Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Quakers initiate Pentagon talks

To the editor:

The ongoing “sequester” debates among members of Congress and the Obama administration over the federal budget mostly focuses on taxes and cuts to the entitlement programs that benefit many of the rest of us. A better focus would be on the Pentagon budget and its assumed “entitlement” of some 50 percent of the federal discretionary budget.

The “sequester” is a federal law passed with the assumption that it would never have to go into effect, that ultimately the government would not allow huge across the board cuts roughly divided equally between domestic spending and the Pentagon budget. But the law has now, in fact, taken effect, and we will begin to see its impact soon here on Whidbey.

Detailed studies by governmental committees and expert analysis have itemized the specific programs that could cut $500 billion from the Pentagon budget over 10 years without weakening of our national defense. We very much need to have a discussion about the Pentagon budget here on Whidbey. Rep. Rick Larsen is on the Armed Services Committee, and we need to keep this issue before him. Our own Whidbey resident, Sen. Patty Murray, chairs the Senate Budget Committee and needs our strong civilian support as she tries to defend domestic needs in the face of powerful Pentagon lobbyists.

To initiate a discussion on the Pentagon budget, the Whidbey Island Friends Meeting (Quakers) is sponsoring a four-part film series on the interface between our bloated Pentagon spending and our neglected social and domestic needs. The series began on Wednesday, March 20, at the Trinity church annex in Freeland with a showing of “Why We Fight” that featured President Eisenhower’s  famous “Cross of Iron” speech in which he accurately warned that a runaway military-industrial complex would rob us of our domestic needs. Every other Wednesday -— on April 3 and 17, and May 1 -— we will show other films related to this topic followed by discussion. Please join us.

Tom Ewell

Whidbey Island Friends (Quakers)

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