Liberty Pax Christi is reading, “Just Peacemaking Initiative: The Challenge and Promise of Nonviolence for Our Time,” a joint publication of JustFaith Ministries and Pax Christi USA. We reflected on the true costs of the Iraq War, our nation’s addiction to violence and war as a means to security, and how the costs of war deprive resources for those in need. What can we as people of faith do to reverse the increasing violence? Civil war has started once again in Iraq and our country is deciding our response. The US spent three trillion dollars on invasion and war in Iraq between 2003-11.
I believe people of faith need to speak out against war. I shared with Liberty Pax Christi some of the ways PeaceWorks-KC gave witness in the Trifecta Resista May 30-June 1. I participated in some of the activities and saw first hand the power of peaceful resistance. These events included a rally in Leavenworth, KS. seeking pardon for Chelsea Manning, who is serving 35 years in Ft. Leavenworth Prison for revealing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Greg Boertje-Obed, who is serving 5 years in the Federal Penitentiary for demonstrating against nuclear weapons at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee uranium processing site. Other rallies were at the Bannister Federal Complex in Kansas City and Whiteman Airforce Base near Knob Noster, MO.
Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, spoke at Trifecta Resista and was arrested for trespassing at Whiteman Airforce Base on June 1st. Killer drones are guided from Whiteman AFB, and B2 nuclear bombers are based there as well. When asked earlier about crossing the line and earning a likely sentence of 4-6 months, Kathy replied, “It’s impossible to find actions commensurate with the crimes being committed in wars and preparation for wars. When trillions of dollars and needed ingenuity and scientific skills are controlled by militaries, societies cannot meet human needs. Commensurate actions elude us. But we can each do what we can. I hope our action at Whiteman will heighten awareness of how urgently our voices are needed.”
As we form our moral opinions of the ongoing Iraq War, I encourage us to express conscientious objection to entering the conflict. Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines recently wrote an insightful article in America Magazine, “Iraq: Unintended Consequences and Lessons for U.S. Policy.” He is Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He said, “The tragedy of Iraq today could have been predicted given U.S. policy decisions in 2003. Many warned that the invasion would lead not only to the death and destruction inevitable in war, but to wider economic, political and social tragedies for Iraq, the United States and the global community. The Holy See and U.S. bishops were prominent among those voices, basing their concerns on the church’s moral teaching on war, peace and international relations.”
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.