News Release

Military Spending and Policy

WILLIAM HARTUNG
President’s fellow at the World Policy Institute, Hartung said today: “When Gore and Bush have addressed the Pentagon budget, they have talked about how much to increase it, not whether to do so. That is remarkable if you consider that at $311 billion per year, the United States is already spending more on its armed forces than the next seven largest military powers combined. After dropping under the Bush administration and the beginning of the Clinton administration, the Pentagon budget has increased for the last several years. We are currently spending 22 times the combined military budgets of the so-called rogue states: Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya and Cuba. Our military budget is almost ten times that of China. Gore and Lieberman have underscored that they plan to increase the military budget by $10 billion per year, while Bush-Cheney plans ‘only’ a $4.5 billion per year boost for the Pentagon. Meanwhile, the two major parties have raked in millions from military contractors. January 2001 is the 40th anniversary of President Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation in which he warned of the ‘undue influence’ wielded by the ‘military industrial complex.’ His warning is even more apt today.”
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CECILIA ZARATE-LAUN
Co-founder and program director of the Colombia Support Network, Zarate-Laun said today: “Both Bush and Gore agree on spending $1.3 billion, mainly for military hardware, for the Colombian military. Ostensibly, this is to fight against drug trafficking, but if you look closely, they are ignoring the northern part of Colombia where the headquarters of the paramilitaries — which are heavily involved in drug trafficking themselves — are located. Instead, the U.S.-backed military effort is focusing on the south of the country, where leftist guerrillas — who only indirectly profit from drug production — control the territory. The U.S. is in fact backing a counterinsurgency war.”

SAM DAY
Former editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Day said: “Bush and Gore are for more military spending, only Nader is for decreasing the military budget. Similarly, both Bush and Gore favor the continued bombing of Iraq and the sanctions which are killing thousands of innocent Iraqis. Bush wants a more vigorous missile defense program than Gore, while Nader is against it altogether. Both Gore and Bush have been unflinching in their backing of Israel… Gore is in favor of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty; Bush is against, but has not talked about it much since foreign policy has been marginal in the campaign.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167