Peace Activists Take on the Pentagon’s Corporate “Merchants of Death”

Days after a U.S. warplane bombed a Docs With out Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing forty-two individuals, twenty-four of them sufferers, the worldwide president of MSF, Dr. Joanne Liu walked by means of the wreckage and ready to ship condolences to relations of those that had been killed. A quick video, taped in October, 2015, captures her practically unutterable disappointment as she speaks a few household who, the day earlier than the bombing, had been ready to deliver their daughter dwelling. Docs had helped the younger lady get better, however as a result of struggle was raging outdoors the hospital, directors really useful that the household come the subsequent day. “She’s safer right here,” they stated.

The kid was amongst these killed by the U.S. assaults, which recurred at fifteen minute intervals, for an hour and a half, though MSF had already issued determined pleas begging the USA and NATO forces to cease bombing the hospital.

Dr. Liu’s unhappy observations appeared to echo within the words of Pope Francis lamenting struggle’s afflictions. “We dwell with this diabolic sample of killing each other out of the will for energy, the will for safety, the will for a lot of issues. However I consider the hidden wars, these nobody sees, which might be far-off from us,” he stated. “Folks talk about peace. The United Nations has accomplished every thing attainable, however they haven’t succeeded.” The tireless struggles of quite a few world leaders, like Pope Francis and Dr. Joanne Liu, to cease the patterns of struggle have been embraced vigorously by Phil Berrigan, a prophet of our time.

“Oppose any and all wars,” he urged. “There has by no means been a simply struggle.” “Don’t get drained!” he begged individuals, including, “I like the Buddhist proverb, ‘I can’t kill, however I’ll stop others from killing.’ ”

Individuals who’ve embraced his message proceed assembly on the Pentagon, as occurred December 28 when activists commemorated the “Feast of the Holy Innocents.” Christians historically dedicate today to the remembrance of a time when King Herod ordered the bloodbath of kids underneath two years of age due to a paranoid perception that one of many just lately born youngsters within the area would develop as much as oust Herod from energy and kill him. Activists gathered on the Pentagon held indicators decrying the slaughter of innocents in our time. They’ll protest the obscenely bloated navy price range which the U.S. Congress simply handed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

As Norman Stockwell of The Progressive just lately noted, “The invoice contains practically $1.7 trillion of funding for FY2023, however of that cash, $858 billion is earmarked for the navy (‘protection spending’) and an extra $45 billion in ‘emergency help to Ukraine and our NATO allies.’ Which means that greater than half ($900 billion out of $1.7 trillion) just isn’t getting used for ‘non-defense discretionary packages’ — and even that lesser portion consists of $118.7 billion for funding of the Veterans Administration, one other military-related expense.”

By depleting funds desperately wanted to satisfy human wants, the U.S. “protection” price range doesn’t defend individuals from pandemics, ecological collapse, and infrastructure decay. As an alternative it continues a deranged funding in militarism. Phil Berrigan’s prophetic intransigency, resisting all wars and weapons manufacturing, is required now greater than ever.

Outraged by the reckless slaughter of harmless individuals in wars starting from Vietnam to Afghanistan, Phil Berrigan insisted that weapons producers taking advantage of countless wars ought to be held accountable for prison exercise. The weapons firms rob individuals, worldwide, of the capability to satisfy primary human wants.

The appallingly grasping Pentagon price range represents a company takeover of the U.S. Congress. Because the coffers of weapons producers swell, these navy contractors rent legions of extremely paid lobbyists tasked with persuading elected officers to earmark much more funds for corporations like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon United, and Common Atomics. In line with militarists, stockpiles of weapons should be used up, so as to justify extra weapons manufacturing. Media complicity is critical, and will be bought, so as to frighten U.S. taxpayers into the continued bankrolling of what may develop into worldwide annihilation.

Phil Berrigan, who in his lifetime advanced from soldier to scholar to prophetic anti-nuclear activist, astutely linked the racial oppression he opposed as a civil rights activist to the rising oppression attributable to militarism. He likened racial injustice to a horrible hydra that contrives a brand new face for each space of the world. All through his life, Phil Berrigan recognized with individuals menaced by the hydra’s new faces of struggle. Elaborating on this theme in a e-book known as No More Strangers, revealed in 1965, he wrote that the dispassionate determination of individuals in the USA to observe racial discrimination made it “not solely simple however logical to enlarge our oppressions within the type of worldwide nuclear threats.”

How can we in the USA stop the killing that goes on, in our title, in a number of wars, exacerbated by weapons made in the united statesA? How can we resist the rising potential, acute scourge of a nuclear alternate as combatants proceed issuing nuclear threats in Ukraine and Russia?

One step we will take includes each political and humanitarian efforts to carry accountable the companies taking advantage of the U.S. navy price range. Drawing on Phil Berrigan’s steadfastness, activists worldwide are planning the Retailers of Dying Struggle Crimes Tribunal scheduled to be held November 10 to 13, 2023. The Tribunal intends to gather proof about crimes towards humanity dedicated by those that develop, retailer, promote, and use weapons to commit crimes towards humanity. Testimony is being sought from individuals who’ve borne the brunt of contemporary wars, the survivors of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, and Somalia, to call however a couple of of the locations the place U.S. weapons have terrified individuals who’ve meant us no hurt.

“We render you, firms obsessive about struggle profiteering, accountable; answerable!,” declares the Reverend Dr. Cornel West on the Tribunal’s web site.

On November 10, 2022, organizers of the Retailers of Dying Struggle Crimes Tribunal and their supporters served a “subpoena” to the administrators and company workplaces of weapons producers Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon United, and Common Atomics. The subpoena, which is able to expire on February 10, 2023, compels them to offer to the Tribunal all paperwork revealing their complicity in aiding and abetting the USA authorities in committing struggle crimes, crimes towards humanity, bribery, and theft.

Folks menaced by the hydra’s new faces of struggle usually have nowhere to flee, nowhere to cover. Hundreds upon 1000’s of the victims are youngsters.

Conscious of the kids who’re maimed, traumatized, displaced, orphaned, and killed by all the wars raging right now, we should maintain ourselves accountable as nicely. Phil Berrigan’s problem should develop into ours: “Meet me on the Pentagon!” Or at its company outposts.

Humanity actually can’t dwell in complicity with the patterns that result in bombing hospitals and slaughtering youngsters.