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Military spending the problem, not the solution

Gus Sentementes' article on impending job losses in Maryland due to federal budget problems ("Tightening belts in Md., July 29) reads like a propaganda piece for defense contractors. The article chronicles the complaints of military contractors who stand to lose from the "sequestration" of funds built in to the 2011 congressional budget compromise.

It is true that Maryland businesses would stand to lose from defense cuts via the sequestration process, and jobs would be axed.

But the article ignores the broader and more hurtful cuts to domestic programs. As a result, adult job training, children's mental health, substance abuse treatment, home heating assistance for the poor, community development funds and grants for adult education have all been cut from 2010 to 2012.

Since 2001, the Pentagon budget, including the wars, has grown almost three times as fast as appropriations for domestic programs. Unchecked military spending has resulted in a bloated public debt.

U.S. militaryexpenditure is nearly as great as that of all other nations of the world combined, and many of the weapons programs do not address a legitimate security threat.Al-Qaidaand other similar, low-tech jihadist threats cannot justify maintaining a vastly oversized nuclear arsenal and approximately 1,000 foreign bases. War-related budgets are now much higher than during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union posed a serious military threat.

The Sun article also ignores mounting evidence that spending on the military is not as effective at creating jobs as other types of domestic spending, such as aid to state governments and infrastructure renewal. The truth is, as a nation, we face a greater threat from our deteriorating water and sewer systems, our decaying transportation facilities, and our dilapidated schools than we do from the planned sequestration of some $55 billion per year in military spending.

Maia Tabet and Charlie Cooper, Baltimore

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