By Yosi McIntire, US Servas Peace and Justice Secretary
The current military budget is approaching $1 trillion. Today, most holders of the more common mutual fund portfolios are not concerned about being invested in weapons manufacturers’ stocks. Much of the American public has essentially bought into acquiescence. Typically, college students have little knowledge or interest in the anti-war movement that once thrived on campuses.
Joan Roelofs’ new book “The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States” (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2022), suggests the answer is money.
Particularly important is the fact that military bases have been placed strategically across the country, often in remote rural areas, where they become the life blood of economic development. Millions of American workers find jobs with military contractors or their subsidiaries, which finance scholarships and internships.
The military’s extensive philanthropic endeavors have helped to normalize militarism. A significant portion of grants to universities, businesses and engineering firms are geared to research and funding to train the next generation of weapons-producers. Opposition to U.S. foreign policy in universities has resulted in dismissal from employment.
According to Roelofs, our over-reliance on military spending is taking its toll. The link between bloated military spending and issues such as climate-change inaction, environmental protection, the crisis in public education, health-care, housing, poverty, etc. has been all but abandoned while the military industrial complex that General Eisenhower warned about in his Farewell Address in 1961, continues to always gets its way. Meanwhile we are witnessing a continued deterioration in civilian industrial infrastructure, political polarization, a negative balance of trade, and a mounting deficit.
Investment in civilian research, and an anti-war movement are desperately needed.