Medea Benjamin

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Medea Benjamin
The Pentagon budget is out of control. It’s been out of control since after World War II. And then especially since after 9/11 and the war on terrorism has been an excuse to keep building up and building up and building up the Pentagon budget.
if you add in... veterans’ issues & ... nuclear weapons, over a trillion dollars that we spend every year on militarism.

Medea Benjamin (born Susan Benjamin; September 10, 1952) is an American political activist, best known for co-founding Code Pink and the fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange.

Quotes[edit]

  • Right now, is a very difficult time, and there are many people who would be our counterparts in Iran who are in prison. But as you say, the U.S. has put forward a very misguided view of Iran. First of all, they always say it’s the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. And when we hear that, we should just say, “Stop, no, not true.”
    And then, in terms of internally in Iran, there are more avenues for women, for example, to study, to work. We are connected with a group of women business people that have enormous businesses. They have their own, very large factories, their own farms, their own–I’m friends with a woman who is an architect of some of the largest dams in the country.
    So that’s sort of something that you don’t hear about, that women are so actively involved in the economy. There is a myth that the Jewish population is such a repressed population. Being a member of the Jewish community and an American, when I first went to Iran I was very concerned about being both. And as soon as you said that to people, there went, “Oh, first of all, we love America.” And it is a very pro-American population. And then, they love Jews. And it’s funny, whether it’s among these religious Iranians, they’re saying, “Oh, we have so much in common between our religions,”...
  • The Pentagon budget is out of control. It’s been out of control since after World War II. And then especially since after 9/11 and the war on terrorism has been an excuse to keep building up and building up and building up the Pentagon budget. Even Trump himself said the other day that the Pentagon budget was out of control. But then he goes and he asked for more money for the Pentagon.
    So...if you add in things like the veterans’ issues and the Energy Department that deals with nuclear weapons, over a trillion dollars that we spend every year on militarism. And that’s where we have to address how we can pull money out of the Pentagon, not affect our safety and security; in fact, make us safer, because we will [not] be antagonizing so many other countries with endless wars.
  • Let’s take one issue alone, and that’s U.S. military bases overseas, for example. There are over 800 U.S. military bases. The vast majority of them are serving no national security purpose. They’re relics of World War II. Why do we need dozens of military bases in Germany, in Italy? We have them in Korea now, where there’s peace talks in Korea, and yet we still have dozens of military bases. In fact, over 80 of them.
  • As our nation debates the merits of President Donald Trump's call for withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, absent from the debate is the more pernicious aspect of U.S. military involvement overseas: its air wars. Trump's announcement and General James Mattis' resignation should unleash a national discussion about U.S. involvement in overseas conflicts, but no evaluation can be meaningful without a clear understanding of the violence that U.S air wars have unleashed on the rest of the world for the past 17 years...In this "war on terror," the U.S. and its allies have dropped a staggering 291,880 bombs and missiles on other countries...let's keep in mind that these strikes represent lives snuffed out, people maimed for life, families torn apart, homes and infrastructure demolished, taxpayer money squandered, and resentment that only engenders more violence.
  • As former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz told NPR a week after 9/11: "It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done... We must make a distinction between punishing the guilty and punishing others..."
    And yet here we are, 17 years later...bombing ever more "nations, organizations, (and) persons" who had absolutely nothing to do with the crimes committed on September 11.
  • Trump: Withdrawing from #Syria, good. Withdrawing from #Afghanistan, good. Staying in Iraq? No! Bring the troops home.
  • So #Boeing must be raising their champagne glasses to toast their man, Pat Shanahan, as interim Sec. of Defense. 3 decades w Boeing, now @DepSecDef is Boeing’s biggest customer. A coup for Boeing, a loss for taxpayers and democracy and peace. #divestfromwar
  • FoxNews hates the #SyriaWithdrawal. So does #MSNBC and #CNN. So both parties, cable networks and weapons makers all agree. No wonder our wars never end.
  • The biggest blunder of this century was the invasion of Iraq... It’s very unfortunate that there are still members of the Democratic Party that voted for the Iraq War that are poised to be in very important positions in government right now. We have Steny Hoyer, the majority leader, was in favor of the Iraq War... Eliot Engel, who is going to be the Foreign Affairs Committee chair, who was not only in favor of the Iraq War, but he was one of the few Democrats against the Iran nuclear deal. He’s in favor of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in Israel. You have people like Adam Smith, who is going to be the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, took over $250,000 from the weapons industry and only shifted his position on Saudi Arabia, for example, because he was challenged from the left. So, we have Democrats in high positions who have been pro-war. Many of them vote every year for this incredibly inflated Pentagon budget. And they have to be challenged. And they are being challenged by some of the very wonderful Democrats we have, like Ro Khanna, who has been a tremendous champion to try to stop the war in Yemen. And we have the wonderful incoming members of Congress who have to have the same energy and determination that they have around a New Green Deal to say we need a new peace deal.
  • So what hope is there that one of the parade of Democrats seeking the presidency in 2020 could be a real "peace candidate"? Could one of them bring an end to these wars and prevent new ones? Walk back the brewing Cold War and arms race with Russia and China? Downsize the U.S. military and its all-consuming budget? Promote diplomacy and a commitment to international law?
    Ever since the Bush/Cheney administration launched the present-day "Long Wars," new presidents from both parties have dangled superficial appeals to peace during their election campaigns. But neither Obama nor Trump has seriously tried to end our "endless" wars or rein in our runaway military spending...While we can't guarantee that candidates will stick to their campaign promises, it is important to look at this new crop of presidential candidates and examine their views—and, when possible, voting records—on issues of war and peace. What prospects for peace might each of them bring to the White House?
  • In 1989, at the end of the Cold War, former Pentagon officials Robert McNamara and Larry Korb told the Senate Budget Committee that the U.S. military budget could safely be cut by 50% over the next 10 years. That obviously never happened, and our military spending under Bush II, Obama and Trump has outstripped the peak spending of the Cold War arms race.
    In 2010, Barney Frank and three colleagues from both parties convened a Sustainable Defense Task Force that recommended a 25% cut in military spending. The Green Party has endorsed a 50% cut in today’s military budget. That sounds radical, but, because inflation-adjusted spending is now higher than in 1989, that would still leave us with a larger military budget than MacNamara and Korb called for in 1989.

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External links[edit]

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