by Ridgely Fuller, of CODEPINK Maine
(Note: This was first published as a letter to the editor of The Free Press and the Republic Journal.)
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is cosponsoring legislation (S 1881) that effectively scuttles the November 2013 international agreement among the US, Britain, Russia, France, China, Germany and Iran concerning Iran’s nuclear policy.
Currently, the only nation opposing the international agreement is Israel.
In response to S 1881, a White House spokesperson states “Members of Congress pressing for this bill are effectively choosing to close the door on diplomacy, making it far more likely that we’ll be left only with a military option.”
Mainers emphatically do not want another war as indicated by outpouring of opposing comment directed to Senators Collins and King, and Reps Michaud and Pingree when military action in Syria was contemplated. Our state has suffered more than its share with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To find employment or save for a college dream our youth are often left with choice of leaving our State or enlisting’ in the military. Thus, proportionately to its population, Maine recruited the most of any state for the war in Iraq and has suffered the most deaths of any state in Afghanistan. Families and our communities are left shattered.
Research overwhelmingly indicates that money spent on military and war generates way fewer local jobs than money spent on local needs including education, health, repairing infrastructure. The ratio of spending to job growth when spending one dollar on the military has been determined to create 6 jobs where as investment of one dollar in civilian economy creates up to 18.
Yet, Susan Collins is a major proponent of the military option. She consistently supports military budgets, and voted throughout the years against any redeployment from Iraq and even against a bill limiting individual deployment to 12 months. Likewise she opposed legislation looking for accountability of military contracts in both wars.
That Senator Collins supports policies so contrary to Maine’s interests becomes understandable when looking at her 3.3 million dollar campaign chest reported as of 2014. She represents the fifth most lavishly gifted senator in Congress from those aligned with the government of Israel. Her major corporate campaign contributors include General Dynamics, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, all major military contractors.
Some might suggest that these contributions are the price of bringing jobs to Maine — yet the price is unreasonable: communities housing General Dynamics’ workers in Bath and Saco are required to give tax incentives to keep these companies despite losing tax revenue for local needs. General Dynamics whose annual profits range between $2-3 billion. These corporate subsidies are used for modernizing facilities that consequently reduce the number of Maine jobs.
Maybe war pays for Susan Collins but it brings nothing to our State in terms of developing healthy, well-educated prosperous communities able to raise families that can stay together. Our State doesn’t need war.
So, please, Senator Collins: give peace and Maine a chance.
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