March 20th marks the 15th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Since 2003, we’ve spent more than a trillion dollars and helped create terrorists who make Al Qaeda look like amateurs.
When we kill civilians we drive countless angry, traumatized young men and women into the hands of recruiters for these terrorist organizations. When we disbanded the Iraqi military after the invasion, we left thousands of soldiers unemployed, armed, and angry. Many joined militias, and ultimately, ISIS. The CIA calls it ‘blowback’. It’s almost as if someone needs the wars to continue. It certainly appears that way if you look at the stock market.
Regardless how the wars go in 2018, Lockheed Martin will be taking 35 billion dollars from tax payers. Boeing will get 26 billion. Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, even Motorola will get a big piece of the pie. The list goes on. We’re stuck in this deadly cycle that drains money from our communities, and blood from theirs. As Dr. King said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
For every bomb that drops and bullet that flies a dollar leaves this island and helps the war stocks continue their rise. I wonder who profited from the bombs that fell on Kaho’olawe and Kalaupapa, or the bombs those same pilots dropped when they were no longer just training.
Until everyone here has healthy food to eat, good health care, and a learning environment filled with art and music and creativity, not one penny should leave our community. Imagine if our taxes went to buy the ranch instead of to buy more weapons. What if they went towards eradicating invasive species and bringing back native forests, or towards renewable energy, or both? Think of all the jobs that could be created. Instead, half of our federal tax dollars pay for war.
No one should turn hours of our lives into weapons that kill people who are just trying to survive. What would Jesus drop on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, (and everywhere else)? Imagine if, after 9/11, America had responded with aloha rather than hate and fear? ISIS would not exist if we had brought medicine and clean drinking water to the farmers of Afghanistan, or if we had removed the sanctions we had on Iraq and helped them rebuild critical infrastructure, rather than further destroying it.