Healthcare Not Warfare!

Sun, Jan 25, 2009

Articles, War, America In Crisis

Healthcare Not Warfare!

by Susan Rosenthal

What are our social priorities?

The amount of global resources devoted to war indicates that our primary goal is to destroy ourselves.

In 2008, the world spent $1.5 trillion on warfare, 48 percent of which was spent by the United States. Over 40 percent of US tax dollars is spent on the military, compared with just 3 percent on social programs.(1)

Since 2001, US military spending has more than doubled, and the rise in US military spending is driving the escalation in global military spending.

There are between 25,000 and 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world, and the United States and Russia own 97 percent of them.(2) Both nations maintain more than 1,000 nuclear warheads on high alert, ready to launch within tens of minutes.(3) Less than 0.05% of the explosive power of the current global arsenal would be sufficient to produce unprecedented climate change.(4)

The resources currently devoted to war could eliminate world poverty. They could provide every child with a good education. They could provide every person on the planet with clean water, sanitation, good food and healthcare. They could restore our environment. More than that, the practice of putting people first would create a world of peace and prosperity.

Who decides to use our resources for war instead of solving social problems and developing human potential?

It can only be the powerful people who are determined to keep and expand their unequal share of the global wealth.  They fill our world with deprivation, death and the threat of global annihilation.

The vast majority of humanity would never make such a choice. They would say that the wealth produced by human hands should be used to improve people’s lives, not destroy them.

We have two urgent tasks: We must remove the warmongers from power and dismantle their war machine. And we must organize a very different social system, one that puts people first.

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