News Release

Will Sen. Sanders Press for Peace?

On Wednesday, over 100 U.S. scholars, intellectuals, and activists published an “open letter to Senator Bernie Sanders and invited others to add their names to it. Sanders was working to force a new Senate vote on ending, or at least reducing, U.S. participation in the war on Yemen. Signers of the letter wished to encourage such steps and, in fact, to urge Sanders toward far greater opposition to militarism and support for peace.”

MATTHEW HOH, matthew_hoh at riseup.net
DAVID SWANSON, davidcnswanson at gmail.com
Signers include Hoh, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and Swanson, the director of World BEYOND War and advisory board member, Veterans For Peace. He is a lead organizer for the letter.

Other signers include Christine Ahn, Noam Chomsky, John Dear, Jodie Evans, Margaret Flowers, Kathy Kelly and Ann Wright. Full letter and IDs of signers here. Excerpts from the “Open Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders“:

“Military spending is well over 60 percent of discretionary spending. A public policy that avoids mentioning its existence is not a public policy at all. Should military spending go up or down or remain unchanged? This is the very first question. We are dealing here with an amount of money at least comparable to what could be obtained by taxing the wealthy and corporations (something we are certainly in favor of as well).

“A tiny fraction of U.S. military spending could end starvation, the lack of clean water, and various diseases worldwide. No humanitarian policy can avoid the existence of the military. No discussion of free college or clean energy or public transit should omit mention of the place where a trillion dollars a year is going.

“War and preparations for war are among the top destroyers, if not the top destroyer, of our natural environment. No environmental policy can ignore them.

“Militarism is the top source of the erosion of liberties, and top justification for government secrecy, top creator of refugees, top saboteur of the rule of law, top facilitator of xenophobia and bigotry, and top reason we are at risk of nuclear apocalypse. There is no area of our social life that is untouched by what Eisenhower called the military industrial complex.

“The U.S. public favors cutting military spending.

“Even candidate Trump declared the wars since 2001 to have been counterproductive, a statement that appears not to have hurt him on election day.

“A December 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found the United States to be far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world, and a Pew poll in 2017 found majorities in most countries polled viewing the United States as a threat. A United States responsible for providing clean drinking water, schools, medicine, and solar panels to others would be more secure and face far less hostility around the world; that result would cost a fraction of what is invested in making the United States resented and disliked.

“Economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs program.”