Category Archives: War

CLIMATE CHANGE: No more war! No more warming! Give us peace on earth!

Rev. John Dear, S.J.by John Dear

The following remarks were delivered yesterday in New York City at the Peace Rally at the People’s Climate March. 

Dear friends, on this historic day, in the name of the God of peace, the Creator, we call for an end to the destruction of the environment. We say, Stop the suicidal pursuit of fossil fuels, stop greenhouse gas emissions, stop the keystone pipeline project and fracking and offshore drilling. Fund alternatives such as wind and solar power, pursue 100% clean energy by every nation; enact a new national policy and way of life that serves creation. Let’s protect the earth, the air, the sea, the sky and all our creatures and all humanity!

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But today we also say, in the name of the God of peace, the Creator, if we want to stop the war on earth, we need to stop our wars and pursue the coming of peace on earth. So we say: stop all wars and stop the warming! The U.S. military is the single greatest institutional producer of greenhouse gases in the world. We say, cut the U.S. military budget; redirect those trillions of dollars to fund human needs and cleaning up the earth. Stop our bombings and drone strikes and occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Palestine and Yemen; bring the troops home. War is not the answer. War only benefits the one percent and their oil companies and weapons manufacturers. War is not the will of God. War is immoral, unjust and illegal. War never brings peace; it always sows the seeds for future wars and more terrorist attacks and catastrophic climate change. We want a new world without war, we want peace on earth!

Today in the name of the God of peace, the Creator, as we approach the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Congress just approved $1 trillion dollars to upgrade our nuclear arsenal over the next three decades. This is criminal, immoral, and insane. We need to dismantle our nuclear arsenal and use those trillions to feed the hungry at home and abroad, to house the homeless, build better schools, create green jobs and healthcare for all and a more just immigration program, to clean up the earth and fund nonviolent conflict resolution. Nuclear weapons don’t protect us. They poison the earth, they’re bad for our health, they bankrupt our economy, they threaten the whole planet, they destroy our souls, and they mock the Creator. After 70 years, we say, fulfill the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, retire the bomb, abolish nuclear weapons, give us a nuclear free world!

Today in the name of the God of peace, the Creator, as people of faith, conscience and goodwill, in the spirit of Gandhi, Dorothy Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr., we say we are sick and tired of violence and war, racism and sexism, corporate greed and neglect of the poor, of all the killings, extinctions and destruction of the earth. Martin Luther King was right: nonviolence is our only hope, our only way forward, our only future. As Dr. King said, we are not powerless. We have a power, the power of active nonviolence to change the world. So we pledge to become people of nonviolence, to practice nonviolence in our personal lives, non-cooperate with the culture of violence, and work for a new nonviolent world.

Today, in the name of the God of peace, the Creator, like the Abolitionists of old who announced the abolition of slavery and the vision of a new world of equality, we announce the abolition of war itself, and poverty, and corporate greed, and hunger and nuclear weapons and systemic injustice and environmental destruction. We announce the coming of a new world of nonviolence, a new culture of peace with justice for every human being, for every creature, and for the planet. This week, www.CampaignNonviolence.org has organized over 235 marches, rallies and actions across the U.S., in every state, against war, poverty and environmental destruction, for a new culture of peace. With Campaign Nonviolence, we dedicate the rest of our lives to the nonviolent struggle for justice and peace. We pledge to keep building a global grassroots movement of nonviolence for all creation and all humanity.

Dear friends, keep on speaking out for peace and for the earth. Keep on praying for the gift of peace on earth. Keep on organizing and acting and standing up for humanity and creation. Keep on practicing nonviolence and keep on marching for a new future of peace and justice.

Thank you and God bless you!

 

REFLECTION: Confessions of a military skeptic

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by Thomas Reese, S.J., NCR

When it comes to the use of the military, I am neither a hawk nor a pacifist. I am a skeptic.

One of my earliest memories was overhearing my parents talking about the Korean War. I was sitting under a large sycamore tree in our backyard reading a comic book about World War II. I remember being shocked to learn that war was real; it was not just something in comic books.

Growing up Catholic in the 1950s meant that you heard about the horrors perpetrated by atheistic Communists against believers. At school, we even practiced getting under our desks in case of a nuclear attack. I remember discussing whether a first strike against the Soviet Union and China was morally permissible. People unwilling to consider such a strike were considered soft on communism. “If nuclear war is inevitable, let’s make sure we win, even if we do lose a half dozen major cities.” This strategy seemed both heroic and realistic to my young mind.

The Vietnam War became my generation’s struggle to defeat communism and protect Vietnamese Catholics from torture and slaughter. It seemed a righteous cause in the defense of a people under attack. Only later did I learn of inept military leadership, corrupt allies, and how we destroyed villages to save them. At my 50th high school reunion in 2012, we saw the cost as the faces of classmates who had died in that war were projected on a screen.

After thousands died, North Vietnam won. Catholics are still harassed, but the predicted bloodbath did not take place. The country turned to capitalism and trade, and rather than being aligned with China as predicted, the two countries became competitors. Years later, as I watched the Berlin Wall come down, I thanked God that those nuclear realists never had their fingers on the button….

Read the entire article by clicking here.

VIDEO: “How does this end?” questions military intervention

from Brave New Films

Since 1980, we have militarily intervened at least 35 times in more than 27 countries. We keep bombing, we continue spending trillions of dollars, but we’re no safer as a result…

VIDEO: The Church and war, a look at the “humanitarian intervention” norm

The following video is from Rome Reports.

WAR: Pope says world’s many conflicts amount to piecemeal World War III

from Reuters

popefrancisholylandPope Francis said on Saturday the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism” sowing death and destruction.

“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy’s largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.

The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago….

Click here to read the entire article.

IRAQ-SYRIA: The U.S. and ISIS

by Stephen Zunes
in The Huffington Post

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At the start of classes one year ago, I was having to explain to my students why the United States appeared to be on the verge of going to war against the Syrian government. At the beginning of this semester, exactly one year later, I’m having to explain to my students why the United States may be on the verge of going to war against Syrian rebels.

It is not surprising, therefore, that while the horrors unleashed by forces of the so-called Islamic State are all-too-real, there is skepticism regarding the use of military force.

Already U.S. planes and missiles have been attacking ISIS forces in northern Iraq. Given the real threat of a heightened genocidal campaign against Yazidis and other minorities and the risks of ISIS control expanding into the Kurdish region, even some of those normally averse to unilateral U.S. military intervention abroad were willing to acknowledge it may have been the least bad option.

Within days, however, there were already indications of “mission creep,” as what had been officially declared an exclusively defensive mission turned offensive when the United States provided air support for Kurdish and Iraqi forces, which seized the Mosul Dam from ISIS forces.

Even if one can make a convincing strategic case for such a military operation, the failure of President Obama to go before Congress for authorization of this renewed military intervention in Iraq is extremely disturbing…

Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

9/11: A call to prayer and peacemaking

Jim Hugby Jim Hug S.J.

A flurry of conflicting realities converged on me this morning in a way I found challenging:

 

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  • The Gospel at liturgy happened to be Luke 6:27-38: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… Turn the other cheek…. Then you will be children of the Most High, for God is kind even to the ungrateful and the wicked.”
  • President Obama addressed our Christian nation last evening promising to “degrade and destroy” ISIS in Iraq and Syria and anywhere they go.
  • This military effort is in part to protect the vulnerable Iraqis that we pray for every day here at Mass since the Adrian Dominican community where I worship has Iraqi sisters who have had to flee Mosul and are with their families among the displaced and desperate. They wrote to us just a few days ago complaining that “our cries are ignored, and the world turns a blind eye to our sufferings.”
  • Some argue that bombing ISIS and other such groups only helps their recruitment. Others insist Obama has shown weakness and lack of leadership by not acting militarily sooner and more forcefully – thereby encouraging terrorism.  Still others remind us of our responsibility to protect the vulnerable.
  • On this 13th anniversary of 9-11-2001, NPR aired two short segments from Story Corps in which individuals who lost loved ones in the Twin Towers in NY remembered their loved ones with heartrending words.
  • On this day, 9-11, in 1941, ground was broken in Northern Virginia for the building of the Pentagon.
  • Someone left me a quotation in the Missal today that leapt off the page: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children…. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.  Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” ~President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
  • Pax Christi regions across the U.S. are launching a campaign soon with an ad in NCR declaring that “it’s time for the Catholic Church to reject ‘just war’ as inconsistent with the teaching and example of Jesus and to become a Just Peace Church.”
  • A committed intentional Eucharistic community that I have been associated with for decades has had a long debate about whether it could sign on to that ad – and could not reach consensus.

We as a Church community and as a national community are deeply divided over how to respond to violence and injustice and how best to work for peace. Respectful and probing public discussion could certainly help us move forward a little.  The path will inevitably be long and difficult.

I hope, though – and believe – that at this time we should all be able to agree on the importance of investing more of our resources and energies in new and creative approaches to large-scale peacemaking.  And join in prayer for peace for all peoples, bringing resurrection from our global cross of iron.