A guest columnist writes:

"As a hardworking taxpayer, you’ll settle up with the IRS in the next few weeks. Whether you write a check for the remainder of your share of the taxes or request a refund because you overpaid, you’ll be acutely aware of how much you paid the feds this year.

But do you know how Congress spent your money?

For too long, the Pentagon's share of our taxes has been growing at the expense of other efforts to protect our security. As a result, the nation gets what it pays for: war. The United States is good at fighting wars, but not as good at preventing wars and at promoting human security. Why? Because congressional attention and your tax dollars routinely flow toward military spending.

War is not the answer. Congress should stop lining the deep pockets of weapons manufacturers and military contractors, and start investing our tax dollars in civilian capacities to prevent war and build the security provided by civil order.

Peace is possible through peaceful means. If more of our budget were invested in civilian efforts, we would conserve precious tax dollars and create a more secure country. Pentagon chief Robert Gates is among the leaders who say the United States needs more investments in diplomacy and development to help prevent wars before they break out.

Yet Congress still isn’t listening. This year, it approved a $687 billion budget for the Pentagon, nuclear weapons, and fighting wars. Six-hundred eighty-seven billion dollars: That’s more than at any other time since World War II. Worse, military spending is expected to increase by another 25 percent over the next decade, not including what we pay to wage wars." Read the entire commentary in Friday's Moultrie Observer.

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