In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his farewell address to the nation after completing two terms as president. In his final speech as commander-in-chief, he chose to speak about the growing threat of the military industrial complex. We should have heeded his warning. In our modern history, there has been a bipartisan consensus in support of endless wars from Vietnam to Grenada to Iraq to Bosnia to Iraq again and on and on and on. We have dropped drone strikes on Afghan villages killing countless civilians only to maybe kill one terrorist. We have toppled democratically elected regimes and installed our own fascist dictators. On top of the innumerable loss of life, our military is the #1 carbon emitter on the planet.
Our militarism didn’t rise from a vacuum. It’s the direct result of a government that has been bought off by defense contractors and weapons manufacturers. Here’s how it happens: corporations like Raytheon and Boeing make campaign contributions to members of Congress in both parties; they return the favor by relinquishing their responsibilities to reign in the executive branch and instead vote for regime change wars and massive Pentagon budgets that ultimately have the effect of increasing their benefactors’ bottom lines. Corporate influence extends beyond the Congress and permeates the top levels of the Pentagon itself. Our current Secretary of Defense is a former defense contractor lobbyist. The Secretary before him was a senior vice-president for a defense contractor. Weapons manufacturer executives and lobbyists can build up their career in the private sector, enact policies as a senior official at the Pentagon, then swing back around to the private sector to cash in. Now, these endless wars are largely unpopular with the public, so defense contractors have to fund think tanks to manufacture data in support of militaristic, regime change policies and hire bought-and-paid-for experts to sell them to the public on cable news.
It’s time to elect a Brand New Congress that will dismantle the military industrial complex. Unlike my opponent, I am accepting zero contributions from corporate PACs because you cannot be trusted to reign in endless wars if you’re accepting bribes from the people who benefit from them. One member of Congress has time and time again stood alone against endless war: Congresswoman Barbara Lee. She was the only representative to vote against the Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001 that launched the War on Terror leading to regime change campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, $6 trillion dollars wasted, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost. This year, she is proposing an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would cut our bloated Pentagon budget by $350 billion, slightly more than half of its $686.1 billion budget from last year.
This is a serious proposal to defund the military industrial complex by more than 50%. It would accomplish this by eliminating the Overseas Contingency Operations account, shuttering 60% of our 800 military bases overseas, ending funding for ongoing U.S. wars, eliminating “obsolete, excessive, and dangerous” weapons, cutting military overhead by 15%, slashing private service contracting by 15%, ending Trump’s Space Force proposal as well as ending “use-it-or-lose-it” budget spending, freezing operations and maintenance budgets, and bringing our troops home from Afghanistan.
This is a transformative vision to divest from militarism and endless war, and the Congress should absolutely include it in the Defense Authorization Bill for 2021. As your member of Congress, I will support:
Passing the Lee Amendment to cut the Pentagon Budget by over 50%
Ending the 2001 Authorization Use of Military Force that launched the War on Terror
Auditing the Pentagon and investigating decades of illegal drone operations and black ops
Closing the revolving door between K-Street and Washington through sweeping anti-corruption legislation
Passing a lifetime ban on corporate lobbyists from working in the Pentagon
Bringing our troops home from overseas wars
Pass the War Powers Act restoring the right to declare war to the people’s house
Increasing foreign aid and debt cancellation to countries ravaged by US imperialism
Decarbonizing the Pentagon by 2030
Transitioning our military into the world’s greatest research engine for green technology
Requiring corporations to receive majority support from their employees for corporate lobbying expenditures
Holding Wall Street accountable for financing deceptive war propaganda
Ending our toxic alliance with Saudi Arabia
Focusing our resources away from regime change and towards the shared global necessity of defeating climate change
Freezing the development of upgrades to nuclear weapons and supporting global efforts towards complete nuclear disarmament
To check out Jen Perelman’s entire platform, go HERE.
But remember: I only work for YOU; I only answer to YOU.
In reason, passion, and justice,
Jen Perelman For Congress
PO Box 291332
Davie, FL 33329