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Retired Colonel to Address Iowans on Pentagon Influence


Monday, October 19, 2015   

DES MOINES, Iowa – A former high-ranking military officer is making his way across Iowa this week, speaking on what he calls the excessive political influence of Pentagon contractors on U.S. foreign policy.

Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired U.S. Army colonel who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

He says instead of the actual needs for national security, more and more often the lobbying and campaign contributions from the weapons industry are behind public policy as it relates to war and peace.

And he maintains it comes at a massive cost to U.S taxpayers.

"We're spending anywhere from $1.3 to $1.5 trillion per year,” he points out. “That's more than all the rest of the world that we might be concerned about, including our friends, allies an enemies, spend combined. This is fiscally unsustainable. We're going to bankrupt ourselves."

Wilkerson will speak Wednesday in Ames, Thursday in Des Moines and Friday in Iowa City.

The American Friends Service Committee is sponsoring Wilkerson's speaking tour.

Iowa Program Coordinator Kathleen McQuillen says it's part of the committee’s Governing Under the Influence campaign.

"This is where we're pointing out that public policy is driven heavily by corporate profit,” she explains. “We're looking particularly at the detention industry driving immigration policy and the weapons industry driving foreign policy."

Earlier this year, the American Friends Service Committee brought Wilkerson to New Hampshire, which will hold the nation's first primary next February. That will take place about a week after the Iowa caucuses begin the process of the 2016 presidential nomination.

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