Direct Action fund appeal: The 'war on terror': A senseless waste

Few events in world politics in recent times could be considered more perverse or absurd than the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama. Just prior to the award presentation, his administration announced it would undertake a new military offensive in Afghanistan with a “surge” of an additional 30,000 troops. The result of this offensive is coming to light, with countless deaths and injuries of innocent Afghani people and the wanton destruction of their already war-torn towns and villages.

Obama is continuing the seemingly endless “war on terror”’ where George Bush junior left off. As he rationalised in his Nobel acceptance speech, littered with Orwellian double-speak, “the instruments of war do have a role in preserving peace”. The only “peace” Obama and the military chiefs in the Pentagon are interested in preserving is one which guarantees control and dominance by US corporations over the global economy. To do that, they need a giant war machine, fitted out with the latest high-tech killing apparatus.

Over the last decade, US military and “defence” related spending has steadily increased to near-Cold War levels of expenditure. The present annual US expenditure amounts to just under 50% of global military expenditure, much of this tied to the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. As at the start of 2010, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the US taxpayer a staggering US$1.05 trillion dollars. The total military related budget for the fiscal year 2010 alone is expected to exceed the $1 trillion mark, give or take a few billion.

These mind-boggling figures and the associated senseless waste in production and resources is hard to comprehend — but imagine what could be possible if even a fraction of these funds and resources were devoted to helping people instead of killing them. In California, which has the highest rates of poverty in the US, less than 10% of the 2010 military budget would cover the entire health care costs for one year for all of the state’s 37 million inhabitants. Or here in Australia, where defence spending over 2009-10 has increased by 21% to $26.6 billion, these funds could be directed to eliminating poverty and providing grassroots programs to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, instead of subjugating their communities with racist and oppressive intervention policies.

A rational redistribution of wealth and resources to meet the needs of the many as opposed to the luxuriant wealth of a few is not possible under capitalism. Wars and bloated military budgets are guaranteed forever and a day under this unjust system. Help us build a people-before-profits movement strong enough to challenge the warmongers in the Washington and Canberra. Please consider making a donation to the DA fund appeal and help us reach our $35,000 target by the end of this year. So far, we have received $14,867.54. You can make a donation by sending a cheque or money order to Direct Action, Suite 72, 65 Myrtle Street, Chippendale, NSW 2008.