Lawrence Wittner: World military spending reached a record $1,738 billion in 2011 — an increase of $138 billion over the previous year. The United States accounted for 41 percent of that, or $711 billion.
Should the U.S. government be building more nuclear weapons? Residents of Kansas City, Missouri, don’t appear to think so, for they are engaged in a bitter fight against the construction of a new nuclear weapons plant in their community. The massive plant, 1.5 million square feet in size, is designed to replace an earlier version, [...]
Lawrence Wittner: When it comes to military appropriations, the U.S. government already spends about seven times as much as China, thirteen times as much as Russia, and seventy-three times as much as Iran.
Lawrence Wittner: At this point, we might well wonder if it was such a good idea to overthrow a democratic, secular nationalist like Mossadeq to preserve the profits of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now renamed BP). Indeed, given the sordid record of BP and other giant oil companies, we might wonder why we tolerate them at all.
Lawrence Wittner: Reflecting on the contrast between the Obama administration’s nuclear abolition rhetoric and its record, Kevin Martin, executive director of America’s largest peace organization, Peace Action, concluded that supporters of a nuclear-free world needed to wake up to the reality that the administration’s nuclear disarmament activities were going to be quite limited without very substantial movement pressure.
Lawrence Wittner: In one way, Rand Paul is quite right. Anti-discrimination laws do turn the tables on businessmen, who find that they can no longer mistreat employees and customers on the basis of race, religion, national origins, or gender. And isn’t that ban on discriminatory behavior a good idea?
Lawrence Wittner: So why should humanitarian aid be extraordinary? Why not make it routine? Long before the earthquake, Haitians were the poorest people in the hemisphere, suffering from widespread hunger, disease, and illiteracy. Could not the United States — the richest nation in the world with a public whose major anxieties (to judge from the vast attention given to weight loss) seem to result from over-eating — manage to share a bit of its affluence by regularly providing food aid to starving Haitians?
But let’s give Glenn Beck and his ilk their due. If there were a more effective global organization, that world body would be able to reach across national boundaries to cope with global warming, defend human rights, prosecute war criminals and terrorists, regulate multinational corporations, provide famine relief, enforce arms control and disarmament, and prevent military aggression.
The furor over the non-payment of taxes by Tom Daschle and a few other recent nominees for public office should not obscure the deeper truth that the United States has become a nation of tax-evaders. On the simplest level, this tax evasion is exemplified by the fact that vast numbers of people, including some who [...]