Working towards peace and sustainability

Some Thoughts to Consider on the Seventh Anniversary of the Iraq War.

Our nation is one of vast potential and promise. We are richly endowed in natural beauty and resources, fertile lands, abundant water in most parts of our nation and vast renewable energy resources, capable of providing energy independence.

We are also richly endowed with a diverse population. Drawing on cultural traditions from around the world, we have the wherewithal to create a future that blends the best of many strands of the human experience.

Our constitution and our rule of law provide a framework for civil liberties, human rights and civic participation. What we have isn't perfect, but over the past two centuries we have struggled to improve upon it. There is, at the very least, the political space for expression, and the potential to organize.

This said, we are also a nation in which money talks loudly, corporations have undue influence over public policy, and most decisions are made with an eye to the next quarter's earnings statement or the next election, rather than toward our long term sustainability and well being.
Moreover, we have, for seven decades--ever since World War II--maintained a Permanent War Economy. The United States, with just 4.5 percent of the world's people, is spending approximately as much as the other 95.5 percent do combined.

Many hoped, when the Cold War ended twenty years ago that we would convert to a peace economy and get on with addressing pressing human and environmental needs. Instead, over the past two decades our nation has remained highly militarized and actively engaged in strategies to assert and maintain global geopolitical dominance.  This was the case in the 1990s, and it was ratcheted up significantly in the wake of the crimes of 9-11.

The Obama administration has maintained a remarkable continuity, demonstrating, once again, the bipartisan nature of U.S. militarism and foreign policy. They have escalated the Afghan War and increased the size of the Pentagon's budget. The basic objectives of U.S. foreign and military policy under Obama are basically the same as under Bush, and they are not creating security for our nation.

In fact, our current course is morally bankrupt and is driving our nation rapidly to financial bankruptcy as well. We are spending hundreds of billions each year to fight wars that are not legal, that do not address legitimate security concerns, that kill and maim innocents and make enemies for our nation. These wars involved hundreds of thousands of our young men and women, leaving a large proportion of these citizens physically and psychologically scarred. And we do it all on our kids' and our grandkids' credit cards, as every penny spent to fight these wars is borrowed.

This has to stop.

We are the ones who need to make it stop.

The time for involvement and action is now.

And what is needed is sustained activism. The current system works quite well in the short run for powerful interests that profit from it. They won't give up their profits, power and privilege without a struggle. We need you. And we need you to consider making space in your life for activism on a sustained basis. We didn't get into this mess overnight, and we won't get out in a week, a month or a year. We need to be in this for the long haul and commit ourselves to building an effective, informed and empowered grassroots movement all across this nation that can challenge the underpinnings of our misdirected policies.

If you share our sense that these to-the-root changes are needed, we invite your active and ongoing participation. We also welcome your ideas, your input and your questions