Refusing to Pay | Sojourners

Refusing to Pay

Never before has the U.S. public been exposed to such a display of America's destructive technology. On February 4, Maj. Gen. Robert Johnston declared in a military briefing that the allied forces in the Persian Gulf were carrying out "approximately one bombing sortie for every minute of Desert Storm operation."

As one cruise missile made its way toward a direct hit of its target -- recorded by the camera implanted in its nose -- a TV reporter announced that such missiles cost $1.1 million each. In this war, we have been able to watch billions of dollars' worth of our tax money go up in smoke and come down in rubble.

We have seen in graphic detail that the bombs are killing Iraqi soldiers, destroying buildings and ancient historical sites, and terrorizing and claiming the lives of civilians. What we haven't seen in the news are the other, more hidden victims of the bombs in our own country -- the clinics that will never get built, the textbooks that cannot be purchased, the low-income housing that will never be refurbished -- and the lives destroyed for their lack.

According to the War Resisters League, of the $917 billion in the 1990 U.S. federal budget, $334 billion went into current military expenditures, $228 billion paid for past military costs, and only $197 billion went into human resources and services. That amounts to 61 percent of the budget -- three times the amount of money put into human resources -- going into the military.

At this time, the priorities of our government are eminently clear.The administration's proposal to trim $5 billion from the military next year carries little meaning given the fact that Desert Storm will be paid for outside of the defense budget.

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