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To the editor:

President Biden wants Congress to appropriate an additional $106 billion dollars for national security (the current defense budget is $786 billion dollars, but independent researchers have put that number at well over $1 trillion dollars). It’s one more example of a bankrupt foreign policy shaped by an aggressive military preparedness.

Ukraine ($60 billion) and Israel ($13.3 billion) would receive the bulk of the aid, with the remainder going to further militarize the southern border and, as we fight a “new Cold War” with China, provide weapons to Taiwan and our other allies in the region. 

When the administration says it will militarily support Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” it means that endless proxy wars, to the delight of the military-industrial complex, are in, and endless American interventions with our soldiers doing the fighting, are out.

A final example of Biden’s bankrupt national security policy is its unconditional military support for Israel. The Israel-Hamas war, which began on Oct. 7 when Hamas committed war crimes by slaughtering 1,400 people and taking over 200 hostages, has revealed the limitations of that policy. Washington has no meaningful leverage over Israel to push it to change its policies or hold it accountable for its actions. It can only urge Israel to limit fatalities in Gaza and spare civilians and plead with Netanyahu to agree to an inadequate humanitarian pause. 

In the meantime, indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas, disproportionate use of force, collective punishment and a deliberate cutting off of vital supplies to trapped civilians are possible violations of international human rights as well as possible war crimes. 

Howard Elterman


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