In August 21, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, put out a heartbreaking call for nations to make good on their pledges to send humanitarian aid to feed destitute families in war-torn Yemen. Unless the funds promised are received soon, she warned, food rations for 12 million people would be reduced and at least 2.5 million malnourished children would be cut-off from the services that keep them alive. “When money doesn’t come,” Grande said bluntly, “people die.”
The total UN appeal is $4 billion. While this is the largest country appeal the UN has ever put out, the entire bill represents only two days of the 2019 US military budget of almost $700 billion. Lacking generosity, the US offered a mere $300 million—less than four hours of Pentagon spending. Meanwhile, US companies rake in billions of dollars selling the weapons to Saudi Arabia that are in large part responsible for this humanitarian crisis.
The wild disparity between money for feeding people and money for arming the military is reflected here at home. In 2018, the federal government spent $68 billion on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provided food to 40 million people. It would take only ten days of the Pentagon budget to cover that tab, but this administration says it’s too expensive and is trying to cut eligibility for food to the poor.
What if, instead of military interventions, the US decided to fight global poverty?
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