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Monday, 9 September 2013


CUT WAR NOT WELFARE
THE FIGHT AGAINST AUSTERITY IS THE FIGHT FOR PEACE

Stop the War has opposed the wars on Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan,
Libya and elsewhere because they will only bring death
and destruction to the countries attacked. But the government
is spending huge sums on wars at the same time it is cutting at least
£80 billion from public expenditure. There is no area of public life that
will not be affected, and the tragedy of austerity is already hitting
communities up and down the country. But there will be no cuts in
the cost of waging wars in foreign lands.
We have now had more than ten years of Britain fighting unjustified
wars in other people’s countries. The government insists there is no
alternative to the slashing of welfare provision for the most vulnerable
in our society, whether it be the bedroom tax (£465 million a
year), cuts in disability allowance (£2.2 billion a year) or cuts in the
National Health Service (£20 billion by 2015).
But there is an alternative. None of the cuts would be necessary if the
huge sums Britain spends on its military and armaments were invested
in providing for social need instead of the government’s war
machine.

The war machine

Britain spends £43.3 billion a year on its military — the fourth biggest
military budget in the world, and by a long way the largest in the EU.

Military hardware

Britain is spending £7 billion building two huge new aircraft carriers,
even though it has no planes that will be able to use them. It is estimated
that buying planes for these carriers would cost £30 billion.
This is not stopping the government spending £15 billion buying 150 F
-35 jets, which can't be used on the carriers, each of which will cost
over £100 million.

Syria, Mali and Iran

Britain is spending over £12 million every day on the Afghanistan war.
This is a war which was never justified and everyone knows is unwinnable.
Successive governments have learned nothing, and now the
Tory-led coalition is intervening in the Syrian civil war and supported
France’s intervention in Mali. All the while Britain stands with the US
in threatening an attack on Iran.

Trident Nuclear Missiles

Britain spends £3 billion a year on maintaining the Trident nuclear
weapons system. The supporters of Trident are unable to say who the
enemy is that is being "deterred" by these ultimate weapons of mass
destruction, which are widely recognised as unusable because of their
potential to destroy the whole world.

The arms industry

Britain is one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. The government
spends £700 million a year on subsidies to the arms companies
— one form of welfare it has no plans to cut.

Army recruitment

Britain's military spends £750 million a year on its campaign in
schools and local communities aimed at persuading young people to
join the army while hiding the reality that as soldiers they will be
trained to kill and be killed in other people countries.

Social costs of war

If Britain stopped sending young men and women to fight in unjustified
wars, we would not have the huge costs in supporting the medical
and psychological needs of soldiers who have been severely injured
— often losing limbs or eyes — or traumatised. Added to this is
the cost of jailing ex-soldiers, who are one in 10 of the total prison
population. There are more ex-soldiers in prison than there are fighting
in Afghanistan.
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Britain spends £3 billion a year on maintaining the Trident nuclear weapons system.