by Enver Masud
For the vast majority of Americans, there's only one issue in the
2004 election that has the potential for making their life
significantly better than it is now: reducing defense spending.
We now have the highest defense budget in our history, it is breaking the
national budget, and diverting resources from things Americans want: peace, security,
jobs, lower taxes, health care, education,
fixing social security, infrastructure
development, social services, a better environment, etc. High defense spending is also
responsible, indirectly, for increasing government intrusion into our lives.
Our democracy itself is at
Our $400 billion defense budget equals the combined military
spending of the next 15 biggest defense spenders in the world.
The defense budgets of our designated "enemies" -- Iran, North
Korea, and Syria -- are $5 billion, $2 billion, and one billion.
That of our Cold War enemies Russia and China are $65 billion and
$47 billion. We also have NATO, the United Kingdom, and others to
share the burden of defense against our "enemies."
billion for defense, plus the military portion from other parts of the
budget, plus the interest on the military portion of the national
debt, plus veterans benefits, account for roughly 50% of total federal
Clearly, there is a huge mismatch between the military threat posed
by our "enemies" and our response to the threat, yet the Bush administration is pushing a new generation of
nuclear weapons -- we already have enough to annihilate
virtually every major city on the planet.
While spending on unnecesary weapons, and weapons that we know won't work --
missile defense systems -- crowd out $2 trillion, badly needed, capital
improvements in the civilian economy, a study by the Defense Department's
inspector general found that the Pentagon
couldn't properly account for more than a trillion dollars it had spent.
missile defense systems, nuclear weapons, cruise
missiles, and traditional armies are hardly the way to fight
"terrorism" which many experts say is inspired by our foreign
policies. Indeed the wars we've been fighting are creating more
"terrorists," and making Americans less secure both at home and
our massive spending on "defense" our government has to instill
fear in Americans, find enemies on whom to focus our military might,
and break international laws to attack other countries, thereby, throwing into chaos the entire system of
international law without which no country can prosper in this
With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Americans were expecting a
"peace dividend." However, the economy was depressed, taxpayers had
just spent billions bailing out the S & Ls, and President Bush, Sr.
needed a distraction. Islam -- the Green Peril
-- became the designated enemy. Iraq, our former ally against Iran,
became the new bogeyman, and so we had the first Gulf War.
Yes, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, but we had a hand in getting him
to invade, and we could have ousted him without resorting to war,
but that didn't fit in with the
aim of the empire builders who wished to gain control of the
energy resources in the region.
In 2001 we had the attack on the World Trade Center, the economy was
depressed, we had the Worldcom, Enron scandals, and by 2003
President Bush, Jr. needed a distraction. So we had another war on
Iraq. Intelligence reported no Iraq links to al-Qaeda, or the attack
on the World Trade Center.
Now we're spending one billion dollars per week to sustain our
occupation of Iraq. We have added 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed and
20,000 wounded to the hundreds of thousands already killed, maimed,
or born with birth defects as a result of the first Gulf War, and
the subsequent sanctions. This is not winning us many friends in the
region, and President Bush has promised us a "war on terror" for
years to come.
This "war on terror" will not eradicate "terrorism" -- often this
"terrorism" is resistance to some misguided policy of
ours. Rather than examine our policy, "terrorism" is used to justify
greater defense spending, and to divert spending from those things
which will improve Americans' lives.
In his 1961, farewell speech to the nation,
President Dwight D. Eisenhower -- former Supreme Commander of
the allied forces in France, President of Columbia University,
commander of the new NATO forces being assembled in 1951 -- said:
"Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether
foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring
temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could
become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties."
President Eisenhower warned:
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a
large arms industry is new in the American experience. The
total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt
in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal
government. We recognize the imperative need for this
development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave
implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all
involved; so is the very structure of our society.
Only one candidate for president in 2004 has shown the courage to
take on the issue of defense spending. He first came to national
prominence in 1977 when he was elected mayor of Cleveland at age 31
-- the youngest person ever elected to lead a major American city.
As a state senator, and as a U.S. Congressman from Ohio, he has
stood for what's right at considerable risk to his own career. He
was among a handful of lawmakers who filed suit to stop the Bush
administration from going to war with Iraq.
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the
acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or
unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for
the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our
liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for
granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel
the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery
of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security
and liberty may prosper together."
There's only one candidate for president who has the potential to
deliver what the vast majority of Americans want: peace, security,
jobs, lower taxes, health care, education, fixing social security,
infrastruture development, social services, a better environment.
That candidate for president of the United States is Mr. Dennis J. Kucinich.
Enver Masud received the Human Rights Foundation Gold Award for his
book The War on Islam.
He is the founder and CEO of The Wisdom Fund.
The 2004 Presidential Candidates:
Carol Mosely Braun,
John Pilger, "Choose Your
Favorite Pro-War Candidate," Antiwar.com, March 5, 2004
Factcheck.org: Annenberg Political Fact Check
VIDEO: 55,000 Voters
Illegally Disenfranchised in the 2000 Election
Buying of the President 2004
[To measure actual spending by the United States on defense, take the
federal budget number for the Pentagon and double it.--David R. Francis,
defense costs add up to double trouble," Christian Science Monitor,
February 23, 2004]
pledged oil price cut before US vote-report," Reuters, April 18, 2004
Bill Moyers, "This is
the Fight of Our Lives," Inequality Forum Keynote, June 3, 2004
"Does Your Vote Matter?," Business Week, June 14, 2004
Statement," Diplomats & Military Commanders for Change, June 16, 2004
"Ralph Nader: Conservatively
Speaking," The American Conservative, June 21, 2004
VIDEO: The World According to
Bush, Variety, June 22, 2004
VIDEO: Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11, Lions Gate Films, June 25, 2004
"Analysis of the 'Battleground
States'," PAKPAC, July 2004
Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack," Reuters, July 11, 2004
QUOTE: "I don't want to claim that God is only on our side. As Abraham Lincoln
told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side."--John Kerry, Democratic
National Convention, July 29, 2004
Eli Clifton, "Oil and Gas
in Abundance in Washington," Inter Press Service, July 31, 2004
Nathan Guttman, "Another
president who won't budge the Middle East," Haaretz, August 1, 2004
George Monbiot, "Those
who insist Nader supporters should vote Kerry are holding back US democratisation,"
Guardian, August 17, 2004
John Pilger, "The
warlords of America," New Statesman, August 23, 2004
VIDEO: Robert Greenwald, Uncovered: The War on Iraq, Cinema Libre Studio, August, 2004
Graydon Carter, Bush
by numbers: Four years of double standards, Independent, September 3, 2004
Ahmed Amr, Choosing the last man
to die, Media Monitors Network, September 17, 2004
Tom Mackaman, "Democratic
keynote speaker Barack Obama calls for missile strikes on Iran," World
Socialist Web Site, October 1, 2004
[Polls show that he could influence the outcomes in nine by drawing support
from Mr. Kerry. They are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada,
New Hampshire, New Mexico and Wisconsin.--Katherine Q. Seelye, "
Nader Emerging as the Threat Democrats Feared," New York Times, October
Gerard Baker, "Bush v Kerry: at-a-glance,"
The Times, October
or Kerry: The Electoral College Map," Los Angeles Times
HELP AMERICA," Mirror (UK), November 5, 2004
Greg Palast, "KERRY WON OHIO,"
gregpalast.com, November 12, 2004
Joshua Frank, "Howard Dean Moves On
The Selling (Out) of the Antiwar Movement," CounterPunch, March 24, 2005
Peter Soby Hr., "Whistleblower Charged With Three Felonies for Exposing
Diebold's Crimes," Huffington Post, February 27, 2006
BLOG: "E-Voting News and Analysis,
from the Experts"
MSNBC VIDEO: "Voting Irregularities"
[If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next
few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46
trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total
net worth of every person in America--Matt Crenson, "GAO chief warns
economic disaster looms," Associated Press, October 28, 2006]
VIDEO: A top Republican internet strategist who was set to testify in a
case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died in a plane crash.
Michael Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove and created
websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns. Michael Connell was
deposed one day before the election this year by attorneys Cliff Arnebeck
and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the 2004 vote count in Ohio and
his access to Karl Rove's email files and how they went missing.--"Republican IT Specialist Dies in
Plane Crash," Democracy Now!, December 22, 2008