2014 LIPW Annual Meeting Summary
The LIPW Annual Meeting, held Jan. 26, 2014, featured Titus Peachey on the theme, “After the War.” Peachey is Coordinator for Peace Education, Mennonite Central Committee. The theme was selected to introduce the 2014 LIPW focus on the environmental, human and economic consequences of war in places like Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, Balkans and many more countries. The focus is not only on devastation in other countries. The focus also includes the theft from the American domestic and civilian economy by the military industrial complex. (Ref. the famous words of President Eisenhower)
Titus has worked with international agencies on removal of unexploded cluster bombs since 1994, and participated in the movement to ban cluster munitions which resulted in the signing of an international treaty in 2008. Titus and his wife Linda worked served with MCC in emergency relief and development
During the nine year Secret War, the U. S. dropped at least 260 million cluster munitions on Laos. There was an average of one bombing mission every eight minutes around the clock, 1964-1973. Roughly 25 to 33 per cent did not explode on impact as designed and still lie scattered throughout the fields and gardens and villages of Laos, posing a lethal threat to every day activities. More than 200 Laotians are still being killed every year from accidental explosions, 40 per cent of them children.
The Laotian case study was presented as a microcosm of a global issue. Researcher Barry Sanders reports that “The world’s militaries combined are responsible for an astonishing two-thirds of the ozone-depleting greenhouse gas, chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC-113 released into the atmosphere.” Sanders also reports that a single cruise missile carries within its casing 800 pounds of depleted uranium. The U. S. air force dropped 800 of those bombs in the first two days of the Iraq war, Operation Iraqi Freedom. Long term damage to body systems from radiation is widely documented, for Iraqis and for allied forces as well.
A 2011 MIT study urges the importance of being informed about the consequences of war. “We should care about what happens to these people and societies, not only for moral reasons, but also because forgetting has consequences.”
Discussion by the 60 persons attending the Annual Meeting had some follow-up suggestions.
- Several events and resources in 2014 will be announced through the LIPW network.
- The “Soul Repair Center” at Texas Christian University deals with the effect of moral injury on soldiers who fight our wars.
- Participants were urged to become informed, organize discussion groups and address policymakers.
- Some urged training in nonviolence and converting military industries into civilian industries.
- On Feb. 8, 9:00-10:30, 1040for peace is sponsoring a seminar on conscientious objection to paying war tax, at Akron Mennonite Church, Akron, Pa. For information contact www.1040forpeace.org, or call John Stoner-717-859-3388.
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Other ways to spend your community’s share of the U.S. defense budget
Defense Contracts in Lancaster County, 2000-2012: $1.2 billion (See document on table)
See Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) websites on socio-economic Costs of War
Barry Sanders, The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism. Oakland: AK Press, 2009. Also see book review by Shannon Vance-Ocampo, in UnBound, Dec. 4, 2012, Presbyterian Church of the USA