Convert the military-industrial complex

Maine’s congressional delegation recently sent around news releases proudly proclaiming that they helped to bring big money to our state. They said the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved, for fiscal year 2007, $3.4 billion for DDX destroyer ships at Bath Iron Works and an additional $50 million for smaller military contracts sprinkled throughout the state.

This is the industrial policy of America today. Weapons production. It is our #1 industrial export product. And when weapons are your #1 industrial export product, what is your global marketing strategy for that product line? That’s right, endless war.

Our Congress should be fighting to bring funding to our states to build rail systems, solar power and windmills. At a time when we are told that we just had the hottest summer in the recorded history of the U.S., does it not make sense that the taxpayers should be demanding that our tax dollars be used to expand the production of sustainable technologies? What does more military production do to alleviate global warming? How will we be able to get to work when gas hits $4, $5, $6, $7 a gallon if we don’t have public transit?

Think of the jobs created by building the industrial capacity to put a solar system on every house and business in the U.S. Think of the jobs created if we built a world-class rail system connecting every corner of the country.

Why don’t we citizens demand the conversion of the military-industrial complex to peaceful production?

What are we waiting for? We will never end war as long as making weapons for endless war employs growing numbers of people in the U.S. This is the direction that the corporate militarists are taking our nation as they now determine that “security export” will be our role in the New World Order. What does it do to the soul of our nation when we have to make weapons of destruction in order to employ people so they can feed their families?

Today the U.S. is feverishly re-supplying Israel with new orders to replace the bunker buster and cluster bombs, bullets, tanks, shells and other weapons they used to destroy Lebanon. All the while people work overtime at military production sites to keep up with these contracts for more weapons. An endless cycle of death and destruction. I speak with military production workers often, and they routinely say they’d rather be building something socially useful.

Congress is complicit in the disinvestment in American peacetime industry. We don’t make hardly anything in this country anymore. Look in any Wal-Mart store and see for yourself. But what we do make is weapons.

We must demand over and over again that we want our tax dollars to be used for peaceful and sustainable production. We can’t end global warming by building weapons so that we can grab the diminishing supplies of the world’s oil and natural gas. We must convert the military-industrial complex.

Trains not tanks. Windmills not Star Wars. Solar power not fighter planes and new generations of naval destroyers.

We need life, not death, for our children and grandchildren.

Help us make this demand public.

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (www.space4peace.org), based in Brunswick, Me.