The United States spends as much on their military as the world’s fifteen next largest military budgets combined. According to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization that promotes diplomacy and pacifistic action, the U.S. spent $653,110,000,000 of tax payers’ money on the military in 2015, amounting to $1.2 million every minute!
Imagine if we had one minute’s worth of the federal military budget to sow the seeds of peace at home and across the world. For example, training and mentoring 29 small family farmers in New Mexico so they can survive amidst massive pressures from agribusiness would cost $232,000, which is less than 12 seconds of the annual U.S. military budget! This is why the AFSC launched their One Minute for Peace national campaign to raise $1,200,000, or the amount our government is spending on war in just one minute.
If you agree that rather than leading the world in war, the U.S. should lead in our commitment to education, job creation, and shared prosperity, here’s what you can do to help realign our nation’s priorities:
First, make a contribution to AFSC’s One Minute for Peace Campaignat http://www.oneminuteforpeace.org/
Second, send an email to Congress to rein in Pentagon spending and to redirect a small fraction of the military budget to programs that benefit our people at https://www.afsc.org/action/tell-congress-rein-pentagon-spending
We simply can’t afford to ignore the human cost of our government’s excessive war spending.
In addition to their efforts to reform our government’s military spending, here is what the AFSC is also currently working on:
- Support fair wages. In West Virginia, they’re working with allies to create a policy of earned sick days, a state earned income tax credit and voluntary retirement accounts.
- Advocate for community needs. In California, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Pennsylvania, along with other states and Washington, D.C., they’re working to get members of Congress to redirect military funding to food, shelter, health care, and education.
- Invest in our young people. In Los Angeles and Guatemala City, they’re working with young people to develop innovative, community-run projects in neighborhoods affected by gang violence.
- Making sure people don’t go hungry. In New Mexico, they’re working with farmers to help improve crop yields and help supply their families with adequate food. The AFSC is also helping farmers form alliances so they can aggregate their food and sell to larger markets such as public schools and senior citizens.
Remember that peace isn’t easy, but investing in peace costs far less than making war.
Cretin, Shan. Letter to author. 2016. TS.