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Letter: Convince city to adopt MNASAP

In the coming month the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project or MNASAP will again be presented to the Red Wing City Council for its endorsement. Although it is not directly apparent, military spending by the federal government remains the principal cause of economic distress for both state and local governments, diverting much needed funds from schools, housing, transportation and health care.

The issues are non-partisan. Excessive, and often covert, arms spending continues to occur under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Arms manufacturers and security agencies, both governmental and private, reap the profits diverted, even stolen, from domestic needs unmet.

For the fiscal year 2013, military spending, not counting veterans' benefits, will be $653 billion — 57 percent of the total discretionary budget (MinnesotaASAP, October 2013).

Local governments, unless they profit directly from arms spending (which is limited in Minnesota) are increasingly coming to realize the need for political action. Recently the city of Mounds View joined the growing ranks of municipalities opposed to excessive military spending. By voting to support the MNASAP and similar projects nationwide, municipalities and the general public has a means of pressuring the two major political parties to nominate candidates who will be less persuaded by the war profiteers.

Our last president with vast military experience, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, famously said, “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 are not clothed."

Too many of our current political leaders lack perspective on the overall cost of war. We, the people, must reassert that perspective.

Please attend the City Council meeting Nov. 25 and join the discussion.

David Harris

Red Wing

David Harris is a member of Veterans for Peace and a retired surgeon and U.S. Air Force captain.