Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Now what left-wing liberal anti-war wimp said that? Well, President Dwight D. Eisenhower did, on a speech on April 16, 1953, fifty years and a month to the day when the Second Gulf War began. To put some of President Eisenhower's words into perspective, let's consider the cost of the cruise missiles raining into Iraq as I'm writing this. A single Tomahawk BGM-109 Cruise Missile costs US$1,500,000. To put that into perspective, the price of that would be enough to feed a small, starving village of three thousand people for eight years. Right now, the US Air Force and the US Navy have been ordered by the unelected president George W. Bush to rain 300 to 400 of these cruise missiles a day, as part of the "Shock and Awe" strategy. That's been going on for a little less than a week now, and the total price of these cruise missiles now amounts to a little under US$50 billion, or somewhat above an average third world country's foreign debt. Enough money to feed all the starving people of the world for a month.
Of course, these figures are nothing compared to the amount of money spent on arms sales and manufacturing worldwide. Worldwide military spending (of which roughly half is represented by the United States) amounts to something like US$900 billion to US$1 trillion a year, which translates to about US$2 million a minute. And now we can see how the costs of preparing for and making war steal from the cold, hungry, thirsty, and disease-ridden masses of the world. Plans by the World Health Organization and other groups to eradicate polio, diptheria, whooping cough and other infectious diseases
by comprehensive vaccination programs would cost some US$375 million, or just under three hours of defense spending. The United Nations estimates that comprehensive programmes to provide clean drinking water to the developing world would cost US$20-60 billion, or roughly a week to two weeks of military spending. About a month of military spending might be enough to eliminate malnutrition from the developing world.
And yes, Ike was also right in saying that the world in arms isn't just spending money. The total research and development cost for a weapon like the Tomahawk Cruise missile amounts to roughly US$11,210,000,000. That represents the minds of the best scientists and engineers of the world put to use in designing a machine whose sole purpose is to cause death and destruction. Imagine what these same scientists and engineers could do with that same budget had their work been directed to peaceful ends! This is just one weapon developed by the American military-industrial complex... How many more are there that have wasted the skill and genius of untold numbers of scientists and engineers? The children of Palestine, who have lived for a generation under the threatening cloud of war, have had all of their hopes and dreams spent by their constant living in fear, pain, and hardship. Now, practically all they can hope to do is later become suicide bombers and continue the vicious cycle of war and warmongering.
War, whatever its guise or reasons, when viewed with this perspective, is absolutely and totally immoral and evil. Let us all do our part to put an end to it forever, starting with the war in Iraq...
Federation of American Scientists, "BGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise Missile", http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/bgm-109.htm
War Resisters League, "The Federal Piechart", http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm
United Nations World Water Assessment Programme, Water for People, Water for Life, executive summary, http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/ex_summary/