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Military spending cuts are patriotic

President Obama delivered his budget request for fiscal 2012 to Congress on Valentine’s Day.
Most of the hype is on how to reduce the deficit and the national debt, and much of that comes from folks who voted two months ago to increase the deficit and the debt by continuing tax cuts to the wealthiest. Now the proposals to reduce the deficit focus on cutting discretionary domestic spending.

Because discretionary domestic spending is a very small part of the budget (12.4 percent), “they” say it must be cut drastically in order to have any effect on the deficit. What is being glossed over by the president and by most Democrats and Republicans in Congress is our Defense Department budget.

The $553 billion proposed for the Pentagon is larger than all discretionary domestic spending put together, and it is a 4 percent increase from 2011. And that figure for the Pentagon budget does not include the $118 billion cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor does it include homeland security, most nuclear programs, Veteran Affairs, etc.

Pentagon spending has doubled in the past 10 years. The United States spends nearly as much on military as the rest of the world combined. The Defense Department has never been audited. We are engaged in the two longest wars in our nation’s history. An outside observer would say we are addicted to military spending.

We need to break the addiction and insist on getting military spending and our militaristic policies under control — now. We owe it to ourselves, our soldiers, and our veterans.

Ed Flaherty, Ross Porch, David Martin, Paul Deaton, Jeff Strottmann, Carl Beyerhelm, and Ralph Scharnau
Veterans for Peace

Selling Mural would be a mistake

The potential sale of the UI’s Jackson Pollock painting is a clear breach of trust between the donor and the university and represents an alarming trend for collections in state-run museums. Those collections exist precisely because prior donors trusted both the museum and the state to exercise fiducial responsibility toward the public. To now view the cultural patrimony of Iowa — or any other state — as nothing more than a quick financial fix is an enormous downward trend for all of us.

Thomas Livesay
Baton Rouge, La.

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