February 20, 2011
336 Cannon H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Cuellar,
I’m stunned that you voted “no” on the amendment offered by Representatives Barbara Lee and Pete Stark (No. 141) to the continuing resolution that would have insisted that the Pentagon budget be cut back to the level of FY 2008. You’ve previously supported efforts to reduce federal government spending yet when you had an opportunity to really accomplish it you back off.
If you are looking for ways to reduce the deficit, military spending should be the first place you look. The U.S. spends more on our military than the next 18 nations combined, are you actually concerned that we couldn’t defend ourselves with a lot less. Let’s be clear, we have over 700 acknowledged military bases on foreign soil and hundreds of thousands of troops manning them. We also continue to build Cold War era weapons systems while also fighting an illegal war in Iraq and an unnecessary one in Afghanistan. If you really want to be a deficit hawk it’s past time we brought home all our troops from Iraq and that includes the mercenaries we euphemistically call “security contractors”. We need to rapidly phase out our military presence in Afghanistan and cut the number of overseas bases in half.
Many members of Congress from both major political parties have insisted that the Pentagon should not be exempted from spending cuts as Congress works to reduce the federal budget deficit. Remember President Eisenhower’s warning of April 16, 1953, before the American Society of Newspaper Editors:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children . . . This is not a way of life at all in any sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
I hope that you will look for future opportunities to reduce the out-of-control Pentagon budget. I would like to learn why you voted against this amendment.