by Barry Hermanson

Edwin Star sang those lyrics in 1970 on his album War & Peace. The song “War” was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 15 weeks. In 1970, the U.S. was deeply involved in the Vietnam war. I was 19, prime age for feeding the war machine. The lyrics have influenced my life ever since.

War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing
War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing
War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing

War is something that I despise
Because it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears in thousands of mothers’ eyes
When their sons go out to fight and lose their lives

I said

War, good God y’all
What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, say it again
War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing

War, It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War, Friend only to the undertaker
War is the enemy of all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest, within the younger generation
Induction then destruction. Who wants to die?

War, good God y’all
What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, say it, say it, say it
War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing

According to Wikipedia, “War” was one of the songs on the Clear Channel no-play list after September 11, 2001. It should be played every day.

In the September and October issues of this paper, I wrote about our national budget priorities. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 passed in the House of Representatives 344 to 81. In the Senate, 89 voted yes. Only eight Senators voted not to give President Trump more than he had asked to fund our military.

The Associated Press reported: “It’s the biggest budget the Pentagon has ever seen: $700 billion.” “$94 billion more this budget year than last.”

When H.R. 2810 returned to the House for final approval, the vote on Nov. 14 was 356 yes and 70 no. Nancy Pelosi voted yes in July. On Nov. 14, she was one of seven who didn’t vote. H.R. 2810 was signed by President Trump on Dec. 12, 2017. It should be noted that Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris voted yes when the Senate considered H.R. 2810.

The Associated Press reported: “It’s the biggest budget the Pentagon has ever seen: $700 billion.” “$94 billion more this budget year than last.”

Missing in the consideration of H.R. 2810 were the voices of people seeking peace. In the San Francisco Bay Area, you may have seen a bumper sticker that says “Barbara Lee speaks for me.” I haven’t heard much from Barbara lately. Are any members of Congress organizing for peace?

Dr. Scilla Elworthy in her book: “The Business Plan for Peace – Building a World Without War” makes a strong argument that investing in solutions promoting peace are much more effective and cost a fraction of the dollars we currently spend on war. “Armed conflict causes massive economic losses every year, yet peace-building and peace-keeping are grossly under-funded. For less than $2 billion a year, we could be more secure than spending $2 trillion a year on wars and preparations for war.” Dr. Elworthy proposes a 2.5 percent tax on arms sales to fund this work.

Missing in the consideration of H.R. 2810 were the voices of people seeking peace. In the San Francisco Bay Area, you may have seen a bumper sticker that says “Barbara Lee speaks for me.” I haven’t heard much from Barbara lately. Are any members of Congress organizing for peace?

Massive spending on our military hasn’t resulted in peace. Instead, we have more war and terrorism. Funding peace-building and peace-keeping should be a top priority of every member of Congress.

Note: “War” was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. The Temptations originally recorded it. According to Wikipedia, “After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release ‘War’ as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, with the label deciding to withhold the Temptations’ version from single release so as not to alienate their more conservative fans.”

Barry Hermanson is the San Francisco-based Green Party candidate for U.S. House of Representatives. Visit his website, barry4congress.org, and email him at Barry@Barry4Congress.org.

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