Open Letter to Jordi Calvo & Quique Sánchez and the GCOMS Coordination Team

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 3 May 2021

Alberto Portugheis | HUFUD – TRANSCEND Media Service

The message GCOMS (Global Campaign on Military Spending) gives to Governments across the world, urging them to reduce their military expenditure and to reallocate these resources to truly defend people and the planet, is actually provoking Governments to increase their military spending.

The more endorsements the GCOMS campaign gathers, the more dangerous our world will become. This is so for a number of reasons:

  1. GCOMS accepts the existence of Armed Forces, the military industry and arms trade.
  2. GCOMS wants Governments to truly defend people and the planet. ln most minds, defending people means protection using Armed Forces. Governments stage military parades to show their population how well defended they will be in case of war. If the parade shows a couple of tanks and few soldiers, the population is alarmed and fear they are not properly protected. If the parade includes 50 tanks, 1000 soldiers and marines, and 10 air-fighters flying over their heads at supersonic speed – the crowds cheer and are proud of their Armed Forces.
  3. GCOMS seems to ignore the fact that education, housing, health and environment budgets are subject to available funds, whilst there are no limits to defense spending. If 100 ventilators for 100 COVID19 patients cost 1 million Euros but the Health budget allows for 80 ventilators only, 20 people will die. In contrary, if 2000 bombs and 1000 rockets cost 25 million Euros and the military budget for bombs and rockets is 15 million Euros, Governments will have no problem in finding, borrowing or printing the extra 10 million.

I very much appreciate the efforts made by GCOMS but I also know that your campaign will never create a better, fairer world. Money has no value, while human life is valuable.

Instead of pointing out to Governments how much they have spent on military purchases, GCOMS should give them other figures:-

  • How many people Governments have killed
  • How many families have been destroyed or traumatized forever
  • How many orphans wars have produced
  • How many buildings they have destroyed
  • How many homeless, sick and hungry people Governments have produced
  • How many refugees they have produced
  • How many economies they have destroyed

GCOMS should bear in mind people can live without a car, mobile telephone, books or the cinema, but a car, house, computer, TV set, jewels and food are useless to the dead.

As GCOMS correctly points out, military expenditure increased in 2020, despite the economic collapse due to the tiny COVID19 virus. This is because the UN Security

Council and their allies will not consider abandoning plans for a third World War. A very fast improvement in the standard of living of Costa Ricans and the economy of Costa Rica happened the moment the Armed Forces were abolished, nearly 73 years ago. I very much hope GCOMS will realize, the abolition of Militarism is the only strategy Governments can apply to improve the lives of us all and to save our beautiful planet, not the reduction of military spending.

Finally, imagine even if artillery and armed forces costed nothing and Governments had zero military spending, it would still make no difference. Weapons, missiles, explosives, military vehicles (tanks, Apache helicopters, air fighters, warships) and armed forces exist exclusively for staging wars, which kill, destroy and devastate the planet and humanity. We must get rid of this unnecessary and immoral practice.

Reducing it is not enough.

______________________________________________

Alberto Portugheis is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. By profession a concert pianist and pedagogue, he is an active peace campaigner, whose anti-military stance earned him a nomination for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. As a result, Portugheis wrote Dear Ahed…..The Game of War and a Path to Peace – a book that has received critical acclaim.  Another successful book followed: $$$$$s In Their Hearts. In 2015 he founded the Movement HUFUD-Humanity United For Universal Demilitarisation, which has many followers worldwide.  In 2018 HUFUD Latin America was born, based in Bogotá, Colombia. In Portugheis’ writings, speeches, thoughts, ideas and reflections transpire his desire “to make people think” and not take for granted what they read or hear, “no matter where.”


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 3 May 2021.

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