Bernie says there are higher priorities than spending a trillion dollars on nukes

Rebecca Aguilar on January 14, 2016
Bernie Sanders opposes the one trillion nuclear weapons plan and addresses wasteful spending in the Department of Defense. “I don’t know what the world looks like at the end of 2,000 nuclear weapons going off. I don’t know that you’ll need another 3,000. You know what we could do for education with 30 billion dollars a year?"

Saturday, I was up early and heading to the city of Des Moines. I spent most of the day at the Real People Ready for Solutions Summit, and sticking around for the Putting People First, Presidential Forum, both hosted by the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. It was an interesting day learning at workshops that morning, and listening to both Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders that afternoon. I had to sneak out a bit early, because I had to find my way cross town to American Legion Hall, Post 731 for the Latino Roundtable with Bernie Sanders.

Barely making it in time, I was slightly caught off guard when told I was actually sitting at the roundtable with Bernie. I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering I do serve on the Latino Leadership Committee, but I was. As Bernie spoke, listened and started answering questions from those at the roundtable, my turn finally came! I didn’t have to stand, but my nervousness was evident. Bernie smiled at me, until he heard my question.

I asked Senator Sanders, “Do you oppose the trillion dollar nuclear arms proposal that the Obama administration is trying to put forth?”

And he replied with “Yes, I do”. Senator Sanders continued on with his answer, “Obviously we need a strong defense. But the truth is there is enormous waste within the 600 billion dollar a year Defense Department. It turns out that the Department of Defense is the only agency that cannot sustain an independent audit. So I think there is a lot of waste, a lot of cost overrun. We are right now maintaining, I think I won’t swear to you, 5,000 nuclear weapons.” 

Bernie was spot on, when he then said, “I don’t know what the world looks like at the end of 2,000 nuclear weapons going off. I don’t know that you’ll need another 3,000.” He then goes on to say, “You know what we could do for education with 30 billion dollars a year? You know what we could do for nutrition? You know what we could do with affordable housing? There is a lot higher priorities than maintaining that type of nuclear arsenal.” The crowd agreed with the Senator, and we applauded his answer.

Bernie continued to answer other questions at the roundtable. Soon after, I was back on the road heading home to SE Iowa. Through this election, and becoming a volunteer for GUI, I have learned a lot, I’ve been to some great events, and met some incredible people. They are bringing attention to how large corporations have excessive power within our political system. Their work is necessary within this election. 

Rebecca Aguilar, Fremont Iowa

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