Defense Authorization Act funds war crimes, increases debt, enriches contractors

American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which President Donald Trump signed on Aug. 13, authorizes $717 billion in defense spending. That’s $2,194 for every man, woman and child in the United States, just for one year. It’s an increase of $21 billion over last year’s bill.

“This act increases budget deficits,” said Libertarian National Chair Nicholas Sarwark. “We’re spending even more money we do not have, but that’s not the worst part. The bill includes funding to support Saudi Arabia’s use of our munitions to commit war crimes in Yemen, in a war with no discernable U.S. interest. The bill only benefits the defense industry, the military-industrial complex, and the surveillance leviathan. American taxpayers lose. People unfortunate enough to live downrange of U.S. bombs and drones suffer horrendous losses. Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs is still a mess and continues to fail veterans from the last few ill-advised, undeclared wars.”

The bill includes $6.3 billion of funding for troops in Europe, and moves us a step closer to permanent deployment on a continent that is wealthy enough to afford its own defense. It extends military assistance to Ukraine by two years. It gives the Department of Defense greater control over trade with China, at the expense of American citizens and businesses who wish to trade freely with businesses and people in China. It further thumbs its nose at China by strengthening U.S. support for Taiwan’s military capacity. It also entrenches U.S. troop levels in South Korea.

“Imagine the food you could have fed your family, the programs you could have organized with your community, or the investments in enterprise that could have occurred,” said Libertarian National Committee Vice-Chair Alex Merced. “So much more becomes possible if we cut taxes rather than increase defense spending.”

The Libertarian Party advocates peace with all nations, and stands apart from the Republicans and Democrats who share a bipartisan commitment to more war, more strife, and more death throughout the world.

“Spending $717 billion dollars we don’t have to send our men and women overseas to die in other countries’ civil wars is unacceptable,” Sarwark said. “This is exactly the kind of politics as usual that Libertarian Party candidates around the country want to halt.”

The Libertarian Party is running hundreds of candidates in 2018 at the local, state, and federal levels. Libertarian officeholders can be counted on to hold the line on wasteful government spending, whether domestic or international, and put a stop to interventionist warfare.