It takes courage — and retooling — to redirect our tax dollars

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel departed after announcing a reduction in planned furloughs at a forum last week.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel departed after announcing a reduction in planned furloughs at a forum last week.

I commend James Carroll on his courageous column “Thunderbirds of prey” (Op-ed, May 13). Carroll dares us to stop the flag-waving and chest-pounding for just a moment, and think about why, long after the end of World War II and the Cold War, a huge portion of the federal budget is still being spent on expensive weaponry and technology for which there is no real enemy. It doesn’t make sense to squander our resources in this way, and in the long term it does not bode well for a sustainable US economy or a sustainable world.

In the same edition of the Globe there was a front-page article about potential layoffs at two General Dynamics plants in Massachusetts because of sequestration-based budget cuts (“Defense cuts shake Mass. workers”). No one wants to see hard-working people laid off, but suppose this defense contractor retooled and started building something that people actually need — say, subway trains, or wind turbines, or better batteries for hybrid cars?


While the General Dynamics plants pump out communications equipment for the Army, and the pockets of General Dynamics shareholders stay lined, I can’t help but think that there must be more useful and intelligent ways to spend our tax dollars.

I appreciate Carroll’s observation that, as crude as sequestration is, it does put a small light at the end of the tunnel, a light in which we can see the Pentagon getting pushed off its spot at the top of the economic food chain.

Nathan Aronow


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