published Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Cook: As We Wait For War To End

I wonder if war will ever end. I wonder if the day will come when the powers-that-be decide to abolish war like governments abolished slavery.

Do you think that could happen?

Until the day comes when swords are beaten into ploughshares, our work should be to help heal as much damage that comes from war as possible.

And I believe the truest statement I can make about war is that no one is spared from the damage.

Friday is Veterans Day. I’d like to shine a light on three areas that will help honor, dignify and rehabilitate veterans in our area.

First: Create a Veterans Court within Chattanooga. Appearing in New York nearly four years ago, a Veterans Court helps detour veterans away from prison sentences.

Returning to the U.S. after the unimaginable stress of war-time tours, veterans often suffer post-war trauma, like some sort of societal hand-grenade exploding on their lives. Stats show the damage:

* The Veterans Administration estimates that 107,000 vets are homeless on any given night.

* The U.S. Interagency Council on the Homeless estimates that vets make up 23 percent of the country’s homeless population.

Drug abuse among servicemen and women tripled between 2005 and 2008.

A Veteran’s Court takes first-time criminal offenders who are veterans and reroutes them away from prison by offering counseling, substance abuse help, job training and alternative sentencing.

Vets promise to follow guidelines for treatment and rehab instead of jail. The original New York Veterans Court boasts a zero percent recidivism rate. No one appears before the judge more than once.

Why not here?

Second: A story-telling group of veterans needs to emerge. There is a massive gulf between civilian understanding of warfare and the experience of veterans. The flag-waving and ceremonies that come Friday are important, but perhaps a more meaningful experience would be to create a space that allows vets to tell their stories.

“Soldiers have a responsibility to defend their country, and it is our responsibility as citizens to heal those who have put their lives on the line for us, even if they fought a war for the wrong reasons or for lies. And we’re not doing that,” said Edward Tick, director of the Soldiers Heart program in an interview with The Sun magazine.

“We have a parade and shoot off fireworks, which scare the hell out of many veterans,” said Tick, whose program helps heal the physical, emotional and spiritual wounds of war. “A better way to honor them would be to listen to their stories. We should give them new ways to serve and an honorable place in our communities.”

Third: We must cutoff our dependency on fossil fuels.

“Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment,” claims the 2010 Department of Defense Quadrennial Report. “Climate change will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that we undertake.

The more we let the monster of fossil fuel dependency grow, the more likely future wars will occur. The military sees climate change and energy insecurity as two factors that will cause massive instability in the years to come.

To prevent future conflicts and wars, we must transfer to a clean-energy system. Every time I fill up my 15-miles-per-gallon car, waste energy at home and don’t demand a cleaner system of energy, I am supporting practices that may one day put our troops in harm’s way.

By 2020, the U.S. Navy plans on reducing by 50 percent its reliance on petroleum. The U.S. Army — which cut its water usage by 31 percent since 2004 — plans on securing 25 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2025. The Pentagon has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in many of its projects by one-third in 10 years.

If they can do this, so can Chattanooga.

View your energy bill the way folks in World War II viewed Victory Gardens. Demand TVA make a switch to cleaner power in the name of the veteran you know and love. Encourage Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield to make the city’s Office of Sustainability a cabinet-level position.

Envision a city with 50 percent fewer gas-powered cars on the roads. Picture a city with roof-top gardens — all named after area vets — as nearby workers retrofit existing buildings to extremely energy efficient ones.

People’s lives depend on it. God knows sacrifice goes both ways. We may not be able to end war in our lifetime, but we can at least start the healing.

David Cook can be reached at davidcook@blumail.org.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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shen said...

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace Jimi Hendrix

November 10, 2011 at 1:05 a.m.
librul said...

If you flip over the rock of American foreign policy of the past century, this is what crawls out…

invasions … bombings … overthrowing governments … occupations … suppressing movements for social change … assassinating political leaders … perverting elections … manipulating labor unions … manufacturing "news" … economic and political sanctions ... death squads … torture … biological warfare … depleted uranium … drug trafficking … mercenaries …

It's not a pretty picture. It is enough to give imperialism a bad name.

Read the full details in:

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. by William Blum

http://www.killinghope.org

"Far and away the best book on the topic." Noam Chomsky

"I enjoyed it immensely." Gore Vidal

"I bought several more copies to circulate to friends with the hope of shedding new light and understanding on their political outlooks." Oliver Stone

"A very valuable book. The research and organization are extremely impressive." A. J. Langguth, author, former New York Times Bureau Chief

"A very useful piece of work, daunting in scope, important." Thomas Powers, author, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

"Each chapter I read made me more and more angry." Dr. Helen Caldicott, international leader of the anti-nuclear and environmental movements.

November 11, 2011 at 8:23 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Librul, thanks for the tip. I will read this book.

I do not share the predominant view of most people, both liberal and conservative, who hold our service men and women in such high esteem. I have infinite respect for those who served in WW2 because that was truly a war that mattered and made a positive difference in the world. However, in those days we did not have the military industrial complex so firmly entrenched in government as it is today and in fact has been in place from the days of Eisenhower, who gravely warned us about it. Practically every war this country has engaged in since WW2 has been an imperialistic act of aggression, and the number of innocent lives we have taken as "collateral damage," not to mention the number of American soldiers used as mere fodder, is mind boggling.

While most Americans seem to still hold sacred the notion of serving in the military as the supreme sacrifice for country, no matter how senseless or unjustified the war, I believe that to serve in today's military is basically selling oneself out to the military machine for no good reason. When we engage in wars where it is oftentimes impossible to differentiate the enemy from the general population, the end result is that we kill more innocent people than enemy combatants. To be a soldier in today's military is basically to agree to become a murderer of innocent men, women, and children. And these soldiers willingly continue to join and return for more tours of duty, knowing full well that the wars are based on a lie in the first place and that they will have to kill many innocent people. I do not have an ounce of respect for those who blindly follow orders and call it “honor” and who kill innocent people and call it “patriotism.” I respect far more those who say no in the first place or those who, having served and seen how senseless and evil it all is, walk away from it and refuse to go back and participate in the blood-lust of war that this country feeds on.

November 12, 2011 at 10:34 a.m.
librul said...

A great collection of kick-a$$ documentary video from John Pilger is here:

http://www.johnpilger.com/videos

Especially watch "The War On Democracy"

November 12, 2011 at 2:42 p.m.
Fire_Obama said...

War is the human condition. As long as we have people who want to take for themselves things they have not earned. People who covet the neighbors property, status and position. People who are never satisfied with what they can create for themselves with honest labor or design with their minds. As long as we have people who will go with the crowd and not bother to examine the motives of their leaders and the evidence for their cause, we will have sheeple, useful idiots, to do the bidding of those who seek to take from another without making the sacrifices to create it for themselves... We will have war. Examine those who push to to redistribute wealth. There are those among us who've come from a POLITICAL IDEOLOGY built on dominating others. For instance, those trying to get Rep. Rick Womick's head are politically motivated. The truth is this has noting to do with race, Islam is NOT a race. It also has far less to do with religion than it does political ideology. Specifically it does have to do with an individual's ability to place any oath to any GOVERNMENT other than Islam. Islam not only advocates a religious superiority over the kafir—the kafirs go to Hell whereas Muslims go to Paradise—but also its doctrine demands that Muslims dominate the kafir in all politics and culture. This domination is political, not religious. As a result Muslims are for bidden to subordinate their allegiance to Islam except as a deception perpetrated on a Kafir (non-believer) for a time in order to get a POLITICAL ADVANTAGE. This is according to their Hadith written specifically for NORTH AMERICAN MUSLIMS TODAY, not written 1200 years ago. The Hadith are traditions and are currently being written by Muslim clerics. We need not anyone in service to this country hold their oath to the United State of America subservient to other POLITICAL ENTITIES or as a temporary strategy to gain a position. This is not a matter of religion, it is a matter of POLITICAL ALLEGIANCE.

If anyone proceeds to condemn Rep. Womick without fully examining these facts they are useful idiots. You can track, everywhere Islam goes it uses these techniques. It is a very successful technique. The end result is the elimination of the original culture and any political or religious forms that serve as a threat to full allegiance to their POLITICAL SYSTEM.

Examine the issue in detail at: http://www.politicalislam.com

November 17, 2011 at 9:35 a.m.
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