Gray Panthers of San Francisco
April 2007 Newsletter

Take Back the Future:
Money for Healthcare, Housing, and Education
Not for War and Occupation


Gray Panthers were among the thousands who marched in the streets on March 18-19, the fourth anniversary of the US’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. In the latest poll, 56% of the American public said the U.S. should never have gone into Iraq, yet the government continues to press on, increasing troop strength, pleading for “patience,” buying more weapons.

How do they manage to fund this war? April is a good month to ask, because it’s our taxes that pay for it at the expense of today’s and tomorrow’s health care, education, food, housing, environmental protection, employment, security for the elderly, and much more.

Most of us think the Department of Defense’s budget describes all military expenditures. This is not the case. It does not include: the Department of Energy’s outlay for nuclear weapons; the Department of Homeland Security’s spending on “defense” against “terrorism”; the Department of Veterans Affairs costs for lifetime care of the seriously wounded; the Treasury Department’s payments of pensions to military retirees, widows and their families; the Department of State’s financing of foreign arms sales and military-related developmental assistance; the establishment and maintenance of military bases around the world (officially numbering 737 in 2005, but many known bases were not included in this count). When these are added in, along with supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the “defense” budget doubles—larger than all other defense budgets on earth put together.

Nor does this include interest payments the Treasury must make on money borrowed to conduct this and other wars. The national debt is now $9 trillion; about $240 billion will be paid out this year for interest, mainly to China and Japan.

It is time we took back the future. Congress must be forced to end funding for war, to cut military spending, and to redirect spending to the programs the country and the world so desperately need.

More pictures of the March 18th demonstrations against war and occupation in San Francisco

(back to April 2007 Newsletter front page)