United States Senator Jack Reed (Democrat, Rhode Island) failed on his pledge to deliver a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with at least one pro-peace amendment that was in the House version of the NDAA. The Yemen Amendment was the most prominent of a half dozen or so progressive amendments. Among the others were ones that would prevent Trump from war actions against Iran without Congressional approval – talk about timely! – and the repeal of the endless war enabling 2001 Authorized Use of Military Force (AUMF). Shame on Reed. And shame on Representative James Langevin (Democrat, Rhode Island), of the House Armed Services Committee. They both allowed the NDAA to come out without any war ending amendments. And with a military authorization of $738B, shame on Rhode Island’s congressional delegates valuing war and militarism over justice, peace, and our societal programs of uplift.
Just three years ago, the military budget was $620B. It now stands at $738B. These figures don’t include military-related departments and efforts that add additional hundreds of billions of dollars of government spending toward militarism and war. No wonder Reed, Langevin, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat, Rhode Island) work to convince us that we can’t afford health care, college education, job producing climate resiliency efforts, and other benefits and supports for the American people. They value military spending over the needs of the people, their constituents.
All four of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation voted for the NDAA, which even when adjusting for inflation reflects the largest military authorization ever, excepting a year or two during the peak of the Bush II wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. Military corporations will continue to get theirs. There is no reining in of our imperialistic instincts.
Why can’t Reed and Langevin fathom building something more productive at Quonset with all of our government money, or providing us jobs in different sectors of our economy? Can our state legislators ask them to do better? We deserve better, and ultimately need better representation in Congress.
Peace activists, and any community members interested in reining in our endless wars and stopping the theft of the military budget against our other societal needs should call our delegation, and talk to their state legislators on this too.
- Jack Reed – 401-943-3100 or 401-528-5200
- James Langevin – 401-732-9400
- Sheldon Whitehouse – 401-453-5294
- David Cicilline – 401-729-5600