Web Issue 3333 December 17 2008
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Spending millions on weapons of war does nothing for prosperity or quality of life
Unlike your editorial of December 12, I don't find it bad news that there is a delay in a major order for the Ministry of Defence. It would be even better news if the order was cancelled.
Like John Watson (Letters, December 10), I am saddened if not surprised to read of the devastation and oppression around the world. Most of this can be attributed to the policies pursued by western governments, the US and UK in particular.
Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, has highlighted the fact that the world spent £820bn on weapons in 2006. I have a cutting from the Herald (April 13, 2006) in which the American journalist Ted Rudow III declared: "American economy, western economy, capitalist economy can thrive only on war." He went on to predict depression and economic collapse. This was more than two and a half years ago, and since then expenditure on warfare has steadily increased.It is estimated that, in the US, 50 cents in every dollar of tax goes to the military. Here, large amounts are spent not only on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but also on such military items as Trident and the aircraft carriers and other warships being built on the Clyde and elsewhere. Large sums are spent at Aldermaston, Porton Down and at other sites where weapons of mass destruction are made, and on research and development into more efficient ways of killing human beings. In all, how much of each pound of our tax goes to the military?
At this time of year, people are wishing for peace and good will. What an indictment of our government, our society and capitalism that such vast resources are squandered on warfare and preparations for continuing warfare. Jobs are vitally important, particularly at this time, but how sad it is that so many are dependent on the manufacture of weapons of war. It would make sense to send that industry's workers home on full pay. The armaments they produce may be technically brilliant but they do nothing to increase prosperity or enhance quality of life.
The civil manufacturing sector has been neglected and is crying out for investment, with more than one million jobs wiped out. Would that the "big items" were turbines or others to assist in the development of renewable energy, not weapons of war.
Ron Mackay, Milton of Campsie, East Dunbartonshire.