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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"NOTHING IS BEYOND OUR REACH"... Ain't dat da truth???

Please excuse my spelling.  It's hard not to snicker when one sees our government agencies being so blatantly honest about their activities, especially when so many of those activities are immoral, illegal, and often just a waste of taxpayers' dollars.

Even as we continue to hear of the seemingly endless eavesdropping by the NSA, the previously little-known (at least to most Americans) National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which is one of 16 (count em, 16!!!) U.S. "intelligence" agencies, has been spending like Bernie Madoff and launching sophisticated spy satellites into orbit for several decades.

For its most recent (and highly classified) satellite mission, the NRO has created a seal that truly lays bare its overall mission (and pretty much the mission of the entire National Security State for that matter).  Yes indeed - "NOTHING IS BEYOND OUR REACH."  Of course, the octopus with its tentacles around the Earth helps drive home the message.

One thing is certain - The NSA is one hungry "octopus."  

Read more on the recent launch at the following links:

‘Nothing is beyond our reach’: Evil octopus strangling the world becomes latest US intelligence seal, at RT.com

 Atlas V launches NROL-39 from Vandenberg, at NASA Spaceflight.com

Monday, December 9, 2013

Drop Presents, NOT Bombs

Dear Friends,

This is the month in which people around the world celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. Although those of us who live in developed nations have the luxury of a false sense of peace, so many people in other parts of the world do not. Ironically, it is the developed nations, headed by the United States, that bring suffering to so much of the world.

The following video of an action by Santa at the Victoria Barracks in Australia begs us to reflect on the violence our nation perpetrates on those with little (or no) voice or power.

"On December the 3rd Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) supported Santa and his helpers as they went to speak to the Australian Military about their assistance in the USA drone bombing of Pakistan and other countries. Santa asked the Australian military and government to stop assisting the US via Pine Gap in drone bombing children in Pakistan." (quoted from the YouTube video)

I invite you to honor the meaning of this Season of Peace by taking some action to bring peace to the world.

Click here to advocate to Ban Weaponized Drones from the World! Help Roots Action gain 100,000 signatures on its petition (currently at 88,156).

Toward Peace for All People,


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Corporate Welfare... From Sea to Shining Sea


Boeing has proven (once again) that it will stop at nothing to increase its profits. Machinists voted to reject a contract that, while guaranteeing that the 777X project be built in Washington, would have been unfair to workers.  Even with Washington State Legislators offering an estimated $8.7 billion in tax breaks to Boeing through 2040, the company is already searching for another state to build the mammoth aircraft.  And as the Seattle Times headline indicates - "States salivating for 777X feast" - many states are anxious to "give away the farm" to lure the Corporate master to a new home.

All this unfolds as Boeing's commercial division "reported a surprising 12 percent jump in quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecast on soaring commercial aircraft production and margins, sending its shares up as much as 6 percent to an all-time high" (Reuters).

It's the age old story, whether on the commercial or military side of production, of giving away much while receiving crumbs in return.  From coast to coast, it's the same narrative.  In Bath, Maine, the story is playing out where Bath Iron Works builds some of the mighty warships that help project the American Empire around the globe.  Bruce Gagnon, of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space writes about the continuing saga. I have included his entire article below.

As you read Bruce's article, remember that Boeing builds not only commercial aircraft (on which the corporate media tend to focus), but also a vast array of systems that make it one of the largest "defense" contractors (Defense, Space & Security), right up there with General Dynamics, which owns Bath Iron Works.

So here's the news from Bath (as reported by Bruce in Organizing Notes):


BIW's Sails Got Trimmed a Bit 

The Bath, Maine City Council last night voted 7-1 to give Bath Iron Works (owned by the General Dynamics Corporation) a tax break for the next 15 years. The council approved a 15-year tax rebate for BIW that is expected to save the company about $265,000 annually for the first 10 years and an additional $212,000 annually for the following five years. The entire tax subsidy package is estimated to come to about $3.7 million.

The one vote against the tax break came from the one member of the council who tried to dramatically reign in the tax break but was unsuccessful when he proposed two amendments to further shorten the years of the tax break and the amount given by the city.

Initially the city considered a tax break for BIW that would have given them more than $6 million over a 25-year period. But the intervention by concerned citizens successfully trimmed the request by a couple million dollars. To the struggling city, with a population of about 8,500, that is alot of money.

About 30 people from Bath spoke up during the final public hearing before the council made its decision. The speakers were nearly evenly split with just a couple more opposing the tax break. Virtually all of the speakers in favor of the tax break were BIW workers/management.

ring the public portion of the meeting was a University of Southern Maine professor of finance who lives in Bath. The professor said she studied the city budget and "strongly recommended against" giving the

The point was frequently made that BIW doesn't really need this tax break as they have contracts to build multi-billion dollar ships for the next 10 years. (Just as the meeting began last night a story appeared at the web site of the Portland Press Herald about BIW being in the running for a $20 billion contract to build destroyers for Saudi Arabia. This clearly indicates that the Obama administration has extracted economic rewards for the US led campaign to destabilize Syria and Iran who are long-time foes of the monarchy in Saudi Arabia.)

BIW's strategy throughout this process has been to frighten the community about the boogeyman in some other state that just might steal the shipyard away if the city faltered in the "partnership" with the corporation.

During my time to speak to the city council I told the story about the Boeing Corporation in Seattle, Washington that has similarly threatened to pull out of that community unless they got more corporate welfare. I said:

The latest big deal everyone is talking about is Boeing in Seattle where the company is threatening to move manufacturing of their new 777X airplane to an anti-union state in the south unless they get big tax breaks from the state of Washington and major health care and pension concessions from the Machinists Union. Union leaders were quoted as calling the deal “crap” and in recent days union members voted to reject the Boeing proposal with 67% opposed.

But the state has voted to give Boeing the largest corporate tax break in US history. The tax breaks are expected to be worth $8.7 billion and would run through 2040. Despite this record tax subsidy, Boeing still hasn’t committed to building the 777X in Washington.

And guess what….Boeing has not been paying any federal corporate taxes in recent years…..zero.

BIW's chief council, Jon Fitzgerald, told the council, "We are gambling that we can improve our productivity, not certain that we will build the new outfitting hall.... we need this [tax break]."

Most of the city council talked about how complicated and agonizing the decision was. I'm sure that is true because the pressure on them from the public was heavy. None of the councilors told stories about hearing from the public who opposed the tax break. They only told particular stories about those who said, "Give BIW the break." But in spite of that public posturing by the council they still did vote to trim BIW's request by a couple million dollars.

They really didn't want to trim the subsidy. Bath is fundamentally a corporate colony. They trimmed it because they heard from residents all over the city and got more than 300 emails from people around Maine that opposed the tax break (thanks to Roots Action for the help).

Key in this public uprising was the door-to-door work that we did that enabled us to reach about 90% of the homes across the city. It's not easy in Bath to speak out against BIW but many people found a way to make their voices heard.

I concluded by remarks last night with this:

This truly is a race to the bottom of the barrel as taxpayers are being squeezed left and right. Its no wonder when I was helping take flyers door-to-door in Bath virtually every person I spoke with opposed these tax giveaways to BIW. I heard over and over again that people were going to have to sell their homes because they couldn’t afford to pay property taxes anymore.

Not only taxpayers get squeezed by these corporate subsidies but workers do as well. The Boeing workers in Seattle are refusing to go along with the program. Workers at BIW are seeing their health care being cut and continuing layoffs at the shipyard are forcing many workers to do the jobs of 2-3 others. In order to increase profits corners get cut in the production and quality gets impacted. At the same time General Dynamics profits are at record highs and top CEO compensation is larger than the municipal budget of Bath.

In the end this was a victory for the struggling citizens of Bath. They made it happen and they should be proud that their collective voices forced a reluctant city council to make serious adjustments to BIW's tax break request.

Our local committee, called Bath Citizens for Responsible TIF Action, did a great job on this campaign. Many of us had never worked together before but we all became friends and I would imagine we'll find other local work to focus on in the future. One of the members last night, a former BIW worker, called for the city to establish an economic conversion commission to begin planning for a new way of providing jobs in the community.

The work goes on......

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Resistance (to Save Jeju Island) Needs YOU!

Dear Friends,

For the first time in 200 years of Korean Catholic history, a nun - Sr. Stella Soh Hee-sook - has been indicted by a Korean court. Her crime??? Nonviolent direct resistance to the Naval base being built on Jeju Island in South Korea.

Sr. Stella is one of countless Catholics (and so many others) who have dedicated themselves to supporting the people of Jeju Island (the Island of Peace) in their struggle against the rampant militarism that threatens the peace and environment and the very lives of its inhabitants.

The story of Jeju Island and the current struggle against the base, which is being built for US warships (even though the US and Korea both already have more than enough bases from which to deploy around the region!!!), goes back much farther - back to the 1948 massacre (and even beyond that). A new documentary helps us better understand the current struggle in the historical context so that we can engage the issue!

Please learn about the documentary The Ghosts of Jeju at its Website. Order the film and show it in your communities. Sharing this powerful story is a most important way to engage others in this struggle that is about so much more than the construction of the naval base. It is about the larger struggle against militarism and the continuing, disastrous expansion of Empire that threatens all of us and the small planet that supports us.

Click here to watch a video interview with Sr. Stella (that is from the documentary).

More information on the struggle to Save Jeju is at the Save Jeju Now Website and Justice for Gangjeong Village Facebook page.

Please support Sr. Stella and all those who struggle to Save Jeju Island. Click here to learn how! This is OUR struggle... the PEOPLE'S STRUGGLE!!!

In the Spirit of Nonviolent Resistance,


Monday, November 11, 2013

Ring the Bells (for PEACE) on Armistice Day!!!

(Editor's Question to consider as you read the following message from Veterans for Peace - Why did Congress (in 1954) change Armistice Day to Veterans Day??? Note: Portions in bold typeface are my emphasis.)


Veterans For Peace calls for the observance of Veterans Day to be in keeping with the holiday’s original intent. Congressional Act (52 Stat.351: 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made November 11th of each year a legal Federal Holiday,“A day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

The ceasefire on the, “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 along the European Western Front was such a relief to all those involved as the world had never seen such horror and carnage as World War I. The horrible conflict that had come to be known as the “War to End War” brought the bulk of humanity to contemplate abolishing war.

Veterans For Peace calls on its members and allies to observe Veterans Day by rejecting militarism and the glorification of war. We call on the nation to honor veterans and all those who have died in war by working for peace and the prevention of war. There is no better way to honor the dead than to protect the living from the fear, terror and morale deprivation of war.

VFP Resolution Submitted by Bob Heberle, VFP Chapter 27, (Endorsed by VFP Chapter 27)

Whereas bells worldwide were rung on November 11, 1918 to celebrate and recognize the ending of WWI, "The war to end all wars", and

Whereas to commemorate that peaceful pledge, bells were rung November 11 for over 35 years, and

Whereas, legislation making November 11 a holiday passed in 1938, " Shall be a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." and

Whereas the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars, and

Whereas the substitution of the word "Armistice" to "Veterans" changes the focus from peace to war by celebrating and honoring warriors and war, and

Whereas that November date symbolized the nation's desire to hold to a peaceful future and away from war, and

Whereas, too often rhetoric and patriotic symbols are used instead of genuine compensation for the extraordinary sacrifices and services of military personnel, and

Whereas 90% of victims of wars are now civilians and by honoring only veterans, the public is distracted from the awful price paid by those other than military members, and

Whereas Chapter #27 has for over 17 years promoted the ringing of a bell eleven times at its ceremonies on November 11 and at other solemn occasions such as funerals to remind the public of that Armistice Day peace pledge, and

Whereas the ringing of bells is so much more fitting and peaceful than the often practiced gun salutes and fighter plane flyovers.

Therefore Be It Resolved that Veterans For Peace, Inc. urges its membership to adopt the procedure of honoring peace by focusing on bell ringing on Armistice Day, November 11 and other solemn occasions.

Approved at the 2008 VFP national convention

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One day we'll all be branded terrorists!

Dear Friends,

The National Security Snake continues to lash out as the Empire it represents continues its last gasps.

Edward Snowden continues to be hounded by the US government, while the information he provided continues to uncover the egregious abuses of power perpetrated by that same government.  When the madness will stop, no one can say.  One thing, however, is certain.  Nothing will change so long as people continue to let their institutions do their sinning for them (paraphrasing South African Methodist Bishop Peter Storey).

George Orwell once said that "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." Orwell was referring to just this sort of time and this sort of act.  Snowden, and all who have preceded and will follow him commit revolutionary acts.  And the Empire certainly does not appreciate revolutionaries of any sort.

In this video, on Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay, Ray McGovern comments on the British Gov. calling journalist Glen Greenwald's partner a terrorist and on awarding Edward Snowden the Sam Adams award. Ray speaks truth to power in a sharp, compelling, and sometimes humorous, fashion, and we should listen and share this truth far and wide.




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Ghosts of Jeju


Jeju Island is known as the "Island of World Peace," a name that does not begin to tell the story of the Island's extensive history of conflict, occupation, repression and genocide. The most horrific episode in this history began in 1948 when the South Korean military and national police hunted down and slaughtered approximately 30,000 people. The U.S., which was the occupying power at the time, was directly responsible what is now known as the April 3 massacre.

Why did the government do such a horrific thing? 1948 was a tumultuous time of establishing two governments in Korea. The people of Jeju Island rose up to protest the long-term division of the nation by boycotting the elections that were occurring in Seoul. For this they were branded as Communists, and the terror began.

For decades following the massacre, public discussion of the April 3 massacre was ruthlessly repressed. Following democratization, the slow and painful process of fact finding and truth telling began, and continues today. In 2003, South Korean President Noh Moo Hyun travelled to Jeju Island and officially apologized.


Now, over 60 years after the April 3 massacre the people of Jeju Island are once again protesting. This time they are protesting the U.S. Missile Defense System and a provocative new naval base being built on their island. Why??? If you look at a map of Jeju
Island, you can see that it lies about 500 kilometers East of the Chinese mainland. This military base is intended to project force towards China and to provide a forward operating installation in the event of a military conflict between the U.S. and China. Ironically, from a military strategic standpoint, this base is totally unnecessary and a tragic waste of money that should be spent on human needs.

For years, South Korean activists have been protesting the plans for the new naval base on Jeju Island. During that time the response by the South Korean police and military has become more heavy-handed and brutal. Col. Anne Wright (former United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department) reported at one point that "police broke arms of activists who had locked arms inside PCV pipes, beat up activists and threw them from kayaks."


The ghosts of Jeju cry out for recognition and righting of the wrongs perpetrated long ago.  Yet, the hubris of the National Security State (that was responsible for the original crimes) continues to create yet a new generation of crimes.  The difference is that today's crimes could lead to disaster not only for the people of Jeju Island, but for the entire region and the rest of the world.  The "Island of World Peace" could literally be reduced to a pile of ash and rubble in a major conflict.


Independent filmmaker Regis Tremblay has produced a powerful documentary about the struggle of the people of Jeju Island to stop the military madness that threatens to destroy their island. What is so powerful about this film is how it links the current struggle to the earlier atrocities in a compelling context.  Here is the what the filmmaker has to say:

A shocking documentary about the struggle of the people of Jeju Island, S. Korea. Set in the context of the American presence in Korea after World War II, the film reveals horrible atrocities at the hands of the U.S. Military Government of Korea. 

Using previously secret and classified photos, film and documents, this will be the first English-language documentary about the struggle of the brave people of Gangjeong Village who are opposing the military advance of the United States, just as their parents and relatives did in 1947. As then, they are being arrested, jailed, fined, and hospitalized for resisting the construction of a massive naval base that will accommodate America’s “pivot to Asia,” and will destroy their 400 year old village and their UNESCO protected environment. 

And yet, the indomitable spirit of the villagers and their supporters, who have not lost hope in spite of overwhelming odds, will inspire and motivate everyone who believes there is a better way to live together on this planet.

This is a story that must be told, must be heard... and its lessons applied to stop the madness that threatens the world with destruction.  There are no military solutions to our problems, and the naval base on Jeju Island is ground zero in the struggle to seek a new way.


Learn more about the documentary at the filmmaker's Website, where you can also watch the trailer. You can purchase a copy of the documentary (for just $20) and arrange screenings and subsequent conversations (and hopefully support for Jeju).

You can also learn more and support the struggle at http://savejejunow.org/ or connect via their Facebook page.

If you live around Puget Sound you will be able to see The Ghosts of Jeju and hear from the filmmaker this November.  Here are the current offerings.  Additional screenings will be posted on Puget Sound Nuclear Weapons Free Zone "EVENTS" page as they are confirmed.

Thursday, November 7, 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Seattle University 
Wyckoff Auditorium, Bannan Engineering Building East Entrance 
901 12th Avenue, Seattle
Click here for a campus map.
Sponsored by Seattle University's Asian Studies Program and Korean Student Union
This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Friday, November 8, 2013, 7:00 to 9:30 PM at Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies

Keystone Congregational United Church of Christ 5019 Keystone Place N., Seattle
(…Please come at 6:30 and visit with your neighbors!)
And Co-Sponsored by VETERANS FOR PEACE
Light snacks.
Download the Flyer HERE.
For more information on Veterans For Peace, go to: http://www.vfp92.org/
(Event is FREE and open to the public! ...but Donations are kindly accepted).

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Nonviolent Life - a new book on peacemaking

An announcement from Pace e Bene

The Nonviolent Life 
A new book on peacemaking
By John Dear

"In The Nonviolent Life, John Dear articulates a vision of the power, meaning and impact of the spiritually grounded nonviolent life—and invites us to put this into practice in both immediate and long-term ways." -Ken Butigan, author and activist

"How can we become people of nonviolence and help the world become more nonviolent? What does it mean to be a person of active nonviolence? How can we help build a global grassroots movement of nonviolence to disarm the world, relieve unjust human suffering, make a more just society and protect creation and all creatures? What is a nonviolent life?"

These are the questions John Dear—Nobel Peace Prize nominee, long time peace activist and Pace e Bene staff member—poses in this ground-breaking book. John Dear suggests that the life of nonviolence requires three simultaneous attributes: being nonviolent toward ourselves; being nonviolent to all people, all creatures, and all creation; and joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence.

After thirty years of preaching the Gospel of nonviolence, John Dear offers a simple, original yet profound way to capture the crucial elements of nonviolent living, and the possibility of creating a new nonviolent world. According to John, “Most people pick one or two of these dimensions, but few do all three. To become a fully rounded, three dimensional person of nonviolence, we need to do all three simultaneously.” Perhaps then he suggests, we can join the pantheon of peacemakers from Jesus and Francis to Dorothy Day and Mahatma Gandhi.

In his new book, John Dear proposes a simple vision of nonviolence that everyone can aspire to. It will help everyone be healed of violence, and inspire us to transform our culture of violence into a new world of nonviolence!

John Dear is an internationally known voice for peace and nonviolence. He is a popular speaker, peacemaker, organizer, lecturer, retreat leader, and the author/editor of 30 books. He has organized and participated in nonviolent campaigns for over three decades; been arrested some 75 times in acts of civil disobedience against war and injustice; and spent nearly a year of his life in jail for peace. Recently, John was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. For further information, see www.johndear.org

To order The Nonviolent Life: Visit - www.paceebene.org P.O. Box 1891 Long Beach, CA 90801 510-268-8765 info@paceebene.org

Monday, September 23, 2013

War is Hell

Today's A picture is worth a thousand words offering...


Veterans for Peace: http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth: http://www.nnomy.org/

Friday, September 6, 2013

NO War on Syria: Violence Begets Violence!!!

Dear Friends,

The Great Plague of violence keeps our nation on its (spiritual) death spiral as President, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Obama continues the push toward war against Syria.  And we should be clear that this would be WAR!  Call it by any other name, and it still emits the awful stench of war.

While in Oslo, Sweden on September 4th the President (aka Decider II) was asked by a Swedish reporter if he could "describe the dilemma to being a Nobel Peace Prize winner and preparing to make war on Syria?”

The President gave the expected answer - first invoking his Nobel acceptance speech, saying that "what I also described [in that speech is the challenge all of us face, when we believe in peace but we confront a world that is full of violence.” Among other things the President said that he has "made every effort to... strengthen our commitment to multilateral action, to promote diplomacy as a solution to problems."

Where are these commitments to multilateral action and diplomacy???  Where is the commitment to working with the United Nations (as is required by international law and the Constitution) in this case? Where is the diplomacy with Syria?  Above all, where is a commitment to serious nonviolent conflict resolution?

Speaking of international law, Howard Friel wrote in Common Dreams on September 5th that:
The same law—international and constitutional—that applied to the U.S. war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion of Iraq would apply to any congressional authorization of force in Syria by the United States. 
Like Vietnam and Iraq, Syria has not engaged in an “armed attack” against the United States, and has no military capability to do so. 
As in Vietnam and Iraq, the UN Security Council has not authorized the United States to engage in any use of force in Syria. 
Thus, a congressional authorization of military force in Syria would violate the UN Charter, and thus, as above, the U.S. Constitution.  
This would be the case even if the Obama administration’s claims about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government were accurate, although, like the Gulf of Tonkin incident and Iraqi WMD, there is no detailed or confirmed evidence to date about which entity in Syria used chemical weapons.
We The People of the United States of America must continue to say (and a vast majority of the people have said no to war on Syria) - NOT IN OUR NAME!!!  We must continue to pressure Congress (and the President) not to make war on Syria!  Let us continue to call, email, fax, get out in the streets and the offices of or members of Congress!  

Let us not rest until this madness is stopped. Let us stop the onslaught of the violence of war that will only unleash even more violence, much of which cannot be predicted (and much of it that can). Let us invoke NONVIOLENCE - the active nonviolent conflict resolution that has not even been discussed, let alone attempted, in the heat of the moment and its accusations and "red lines."

Violence will only beget more violence, and the blood of innocents will be on OUR hands.  This must not stand!  Towards peaceful, nonviolent conflict resolution.


Some Relevant Reading on the Syrian crisis:

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Killer Nation": The saga continues with Syria

Dear Friends,

For the first time in (my) memory it seems that every remotely "progressive" organization under the sun is sending  emails asking people to call or email The White House and/or Congress or sign a petition calling on our government to not engage in military action against Syria.

In our age of electronic social media one would think that such an approach would have a real impact, particularly if it can engage a huge groundswell of support for diplomacy rather than war-making.  I think, however, that we are deluded if we think that this approach can have any real impact on the decision to attack Syria, a decision that (in a very real sense) has already been made long before there was talk of "chemical weapons."

Bruce Gagnon describes "war" as "the soul of our nation" in his essay published yesterday in Common Dreams (The Soul of Our Nation War).  Bruce describes our situation with direct honesty; I would only add that we must ask ourselves what has become of our nation's soul that we seem to have sold off over the course of recent decades in a Faustian bargain.

President Dwight Eisenhower said (in 1953) that "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."  When the Tomahawk missiles are launched by ships, already lining up for an attack on Syria, that theft will continue to feed the coffers of the weapons makers.

Gagnon puts it bluntly: "We have become a killer nation," addicted to war and the profits it reaps for corporations and the jobs that put food on the tables of our workers.  Even before one war ends we are already planning the next one.  We truly are losing our very soul.

I fear that petitions, calls and emails will not be nearly enough to stop the first salvos of Tomahawk missiles aimed at Syria, and the ensuing carnage.  Stopping this madness will require much more than a few keystrokes in the midst of our busy schedules.  It will require us to get out in the streets of our own communities (small or large) in mass, nonviolent protest.  

So let us call on all these same organizations (that are advocating for nonviolent conflict resolution) to organize local actions around the country to engage citizens in peaceful protests (and a general strike if necessary) to stop the machinations of war.

It is, indeed, a question of saving the very soul of our nation!

In Peace,



URL for Bruce Gagnon's essay in Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/29-8

Thanks to Bruce Gagnon for sharing this political cartoon in his blog, Organizing Notes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bradley Manning Sentenced: A Guest Reflection on TRUTH

Editor's Note: This is a reflection on the sentencing of Bradley Manning from Mona Shaw.  It provides a deep insight into the nature of truth and the lies through which generations of people in this country have lived.  May TRUTH have the final word.  Mona's reflection appeared this morning on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mona.shaw/posts/10151815963105129


Reflections on Bradley Manning's Sentence 

I have witnessed throughout my life one consistent truth about truth itself. The truth always comes out. Always. It's like a seedling put in the soil, no matter how deep you bury it or if you bury it upside down, the seedling will wind around until it finally finds the light of day.

One day all of the lies that are now being told by the U.S. government and the corporations who own the United States of America will be exposed. They will be exposed the same way the Small Pox blankets we wrapped around Native people were exposed, and the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments on Black Soldiers, the slave holdings of twelve American presidents, the fact that our third president was a rapist, the outrageous and unnecessary interment of Japanese American citizens in World War II, the unnecessary dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that there really is an Area 51 and on and on and on. They will know that the American Industrial Prison Complex is not about justice but about profit, places where trumped up charges are waged on the poor who cannot afford a proper defense to build America's fasting growing industry. They will know this nation was built on genocide, slavery, the abuse of working people, and imprisonment, not freedom.

People will finally know and have to face that most American wars have been waged to serve the purses of the wealthy. This has been wholly the case for the past 50 years. They will have to face that their loved ones lives were human sacrifices so the obscenely wealthy could become even wealthier, while those who struggle and work for a living earned less and less until most Americans became wage slaves barely eking out survival.

One day our great-children will know all the facts about our history. They will know who tried to speak out, and they will know what was done to those brave souls who tried to stop this endless march of tyranny. They will know about the Bradley Mannings, the Edward Snowdens, the Thomas Drakes, the William Binneys, the Kathryn Bolkovacs, the Karen Silkwoods, the Carol Dymonds, the Daniel Ellsbergs, the Frank Serpicos, the Mark Whitacres, the Coleen Rowleys, the Sherron Watkinses, the Jesselyn Radacks, the Katharine Guns, the Julia Davises, the John Kiriakous, along with hundreds, if not thousands, of others who have put their bodies on the line to expose corruption at local, state, national, and international levels. They will know what we did to these to silence them. They will know we crucified them on a cross we call Capitalism. They will know they were lied to about Capitalism itself. They will know it was a monstrous economic system created by the wealth and propagandized by the wealth to keep slavery, in one form or another, legal. They will know, and they will judge us accordingly.

They will walk to the graves of loved ones sacrificed in war and those who died from the complications of not being rich of lack of healthcare, housing, and adequate nutrition. They will know their loved ones didn't simply die. They were murdered by a plutocracy who used them like they were Kleenex.

They will know. And, all the seas over all the earth will boil out of their banks in agony when they know.

God have mercy on us all.


Source URL for Mona Shaw's original Facebook posting: https://www.facebook.com/mona.shaw/posts/10151815963105129

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Seattle: Supporters of Bradley Manning to Protest Prison Sentence

Contact:   Gerry Condon        206-499-1220
                 Anton Black          206-235-3682
                 Devin McDonnell    425-773-1089

Supporters of Bradley Manning to Protest Prison Sentence
5 pm, Westlake Park, Seattle on Wednesday, August 21

Supporters of Army whistle-blower Pfc. Bradley Manning will rally in downtown Seattle on Wednesday, the day of his sentencing by a military judge at Fort Meade, Maryland.  Judge Col. Denise Lind has announced that she will read his sentence on Wednesday, probably in the morning. The 5 pm rally at Westlake Park, 4th & Pine in downtown Seattle, is being organized by Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace.  It will be followed by a march to Capitol Hill.

While a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq in 2009-10, Pfc. Manning witnessed war crimes, rampant corruption, and covert abuse.  He exposed what he saw by releasing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic files to the transparency website WikiLeaks.

Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row. Last week more than 100,000 signatures in support of his 2013 nomination were delivered to the Nobel committee in Norway.

The US Army has held Bradley Manning in prison for over three years prior to his court martial, including over nine months in solitary confinement.  The abusive conditions of his confinement have been condemned by Amnesty International and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. 

This week Army prosecutors asked the military judge, Col. Denise Lind, to sentence Pfc. Manning to 60 years in prison.  Col. Lind has found Manning to be guilty of 20 of the 22 counts with which he was charged, including violations of the 1917 Espionage Act.

“Bradley Manning stands convicted of doing his duty under the plain wording of international law: to report war crimes that he had knowledge of,” said Anton Black, Bradley Manning Support Coordinator for Veterans For Peace #92 in Seattle.  “His chain of command refused to investigate the 'war porn' contained in records they possessed when he pointed this out.”

In early 2010, Manning gave Wikileaks a copy of an Army video that showed US soldiers gunning down unarmed civilians in Baghdad from an Apache helicopter.  The video, dubbed “Collateral Murder” by Wikileaks, has been viewed millions of times on YouTube.

 “The U.S. government has a proven track record of not reporting or prosecuting war crimes it orders and its forces carry out,” said Anton Black of Veterans For Peace.  “Cover-up and minimal prosecution after being reported by whistle blowers is the norm.  No one has been prosecuted for officially ordered torture.  The fact that the invasion of Iraq was based upon bald-faced lies and is therefor illegal has never been officially addressed.  No one has been prosecuted for the crimes Bradley revealed.  Instead, the whistle-blower is being prosecuted.”

"This has not been a trial - this has been a witch hunt,” said Devin McDonnell, a young Seattle activist.  “I am outraged that the Army wants to put someone in prison for 60 years for obeying their own code of conduct and reporting war crimes.  We must stand up for Bradley Manning, for freedom of the press, and for the value of what he did for the world by showing us the truth."

Gerry Condon, a member of the national Board of Directors of Veterans For Peace who attended Bradley Manning's court martial, will speak at the 5 pm rally at Westlake Park.  “The government wants to know everything about us – they have stolen our privacy,” said Condon.  “But they don't want us to know what they are doing in our name and with our tax dollars.  Bradley Manning should be freed immediately.”

The Bradley Manning Support Network is calling for President Obama to pardon Bradley Manning.

For more information, go to www.bradleymanning.org  and  www.vfp92.org

Monday, August 19, 2013

YES! Magazine wins UTNE Media Award for General Excellence!!!

Congratulations to the staff of YES! Magazine, winner of the 2013 UTNE Media Award for General Excellence!!!

If you are searching for hope in a world awash in seemingly insurmountable issues - like global warming, economic upheaval, poverty, food insecurity, war, nuclear weapons (to name a few) - then look no further.

YES! is like an oasis in a desert of despair.  It is a source of ideas AND action; the combination of which is absolutely essential in the struggle for a sustainable world in which we can all live together as we should.

I have a particular affinity for YES!.  I work with a small, local, grass-roots organization - Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action - that has (for 36 years) resisted the Trident nuclear weapons system. Although we are "local", we are dealing with an issue of global implications.  So it is with our neighbor YES!, a truly local (in the best sense of the word) group engaging issues of global impact. Beyond that, I struggle to maintain a positive, hopeful vision that I can translate into action.  YES! helps me stay on track.

Each issue is, to me, a reminder of possibilities in a world where we are constantly told (whether subliminally or overtly) that we are helpless to change anything. Its pages bring me reminders of the creative power of the individual, particularly when engaged in community.

You won't find advertising in YES!.  What you will find is intentional writing; insightful articles in line with YES! Magazine's mission of "supporting you in building a just and sustainable world." Each issue focuses on a unique, creative theme.  The Fall 2013 issue is about "The Human Cost of Stuff."

YES! is nonprofit, independent and subscriber-supported journalism at it's best (as UTNE Reader recognized).  It just doesn't get any better than that in our grossly commercialized society.  I invite you to join me in supporting YES! Magazine's positive vision of the future.

As Arundhati Roy once said, "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way! On a quiet day, if you listen carefully, you can hear her breathing." YES! helps us breathe life into that new world.

Check out recent articles and support YES! at http://www.yesmagazine.org/!  Get your own subscription and/or recommend that your local public library subscribe!!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On the Bradley Manning Verdict; or When Truth Telling is Treason

Dear Friends,

The verdict is in on Bradley Manning, and of course it is just what we should have expected in the Orwellian state in which we live. A military court today found Manning guilty of multiple charges under the Espionage Act for giving classified information to Wikileads, but not guilty of aiding the enemy. Just another kangaroo court; so much for upholding the Constitution.  You can get the details and perspective at the Center for Constitutional Rights

Below is the portrait of Bradley Manning done by Robert Shetterly at Americans Who Tell The Truth. This is the face of a Truth Teller, one who goes far out on a limb to expose the truth - to speak truth to power.

"If you had free reign over classified networks and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain -- what would you do? God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth. Because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.
Let us support and defend the Bradley Mannings, the Robert Snowdens, and ALL who speak TRUTH TO POWER in every way with all our hearts and all our strength!  Let us chip away at the systemic corruption that is eating away at the very fabric of our nation.

In Peace,


P.S. - You can sign the add by Tikkun calling on President Obama to stop prosecuting whistleblowers by clicking here.

”In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.“-- George Orwell

Monday, July 22, 2013

In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act


Robert Shetterly has issued another in a long list of portraits of  Americans Who Tell The Truth.  This one is of whistleblower Edward Snowden.  

"The public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the "consent of the governed" is meaningless... The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed. "
AWTTH mission statement: "Americans Who Tell the Truth is dedicated to the belief that a profound sense of citizenship is the only safeguard of democracy and the best defense of our social, economic, and environmental rights. Through portraits and stories of exemplary American citizens, both historical and contemporary, AWTT teaches the courage to act for the common good. The original portraits and accompanying resources promote our country’s ideals, illuminate the necessary work of the present, and inspire hope in the future."

George Orwell once said, "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."  At no time in history has truth telling been such a necessity.

The world is in desperate need of nonviolent revolutionaries.  Let us hope that Snowden's courage will be contagious, spreading like a wildfire and encouraging others to find the courage to speak truth to power.

See more of Shetterly's profiles in courage at Americans Who Tell The Truth.



Monday, June 3, 2013

The Militarization of North American Life (by Bruce Gagnon)

***Editor's Note: Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, gave the following talk on June 1 at the Moana Nui 2013 Teach-In held in Berkeley, California.  You can read Bruce's blog, Organizing Notes, at http://space4peace.blogspot.com/.


I live in Bath, Maine where Navy Aegis destroyers are built.  These ships are outfitted with so-called “missile defense” systems that the Pentagon is today using to help surround Russia and China.  Few people in my community, including some activists, are interested in where these ships go (places like Jeju Island in South Korea.)  It’s not popular to raise these questions – especially when Bath Iron Works is the largest industrial employer in our state.

In fact today weapons are the number one industrial export product of the US.  And when weapons are your number one industrial export product, what is your global marketing strategy for that product line? What does it say about the soul of our nation when we have to keep selling weapons and killing people in order to provide jobs?

The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the public a window into the stunning militarization of our nation. During that incident the entire domestic surveillance/military response system was field-tested and culminated in the dramatic closing down of an entire urban center.

We have become an occupied nation.  For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the US have benefited from the government’s largesse in the form of military weaponry and training.

Obama has announced that 30,000 drones will be flying around the US in the coming years.  Thirty-seven states have applied to host one of six military drone test sites planned across the country.  Much debate has begun in local communities about whether police should be required to have warrants before they can snoop on us with drones.  Should domestic drones be allowed to carry weapons? 

More than 500 aerospace companies are eager to develop this new drone market across the US.  The drone industry lawyers say we have nothing to fear – that all we have to do is ask local police and they will be transparent about their drone use. 

Infrared and radio-band sensors used by the military can peer through clouds and foliage and can even detect and hear people inside their homes. During the last few years of the US military occupation of Iraq, drones monitored Baghdad 24/7, turning the entire city into the equivalent of a convenience store crammed full of security cameras. This technology is being brought home to control us.

There is a $2 billion, 1-million-square-foot facility being built by the National Security Agency outside Salt Lake City. It’s a phone, fax, email, data storage and analysis warehouse called Utah Data Station - everything about the facility is secret. It is scheduled to open this summer. 

Today drones buzzing over Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Mali are “flown” by pilots back in the US at places like Creech AFB, Nevada or Hancock Air Field, New York.  This is possible because the military satellites in orbit link the pilot to the drone in “real time” - split-second time.  Space Command downlink ground stations spread around the globe help relay those signals.  The Pentagon brags that this high-tech warfare increases “the kill chain”.

In a way, you could call the military satellites the “triggers” that make the drones work.  These satellites allow the military to see everything, hear everything, and to target virtually every place on the planet.

In June 2012 the second flight of the new military space plane (X-37) touched down at Vandenberg AFB after 469 days in orbit.  This unmanned super drone is a first-strike attack system, part of the Global Strike doctrine now underway at the Strategic Command.  In annual computer war games at the Space Command, set in the year 2016, the Pentagon launches a first-strike attack on China’s nuclear forces and this new military space plane is the first weapon used.  It’s called the “successor” to the recently retired space shuttle, which was paraded through streets of Los Angeles in late 2012…. 400 trees were cut down to prepare its red carpeted path to a waiting museum.  It is the perfect symbol of our worship of the gods of metal.  Technology trumps nature.

A friend in Maine has a son who recently spent a year in Afghanistan; my friend worried every day.  His son was then sent to Germany and he could breathe a sigh of relief.  The son thought about getting out of the military but there are no jobs.  The Army offered him a sizeable reenlistment bonus and he took it.

In the US today 57% of every federal discretionary tax dollar goes (to the Pentagon) to fund the cancerous war machine.  Our communities have become addicted to military spending.  There is virtually no money for anything else these days as we witness austerity cuts in social programs like so many other nations around the globe.

Colorado Springs, Colorado headquarters of the Air Force Space Command) has 357,000 people living there, and 47% of the population work for the military industrial complex. 

The aerospace and military production industry in Alabama is a major job provider as well. Huntsville, Alabama now calls itself the “Pentagon of the South”.

In 1950, the U.S. Army moved former Nazi Wernher von Braun, and his team of 100 German rocket scientists, to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville to create the US space program. Von Braun and his team also took over NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and helped ensure that the “civilian” space program came under military control. The Nazi rocket team brought “culture” to Huntsville by creating the local symphony and ballet and lived on a hill overlooking the town. 

Was there an ideological contamination that came with these Nazi scientists?  One can easily note the similarity between the Nazi slogan “Deutschland uber alles” and the Space Command logo that reads “Master of Space”. 

By the way, California is currently the #2 recipient of Pentagon spending in the nation.  The Republicans and Democrats now work together to ensure an endless flow of war money into their states.  They understand that it’s the only game in town anymore for creating jobs.  Both parties get nicely rewarded with campaign donations from the weapons industry.

An activist friend in Halifax, Nova Scotia is now organizing weekly protests outside a shipyard in her community that has begun building expensive new warships for the Canadian Navy.  The funding for warship building has necessitated cuts in human needs programs.  “Progressive” political parties are going along with this largest military appropriation in Canada’s history because of the jobs issue. (The ships will be used by NATO to control the melting Arctic Region on behalf of big oil.)

The Pentagon says that our role in the US under corporate globalization of the world economy will be “Security export” – thus we won’t have conventional jobs making products useful to our communities. Instead we will build weapons for endless war and send our kids overseas to die for the oil corporations.

A couple years ago I heard that the Sears department store had a new kids clothing line so I went to see it in a nearby town. Military uniforms for young boys were on the racks – the message “this is all you can ever be” – it’s youth mind colonization.

The military industrial complex has become the primary resource extraction service for corporate globalization and is preparing the future generations for their dead end street.

In the US, approximately 40% of all scientists, engineers and technical professionals currently work in the military sector. This is a colossal waste of talent and intellectual resources as we face the coming reality of climate change.

Due to the fiscal crisis across the nation engineering, computer science, mathematics, astronomy, and chemistry departments in colleges and universities have become increasingly dependent on Pentagon funding.  At the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque there are “top secret” areas on campus these days.

The Defense Alliance in St. Paul, Minnesota seeks to expand the weapons industry’s presence in higher education, and among its members are military contractors like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.

The Navy granted the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies $150,000 to look into improving tracking, surveillance and intelligence communications systems.

In 2011 the University of Minnesota reported the Pentagon was trying to “restrict” the open publishing of research resulting from a military-funded project.  This indicates quite clearly that the Pentagon is not really trying to further the state of education but instead views the students and faculty as nothing more than military production workers doing classified work.

The militarization of everything around us is a spiritual sickness.  Lakota holy man Lame Deer talked about the green frog skin – the dollar bill – and how the white man was blinded by his love for the paper money.  His spiritual connection to the Mother Earth was broken. 

Abolitionist Frederick Douglas reminded us that power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did and it never will.  When it comes to our current dark evil economic system, called militarism, we should be talking about its conversion and the jobs that would result from that transformation.

Good jobs can be created by home weatherization, building rail systems, creating a solar society, and hiring unemployed workers to plant town and city organic gardens.  As we transform our industrial base we lessen the impact of the military machine on our lives and help deal with our major environmental crisis. 

There is no other way to pay for such a redirection without massive cuts in the war machine budget now.

Join me in saying …… US out of North America!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing: Statement by Massachusetts Peace Action

Dear Friends,

The recent bombing in Boston has elicited a huge response from every corner of government, media and the society as a whole.  This is a critical time, even as events continue to unfold, that we all take a step back to take a breath and reflect before speaking or acting.  Massachusetts Peace Action has issued a statement in response to the Boston Marathon bombing and aftermath that is worthy of our attention.

In Peace,



Massachusetts Peace Action shares in the sadness, appreciation, restraint and solidarity shown by President Obama, Governor Patrick, faith and civic leaders, and neighbors in the face of the violence at Monday’s Boston Marathon and during the days following.

There is sadness for those killed and injured, for the families whose lives have been scarred, and for the culture of violence, here and abroad, that leads to such senseless acts.

There is appreciation for first responders, including Boston peace activist Carlos Arredondo, whose courageous actions saved lives and modeled how all of us should respond in times of crisis.

There must be restraint, as the facts of the violence emerge -- especially toward individuals and communities who are too often blamed or implicated in acts of political violence. We call on our leaders and the media to be especially careful in the days to come.

Finally, there is solidarity; Boston has seen the face of the violence that is a daily reality for civilians in Baghdad, Afghanistan, Somalia and other places wracked by the impact of militarism.

In the days and months ahead, we commit to helping our community heal, connect and create a culture of peace.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

War without End (By Kathy Kelly)

Editor's Note:  Today is a solemn anniversary - of the day on which the United States invaded the sovereign state of Iraq.  May we honor all who have suffered and died with a moment of silence, and then may we speak and act out in concert calling for an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. military forces and private contractors from Iraq, and for an end to U.S. war-making and military  intervention everywhere.
Published on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Waging Nonviolence (With THANKS to Kathy Kelly and Voices for Creative Nonviolence!). 

War without End

Ten years ago today, Iraqis braced themselves for the anticipated “Shock and Awe” attacks that the United States was planning to launch against them. The media buildup for the attack assured Iraqis that barbarous assaults were looming. I was living in Baghdad at the time, along with other Voices in the Wilderness activists determined to remain in Iraq, come what may. We didn’t want U.S.-led military and economic war to sever bonds that had grown between ourselves and Iraqis who had befriended us over the past seven years. Since 1996, we had traveled to Iraq numerous times, carrying medicines for children and families there, in open violation of the economic sanctions which directly targeted the most vulnerable people in Iraqi society — the poor, the elderly and the children.
U.S. Marines occupy Baghdad, in March 2003, in front
of the Al Fanar hotel that housed Voices activists
throughout the Shock and Awe bombing.
I still feel haunted by children and their heartbroken mothers and fathers whom we met in Iraqi hospitals.
“I think I understand,” murmured my friend Martin Thomas, a nurse from the U.K., as he sat in a pediatric ward in a Baghdad hospital in 1997, trying to comprehend the horrifying reality. “It’s a death row for infants.” Nearly all of the children were condemned to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by water-borne diseases. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived — and laughed and danced, and run and played — but instead they were brutally and lethally punished by economic sanctions supposedly intended to punish a dictatorship over which civilians had no control.
The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them.
Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.
Upon arrival in Baghdad, we would always head to the Al Fanar Hotel which had housed scores of previous delegations.
Often, internationals like us were the hotel’s only clients during the long years when economic sanctions choked Iraq’s economy and erased its infrastructure. But in early March of 2003, rooms were quickly filling at the Al Fanar. The owner invited his family members and some of his neighbors and their children to move in, perhaps hoping that the United States wouldn’t attack a residence known to house internationals.
Parents in Iraq name themselves after their oldest child. Abu Miladah, the father of two small girls, Miladah and Zainab, was the hotel’s night desk clerk. He arranged for his wife, Umm Miladah, to move with their two small daughters into the hotel. Umm Miladah warmly welcomed us to befriend her children. It was a blessed release to laugh and play with the children, and somehow our antics and games seemed at least to distract Umm Miladah from her rising anxiety as we waited for the United States to rain bombs and missiles down on us.
When the attacks began, Umm Miladah could often be seen uncontrollably shuddering from fear. Day and night, explosions would rattle the windows and cause the Al Fanar’s walls to shake. Ear-splitting blasts and sickening thuds would come from all directions, near and far, over the next two weeks. I would often hold Miladah, who was three years old, and Zainab, her 18-month-old baby sister, in my arms. That’s how I realized that they both had begun to grind their teeth, morning, noon and night. Several times, we witnessed eight-year-old Dima, the daughter of another hotel worker, gazing up in forlorn shame at her father from a pool of her own urine, having lost control of her bladder in the first days of “Shock and Awe.”
And after weeks, when the bombing finally ended, when we could exhale a bit, realizing we had all survived, I was eager to take Miladah and Zainab outside. I wanted them to feel the sun’s warmth, but first I headed over to their mother, wanting to know if she felt it was all right for me to step out with her children.
She was seated in the hotel lobby, watching the scene outside. U.S. Marines were uncurling large bales of barbed wire to set up a check point immediately outside our hotel. Beige military jeeps, armored personnel carriers, tanks and Humvees lined the streets in every direction. Tears were streaming down Umm Miladah’s face. “Never before did I think that this would happen to my country,” she said. “And I feel very sad. And this sadness, I think it will never go away.”
She was a tragic prophet.
The war had just ended for those killed during the “Shock and Awe” bombing and invasion, and it was to abruptly end for many thousands killed in the ensuing years of military occupation and civil war. But it won’t end for the survivors.
Effects go on immeasurably and indefensibly.
Effects of war continue for the 2.2 million people who’ve been displaced by bombing and chaos, whose livelihoods are irreparably destroyed, and who’ve become refugees in other countries, separated from loved ones and unlikely to ever reclaim the homes and communities from which they had to flee hastily. Within Iraq, an estimated 2.8 million internally displaced people live, according to Refugees International, “in constant fear, with limited access to shelter, food, and basic services.”
The war hasn’t ended for people who are survivors of torture or for those who were following orders by becoming torturers.
Nor has it ended for the multiple generations of U.S. taxpayers who will continue paying for a war which economists Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz have so far priced at $4 trillion.
For Bradley Manning, whose brave empathy exposed criminal actions on the part of U.S. warlords complicit in torture, death squads and executions, the war most certainly isn’t over. He lives as an isolated war hero and whistleblower, facing decades or perhaps life in prison.
The war may never end for veterans who harbor physical and emotional wounds that will last until they die. On March 19, on the 10th anniversary of the Shock and Awe invasion, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, joined by the Center for Constitutional Rights and other activist groups, will gather in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., to launch an initiative claiming their right to heal. Rightfully, they’re calling for health care, accountability and reparations, and just as rightfully, they’re calling for our support.
A civilized country would heed their call. A civilized country would demand heartfelt reparations to the people of Iraq and cease to interfere in their internal affairs, would secure freedom and official praise for whistleblowers like Bradley Manning, and would rapidly begin to liberate itself from subservience to warlords and war profiteers. Gandhi was once asked, “What do you think of western civilization?” And famously, he answered, “I think it would be a good idea.”