A Veteran For Peace whom I met twice was the late Admiral Noel Gaylor. He retired after 45 years of active duty in the US Navy. Gaylor was the most forceful speaker against nuclear weapons I ever heard. With great conviction he declared “The only defense against nuclear weapons is to stop building them.” That was his plea on Hiroshima Day, August 6, 1982 in the Haverford Quaker College of Philadelphia.
Philly is the stronghold of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) on Cherry Street where I was invited to attend Quaker meetings that focused on resistance to militarism and warfare of any nature. AFSC can be traced back to Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin and beyond to George Fox (1624-1691).
Veterans For Peace (VFP) was founded in 1985 and is based in the heartland – 216 S. Meramec Ave. St. Louis, MO. 63105(www.veteransforpeace.org)
As some elected officials in the USA seem determined to scuttle any possibility of continuing nuclear negotiations with Iran, it is obvious we have forgotten our CIA intervention in 1953 which overthrew an elected Mossadegh government. The Prime Minister was intending to resume Iranian control of oil. Such a bold move was an affront to Britain, and other western powers that wanted to maintain domination of Iran’s oil. Israel’s manipulation of US foreign policy led the US to supply weapons to both Iraq and Iran in the 1980’s. If these two nations were destroying each other, they would not be a threat to Israel. Iran and Iraq are victimized nations after decades of warfare.
The Iran-Contra arms for drugs chapter of US history is too lengthy and embarrassing for inclusion here.
Let us just count war casualties for the sake of brevity.
Memorial Day 2011 Veterans For Peace issued “THE TRUE COST OF WAR! Extending from the revolutionary struggle through Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the numbers of military and civilian deaths might lead us away from further bloody foreign policy blunders.
According to VFP researchers there were 1,305,422 military deaths and a staggering 51,219,331 civilian deaths. Civilian deaths include millions who died in Nazi concentration camps. 50 to one odds are bad for civilians.
Who then can be trusted? The nation with the least amount of power is more trustworthy. Costa Rica disarmed in 1948 and is the only demilitarized nation in our hemisphere. Their only “attack” came from “contras” funded by President Reagan in his effort to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. Contras operated secretly in Costa Rica and other neighboring nations. Which nation is least trustworthy in this hemisphere? “It is better to be trusted than to be loved.” (George MacDonald)
Richard McSorley, SJ wisely asks:” Can we go along with the intent to use nuclear weapons? What it is wrong to do, it is wrong to intend to do. If it is wrong for me to kill you, it is wrong for me to plan to do it….Likewise, if I intended to use nuclear weapons in massive retaliation; I have already committed massive murder in my heart.
Will our elected officials consider input from Admiral Gaylor and Veterans For Peace?