If elected, what will you do to limit the power of the Military Industrial Complex and end wasteful, illegal wars?
I believe in a strong national defense focused on actual threats to our security, and that neither our security nor our standing in the world is advanced when our military is engaged unnecessarily.
On Iraq, I opposed the war from the beginning and spoke out against it on the Assembly floor. I applaud President Obama for keeping his promise to expeditiously bring our troops home from that country. On Afghanistan, I disagree with the slow pace of troop withdrawal and will push the administration to end the war and immediately bring our troops home.
While honoring the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, I support significant changes in our military and foreign policy. This includes downsizing and re-focusing our military on modern security needs instead of the costly global forward-positioning left over from the Cold War.
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My life and campaign are focused on creating, with activists, a National Peace Conversion Act, moving from a war-based economy to an economy providing employment to meet peacetime needs: education, health care, rebuilding infrastructure, conversion to renewable energy, technology for modern transportation. As an Independent, I seek unity among all parties and factions to end the expanding military imperialism which, I believe, is rapidly bringing our nation and world to global war, depression, and environmental catastrophe.
With generations of family members serving in the military, I know personally the costs of war. We must keep our social contract with Veterans, but providing quality health care and other services through the Veterans Administration. Too many are depressed, suffering from trauma, unemployed and even homeless after giving their strength and even limbs to serve. We must honor their service with assistance in recovering and re-entering civic and family life.
To stop the cycle of violence, Congress must defund the existing wars and bring our troops home. We must utilize programs like World Service Corps to assist in foreign aid for recovering countries. If we shift to a peace approach, helping with education of young people, health services and showing people how to restore ecology and healthy food systems we can end the violence.
Bring war issues to congress for approval prior to troop engagement.
Our nation’s bloated military budget has little to do with genuine “defense” and much to do with the lobbying power of what President Dwight Eisenhower called (and you refer to in your question as) “the military-industrial complex.” I am a strong opponent of policies that amount to perpetual war. As national co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign (along with Congressman John Conyers and Donna Smith of CNA), I support significant cuts in unnecessary military spending – with commensurate increases in funding for healthcare, education and other human needs.
We must stand down in Afghanistan and not continually engage in wars of choice in the Middle East or elsewhere. We could be using the money saved in the bloated war machine, including every increasingly sophisticated and redundant weapons manufacturing to put to work on rebuilding our infrastructure, health and education systems. We are not the policemen of the world. While foreign aid can be useful in building bridges with developing countries if done with sensitivity to local custom and culture, our footprint on the world has been less than beneficial, and has cost us dearly at home.
Retreat the U.S. empire.
The U.S. Defense (really War) budget is way way too big and needs to be cut at least in half and tapered down in future years. Our foreign bases need to be closed. This is one of those big issues the Democrats and Republicans agree on and so you will not see Democrats or Republican candidates taking a hard stand. This is a place where an independent candidate can do a lot of good. See the book: Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow.
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I supported the War Powers Act when it was enacted as a remedy for President Lyndon Johnson’s deception in securing passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. President Barack Obama has felt free to ignore the War Powers Act, in spite of its clear basis in the enumerated constitutional powers assigned to Congress. Opponents of wasteful military spending should remember that the only President to speak out against the Military Industrial Complex was Republican Dwight Eisenhower. I have a track record of opposing illegal wars without congressional authorization (such as President Clinton waged in Kosovo and President Obama waged in Libya), but I must point out that Democrats in Congress provided the key votes to authorize President George Bush to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. I do not support a precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan, because our former allies would be vulnerable to terrible reprisals. But I do support limiting our involvement to protecting civilians, and leaving any military offensives to the Afghan troops we are training. I believe that wars should be paid for, not financed by running up the national debt, which would make it much harder to get into unwise military adventures.