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Senator Peters votes for the $750 Billion US Military Budget, but doesn’t want the US Military to use firefighting foams containing PFAS at military installations

September 11, 2019

Editor’s note: Today, marks the 18th anniversary of 9/11 in the US. Amidst all of the commemorations for what happened eighteen years ago, ask yourself why the US continues to spend more on militarism than any other country in the world?

Last week, Michigan Senator Gary Peters posted a press release with the headline, Peters Blasts White House Objections to Bipartisan PFAS Provisions in Defense Bill

The statement from Senator Peters was based on his effort to:

“….address the PFAS crisis in Michigan and across the country, including requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to phase out the use of firefighting foams containing PFAS at military installations.” 

While I am all in favor of getting corporations and the US Military to stop using PFAS producing products, the larger issue here, which is that Senator Gary Peters, along with the majority of Congress, voted in favor of the $750 Billion US Military Budget for 2020, known as the National Defense Authorization Act. In other words, if you really wanted to do something to address environmental contamination, then you wouldn’t vote to fund the largest military budget on the planet.

The US Military, which includes roughly 1,000 military bases worldwide, all of the planes, tanks, trucks, submarines, missiles, guns, bullets, etc, makes the US military one of the worst environmental polluters on the planet. (see the book, Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism)

On top of all of the fossil fuels used by the US military and all of the other ecological devastation they perpetrate, one of their main functions is to protect the economic interests of multinational corporations, which are also wreaking havoc on the environment around the globe. Therefore, it seems to me that asking the US military to stop using PFAS producing products while simultaneously voting for the $750 Billion US Military Budget is like Nazi Germany practicing composting at the death camps they operated throughout Europe. If such a comparison seems too outlandish to you, then how about this – Senator Peters calling for the US military to stop using PFAS producing products while voting to fund the largest military in the world is like former Chilean dictator Pinochet calling for the end of the use of styrofoam, while he slaughter political dissidents during his reign of terror.

Now, the point here is not just to point out the blatant contradiction in Senator Peters’ actions, but to challenge all of us to think about the very real and daily harm that the US military perpetrates against the environment and against human beings around the world. Noted scholar Noam Chomsky has repeatedly made it clear, along with numerous other researchers and writers, that the US military has cumulatively caused more harm in the past century than any other military on the planet – US military invasion, weapons sales, US military training, direct support of dictators, militarily supporting proxy forces, etc.

This is a sobering reality. However, equally as sobering, is the fact that entirely too many people in the US either have never heard this fact or won’t accept it as fact, which should tell us something about how we all internalize imperialist thinking in the US.

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