DARREN REILEY: This sign was carried by one of our Peace Village teachers at Eugene, Oregon’s annual March protest against the war in Iraq. The explicit, rhetorical question carries within it, naturally, several subtler, implicit ones. One of the main critiques suggested by this question is that “peace,” as a subject, philosophy, or even as a topic for class discussion, is rarely addressed in our public school system.
Congress has appropriated another $84.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the remainder of the 2009 fiscal year ending September 30, 2009. The Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama on June 24, 2009, allocates $45.5 billion for war-related actions in Iraq and $39.4 billion to Afghanistan .
JASON DITZ: In a 93-1 vote, the U.S. Senate has agreed to authorize a â€œtemporaryâ€ increase of the size of the army by up to 30,000 additional troops. The vote appears to be little more than a rubber stamp approving an announcement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates about his intention to increase the military by at least 22,000. The bill only authorizes the increased size for the next three years and would leave making it permanent to a future vote.
PETER BERGEL: $700 billion is a number that rings a bell for most Americans these days. It was the first installment U.S. taxpayers were forced to pony up for Wall Street to “stimulate” the economy. But, according to analyst Don Monkrude, that sum is also, coincidentally, the amount by which the 400 richest Americans increased their net worth during the Bush years.
NORMAN SOLOMON: Like soap in a rainstorm, “health care reform” is wasting away.
KEN McCORMACK: If we are to have peace, it must begin with the children.
GEORGE LAKEY: I just returned from a research trip to Norway where the people I interviewed often brought up the topic of our new President. The first was Kristin Clemet, the director of a conservative think tank. “This spring on a delegation to Washington I was struck again,” she said, “by how different the political spectrum is in Norway from your country. Here, Obama would be on the right wing.” I checked her view with others — academics, politicians, activists all over the Norwegian spectrum — and all but one agreed. In Norwegian terms, our President’s positions are very conservative.
This month’s letters to the Editor: 1) Vote With Your Dollars Against Chevron ; 2) Mountaintop Removal Protest Prompts Bail Money Request; 3) ACES Bill Too Watered Down to Support; and 4) Voice of the People? Not.
KATHY KELLY: In early June, 2009, I was in the Shah Mansoor displaced persons camp in Pakistan, listening to one resident detail the carnage which had spurred his and his family’s flight there a mere 15 days earlier. Their city, Mingora, had come under massive aerial bombardment. He recalled harried efforts to bury corpses found on the roadside even as he and his neighbors tried to organize their families to flee the area.
BILL SCHEURER: Major Tammy Duckworth hobbled to the podium on her own power – aided by prosthetic devices in both her legs and one arm. An Iraq War veteran who was severely injured in battle and now serves as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, she spoke of one of her comrades who arrived first on the scene after the helicopter she was piloting had been shot down with a rocket-propelled grenade.
Inaugurating the recent OAS Assembly in San Pedro Sula, Honduaran President Manuel Zelaya spoke about nonviolence.
DAVID SWANSON: A few words from U.S. troops in Iraq, all quoted in Chapter 1 of Dahr Jamail’s brilliant new book, The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
PHIL CARVER: This month’s Beltway Bulletin includes: 1) Climate Bill Passes the House; 2) Global Warming Likely Worse than Forecast; and 3) Health Care Legislation.
KEN McCORMACK: When Charles Busch, a Congregational minister, arrived in Lincoln City, Oregon, from Tombstone, Arizona, he was accustomed to reenactments of the glorious shootout at the famous O.K. Corral. Years later, however, the big community event in Lincoln City became Peace Village, whose 13th anniversary was celebrated last summer.
SAM DIENER: JROTC, a high school program to militarize youth in high schools, wants to invade hundreds more schools. It has already invaded almost 3,400. Congress passed a little-noticed measure in the 2009 National Defense Authorization bill to expand the number of JROTC schools to 3,700 by 2020. To do this, the military will have to open at least 45 new JROTC units per year. (Some schools drop the program each year, most often because of low student participation rates. In 2006, for example, Santa Barbara high school dropped its JROTC program due to high costs and low participation rates.
MARY JOHNSTON-DE LEON: Chapter 54 of the Veterans for Peace (VFP) in Santa Barbara, California, is proud to announce the birth of a new entity at Santa Barbara High School: the Peace Academy. The new academy replaces the high school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), which was closed down because of lack of enrollment. The counter-recruitment arm of the VFP chapter, which educates youth on military recruiting, had a lot to do with the closure. But because the JROTC filled a need for many under-served youth in our community, a gap was created by its dissolution.
CHRISTINE STEELE: Twelve soldiers have been camped out for seven days under the baking desert sun at Firebase Reazin. They were up all night Tuesday defending the perimeter. They are hot, tired, sick of eating MREs. They miss the comforts of home: a hot shower, a bowl of cereal, the television.
PEACEWORK MAGAZINE: In the spring of 2008, a group of high school seniors followed in the tradition of earlier teenaged Israeli conscientious objectors (traditionally referred to as the shministim) and publicly declared their refusal to serve in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as required by law. Four women COs, signatories of the 2008 high school seniors’ refusal letter, have been sentenced to brief prison terms this fall, and may face further punishment. Others will be sentenced soon. For updates, visit the campaign’s Facebook page (search for “shministim”) or visit www.gush-shalom.org.
STUDENT PEACE ACTION NETWORK: “This is so cool! This is so cool,” the enthralled 13 year-old kept repeating as he squeezed rounds from his M-16, picking off “enemy combatants” while perched on a real Army Humvee. We’re in the new Army Experience Center in suburban Philadelphia and the young teen, who doesn’t look older than eleven, was obviously impressed with the Army’s killing machines. “I just came to the mall to skateboard in the skate park across the hall but everyone said this was pretty cool. I just had to try it and its great!”
PAT ELDER: Maryland has failed to enact legislation to protect the privacy of students who take Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) in Maryland’s public schools.The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, (ASVAB) is the military’s entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. The test is also used as a recruiting tool in 182 high schools throughout Maryland and in11, 900 schools across the country. The four-hour test is used by military recruiting services to gain valuable information on more than 600,000 high school students every year. In most cases, students take the test without parental knowledge or consent.
CHARLES BUSCH: Fields of Peace is a response to what is happening in today’s Global Village: the awareness of people throughout the world that they are part of an immense, intimate whole; and that to injure a neighbor is to injure oneself. Governments can’t respond to this; their understanding is subject to borders. It is our religions that know about oneness and the power of love; and it is out of the smallness of local congregations that this world change will happen.
MICHAEL TROKAN: Rethinking Schools Press has announced the publication of a new book by nationally renowned teacher and writer Linda Christensen — Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-imagining the Language Arts Classroom. It combines concrete, hands-on advice with inspiration, hope and joy. As Christensen writes in her introduction, the book begins “with the non-negotiable belief that all students are capable of brilliance.”
Brief insights: 1) No Longer Home of the WOPR; 2) What’s Happening to the Economy? and 3) George Carlin’s thoughts about the “American Dream”.
Here is the actual text of the understanding between the U.S. and Russia. As you can see, there is a lot to be worked out, which I hear is supposed to be done by December. There may be a temporary understanding between the time START expires and when the Senate ratifies in the first quarter of next year. — Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER: One of the great questions of the modern world is: Why has nuclear war not occurred since 1945?
TOM H. HASTINGS: Lawrence S. Wittner embodies two roles to me. First, he is a first-rate academic historian, a scholar whose work defies what academicians call validity threats. That is a good thing, because he needs that in order to continue surviving in his second role that I find especially exemplary; he is a public scholar whose work challenges those who are in power and empowers “and challenges” those who work from the grassroots.
FR. CARL KABAT: Fr. Carl Kabat marked Hiroshima Day this year by slipping into a Colorado missile silo and hammering on a nuclear weapon, for which he was arrested. He entered the site at about 8:30 a.m. By 8:34 he had hung banners and begun to symbolically disarm the missile. Security forces moved in at 8:57. This is his statement:
PETER BERGEL: The peace movement in the United States has had few new ideas for decades. We are still using the main organizing tools we used in the 60s and before: demonstrating, educating, lobbying and electioneering. Occasionally we also engage in civil resistance direct actions to halt something particularly egregious. Most of these approaches are drawing less support than they used to (with the notable exception of the School of the Americas protests each fall at Ft. Benning, GA).
PETER BERGEL: OPW’s annual Burrito Booth fundraiser at the Salem Art Fair generated about $3,500 for OPW projects as well as giving some 60-70 volunteers a great chance to work together in a delightful, peaceful atmosphere serving organic vegetarian burritos to hungry fairgoers.
A group of dedicated people is organizing a 35-day walk from Coos Bay to Portland, via Astoria — a total of 350 miles at an average pace of ten miles a day. Walkers and organizers will meet with local residents along the route to talk about the threat of rising sea level due to global warming.
CHARLES NEWLIN: The United Nations’ International Day of Peace – celebrated every year on September 21 – is a global holiday when individuals, communities, nations and governments highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace. Established by U.N. resolution in 1982, “Peace Day” has grown to include millions of people around the world who participate in all kinds of events, large and small (www.internationaldayofpeace.org).
To offer calendar items, post them at www.oregonprogressivenetwork.org or email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org before the 12th of the month for following month’s issue.