(Des Moines, IA) A $700,000 publicf relations campaign has been launched to tout a 15 percent cutting in U.S. military spending.
Bankrolled by a group known as “Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities,” the campaign will spend $300,000 on radio and television advertising. In addition, some of the group’s staff will travel around the country in a 40-foot bus for the next two years to build support for their cause.
Des Moines Mayor Preston Daniels is a founding member of “Iowans for Sensible Priorities,” which will attempt to pester presidential candidates on the issue of defense spending.
“As a lifelong Iowan, I know that we do indeed support sensible priorities, given our state’s populist spirit and unique role in the presidential election,” Daniels said during a statehouse news conference Thursday. “Iowa is an ideal place for this campaign to catch fire and move quickly across the national landscape.”
Daniels discounts the idea military cuts cannot come while U.S. soldiers are fighting in Kosovo.
“Iowans are patriotic, and I do believe we’ve got to stand behind our fighting troops. We must make sure we maintain a strong defense and provide our soldiers with the best training and equipment, but we also suspect our taxdeollars are not well spent by the Pentagon. There is waste, mismangement and poor strategic decisions that result in billions of dollars wasted each year.”
U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, a democrat from Iowa, has joined the “Iowans for Sensible Priorities” group and argued there’s fat in the Pentagon’s $290 billion dollar budget.
“A cruise missile shortage in the Kosovo conflict is hardly a justification to reach into the taxpayers’ pockets for tens of billions in increased spending,” Harkin said.
Retired Vice Admiral John Shanahan accuserd politicians of bloating the Pentagon budget for pet projects which help get them re-elecfted to Congress.
“We need to get politics and special interests out of the Pentagon,” he said.
Shanahan and the other group members suggest the Pentagon is wasting scarce resources which would be better spent on domestic needs, like education.