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NAACP Supports a Reduction in Military Spending By the Federal Government

WHEREAS, it is estimated that in fiscal year 2011 the federal deficit will be over $1.5 trillion, which is more than 10% of our Nation's gross domestic product; and

WHEREAS, in response to this historically high deficit, many Members of Congress are proposing reductions in federal spending on programs which are intended to help the most vulnerable among us, as well as many middle-class Americans; and

WHEREAS, if these proposed funding cuts were to become law, there would be a massive reduction in essential services to all Americans in areas including education, health care, housing, transportation and public safety; and

WHEREAS, due to concerns about federal spending and the deficit, a large number of Americans' needs will go unmet for the foreseeable future as government spending is frozen, if not cut; and

WHEREAS, in fiscal year 2010, the United States spent almost $700 billion on defense; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Defense budget accounted in fiscal year 2010 for about 19% of the United States federal budgeted expenditures and 28% of estimated tax revenues. Including non-DOD expenditures, such as veterans' care and the maintenance of America's nuclear arsenal, defense spending was approximately 28-38% of budgeted expenditures and 42-57% of estimated tax revenues. According to the Congressional Budget Office, defense spending grew 9% annually on average from fiscal year 2000-2009; and

WHEREAS, by the end of 2008, the United States had spent more than $900 billion solely on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, much of which was spent "off budget", or outside the federal budget. This amount does not include additional costs, such as caring for the more than 33,000 veterans of these two wars; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP has established policy in opposition to the war in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, on April 4, 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, "A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor - both black and white - through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such."

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP continues to support a holistic review of every aspect of the federal budget, including spending on defense programs, when trying to address and reduce our national deficit; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports the timely withdrawal of American troops from areas of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq in a safe and responsible manner and the rededication of those monies spent on these wars to programs that provide basic assistance to the most vulnerable, infrastructure and job creation.

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