How To Waste $1.4 Billion
by Ed Flaherty
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) approved funds for 93 F-35 warplanes, 14 more than the Pentagon requested. Each F-35 costs approximately $100 million. Setting aside the question of why the does the US need any more F-35’s, and the even larger question of how does a military budget of $741 billion make us safer, let’s look at what could have been done with the $1.4 billion for warplanes the Pentagon didn’t ask for.
The UNRWA (United Nations Relief Work Agency), established by the UN General Assembly in 1948, provides jobs and relief to 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. The United States dropped all of its funding ($300 million) to UNRWA in 2018.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), founded in 1945, is responsible for wonderful achievements throughout the world. The U.S. left the organization in 2017, and was $542 million in arrears at the time.
COVAX is the international organization established to ensure that all countries have access to covid-19 vaccines. The WHO (World Health Organization) helped establish it. The US left WHO last spring and has refused to join or help fund COVAX. In contrast, the United Kingdom has donated $640 million to COVAX.
Would sending $300 million to UNRWA, $542 million to UNESCO, and $558 million to COVAX not have been a better investment than spending $1.4 billion on unneeded warplanes? Let’s join UNRWA, UNESCO, and COVAX asap, and fund fewer weapons of war in FY 2022.