Alliance for Democracy

Obama peace prize vs increasing military presence

Posted in Afghanistan, Kucinich, military arms exports, Obama, troop surge, troops, War profits tax, War tax by Alliance for Democracy Portland OR on December 12, 2009

 During the past week President Obama went to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.  Some have commented that he has not done much for peace and is not deserving.  Others have said that he deserves it because he has a vision which is more peaceful than that of the former president.  Certainly, he did run for office on a platform of hope for peace, as the candidate of the people wanting an end to the war in Iraq.

 So it is appropriate to look at the record.  While it is a record of less than one year, the contours are clear.  President Obama is a man of war, of increasing military budgets and while he speaks of negotiation, he backs that up with the prospect of using American military might when needed.

 Here is the record.  President Obama has:

 * increased the troop level in Afghanistan twice (that is 2 surges, 2 escalations)

* surged 6,000 more total troops into Afghanistan than Bush surged into Iraq

* ordered 36,000 more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (222,000) than Bush ever had in the two countries

* increased the military budget for 2010 to $680 billion, $28.8 billion more than President Bush’s last military budget.  And that $680 billon does not include the $30 billion needed to cover the annual cost of his most recently ordered surge

* moved to establish new military bases in Columbia

* increased foreign military arms exports.  Sales in 2008 were $36 billion; in 2009, they are on track to increase to over $40 billion. 

 Far from moving toward peace, President Obama has continued the policies of the past.  He has continued the policies favored by the generals and their corporate partners.

 Obama has stated that we need to push him in the direction we want him to go.  Let’s do that now.

 Several proposals have been made or are being advanced that would move the US in the right direction:

 1.  Pass a war profits tax.  The military industrial complex has profited mightily from these wars but the wars themselves will be paid for by our children and grand children.  In every other major war, the US has imposed war profits taxes and it is time it did so now.  By imposing a war profit tax, we remove the economic motivation for the war industries to push for more war.

2.  Impose a tax on all Americans to pay for war.  See argument above.  If all Americans felt the immediately effect of the cost of war, there would be a popular uprising against the continuation of these military actions.

3.  Call your US representative and tell them to vote against funding of the surge in Afghanistan.  Each troop in this surge will cost $1 million annually.  Congress will have to approve funding for that.  Let them know that you do not support more funding for more troops.

4.  Congressman Dennis Kucinich has drafted a resolution calling for a Congressional vote to remove American troops from Afghanistan and Pakistan.  He is circulating a letter asking for his fellow congress people to co-sponsor his resolution.  Print his letter and mail it to your congressperson with your own personal note voicing your support for Dennis Kucinich’s efforts.  The letter is available at http://kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/privileged_resolution_DC.pdf.  If you need contact information for your congressperson, click here.

5.  Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper.  If you are here in Portland, the letters going to the Oregonian should be send here.  Over in Vancouver, send letters to letters@columbian.com. If you are somewhere else, please google your newspaper and find out how to submit your letter.

And lastly, pass this email on to your own list of friends and activists.

David e. Delk, Alliance for Democracy – Portland Chapter http://www.afd-pdx.org

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