"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tell President Obama: Support Peace, NOT War!


WarIsACrime.org (formerly AfterDowningStreet) is asking people and organizations to sign its petition intended to pressure President Obama to stop supporting war, which he has done at every possible opportunity since the beginning of his presidency. The petition threatens to pull support for a second term should he not abide by the terms of the petition, which are extensive although absolutely necessary to end the our nation's current downward spiral into the violent abyss.

Here is the petition's first paragraph:

We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced. This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously. We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them.

And there is much more, which you can read and then sign by clicking here. The petition contains an extensive litany of the President's indefensible actions preparing for and prosecuting wars that make one question why he ever received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Please join me and add your name to the growing list of signers. Then share the petition with others. It will take a huge groundswell of citizen support and pressure to override the massive Military-Industrial Complex that influences President Obama. Help this petition go exponential!

Petitioning for Peace,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Honoring King by Resisting Endless War


On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday 10 people in Tucson, Arizona chose to honor his legacy with a peace vigil at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, which has played a central role in the use of depleted uranium weapons in Iraq, and is also home of the Arizona Air National Guard's 214th Predator Unit.

If Dr. King was alive today I have no doubt that he would be one of the most vocal critics of the endless cycle of war perpetrated on the world by the United States. He would most likely be on the front lines of nonviolent civil resistance to the war machine. And so three of the ten, Dennis DuVall, John Heid, and Jean Boucher walked into the base carrying a letter to present to the base commander opposing depleted uranium munitions and armed drones.

They never made it past the front gate, and the military police called the Tucson Police to arrest the men. Here (below) are the resisters' Action Statement and the letter carried into the base on January 17th. If the base commander won't get it, at least others will have the chance to read it.

Thanks to all who participated in nonviolent civil resistance actions on or around Dr. King's birthday. As Dr. King said the night before he died in 1968, “For years now, we have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can we just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.” Indeed, we must learn that nonviolence IS the only way, and we as members of civil society must lead the way through nonviolent action.




Action Statement, January 17, 2011, Tucson, Arizona

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy· returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

An entire generation has grown up under the deep darkness of war. Across two decades thousands of U.S. and U.N. soldiers have been killed. Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. The wounded are innumerable. The cost immeasurable. The end nowhere in sight.

War is bipartisan. It knows no limits. And takes no sides. Everyone becomes its casualty. Its appetite insatiable. Its destruction total. War is perpetual. It cannot stop itself. "Only love can do that."

Today, our country commemorates the birth of Nobel Peace laureate Martin Luther King Jr. His words are as timely as the day they were first spoken. They echo across the decades. Clarion and compelling. Today, animated by Dr. King's words, we walk. Both on Tucson's public streets and where we are prohibited, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. We walk under the midday sun, pursuing an end to "a night devoid of stars."

We are mindful too that January 17 marks the 50th anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell speech. We recall his indictment:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every missile fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense."

Davis-Monthan has played a central role in the use of depleted uranium weapons in Iraq. Today we call upon General William M. Fraser III, Air Combat Command Leadership and Colonel John A. Cherry to comply with the recent United Nations mandate to reveal the sites where the U.S. has fired depleted uranium shells in Iraq. Today we redouble our twenty year long call for an end to the war. Disarm and disclose!

With a spirit of nonviolence, we carry the U.N. resolution along with our own resolve in seeking the ways of peace to Davis-Monthan, at once both symbol and substance of our nation's commitment to the use of armed force, spending the hopes of our children. And Iraq's.

One step at a time we can usher in the light, ending this decades long darkness devoid of stars.

Letter Carried into Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, January 17, 2011

Dear Col. Inman:

At a time when Tucson is mourning senseless violence in its own community, we must also mourn the victims of the U. S drone attacks 7,000 miles away.

Tucson's complicity in the drone air war is another Tucson tragedy. The tragedy is that Arizona Air National Guard's 214th Predator Unit here at Davis-Monthan AFB is helping to murder hundreds of innocent people by remote control in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. By guiding "Hellfire" missiles to their targets in homes and villages, ANG's Predator Unit will typically kill 10-50 innocent people for each targeted victim. Even more tragically for the people of Arizona and aircrews of the 214th Predator Unit, international killing is a war crime! No U. S. court has ever ruled on the legality of "targeted assassinations' by drones.

Col. Inman, I urge you to end the military operations for the 214th Predator Unit and stop bombing the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Blowing people apart with Hellfire missiles only unites people in outrage and incites more revenge, violence and retaliation. Drone air attack do not prevent or eliminate terrorism. They are terrorism! I implore you to ground the 214th Predator Unit and use diplomacy and other nonviolent means for opposing terrorism. As a veteran, and in the spirit of Martin Luther King, I would welcome the opportunity to enter into a dialog with you and your aircrews.

As President Obama said in Tucson just a few days ago, "Only an honest discourse and debate" can honor those who die in senseless acts of violence.

Toward peace and a nonviolent world,

Dennis DuVall
January 17, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Messages from Dr. King and President Eisenhower


Today is not only the official holiday celebrating the memory of Martin Luther King Jr, but also the anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address. Dr. King warned us in 1967 that "a nation that year after year spends more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." President Eisenhower, in his farewell address of January 17, 1961, warned us of the dangers of the "military-industrial complex."

Today the monstrous military-industrial complex has a stranglehold on the nation, driving it into an economic hole as it drives U.S. foreign policy, pursuing military solutions across the board to maintain the empire.

I have extracted some of the key portions of Eisenhower's address that articulate not only his concerns about the military-industrial complex, but also our responsibilities as citizens:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together...

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war-as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years-I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight...

You and I-my fellow citizens-need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

May we heed both King's and Eisenhower's words and do all we can to convince our government to pursue diplomacy and nonviolent conflict resolution over shortsighted military solutions. If we do not, we will be doomed to an endless cycle of wars and endless spending that will make the war profiteers richer while bankrupting our nation both spiritually and economically.



Click here to read President Eisenhower's entire farewell address.

Click here to read Dr. King's Beyond Vietnam speech.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.


Martin Luther King, Jr's Birthday is barely a week away, and next weekend many of us will come together in various acts honoring the memory of one of our nation's greatest leaders and one of the world's greatest proponents of nonviolence. Here is a poem by David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, which honors Dr. King's memory.



You Are Not One But Many, By David Krieger

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Your deep voice still hangs in the air,
Melting the cowardly silence.
You are the one standing solidly there
Looking straight in the face of violence.

You are the one who dreams
That this nation will honor its creed.
You are the one who steps forward.
You are the one to bleed.

You are not one but many
Unwilling to cower or crawl.
You are the one who will take no less
Than a world that is just for all.