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Time to reduce military spending

Dear Editor,

I am a pacifist even though I have served three years on active duty in the U.S. military.

I am not religious. I believe in science; faith doesn’t work for me. I won’t believe in an afterlife until someone can scientifically prove to me of the existence of such a place. (I do highly respect the good human work religions do.)

So according to my way of thinking, you only go around once. A life — any life — is therefore very precious.

Killing is wrong. Period!

I am not naive. There are times when it is necessary to take a life to save other lives; therefore, self-defense is a valid reason to morally fight to save lives, even if it means fight to the death.

Murdering despots seem to spring up at all times. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and numerous other murdering despots were, and are, a reality.

Any sensible person would support an adequate military capability to defend their lives. How much military is adequate for our national self-defense is the question that must be answered?

The United States military budget of $740 billion (the second-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security) is by far the largest military budget in the world.

Do we really need more military to defend us than the next nine combined military budgets of Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, U.K., Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, and India?

Do we really need over 800 military bases the United States still maintains in 80 countries and territories abroad?

Do we really need a trillion dollar increase in spending for modernizing our nuclear weaponry including a huge upgrade of our vast nuclear arsenal and for new and more accurately deadly generations of nuclear weapons?

Do we really need to be fighting “forever wars,” in such places as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere?

Do we really need to be the largest arms merchant in the world?

We should make major cuts in our country’s war machinery. Fewer bases, reduced arm sales and fewer wars can be achieved — and tens of thousands of lives saved.

Our nuclear policy should be riding the world of nukes not expanding our stockpile of such threats to human existence.

Half of our military can be cut in half and we would still be by far the most powerful nation on earth. A $370 billion annual military budget (down from $740 billion) to defend this country should easily cover our real national security and rein in our military hawks.

Diplomacy — without taking sides — should be are method for helping countries solve their political problem, not by fighting their wars for them. I do believe though we should be there (as we have been) and share our generosity to assist them in recovery from natural disasters.

Let us venerate human life by significantly reducing our far too big killing machine.

Bill Bryant

St. Clairsville

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