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Should America buy new missiles in the middle of a deadly pandemic?

As the U.S continues to recover from Covid-19, America is moving forward with plans to build a new weapon of mass destruction. The U.S Air Force hopes to build more than 600 of them, with each of these land-based missiles carrying a warhead over 20 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. While the Air Force has already contracted $13.3 billion to begin developing the missile, the government will spend roughly $100 billion to build the weapon, which will be ready in 2029.

In her article, “Why is America getting a new $100 billion nuclear weapon?”, Elisabeth Eaves, a contributing editor for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, points out,

“$100 billion could pay 1.24 million elementary school teacher salaries for a year, provide 2.84 million four-year university scholarships, or cover 3.3 million hospital stays for Covid-19 patients. It’s enough to build a massive mechanical wall to protect New York City from sea level rise. It’s enough to get to Mars.”

GBSD, or “Ground Based Strategic Deterrent,” has long been seen as a waste of resources. William J. Perry, secretary of defense during the Clinton administration, argued in 2016 that “we simply do not need to rebuild all of the weapons we had during the Cold War” and singled out the GBSD as unnecessary.

In 2021, the obvious problem with building these new weapons is that most American’s don’t see them as necessary, and most don’t associate their feeling of security with increased spending on the military or nuclear weapons. According to a survey of registered voters conducted in October 2020 by the Federation of American Scientists, when voters were asked the question, “Regardless of how secure you feel the United States is currently, which of the following would make you feel more safe?”, only 5% of participants answered “modernized nuclear weapons arsenal” and only 8% answered “larger department of defense budget.” The option that most participants preferred (43%), was a “sense that Covid-19 is under control.”

The U.S faces a long road to recovery from the pandemic, both in terms of strengthening our public health infrastructure and the economic recovery. PSR opposes excessive military spending that continues to divert needed resources away from Americans who are struggling to combat Covid-19 and its economic impacts. Our country needs to focus on healing; we need to deal with the crisis that is impacting our everyday lives.

Now is a great opportunity to reach out to your Members of Congress and ask them to support legislation  to cancel or significantly cut funding for these new weapons of mass destruction.

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