(In this column, John Perkins, the author of Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded – and What We Need to Do to Remake Them and co-founder of Dream Change, argues that money being spent to ramp up the U.S. war and homeland security machines would be better used to build a sustainable world. First posted on the CSRwire on Jan. 10, 2011, Perkins’ piece asks ‘Is defense spending making us more vulnerable?)
By John Perkins
The 2011 Federal Budget released by the White House is a masterpiece in corporatocracy policy-manipulation. This is overtly expressed through spending increases aimed at “establishing a safer nation” – those huge items that support the war economy and burgeoning Homeland “Insecurity” programs. The former assures that mammoth corporations will continue to rip-off taxpayers in the name of killing. The latter is designed to keep us scared and immobile in our own country.
The best New Year’s resolution all of us can make is to reject a way of life based on fear and to recognize that the more we obsess over security and define protection as requiring militarized responses, the less insecure we become as a nation.
We live in the wealthiest society history has ever known; we don’t have to be victims of a state-of-siege mentality. We can reject a budget that pays for airport guards funneling us into metal detectors and pawing through our most personal belongings. We should stop paying for expenditures that reward private armies whose soldiers slaughter innocent victims in countries wracked with starvation.
The $548.9 billion base budget for the Department of Defense totals a whopping 3.4 percent increase over the 2010 enacted level. The DOD (Department of Defense) fact sheet, Keeping America Safe And Secure, states, “Protecting the American people is a top priority of the Administration. That is why the Budget provides $44 billion – nearly a billion dollar increase over the 2010 enacted level – for the DHS (Department of Homeland Security).” But it is a document of deceptions, crafted to benefit robber barons.
In reality, our only path to real security is to proactively demand that our government and businesses serve the public – not just here in America, but across the planet.
For the first 100 years that the US was a nation, no corporation was granted a charter unless it proved that its goal was to serve the people. Charters had to be renewed on average every 10 years – and renewal only came to those that passed the public service test.
If we want a peaceful, sustainable and just world for our children, then we must return to a value-system that reflects the compassion and social and environmental responsibility our nation once symbolized. We also need to recognize that for the first time in human evolution, our children’s future is totally integrated with that of every child on our planet.
As citizens, we must stop being passive about how our dollars are spent. More money does not equate a safer homeland. Acts of terrorism and desperation will end only when enough of us demand that our corporations, banks and government stop exploiting the world’s human and natural resources. Peace will come when we deal with the world from a place of respect and compassion – the very place I was taught that my dad and so many others defended during World War II.
As we begin this New Year, let us send new messages to refute the old ones. Let us insist that our leaders look beyond profits and produce goods and services that foster a better world. Let us demand compassion in our leadership even while they demand more war dollars.
When the Department of Defense states, as it did in its 2011 budget, “the DOD is identifying long-term strategic needs and targeting resources toward its highest priorities,” it is up to us to proclaim that war is NOT our highest priority. (You can do it easily through a site I often reference, Notmypriorities.org, and take action by sending postcards to your representatives in Congress.)
Let us join hands and commit to making 2011 the year of refuting the idea that spending on weapons, spying on civilians, and intrusive homeland security pat downs will keep us safer. Instead, let us redirect those dollars toward developing sustainable energy and agriculture, cleaning up the polluted lands, waters and air of our planet, and helping starving people find ways to grow, store and distribute healthy food to their families.
Let this be the year our grandchildren will remember as the time when we initiated a transformation that will enable them to thrive.
About John Perkins
John Perkins is the author of bestsellers Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, The Secret History of the American Empire, and the new book, Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded – and What We Need to Do to Remake Them, among others.
Perkins is a founder and board member of Dream Change and the Pachamama Alliance, nonprofit organizations devoted to creating a stable, sustainable and peaceful world. He has lectured and taught at universities on four continents.