SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

U.S. | Anti-War

Scared, broke, and still marching to stupid wars…
by Dwayne Hunn ( dwayne [at] dwaynehunn.biz )
Friday Sep 7th, 2007 12:18 PM
We fall into wasteful wars because too few citizens understand domestic and world needs. Our most indelible educations come from first hand experiences. Moving Americans from bumper sticker analysis into meaningful world service does more than screeching complaints about the State of the World. Pressing Congress to enact PLI’s American World Service Corps Congressional Proposals provides indelible learning educations.

“I’m scared, mommy…”

“The Russians are coming! Russians are coming!” trembled many Americans, who had never visited Russia or learned how broke its economy, and consequently its military, was.

Some believe we contained the barely economically viable Big Red machine by sprouting costly missiles everywhere. And those believers convinced us to escalate till 50,000 + of ours died to stop a pink South Vietnamese domino, powered by bicycles and rice farmers, from toppling America, destroying its freedoms, and staining us blood red.

We blew about $500 billion in losing that pinko domino. And today that little commie nation merely wants to peddle trade, not invade us.

Today we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war… somewhere in Iraq.

The preemptive Iraq Occupation has morphed into an Endless Terror War. Surrounding the world with missiles will not win this viral war. Neither will sending more of our troops to bleed and die. Sending many more Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, Peace Corps, etc., volunteers will stem the bleeding and dying on both sides. Recruiting those volunteers will reduce soaring terrorist recruitment.

In the 21st century, FEAR is again the WORD our government uses to implement myopic policies. They use it to make us fear an enemy:

• Whose inexpensive guerrilla army and war machine is financed by our oil and drug addictions, which pads the checkbooks of rich Arabs and feeds poor Afghan opium farmers.

• Whose invasion fleet has to hijack unhardened airplanes to send an invasion team of 18.

• Who multiplies exponentially for each presumed “enemy” we kill, wound, or imprison.

Buddies or bullies win the schoolyard.

To contain this enemy, reduce its numbers, and end the viral Endless Terror War, we need a 21st century volunteer army whose troops are filled with heart and mind winners, whose deployment eases our soldiers’ burdens.

Peoples Lobby’s citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals creates that army. If enacted in this Congress, each year for the next seven years approximately 140,000 additional Americans per year would voluntarily choose to serve in their choice of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, OxFam, Mercy Corps, State Conservation Corps, etc. By the seventh year, one million American World Service Corps members of all ages, or less than .5th of 1% of those aged 20-70+, would annually serve for a year or two at home or abroad in such existing governmental and non-governmental organizations. After 20 years, Congress could consider sun-setting the AWSC legislation.

The financial incentives that would encourage a million Americans a year to serve include:
• Two years of community plus two years of state college or vocational tuition (approximately $15,000 in 2004 transferable to family members).
• Equivalent educational loan pay off or
• Investment in Medical or IRA Accounts or
• Home down payment or
• Tax credits.
• Readjustment allowance equivalent to what a Peace Corps volunteer receives upon service completion. (About $6,000)

How do we pay for fielding a million American World Service Corps (AWSC) volunteers a year?” For specifics, visit http://www.WorldServiceCorps.us/financing_awsc.html

The simple, practical, and righteous answer is that just “investing” in the AWSC saves us many multiples of what it costs, removes the economy-debilitating cost of future wars, allows us to invest in infrastructure, and multiplies our competitive and knowledge potential in today’s global village.

Waging billions of acts of kindness builds peaceful, productive communities. It doesn’t destroy lives and economies, make enemies, create refugees, require huge reparations, and generate enormously enhanced security costs.

But many earthlings who believe in an afterlife don’t seem to believe that their Maker will credit their ledger for doing well on earth, unless the good doing can seemingly enhance their personal or corporate checkbooks.

If only they carefully counted the fiscal impacts of war on millions of souls, rather than just on the checkbooks of a corporate few, they would see that doing good does well for their bottom lines, as well as for the checkbook they surrender on judgment day.

“Hundred billion here, hundred billion there… Pretty soon it’s real money.”

What follows is an incomplete accounting for those number crunchers suffering from earthbound cost analysis.

Department of Defense Budget 2007 Request $439.9 billion.
Supplemental to cover 2006 combat operations $70. billion
Bridge funding to cover Iraq & Afghanistan operations
during the first part of 2007 $50. billion
In addition to FY06 supplemental funding approved as part of Congress’ regular 2006 budget work $50. billion

Subtotaling $809.9 billion.

That doesn’t include the following partial list of related costs.

President Bush’s 2008 budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs provides approximately $86.7 billion for veterans’ benefits and services: $41.8 billion in discretionary funding, including medical care collections, and $44.9 billion for entitlements. Of that total of $173.4 billion, let’s estimate that 25% goes to Iraqi war related costs, or… $43.5 billion

President Bush’s 2007 Energy Department Budget request was $23.6 billion. An increasing proportion of that goes to developing weapons systems, which are concentrated on Iraq and which we’ll estimate at 25%. Or … $ 5.9 billion

In 2004, with only 10-15,000 mercenaries estimated in Iraq, income to corporations providing mercenaries was estimated at $100 million. These primarily American corporations, like Halliburton, its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, or DynCorp and Raytheon frequently overcharge the government, consistently pulled well-trained tax payer financed American soldiers away from their service branches with salaries in $100,000 – 200,000 range, and write off these costs on their tax forms. Today estimates are that 100,000 or more mercenaries are stationed in Iraq, unhindered by our military’s war rules, yet protected by our military. Let’s estimate that cost to American taxpayers at 50% of what could in 2007 be a $2 billion dollar annual windfall to our mercenary corporations, or

$1. billion

Subtotaling $50.25 billion

Then add some logical estimates for such lost investments that will weaken our nation for decades in:
• Research, patents, etc., that builds our competitiveness in the Global Village. Estimate $20 billion.

• Border security and enhanced security technology $10 billion

• Infrastructure, potholed roads, aging bridges, anemic
rail, and other world lagging transit systems which,
if updated, reduces our oil addiction. $50 billion

• Clean, safe alternative energy such as wind, solar,
water currents, bio diesel, hydrogen fuel cells, etc,
that produces jobs, reduces dependence on foreign
oil, decentralizes our energy sources and thereby
checks our exposure to terrorists’ attacking nuclear
sites, and inhibits Global Climate Change. $20 billion

• Education that keeps our kids competitive, off the
streets, out of trouble, away from drugs, etc. $200 billion

For more costs go to http://nationalpriorities.org
Subtotaling $300 billion

$809.9 billion + 50.25 billion + 300 billion = $1.160 TRILLION.

Real money. About $1,160,150,000,000 worth.

Well, surreal to middle class taxpayers.

But like the brunt of our financing in recent years, it is mostly borrowed. Since May 23, 2006 our Federal Reserve ceased tracking M3, which helps decipher how money our government may be printing to make economically depleted America seem richer than it is.

To the ultra rich, where wealth is increasingly concentrated, these costs mean little, bother them little, and allow most of them to capitalize on the difficult economic times those below them are enduring to acquire more discounted assets. To Middle America, it means more foreclosures, longer work hours, more 2nd jobs, higher living costs, lower wages, harder struggles to pay for their children’s education, more dilapidated roads and collapsed bridges, less of a medical and old age safety net, etc…

The more cost-effective army we need to field

Dividing the number of our military personnel into this incomplete list of pre-emptive war costs, supporting just each of our 1.5 million military personnel for this year costs $773,433.

What would be the annual investment in sending 21 million Americans to serve under the umbrella of the American World Service Corps for 27 years? About $30-35,000 per year.

For an investment that is 1/23rd of our annual expenditure on maintaining our military personnel as targets in Iraq’s Civil War, we can stem terrorist recruitment, win hearts and minds, erase poverty that seeds extremism, and dramatically reduce the hatred fired at our soldiers and the cost to protect them.

For an investment of about $700 billion over 27 years, American World Service Corps volunteers could once again set the model for improving the world – and dramatically reducing the cost and use of our military.

Economics involves counting, comparing, and contrasting expenditures. Smart economics involves comparing the benefits of different investment approaches to see what most effectively builds stable communities and most cost effectively spreads common sense throughout the world.

Implementing the AWSC provides America and the world one of our best means to invest in building common sense and community, which reduces the likelihood and need to march into costly wars

Who pays for 21 million Americans serving for 27 years?

The AWSC Congressional Proposals provide at least six funding streams. However, with enlightened leadership steering our ship of state, America could use just #1 below to fund the AWSC totally. For more details go to: Financing AWSC web page http://www.worldservicecorps.us/financing_awsc.htm

1. Presidential Lobbying of the Forbes Richest 400 Americans. If our next president lobbies the Forbes 400 to donate 2% of their accumulated wealth per year, that donation would underwrite the total estimated investment ($700 billion) of implementing the AWSC for 27 years.

Presidential candidates lobby billionaires to fund their campaigns. Ask those candidates. Will they lobby 400 billionaires to fund creating a safer world for your loved ones? (See The 2% Forbes solution to a well-armed Live Earth 7-11-07 http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_dwayne_h_070709_the_2_25_forbes_soluti.htm

2. With the passage of the AWSC legislation, a public AWSC web site will be created listing corporations that have paid ZERO or little in taxes over the last 3-5 years. This public relations education will encourage non-taxpayers to donate to underwrite the cost of the AWSC. Their non-tax deductible contributions will be posted at the web site.
3. Import Levy on developed nations, such as China and the Arab states, with whom we hold significant trade imbalances and with whom free trade may not equal fair trade at home.
4. Individual donations a la Gates, Buffet, and Turner’s thoughtful gifts.
5. Surtax on the richest 1% of Americans, who have grown much richer during our middle class’s harder times.
6. Excess War Profits Tax.
7. Replacing some of the Bush cuts to the Inheritance Tax, so more Americans grow their character by earning their wealth, rather than shrink their character by inheriting wealth.
8. Tax credits to those individuals and corporations who escrow their tax credit donations to fund the AWSC. (Read the legislation at http://www.worldservicecorps.us/world%20service%20backup%20proposal%201yr%20national%20service.htm

With visionary leadership smartly pursuing these revenue sources, we invest in serving Americans and creating a saner, safer world. Should our elected leaders fail to use these least burdensome revenue streams then other more tradition streams of revenue could be used that also do not impinge on the life needs of Middle Americans. In addition, we can turn to more traditional funding sources on which many legislative proposals will be relying, such as re-instituting Clinton’s top bracket, or even moving toward the top rates for the very rich that existed during President John Kennedy’s term, when our middle class was growing and strengthening America.

During the last week in August, People’s Lobby goes to DC seeking cosponsors for its American World Service Corps Congressional Proposals. Please contact your congressional representatives to become one of the bipartisan cosponsors of this critically needed American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Legislation.

Ask your elected reps and presidential candidates, do they want us to
quit being scared, broke, and marched into costly wars? Do they want us to excite the world again? To hear the world again cheer, “The Americans are coming! The Americans are coming!”

Being scared and complaining won’t change the world. Helping People’s Lobby implement the American World Service Corps (AWSC) will.