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Young Filmmakers Decry the Trillion-Dollar Cost of Two Dumb Wars

What would you do with $1 trillion? Unfortunately, one of Washington, D.C.'s answers over the last decade has been, "waste it on two wars that make us less safe and cause deep suffering at home and abroad."
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What would you do with $1 trillion? Unfortunately, one of Washington, D.C.'s answers over the last decade has been, "waste it on two wars that make us less safe and cause deep suffering at home and abroad." The true costs of those bad decisions will be paid by today's youth, since policymakers failed to raise the revenue to pay for it when they started the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq. But, nobody in D.C. asked the young people what they'd do with that money. So, next week, some of those youth are going to Washington to tell them in person.

Late last year, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the National Priorities Project sponsored a youth film-making contest called, "If I Had A Trillion Dollars." Entrants had to be age 13-23 and had to produce a video around one to three minutes in length addressing the $1 trillion cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. In January, the panel of judged picked two winners, both of which are embedded below, to receive the first place prize: $500 and a trip to Washington, D.C. to screen their film for Members of Congress, the Obama Administration and the press.

Briseida Montiel

"If I Had A Trillion Dollars"

Amplify Media

"If I Had A Trillion Dollars"

Although neither I nor Brave New Foundation were involved in this project, I have to say how proud I am of these young people. While many of their peers were playing video games like "Call of Duty: Black Ops" and rehearsing the act of war, these kids took on the reality of war and its true costs, and helped us all imagine a world where we didn't trade in their futures for brutal, futile misadventures in other people's countries. It's a kind of commitment and imagination that all of us, young people and slightly less-young people alike, could learn from, especially those making policy in Washington, D.C.

Briseida Montiel and the Amplify Media filmmakers will be screening their films for decision-makers in D.C. on February 16, just a few days after the one-year anniversary of the start of President Obama's escalated military campaign in Afghanistan. It's a perfect time to take a step back and imagine the country we might have been, and the country we could still be if we start making better decisions about how we spend our resources.

Right now, AFSC and NPP are working to build attendance for the screening of the contest winners' videos. Make sure your Member of Congress gets on the R.S.V.P. list. Call 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your congressperson. Tell them to watch for the Dear Colleague letter from Representative Barbara Lee, and urge them to attend the screening the "If I Had a Trillion Dollars" contest winners' videos on February 16, 2011, from 4-5 p.m. in room 2255 in the Rayburn House Office Building.

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