Encounter in Nagasaki

by Joe Scarry

Two days ago I visited the atomic bomb memorials in Nagasaki; yesterday I walked around the city, thinking about what I had seen.

I ended up in the late afternoon at the Glover Garden, which provide a panoramic view of the city and the harbor. Jet lag was starting to set in, and I plopped down on a bench under an arbor to drink a bottle of cold green tea from one of the ubiquitous drink vending machines.
Some little boys — part of a school group — were enjoying looking over the low hedge and shouting into the distance. From their sheepish glances over their shoulders, they seemed to know they were on the verge of violating some kind of behavior norm.

Then they caught site of me, and started to say, “Hello!” I wasn’t really in the mood to talk, partly because I was tired, and partly because any gang of a dozen little kids can make you tired, but, I think, mainly because talking reminded me of my utter failure to do the work I had intended to do before this trip to recapture some of the Japanese language that I had learned 30 years ago. I nodded politely and hoped that they would go back to their group leader.

Then one little girl started to talk to me. “Where are you from?” she asked. And while she said this she looked at her classmates and gestured for them to back away, as much as to say, “Give me some space here or the subject is going to flee the interview.”
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What will it take to reclaim Armistice Day for peace?

by Joe Scarry

Yesterday was the anniversary of the November 11, 1918, World War I armistice – a day known around the world as Armistice Day, and called Veterans Day in the US.

Armistice Day commemorates the idea of ending all war — a goal that was crystal clear to the people who suffered through WWI.

The problem with calling the day “Veterans Day” is that the day tends to become a celebration of the military, and of war, instead of what it was originally intended for: a warning AGAINST war.

Yes, taking care of veterans is a HUGE task and a priority. Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace, and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, puts it in a nutshell: “Don’t thank me anymore . . . . Take care of us when we return home and work to end all war.”
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June 5, 1917: A Close-up on the Mechanism of War

by Joe Scarry

When I wrote about my grandfather’s WWI service — and the reason he enlisted — someone asked, “Don’t you suppose he was drafted?”

This led me to discover the Selective Service Act of 1917, and learn about the easy availability of individual draft records from WWI online.

So here’s what I learned:

Draft record for Martin Melker of Nesquehoning, PA
under the Selective Service Act of 1917.

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November 11, 1918: Another Veteran for Peace

by Joe Scarry

I don’t know what induced Granddaddy Melker to serve in WWI. I know there was a lot of talk about patriotism, and the pressure on US people of German descent to prove their loyalty was especially strong.

I do know that my grandfather never said anything positive about the war, and that he claimed that he used to shoot his rifle up in the air, over the heads of the enemy.

The best glimpse I have into what he experienced there comes from a letter that I am holding in my hand right now. It’s dated October 18, 1918, and it was sent from Packerton, PA. I don’t know what day it reached my grandfather in France. In those days I suppose it would have taken a month to reach a soldier at the front. It probably didn’t reach him until after the wonderful news on November 11 that an armistice had been signed.
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Flasback: How About a REAL (Tea) Party? SHUT DOWN THE MILITARY BASES!

by Joe Scarry

Since we’re being given a taste of what can happen when parts of the U.S. federal government are shut down, let’s talk about having a real party: how about shutting down all those military bases?

Just think how much money would be saved if the U.S. shut down its approximately 1,000 military bases around the world.

(It’s not just the direct costs of the bases themselves. Every base is an “enabler” of spending on personnel, weapons, etc. etc. etc.)
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October 28, 2015, GOP Debate: “Your money, their DoD”

by Joe Scarry

Tonight’s GOP debate is entitled “Your money, your vote.”

It should be called “Your money, their DoD” (as in “Department of Defense”).

(Of course, you won’t hear a peep from any of the contenders about military spending.)

The number one reason the Republican Party has become RINO (“Republican in name only”) is that, for all their caterwauling about spending, they wouldn’t dream of challenging the military industrial complex.

And the rest of us sit back and watch this show, with nary a thought in our brains . . . .

Why aren’t we talking about cutting defense spending?
(This graph is from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Another good source is One Minute for Peace.)

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Posted in American Military Culture, Barack Obama, Events, George Bush, Military Industrial Complex Revisited, National Security State, NeoCons and Nationalists, The New Peace Movement | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ralph Nader on Left/Right Coalitions Against the Empire

Tommy Raskin interviews Ralph Nader about American militarism and antiwar politics. The Center for Study of Responsive Law created this video in affiliation with the Amherst Political Union.

Posted in Military Industrial Complex Revisited, National Security State, NeoCons and Nationalists, The Left's Challenge, The New Peace Movement, The Right's Challange | Tagged | Leave a comment