When will we learn the lesson of war?

Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece was written by Ground Zero member Marianne Mabbitt, and published in the Kitsap Sun on September 19, 2017. 

Sunday’s opening episode of the new Ken Burns documentary airing on PBS this week, “The Vietnam War,” exposed some history of Vietnam that was never common knowledge in the United States.
Most Americans knew that it was once called French Indonesia and that the French had a long embattlement and defeat in Vietnam. However, most of us never read of Hoh Chi Min’s experiences in the United States and England, or that he’d written letters to American presidents expressing his values as similar to many in the U.S. Constitution: of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, of freedom and independence. That was his goal for the people of Vietnam. Five American presidents, from Truman through Nixon, stated at one time or another their aversion to war there, and yet it continued.
The documentary reviews the horrors of war, the waste of lives and resources, the humiliation of our televised defeat after so long a struggle and the agony survivors endured and still do today. We are repeating similar painful experiences in the Middle East, the United States having been in Afghanistan for over 14 years with no end in sight.

Certainly, we as Americans have doubts about our mission and effectiveness in fighting foreign wars and we are tired of these unending wars that squander the lives and talents of our servicemen and women. The money, technology, research and energy should be redirected to life sustaining projects. The enormous tax dollars we spend on the military budget is obscene compared to the budget of our social programs needed at home such as schools, housing, energy, transportation, agriculture and preserving natural resources. The legislators and corporations that make up the war machine continue to lie to us so they can continue to rake in huge profits.

Various pieces of the military industrial complex are in every state in our nation. We are told we must keep supporting them for the jobs they provide us. But the money is siphoned from programs we need, from jobs we’d rather be doing that are constructive to our own society, not destructive to others. In the end, we are the ones we destroy as well. We bring home the guerrilla military tactics, the weapons, the nightmares and violence. The United States continues to escalate the level of violence in our own land in our media, in our schools, our games, our sports, on our streets and in our homes. “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.”

When will we learn that war only begets more wars? When will we deny the war machine our tax dollars and demand that we build up our own nation again? Democracy demands an informed electorate to vote rationally but we have so limited our real news sources and dumbed down our schools that the future looks very bleak for the youth of the United States. Who is paying attention to the next war on the horizon?

Resist a first strike of North Korea! We must resist the litany of atrocities committed in our name in any country. Today we are on the brink of another war with North Korea. This one involves a nuclear weapons exchange that could annihilate the earth’s atmosphere as we know it. The planet cannot withstand any more nuclear explosions. Tell your representatives to support the Senate bill, ‘Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017.’ It requires Congress to authorize nuclear weapons strikes rather than the President alone. We must stop the cycle of violence our country imposes on others and on ourselves.

We must stop the bleeding and bind our wounds. We must dialogue and plan for the near future and envision a country that believes and ACTs towards liberty and justice for all. If not now, when? If not us, who will do it? If we don’t act, will we even be here after a nuclear war North Korea?

M.G. Mabbitt lives in Silverdale.

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If We Can Risk Nuclear War, We Can Risk Nuclear Disarmament

Save the Dates: August 12th through August 14

Ground Zero Center will hold its annual remembrance of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a full weekend of events.

Starting on Saturday, August 12th we will have the second annual Boats By Bangor in which a full flotilla will sail by the Bangor Trident submarine base. Boats will launch from King Spit, and following the flotilla will be a beach picnic, followed by an evening concert at Ground Zero Center by folksinger Tom Rawson.

On Sunday, August 13th we have a full day that will include nonviolence training, updates on nuclear weapons issues, music, and preparation for Monday’s action.

On Monday morning we will have a vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor base.

Ground Zero will also participate in the annual From Hiroshima to Hope lantern ceremony at Seattle’s Green Lake on August 6th.

Click here to view and download the full-page event flyer. A quarter-page version is also available, and is great for handing out. Click here for the quarter-page version. 

Send your questions to info@gzcenter.org.

Ground Zero August 2017 SCHEDULE
IF WE CAN RISK NUCLEAR WAR, WE CAN RISK NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
72nd Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings

Wednesday, August 2
Peace Fleet greets US Navy on Seattle waterfront; noon on the water; 1:00 PM on land; location TBD

Sunday, August 6
From Hiroshima to Hope, Green Lake Park, Seattle

Friday, August 11
6:00 PM – GZ Center house open; BYO dinner
7:00 PM – Private screening of Helen Young film “The Nuns, the Priests, and the Bombs” for cast, crew & GZ community

Saturday, August 12 “Boats By Bangor”
9:00 Continental breakfast
(Activity managers oversee watercraft transfer from Ground Zero Center to Kings Spit, Old Bangor)
10:00 Welcome, registration, review of safety procedures for “Boats By Bangor” activity; sign-up list for GZ House chores
11:00 Welcome gathering for arriving Peacewalkers
11:30 Potluck lunch
12:30 Carpool to Kings Spit
1:00 Launch kayaks with powerboat support
4:00 Kayaks/boats return to Kings Spit; barbecue picnic
5:30 Post-picnic cleanup & packout
6:00 Move boats off beach
6:30 Coffee and dessert at Ground Zero Center
7:00 Tom Rawson concert
Post-Concert: Collective Cleanup

Sunday, August 13
9:00 Breakfast & registration
10:00 Welcome & orientation to Ground Zero by Marianne Mabbitt
10:10 Briefing by Ground Zero and WPSR member Dave Hall on Trident issue
11:00-11:45 Keynote speech: Video presentation by author/antiwar activist David Swanson with follow-on discussion moderated by Elizabeth Murray
12:00 Lunch
12:45 Cleanup
1:00 Nonviolence training
2:00 Choosing roles, discernment & action planning for those considering risking arrest
Letter-writing, sign-making, or peace crane-folding, possible vigil in Silverdale (TBD)
4:00 Role-playing scenarios to rehearse for action
5:00 Affix peace cranes to fence bordering naval base
5:30 Dinner & cleanup
6:30 Hank ‘n Claire concert

Monday, August 14
5:30 Light breakfast & cleanup
6:15 Check-in for those risking arrest
6:30 Gathering Circle
7:00 AM Action at naval base
9:00 AM Closing circle/debriefing

 

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Peace Fleet Meets War Fleet

Local activists will stage a water-based nonviolent protest against the glorification of weapons of war at the Seattle Seafair festival. Peace activists will meet the U.S. Navy fleet in Elliott Bay.

Other peace activists will meet on land at Waterfront Park on the Seattle waterfront at the same time for a nonviolent demonstration against weapons of war. The rooftop of Pier 66 is closed to the public this year, and Piers 62/63 are construction areas.

All are welcome to participate, either on land or on the water.

What: Peace activists at Seafair. This is the sixteenth year for this demonstration.

When: Wednesday, August 2, noon, Peace Fleet in Elliott Bay. Demonstration on land at Waterfront Park (just south of the Seattle Aquarium) at 1 PM.

Where: In Elliott Bay, near Pier 66. Demonstration on land at Waterfront Park (just south of the Seattle Aquarium.)    

Email info@gzcenter for details on participating on the water. Boats may be docked earlier in Bell Harbor Marina on August 1 or in the morning before the Navy fleet arrival on August 2.

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14 cited at anti-nuclear weapons demonstration

55 people were present on May 13, at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base.  14 demonstrators attempted to block the main highway entrance into the base and were cited by the Washington State Patrol.

At around 3:30 pm on Saturday, six demonstrators entered the highway carrying a large banner stating, “THE EARTH IS OUR MOTHER—TREAT HER WITH RESPECT”, and briefly blocked traffic at the Main Gate at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.  They were removed from the highway by the Washington State Patrol.

After a short period of time, eight other demonstrators entered the highway with a full-size replica of a Trident D-5 missile and were removed by the Washington State Patrol.

During the event, some demonstrators were threatened by the Washington State Patrol with arrest and a weekend in jail with an arraignment in court on Monday.  In the end, all 14 demonstrators were cited for violating RCW 46.61.250, Pedestrians on roadways, and released within an hour.

Those cited by the Washington State Patrol:  Margarita Munoz, Kim Loftness, and Paul Kikuchi of Seattle; Elizabeth Murray of Poulsbo; Ed Digilio of Shoreline; Ramon Nacanaynay of Lynnwood; Lisa Johnson and Mack Johnson of Silverdale; Chris Rogers and Tom Rogers of Keyport; Cliff Kirchmer of Fircrest; James Brecht of Tacoma; Michael Siptroth of Belfair; and Susan Crane of Redwood City, California.

Mother’s Day in the United States was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe as a day dedicated to peace.  Howe saw the effects on both sides of the Civil War and realized destruction from warfare goes beyond the killing of soldiers in battle.

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US.  More than 1,300 nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines based at Bangor or stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) at the Bangor base.

Trident SSBN submarines at Bangor are estimated to carry about 108 nuclear warheads. The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force. Each of the eight submarines deployed at Bangor is capable of producing a destructive force equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs.

At the demonstration on Saturday, Susan Crane, a longtime antinuclear peace activist, spoke of Daniel Berrigan and his warning–that a nuclear war will be legal; that the courts and judges will approve.  But our faith and conviction reminds us of the command: no killing, and no war.

Susan Crane stated, “We are here to act for the next generations, and we are here for active nonviolent solutions and actions.  And we are not alone.  There are many signs of resistance, signs of hope around the world.  Every nonviolent action, no matter how small, creates hope.  And together, these small instances of hope are precursors, a taste, a glimpse, of a nonviolent world.”

Ground Zero member Tom Rogers stated, “our kids deserve to grow up in a world without nuclear weapons.  It is a failure of our generation that they must live in fear of nuclear annihilation and bear the cost of a massive modernization of our nuclear weapons complex.”

The Seattle Peace Chorus Action Ensemble provided demonstrators a strong voice and music for the day.  Members of Veterans for Peace, the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order, and other peace groups in the area provided additional support for the event.

Throughout the day, Ground Zero members were mindful of the recent passing of friend and colleague Mira Leslie.  A small redwood tree was planted near the Gendai Hoto in honor of Mira.

The next planned demonstration will be the annual Ground Zero Peace Fleet demonstration on August 2, 2017 in Elliott Bay.

The next planned demonstration at Bangor will be on August 12, 2017, a Boats by Bangor event in Hood Canal.  The next planned direct action will be on August 14, 2017 at Bangor in commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977.  The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington.  We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.

See photos and raw video at https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjLnSR8uJSzyjRtJmZlhJd_M1-ki   Please download and allow time to see four videos.

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April Ground Zero Newsletter, and much more…

Greetings Friends of Ground Zero Center,

As I sit here contemplating the seemingly endless cycle of global violence and the reactive, shortsighted reactions that continue this madness I find myself working hard to stay centered, and I am all the more grateful for the huge community of people who are working on many levels for a nonviolent world at peace with justice for all. We know that war is NOT the answer, and yet the rush to violent “solutions” and war has become the norm. Concepts like diplomacy become meaningless in such a context. We are continuously fed the false narratives that have evolved from our national mythologies, leading us like lemmings to follow in lockstep. The triple evils of Militarism, Racism and Economic Exploitation (that Dr. King warned us about) have helped build the false (and shaky) foundation of the American Empire that is leading not only our own nation, but the rest of the world along with it, toward the brink of disaster.

As we continue to pour all of our energy and capital into fighting the enemies of our own creation, the very real and existential dangers we face – principally global warming/climate change and nuclear war – continue to grow. Those who have the power to face these challenges are abrogating their responsibilities to their own nations, as well as to the rest of humanity. They are, as one infamous leader did in ancient Rome, “fiddling” while the fire burns. In the U.S. President Trump has called for a massive $54 billion military spending boost while gutting domestic programs, along with agencies and programs essential to creating alternatives to war.

Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda has said that “The real struggle of the 21st century will not be between civilizations, nor between religions. It will be between violence and nonviolence. It will be between barbarity and civilization in the truest sense of the word.” So we continue to rise up in speech and action, as civil society, speaking truth to power, calling on those with the power to find their conscience and their common humanity.

At Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, we continue to stay centered and focused on nonviolence and an end to the scourge of nuclear weapons. Join us (and those with whom we work), as you are able, as we continue in our work for a better world.

Ground Zero Newsletter is Ready to Read!  

Click here to read the online April 2017 Ground Zero Newsletter. Thanks to our editor and all who contributed to this quarterly publication that keeps us all connected.

Putting Trident On Trial April 12th

The “Trident Three” trial is still scheduled for 1:30 PM on Wednesday, April 12th at the Tacoma Union Station Courthouse (1717 Pacific Avenue Tacoma). We will hold a vigil in front of the courthouse beginning at 12:00 PM, and a media conference at 12:30. Please check the GZ Events Calendar for more details.

Jump-Starting Earth Day on April 21st

Every day should be Earth Day, and Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and allies are organizing a big (pre) Earth Day event on Friday April 21, 2017 in Seattle. We will gather at Westlake Park at 11:00 am where prayer, drumming, singing, and a variety of speakers from different movements will engage us. From Westlake Park we will march to the Federal Building where we will continue the rally while a delegation meets with Senators Cantwell and Murray and/or their staffs to call for their leadership in the abolition of nuclear weapons. Click here for more information and to download the flyer to share with others.

GZ Mothers Day Event Update

Please plan to join us the day before Mothers Day to celebrate the original intention of Mothers Day for Peace on Saturday, May 13th. The event planners have the full day’s schedule up at the GZ Events Calendar.

The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs in Tacoma, April 30th

There will be a special screening of the new (and not yet released) documentary “The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs” on Sunday April 30th at 4pm at the Father William Bichsel SJ Hall (aka: The Bix), St. Leo Church, 710 S. 13th St., Tacoma. Filmmaker Helen Young will be present for the screening and post-screening conversation, as will some of the activists featured in the documentary. Please join us for this sneak peek of this much anticipated film.

Nuclear Insights: Survivor Stories and Action to Prevent Nuclear War on April 11th

All are invited to a special event, Nuclear Insights: Survivor Stories and Action to Prevent Nuclear War, on April 11th at University of Washington.This event will feature: Yukiyo Kawano, a third generation hibakusha (nuclear bomb survivor) and local artist; Fumi Groves, President of the local Hiroshima Club, incarcerated at a Japanese internment camp, and whose family members died in Hiroshima; Jim Thomas, a life-long peace activist who has traveled to Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and interviews from Hiroshima survivors. Yukiyo Kawano’s life-size soft sculpture of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Little Boy, will also be on display. Sponsored by the University of Washington Global Zero Chapter, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, From Hiroshima to Hope, and Earthcare not Warfare.

Where: The University of Washington, The HUB, Room 145
When: Tuesday, April 11th, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Contact: (206) 462-9238 or lilly@wpsr.org
Food will be provided at the event.
RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/4qnfOWQcDZDAqpct2
Here’s the link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/273506446437182/

Tax Day Action in Seattle (April 18th)

Join Veterans For Peace (Seattle Chapter 92) on its annual Tax Day Action on April 18th from 11:30 to 1:30 PM at the Federal Building, 915 2nd Ave, Seattle to raise awareness of how our Government spends our tax dollars and the outrageous amount that goes to the military. This action is also part of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, which is a world wide effort to expose the enormous amount of money the U.S. and other nations spend on their military. Click here for the event page.

Take Action on Nuclear Weapons!

As citizens, there are many ways for us to get involved in reducing, and ultimately eliminating, the threat of nuclear war. We can start by writing to our governmental officials. Click here to take action on any of the more than two dozen current action alerts from many organizations. We also invite you to make personal contact with your members of Congress and/or their staffers. Right now is the perfect time to call your members of Congress as they are coming home for the Spring recess through April 23rd. Click here to find the contact information for The White House, and your members of Congress.

Closing Thoughts…

The first round of negotiations toward a treaty banning nuclear weapons is over and, to quote Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will, it was “transformative… not just in terms of banning nuclear weapons, but in terms of international relations and the United Nations more broadly. More than 130 states came together in the absence of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, also known as the “P5”. Even with the opposition of the P5, those present came together in a cooperative spirit, collaborating with civil society to build the elements that can lead to a successful outcome. The President of the conference will prepare a draft text for the treaty before the resumption of negotiations at the UN starting June 15th. This is a most ambitious and important effort, and it is an example of people coming together in our common humanity to build the world envisioned in the founding of the United Nations.

Dr. King reminded us that we have a “choice… nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.” He also urged us to move to action. Above all he reminded us that those in positions of great power must have: compassion to anchor that power, morality to balance their might, and sight to guide their strength. May we continue to work together, as did those at the UN negotiations, toward the goals we seek and to speak truth to power with unified voice, and may the spirit of nonviolence and peace prevail.

For all of us at Ground Zero Center,

Leonard

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