A statement by the organization of anti-war veterans and active-duty service members, March Forward!

The U.S. government
will be spending generously on fuel over the winter. But millions of
families will still have their heat cut-off.

The Wall Street
Journal reported Dec. 6 that the Pentagon spends a shocking $400 per
gallon on fuel in Afghanistan. The exorbitant price tag is a result of
the expensive logistics involved in parachuting fuel from military cargo
planes to remote areas of Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has had no
trouble at all getting government assistance for its fuel needs. But
hard-working families in need of fuel to stay warm during the harsh
winter season have not been so lucky.

In November, President
Obama authorized a 47 percent cut for the Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program’s budget. The average cost of heating oil for a home
is expected to hit $2,535 this winter season, a whopping 45 percent jump
from $1,752 two years ago. (CNN Money, Dec. 4)

At a time when
the Census Bureau reports half the U.S. population is officially poor or
low-income, many will go without heat this winter. For many, especially
the elderly, access to heat can be a matter of life or death.

According
to a case study by the University of Maryland’s School of Public
Policy, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle gets as little as
three miles per gallon. The cost of fuel for a short 20-mile trip by one
of these widely used U.S. military vehicles is more than enough to keep
an entire family warm for the whole winter season.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Pentagon is “stuck with the expense for the foreseeable future.”

Really?

It
does not take a military analyst to realize the cost of fuel in
Afghanistan would drop to zero by withdrawing all troops from
Afghanistan now. That would be the democratic thing to do, as the
majority of people in the United States, including inside the U.S.
military, are opposed to the war in Afghanistan and want it to end.
Ending the unpopular, deadly occupation could put an immediate end to
the unpopular, deadly cuts to families’ heat subsidies.

In fact,
by putting an end to all U.S. wars and occupations, billions of dollars
would become instantly available for not only heat but a vast array of
social needs—health care, housing, education and job creation.

When
the generals and politicians repeat their “support the troops” mantra
when demanding a blank check for the military budget, they are not
talking about anything that actually benefits us and our families, but
the funneling of billions of our tax dollars into the
military-industrial complex. Those funds are sucked out of the
communities we come from, the social programs that help our families and
neighbors, and the notoriously substandard services for veterans, such
as job programs and mental health treatment.

There are very real
reasons for the sharp cuts in social spending in the United States. It’s
a stratospheric military budget that serves only the needs of the oil
giants, the defense contractors, and the Wall Street banks. It’s the
relentless pursuit of ever greater corporate profits. It is the
unwillingness of the 1% to pay for the economic crisis they created or
end the hopeless, unpopular war they started.

Lack of money does not make the list.

We
have entered a period of a renewed people’s movement consisting of
working families, veterans, active-duty troops, students and everyone
affected by this system in service of the 1%. A new generation of
activists is in motion. It is the 99%, uniting from all sectors of
society that has the power to end the insane squandering of our lives
and our resources by the millionaire politicians.

End the war in Afghanistan now! Fund jobs, education, housing and health care!