Pentagon Spending vs. Education

Letter to the Editor published in the Duluth News Tribune Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012

We’ve heard so much talk about not cutting the Pentagon Budget these past weeks that I must weigh in before we lose track of the balance necessary to remain strong. Yes, we need a strong defense, but we also need a strong education system.

I write from the perspective of the mother of a dedicated U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Matt Lourey, who served proudly as an instructor pilot in 4-2 ACR during one of the most pivotal periods in the unit’s history. Matt was a highly skilled aviator who loved to teach and train army aviators, and who died on May 26, 2005, in Buhriz, Iraq in service to his country when his OH58 was shot down while he was saving soldiers on the ground. Matt could not have been of service to his beloved country if he had not received an excellent education from Minnesota’s schools.

I ask people to read deeper into the argument to exempt the Pentagon from cuts when we balance our budget. There are many expenditures the defense industry supports that are unnecessary, including a bloated nuclear weapons arsenal from the Cold War era. I traveled with others to Washington D.C. and successfully argued against the one megaton yield Nuclear Bunker Buster which would spread massive amounts of radioactive fallout for thousands of miles.

We’ve been cutting education at the federal and state levels for years, but Pentagon spending has grown significantly since 1998. More than 55% of the budget Congress passes each year goes to the Pentagon.

I urge us all to use our influence to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction because when we stop to think of it, we realize that if 55% of our discretionary budget goes to defense, there is not much left for necessities like education.

Becky Lourey