Memorial Day Peace Commemoration

Yesterday, the local peace movement held a Memorial Day commemoration at Carrboro's Commons.

Sarah Shields gave a powerful speech connecting the suffering of wars victims, whether soldiers or civilians, to the demand for peace:

The war in Iraq has so far cost the people of North Carolina more than 37,000 affordable housing units. It could have insured 2.5 million children, hired 72,000 new teachers. Just in North Carolina. The Peace Dividend I was promised before I became a mother has become an enormous War Deficit, and spending on the War and its share in the debt now demands forty-two cents of every dollar I pay in taxes.8

The legacy of war, whether in our memories or not, continues. War kills people, and modern warfare continues to kill long after. Death. Amputation. Hatred. Fear. Suicide. Disease. Terror. War threatens our humanity, individually and collectively...

We need a policy to set against the existing policy of militarism, a policy emphasizing other ways to resolve disputes, a policy that will ensure our children's survival, a policy that will not demand most of our wealth for the creation and use of deadly force. To create that policy, we must demand that every day be Memorial Day. "Remember the War!" must become a call to action.

From the Herald report:

Carrboro Alderman Alex Zaffron read a Memorial Day resolution on behalf of Mayor Mike Nelson that affirmed "the community's commitment to non-violent, peaceful solutions to conflict."

Zaffron prefaced the reading with a few remarks of his own, lamenting a political environment "which seems to be characterized by mindless militarism driven more and more by brainless belligerence."

He added that the "courage expressed here" by the participants in the day's observance "is a courage which should be acknowledged."



The first 80 billion for Iraq could have bailed out 8 Californias. They were about 10 billion in the hole at that time.

Though very liberal, and completely skeptical on the WMD issue, I was not really against the Iraq war initially. I thought it would be over in weeks, like, say Iraq war number 1 under Bush 1, or Kosovo, under the Clinton administration. And the oil revenues would have paid the bill. Unfortunately, W and his scurvy crew are both dishonest AND incompetant...

Did anyone catch the neoconservative-driven discussion of the ‘2005 Peace and Conflict Study' (Univ. of MD) on NPR yesterday?

Lots of statistics were thrown out to show that the world has become a more ‘peaceful' place in the past 15 years. Peace was defined as the absence of war. Reasons given for the current relative ‘peace' were: >the end of the Cold War, >more democratically elected governments in the world, >the global economy, and >UN peace keeping.

The neoconservative explanation for America's anxiety about war and terror goes something like this: Despite living in relatively peaceful times, Americans are more anxious and unhappy because we're too affluent and we have too much time on our hands to learn disturbing things. The media makes things worse by not balancing bad news with good news. Bottom line, people are wired for discontent… It's a pretty dismissive argument.

The most hopeful part of the discussion was the idea that the general public is becoming less tolerant of war. Some think war may go the way of slavery and it will be rejected as a fundamental element of human nature. It's hard to know...

I read a few Memorial Day speeches. The “Duty, Honor, Country” theme still seems strong in this country. I can say that my father, an ex-marine, totally romanticized war and ate up the idea that dying for one's country elevated one in the eyes of God.

One of my brothers, a West Pointer, is dramatically less gung-ho. He couldn't wait to get out of the Army. He feels totally blessed that he never had to do anything more distasteful than hang out in Korea for a few years.

Another good sign that Americans have wised up to the foolishness of war is that an ex-marine, Gulf War vet I know readily spoke out against the War in Iraq. He thought the war was a stupid idea… refreshingly non Semper Fi…

Mary, I share much of your feelings. However I am not certain if we will ever be without war or the possibilty of war. I can not be anti-military for that reason. I can be vigilant about the leaders we have that promote miltarism as foriegn policy. I believe the best soliders are those who fervantly hope their training for war will never have to be used.

As for the discussion of America's growing disenchantment with the war in Iraq it is clear many in the US bought the "war can be a cake walk" coming from Washington in the run up to the invasion. I am not sure many in our military had these delusions. The "Chicken Hawks" in the War Party held sway after 911and their vision became the military's nightmare.

Of course war kills people and costs money. That would happen to be what war is. Whether or not the war is for a good reason is the point. Saying that people suffered and that resources were expended does not contribute to debate on whether or not a war was worthwhile.

I personally support the toppling of dictators, and sometimes think maybe we should start having some speeches made around the county on the virtues of freedom, democracy, and American interests. Self righteous rhetoric from those whom have probably never visted the third world and like to pretend that the world is one giant Chapel Hill really shouldn't be the only viewpoint expressed.

Ideally, yes, war would be nonexistant. But it is a tool that can be used for good or evil. Look at the war's causes, not the expense. If it is needed, it is needed. If not, then it is not.

"Look at war's causes, not the expense. If it's needed, it's needed"

Did you really think that through Chris? Look only at the benefit and ignore the cost? Sound's like an arguement for public art and free bus rides. I hate to talk about war as just another public good like trash pick up or street fairs but I suppose it is. I use the same thinking.

I don't have an opinion on the war in Iraq. This wouldn't be the fourm for it anyway. My point is that I understand that the world isn't "one giant Chapel Hill" Outside of Chapel Hill people go hungry and fear for thier lives. Saying "of course war kills people and cost's money" is easy here; it's an academic excercise of a person who's fed and protected.

"bourgeoisie" is the word. I had to look it up becouse I couldn't spell it. Strange, never stopped me before.


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