On June 14, FCNL General Secretary Diane Randall sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee and to the chair and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Defense.
Randall called on appropriators to cut wasteful defense spending, improve transparency, and reorient the U.S. national budget towards peace and justice.
Dear Chairs and Ranking Members,
As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense appropriations bill, the Friends Committee on National Legislation – a Quaker-led organization with about 125 advocacy teams in 44 states and tens of thousands of individual advocates of different faiths across the country — urges you to eliminate funding for wasteful, unnecessary and dangerous weapons, improve oversight and transparency of Pentagon operations, and recognize the harms that such an outsized global military presence inflicts on people and planet, especially marginalized communities at home and abroad. Specifically, we request that you:
- Reduce total funding by at least the amount that would have been spent on continuing the war in Afghanistan. With all U.S. ground troops scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, American taxpayers deserve to reap the expected annual savings of $20-$50 billion. Ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan should not mean continuing lethal operations in Afghanistan from U.S. bases in other countries, and support for the inter-Afghan peace talks and ongoing diplomatic and development efforts should be funded through the State Department and USAID.
- Eliminate funding for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. At an estimated total program cost of $260 billion, GBSD provides no military capability that U.S. nuclear missile submarines and bombers do not—and in fact it would increase the risk of blundering into a nuclear war by accident or miscalculation. There are cheaper and more effective ways to address the real security challenges America faces without escalating nuclear risks.
- Eliminate funding for the Submarine Launched Cruise Missile. Fielding this nuclear-capable missile would reverse three decades of U.S. policy not to deploy nuclear cruise missiles at sea. These weapons, taken off patrol in 1991 by the George H.W. Bush administration and retired by the Obama administration, are completely unnecessary, would pose significant operational challenges, and would increase the potential for unintended nuclear use.
- Prohibit U.S. participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s war and blockade of Yemen. We urge the inclusion of provisions prohibiting U.S. military and civilian contractor participation in, and the sale of U.S. weapons for use in, the Saudi-led coalition’s war and blockade of Yemen. This would include a ban on providing logistical support, targeting assistance, intelligence sharing, spare parts transfers, and equipment maintenance for offensive operations in Yemen. The Saudi air and sea blockade on Yemen has restricted the flow of vital commodities into the country, fueling a catastrophic humanitarian and economic crisis and pushing the country towards the biggest famine in modern history.
- Prohibit the use of U.S. funds to facilitate violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. We urge the inclusion of a provision prohibiting the use of funds to support the sale or transfer of U.S. defense articles or defense services or the provision of military training that would facilitate violations of internationally recognized human rights or international humanitarian law through the unilateral annexation of occupied territory, the seizure, appropriation, or destruction of property in occupied territory, the forcible transfer of civilians, or the detention and prosecution of children in a military court system.
- Prohibit funding for victim-activated anti-personnel landmines. We urge that no funds be made available for the development, production, acquisition, transfer, or deployment of anti-personnel landmines not compliant with the Ottawa Convention. The United States has been a leader in global mine clearance efforts to reduce the carnage caused by anti-personnel mines, but the previous administration took steps to reverse longstanding U.S. policy prohibiting their use outside the Korean Peninsula. No antipersonnel mines or other victim-activated munitions were funded in FY2021 ammunition procurement budgets and we urge that you specifically disallow such funding in FY2022.
- Repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). This law was passed in 2002 to authorize the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. But that regime was overthrown in 2003 and a formal end to the U.S. mission in Iraq was declared at the end of 2011. The executive branch’s overbroad interpretation of the 2002 Iraq AUMF remains deeply problematic, ignores congressional intent, and renders the law susceptible to further abuse. Congress should remove the ability of this or any future president to misuse the 2002 Iraq AUMF to justify unauthorized new military actions.
Thank you very much for your consideration of these requests.