The future of our country depends on a well-educated population.
However, this future has become greatly endangered by huge cuts in education funding in most states leading to the elimination of teaching positions and many programs. While the stimulus program has helped to lessen the damage, these funds are coming to an end, thus making the prospects even worse.
Our country faces no danger of an attack from another country. It follows that most of the hundreds of billions of dollars devoted to the Department of Defense serve no useful purpose. It is true that we face the danger of a terrorist attack, but the military can do little to prevent such an attack. While the military has succeeded in killing some terrorists, our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and our killing of many civilians has led to a hatred of the United States by millions of people. This has provided wonderful propaganda for the terrorists and helped them gain thousands of new recruits. On balance our military efforts have probably done at least as much to help the terrorists as to harm them.
The conclusion is clear. Our national security requires huge cuts in military expenditures with the funds diverted to the real needs of our nation especially to our educational institutions.
The writer is University Professor of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.