Washington cuts families’ heat to fuel Afghan war

The cost of just a 20-mile trip for one of these MRAPs could provide heat a family's home for an entire year.

A statement by March Forward!

The U.S. government will be spending generously on fuel over the winter. But millions of families will still have their heat cut-off.

The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 6 that the Pentagon spends a shocking $400 per gallon on fuel in Afghanistan. The exorbitant price tag is a result of the expensive logistics involved in parachuting fuel from military cargo planes to remote areas of Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has had no trouble at all getting government assistance for its fuel needs. But hard-working families in need of fuel to stay warm during the harsh winter season have not been so lucky.

In November, President Obama authorized a 47 percent cut for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program’s budget. The average cost of heating oil for a home is expected to hit $2,535 this winter season, a whopping 45 percent jump from $1,752 two years ago. (CNN Money, Dec. 4)

At a time when the Census Bureau reports half the U.S. population is officially poor or low-income, many will go without heat this winter. For many, especially the elderly, access to heat can be a matter of life or death.

According to a case study by the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle gets as little as three miles per gallon. The cost of fuel for a short 20-mile trip by one of these widely used U.S. military vehicles is more than enough to keep an entire family warm for the whole winter season.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Pentagon is “stuck with the expense for the foreseeable future.”


It does not take a military analyst to realize the cost of fuel in Afghanistan would drop to zero by withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan now. That would be the democratic thing to do, as the majority of people in the United States, including inside the U.S. military, are opposed to the war in Afghanistan and want it to end. Ending the unpopular, deadly occupation could put an immediate end to the unpopular, deadly cuts to families’ heat subsidies.

In fact, by putting an end to all U.S. wars and occupations, billions of dollars would become instantly available for not only heat but a vast array of social needs—health care, housing, education and job creation.

When the generals and politicians repeat their “support the troops” mantra when demanding a blank check for the military budget, they are not talking about anything that actually benefits us and our families, but the funneling of billions of our tax dollars into the military-industrial complex. Those funds are sucked out of the communities we come from, the social programs that help our families and neighbors, and the notoriously substandard services for veterans, such as job programs and mental health treatment.

There are very real reasons for the sharp cuts in social spending in the United States. It’s a stratospheric military budget that serves only the needs of the oil giants, the defense contractors, and the Wall Street banks. It’s the relentless pursuit of ever greater corporate profits. It is the unwillingness of the 1% to pay for the economic crisis they created or end the hopeless, unpopular war they started.

Lack of money does not make the list.

We have entered a period of a renewed people’s movement consisting of working families, veterans, active-duty troops, students and everyone affected by this system in service of the 1%. A new generation of activists is in motion. It is the 99%, uniting from all sectors of society that has the power to end the insane squandering of our lives and our resources by the millionaire politicians.

End the war in Afghanistan now! Fund jobs, education, housing and health care!


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