for the September legislative session, they should know that their constituents support cutting the Pentagon budget.

You can help make sure that cuts in Pentagon spending are on the table as Congress considers ways to reduce the federal government deficit. Write your representative today.

The Frank-Paul Letter

A few weeks ago, we told you that a bipartisan group of representatives—Democrat Barney Frank (MA) and Republican Ron Paul (TX) -- had presented specific recommendations for cutting almost $1 trillion from the Pentagon’s budget over the next ten years.

The Frank-Paul deficit reduction recommendations go beyond cutting the usual list of useless, expensive weapons. Instead, it proposes that the U.S. should re-think its military posture in the world to make our country safe by promoting a more peaceful world. You can find the details of their proposed military spending cuts in the report “Debt, Deficits and Defense: A Way Forward.”

Now Reps. Frank and Paul are asking their congressional colleagues to sign a letter calling on President Obama’s deficit commission to put military spending on the table. The letter will be open for signatures only until mid-September. Please ask your representative to sign it today. We think your representative might sign this letter if you and others in your district ask.

Take Action

Please contact your representative today to ask her or him to sign the Frank-Paul deficit reduction letter.
Then ask five of your family members and friends to do the same.

Background

Read the letter that Representatives Frank and Paul are circulating.
Find out more about military spending on FCNL’s website.
Read a New York Times editorial that supports Barney Frank’s call for cuts in military spending as a way to reduce the deficit.

Related:

Tell the deficit commission: Cut military spending, not Social Security, Matt Lockshin, CREDO Action

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  • We need real solutions, not a manufactured crisis
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  • Deficit commission almost done deciding to slash Social Security
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  • Top 5 Social Security Myths
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Task force: Military suicide prevention efforts inadequate

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The task force describes the Defense Department's approach as a safety net riddled with holes.
The military must look at mental health and well being as part of an overall approach to fitness — one that includes social, physical, spiritual and psychological wellness.

Barbara Barrett, McClatchy Newspapers

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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A Defense Department task force devoted to preventing suicide in the military presented a grim picture of the trend Tuesday (August 24), with suicides rising at a near steady pace even as commanders apply various balms to soothe a stressed, exhausted fighting force.

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The military has nearly 900 suicide prevention programs across 400 military installations worldwide, but in a report released Tuesday (August 24), the task force describes the Defense Department's approach as a safety net riddled with holes.

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Last year, 309 men and women slipped through. In 2008, 267 service members committed suicide. In 2007, the number was 224.

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US Forces in Iraq Shift to Long-term Occupation

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  • Adil E. Shamoo, a professor of ethics, writes in What You Will Not Hear About Iraq, "Iraq has between 25 and 50 percent unemployment, a dysfunctional parliament, rampant disease, an epidemic of mental illness, and sprawling slums. The killing of innocent people has become part of daily life. What a havoc the United States has wreaked in Iraq...
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  • Iraq: Torture. Corruption. Civil war. America has Certainly Left Its Mark
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  • The occupation of Iraq isn't over - it's being rebranded
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Debra Sweet, The World Can't Wait

Sunday (Aug 22), the Associated Press reported "Baghdad - An American solider was killed in a rocket attack in southern Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. military said, marking the first American fatality since the last combat unit in Iraq pulled out of the country."

As the "last" combat brigade left Iraq, President Obama prepares to give a major speech next week.  He probably won't claim victory; that would be laughable.  He will claim that the U.S. is taking responsible action, now that the Iraqis are ready to "step up" and run "their own" country.  This is the same plan the Bush regime had, but framed and re-branded, Obama-style, to cover a thoroughly illegitimate occupation.

Jeremy Scahill said on Democracy Now earlier this month (August) that the combat role is shifting to the State Department, which "has plans to remake some US bases into what they call 'enduring presence posts,' EPPs. And so, you'll have these outposts around the country that are essentially-what is essentially unfolding here is a downsized and rebranded occupation, Obama-style, that is going to necessitate a surge in private forces.

More...

Related:

Iraq: Torture. Corruption. Civil war. America has Certainly Left Its Mark. Robert Fisk, London Independent | UK, in ZCommunications

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  • The American soldiers came. They saw. They lost. And now they say they've won. How the Arabs, surviving on six hours of electricity a day in their bleak country, must be hoping for no more victories like this one.
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  • The War on Iraq : Five US Presidents, Five British Prime Ministers, Thirty Years of Duplicity, and Counting....
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The occupation of Iraq isn't over - it's being rebranded, Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait

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  • The occupation of Iraq is only being re-branded, not ended. Despite President Obama's fallacious claims that the war in Iraq is winding down, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is deploying!
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  • We Are Not Your Soldiers!
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  • Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord's Eyewitness Story
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Iraq: Torture. Corruption. Civil war. America has Certainly Left Its Mark.

The American soldiers came. They saw. They lost. And now they say they've won. How the Arabs, surviving on six hours of electricity a day in their bleak country, must be hoping for no more victories like this one.

Robert Fisk, London Independent | UK, in ZCommunications

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

When you invade someone else's country, there has to be a first soldier - just as there has to be a last.

The first man in front of the first unit of the first column of the invading American army to reach Fardous Square in the centre of Baghdad in 2003 was Corporal David Breeze of the 3rd Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment. For that reason, of course, he pointed out to me that he wasn't a soldier at all. Marines are not soldiers. They are Marines. But he hadn't talked to his mom for two months and so - equally inevitably - I offered him my satellite phone to call his home in Michigan. Every journalist knows you'll get a good story if you lend your phone to a soldier in a war.

"Hi, you guys," Corporal Breeze bellowed. "I'm in Baghdad. I'm ringing to say 'Hi! I love you. I'm doing fine. I love you guys.' The war will be over in a few days. I'll see you soon." Yes, they all said the war would be over soon. They didn't consult the Iraqis about this pleasant notion. The first suicide bombers - a policeman in a car and then two women in a car - had already hit the Americans on the long highway up to Baghdad. There would be hundreds more. There will be hundreds more in Iraq in the future.

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Related:

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The War on Iraq : Five US Presidents, Five British Prime Ministers, Thirty Years of Duplicity, and Counting. ..., Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research
"Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
 And the international wrong." (W.H. Auden, 1907-1973, writing in 1939.)

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Helping Veterans

Here are some capusle reviews in the hope that those interested in helping our brave troops reintegrate into society---regardless of your opinion of the wars they were involved in---will follow up.

Will Shapira, Evergreene Digest

I've been a member of Twin Cities Chapter 27 of Veterans for Peace (VFP) for about 10 years now. My qualifications as "veteran" are indeed meagre: a budget-shortened four years in the Minnesota Air National Guard. We were between Korea and Vietnam but every male over 18 had an eight-year military obligation, either on active duty or in a guard/reserve unit.

Eventually, I came to believe that organizations such as VFP, while founded on opposing war and its acoutrements, also have an obligation to help returning veterans. Not all of my VFP mates agree.

Over time, I have reviewed a number of books about this subject and related topics for the VFP national newsletter and the St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)

Here are some capusle reviews in the hope that those interested in helping our brave troops reintegrate into society---regardless of your opinion of the wars they were involved in---will follow up:

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⁃    "Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care is Better Than Yours" by Phillip Longerman, PoliPointPress.  Yes, there always will be horror stories emerging from VA hospitals but Longman is convincing when he says it's not only doing the job for veterans but could do it for civilians, too, if given a chance. If single-payer ever has a chance to become a reality, Longman's game-plan would be a good one to follow.

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⁃    "The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans" by Aaron Glantz, University of California Press.  If there is anything more shameful that the way some of our veterans have been deprived or short-changed on the benefits due them, it only could be the illegal, immoral wars they were induced to participate in. While Longman lauds the VA's medical practices, Glantz assails its frustrating, often unjust and illegal bureaucracy.

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⁃    "The Patriot: The Official Magazine of Fisher House Foundation, Inc." www.fisherhouse.org. Not well known, this organization refurbishes and builds housing near veterans' hospitals for families and other loved ones to use while visiting. Contact them if you wish to assist in some way.

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⁃    "The Wounded Warrior Handbook: A Resource Guide for Returning Veterans" by Don Philpott and Janelle Hill, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. While readers of this article may never have go into the military themselves, they may be called upon to help a loved one returning from service or just want to help someone. This superb book is indispensable in that regard.

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⁃    "Advice from Veterans on Military Service and Recruiting Practices: A Resource Guide for Young People Considering Enlistment." Published by VFP's Veterans' Education and Outreach Project, this book is designed to either keep you from becoming a veteran or at the very least, let you know what you are getting yourself into. Contact VFP's head office. "The Conscientious Objector and the United States Armed Forces" by Daniel Shubin, Peace Church Challenge, Bakersfield, CA, has a similar mission.

In sum, if we wish to fulfill its claim to being a people of peace, we must extend our helping hands to those who participated in war but now wish to live in peace.

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