Working towards peace and sustainability

Check Out What's New at Peaceworks

Those of you on our Peaceworks mailing list have likely already received our winter 2015 newsletter in the mail. Those who haven't seen it yet can find it as as PDF if you CLICK HERE.

You will find news of our "Another Missourian for Climate Action" campaign, our take on the new war on the so-called Islamic State, info on upcoming classes, films, book discussion, Earth Day 2015 and more.

Senseless Death, Misguided Authorization of War and the Compounding of Tragedy.

On the same week that American aid worker, Kayla Mueller, was

confirmed dead in Syria, President Obama sent a request to Congress to authorize the use of force against the so-called Islamic State (IS), something that was actually initiated more than six months ago, without specific authorization.  

The tragedies unfolding throughout the Middle East at the moment are largely the direct result of past U.S. interventions and aggression, including the illegal 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Now, Congress seems nearly certain to authorize further U.S. war-making in the region, for at least the next three years, likely longer, as there seems to be no end to this so-called Long War.

Peaceworks stands unequivocally opposed to attempts to bomb the region into peace or to train and arm proxy armies. As has been the case with every American military intervention in the region, Obama’s war on IS will undoubtedly bring more death and destruction. The likely outcome will be more, not fewer, enemies and greater regional instability. It will be very costly in every sense of the word.

We are, of course, moved by tragic loss of life, including the death of Mueller and the immolation of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. We also recognize that those who seek to expand and extend the seemingly perpetual war, are taking advantage of this, playing on our compassionate, caring impulses.

While Peaceworks condemns, without any qualification, the brutality of groups like IS, we oppose the new war on IS. Further, we recognize that the current situation must be understood in context.

Part of this is recognizing the responsibility the U.S. holds for the very existence of the IS. When the U.S. launched its Iraq invasion there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq (the group that has since morphed into IS). The U.S. invasion led directly to the very tragic loss of many hundreds of thousands of lives, the dislocation of 5 million people from their homes and, in the process, created a climate that allowed an extremist group like IS to rally a portion of the population to their banner.

Rarely do American media focus on the impact of the U.S. invasion and the subsequent counter-insurgency war on individual Iraqis or families. There are innumerable dead Iraqis every bit as innocent, idealistic and even photogenic as Ms. Mueller. Never seeing their faces; never hearing their stories; we are rarely moved in the fashion that an event like Mueller’s death—given the maximum media attention it’s received—has moved American public opinion.

Some seek to use the deaths of American captives, like Kayla Mueller, or the beheaded western journalists to rally support of an expanded war, or, in some cases, for encouraging fear and loathing of Muslims in general. They are clearly opportunists. Most others are just caught up in the emotional frenzy. Yet they are being played by those who prefer war to peace, larger military budgets to a Peace Economy, and empire over a cooperative world order.

While these atrocities, which have stoked many Americans’ fears, are being used to justify U.S. attacks in Iraq and Syria, the states of Libya and Yemen—both sites of U.S. military intervention—have been disintegrating. And, while feudal Saudi Arabia is embroiled in succession, Lebanon and Jordan totter on the brink, and Europe is reeling from Islamist militant attacks, anti-Muslim demonstrations and more.

Does any sane observer really believe that a new Congressional resolution authorizing continued or expanded war will improve upon this situation? Really?

Sustainable Living and the Climate Crisis

Peaceworks has for years worked to promote the adoption of more sustainable lifestyles, and this remains the focus of our Center for Sustainable Living. The urgency of addressing the Climate Crisis, however, dictates that we make it clear that this is not enough. Below is a brief excerpt from the prepared text of a talk given by Peaceworks Director Mark Haim to the Muleskinners on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. You can view the entire text if you CLICK HERE.

"Over the years I’ve given literally hundreds of talks focused on ways we can each green-up our lifestyle. I could have easily done that here today, explaining how each of our actions makes a difference; noting that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. I could remind you that we need to rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle; drive less, bike, walk and use mass transit more; eat local whenever possible and grow your own if you can; start a compost pile; give your home an energy audit and an efficiency upgrade; unplug from hyper-consumerism; take more staycations; basically, live simply so others—and the planet—can simply live.

"Voluntary actions like these to live more sustainably are great. They are necessary. But they are not sufficient."

To read the rest of Mark Haim's comments please CLICK HERE.

Can We Count on You to "Keep It Local" and Keep Peaceworks Moving Forward?

For more than 30 years Peaceworks has been a unique, positive force in the mid-Missouri region. Our work at the grassroots--work for peace, justice, sustainability and climate protection--is necessary. And it depends upon participation and funding. Hopefully, this is where you come in.

Unlike some groups, we don't seek corporate funding. Our base of support is hundreds of households, most in the local area, that give as generously as they can, be that giving $45 or $500, $10 a month, of several times this. We are very frugal, but to continue, we need to raise $25,000 in the last three months of 2014, the bulk of that needing to be raised in December. 

So, we're asking you to act TODAY and make a generous contribution to move this drive forward. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contributions at all levels are appreciated and we hope many of you will make sustaining monthly pledges, to give us a more consistent funding stream.

If you'd like to learn more about Peaceworks, what we've been working on and about how you can help, please CLICK HERE.

If you'd like to make a secure, on-line contribution please CLICK HERE.

If you'd rather give by mail or in person at the Peace Nook, this would be most appreciated as well. You can CLICK HERE to download a membership coupon you can print and then you can mail that to us at 804-C E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201, or just stop by.

Many thanks to all who've already given and to those of you who join them in supporting this important grassroots advocacy and education.