The Common Good

Your voice is being heard!

Sojomail - March 12, 2003

www.sojo.net03.12.2003
Quote of the Week Clare Short draws a line in the sand
Hearts & Minds Jim Wallis: Your voice is being heard!
Batteries Not Included David Batstone: Bush's war threatens U.S. security
Soul Works Robert Bly: Call and answer
Politically Connect Interview with Senator Robert Byrd
By the Numbers Honda least polluting automaker in USA
Funny Business Is Hussein owner of crashed UFO?
Boomerang SojoMail readers hit reply
Culture Watch Danny Duncan Collum: The high cost of corporate radio
Web Scene Print creative anti-war posters | Young peacemakers club | The Royal Canadian Air Farce

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK ^top

"If there is not U.N. authority for military action, or if there is not U.N. authority for the reconstruction of the country, I will not uphold a breach of international law or this undermining of the U.N., and I will resign from the government."

- Clare Short, international development secretary, U.K. government

Read more: "Government minister attacks 'reckless' Blair"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,911062,00.html

HEARTS & MINDS ^top
Your voice is being heard!
by Jim Wallis

Last Friday we sent out an alert with our "Alternative to War" plan. Your response has been amazing! In less than a week, more than 20,000 SojoMail readers have responded and then forwarded it on to more than 65,000 friends. At this late hour, we are telling those in power that there is an alternative. The international community's efforts to disarm Iraq should not include a U.S. war against the Iraqi people.

Here at Sojourners, we've also been very busy. We're emailing and faxing the plan to the members of the U.N. Security Council, our friends in the British government, key senators and representatives, church leaders around the world, and dozens of partner organizations. And we're hearing a lot of interest - from Congress, the State Department, and the media. The Washington Post already featured the plan in an article on Saturday.

If you didn't respond last week, you still have time to let your voice be heard. Just go to http://www.sojo.net/action. You can read the complete 6-point plan and e-mail it from the Web site to President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. You also can use the Web site to send it to your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, pastors, denominations, constituents, and others.

As a member of the Win Without War coalition, we are now involved in helping to plan and promote a Global Candlelight Vigil on Sunday, March 16. At 7 p.m. in every time zone, people around the world are gathering to light candles for peace. Please join with your neighbors in a central location and share in a time of witness and prayer for peace. For more information, go to http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=action.vigil

We have all written letters, gone to demonstrations, and spoken many words. Let's keep those actions going. But let's also come together in this moment to light candles and offer all of our work as a prayer to God. A prayer of hope, a prayer for courage, a prayer for peace - that our world will find a better way than war. At this critical time, let us hear God's promise: "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED ^top
Bush's war threatens U.S. security
by David Batstone

I'm meeting a growing number of executives and economists who oppose the war on Iraq because it's bad for business. As Yale economist Jeffrey Garten - who held policy positions in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Clinton administrations - wrote this week: "America's foreign policy and its economic policy are on a collision course."

War in Iraq will not come cheap for the U.S. economy - and neither will postwar occupation. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bush administration is preparing spending requests totaling as much as $95 billion for a war with Iraq and its aftermath. Let me put that figure in perspective. The federal government spent less than $20 billion in 2002 on all elementary, middle, and high schools combined across the USA. The total NASA budget, to site another example, hovers around $15 billion annually. Add $70 billion to either one of these budgets and we might be able to send a team of astronauts to Mars, or just maybe buy my public school kids their own science book.

More alarming still, not a cent of what will be spent on Iraq can be found in the Bush administration's proposed federal budget. The American public already was being asked to swallow more than $300 billion in federal deficits so that the wealthy could pay less tax. And that doesn't count the $25 trillion of off-balance-sheet liabilities for Medicare and social security that will come due once baby boomers retire. So what's another $100 billion?

Most of us already are in sticker shock about the soaring costs of gasoline for our automobiles and heat for our homes. Imagine the impact if the oil fields of Iraq go up in flames during a massive U.S. invasion. Could the debt-ridden airline industry take that kind of hit? What about the trucking industry? The ripple effect of an invasion may be disastrous for the U.S. economy.

The 6-point plan that we at Sojourners are proposing [see http://www.sojo.net/action] not only is a more sane political strategy, but a more financially sound course of action. Our plan takes deadly serious the threat of Saddam Hussein and aims to end his tyranny over the Iraqi people. But it does not destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq, and therefore does not carry the high price tag of national reconstruction. Our plan also looks to the international community - embracing our partners in the United Nations - to aggressively disarm Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The cost of those operations would be shared.

The editors of Business Week appear to echo our concern. They ended their edition this past week with a sobering message: "It's two minutes before midnight, and Americans are justifiably nervous. We appear to be unprepared for the cost of war, the price of occupation, and the demands of ensuring long-term peace. Washington simply has to do better than this. Too much is at stake."

Get more perspective from Sojourners' executive editor David Batstone at:

http://www.davidbatstone.com


TAKE ACTION TO STOP THIS WAR - Take a few minutes to read our complete 6-point plan to resolve the crisis in Iraq, then e-mail it from our Web site to President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Sojourners urges you to contact as many people as you can. The more people that hear about this alternative to war, the greater the chance that war might be averted.

Please go to http://www.sojo.net/action today


SOUL WORKS ^top
Call and answer
by Robert Bly

Tell me why it is we don't lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: "Go on, cry. What's the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!"

We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.

Have we agreed to so many wars that we can't
Escape from silence? If we don't lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.

How come we've listened to the great criers - Neruda,
Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass - and now
We're silent as sparrows in the little bushes?

Some masters say our life lasts only seven days.
Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday yet?
Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.

Posted at http://www.poetsagainstthewar.org/

POLITICALLY CONNECT ^top
Interview with Senator Robert Byrd

On Larry King Live [March 7]

"...If the president wants to really deal with a direct threat to the security of the American people, then he needs to talk with North Korea. But instead, this business of fighting a war in Iraq is distracting our attention from that imminent threat.

It's also doing this: if we have a war in the Middle East, we're going to be - we're going to be instead of helping the war on our homeland...we're turning these people against us. They fear us. They don't know what we're going to do, where we're going with this doctrine of dropping the first bomb."

To read the entire transcript of the interview, go to:

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0303/07/lkl.00.html

BY THE NUMBERS ^top
Honda least polluting automaker in USA

Average emissions of global warming gases and smog-forming pollutants (model year 2001)

Emissions vs. Big Six Average:

1) Honda
Global Warming: 79%
Smog-Forming: 69%

2) Toyota
Global Warming: 90%
Smog-Forming: 80%

3) Nissan
Global Warming: 100%
Smog-Forming: 77%

4) Ford
Global Warming: 105%
Smog-Forming: 99%

5) General Motors
Global Warming: 100%
Smog-Forming: 114%

6) DaimlerChrysler
Global Warming: 109%
Smog-Forming: 110%

Source: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Survey.
Read more at:
http://www.ucsusa.org/index.cfm


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FUNNY BUSINESS ^top
Is Hussein owner of crashed UFO?

Ed. note: If you are having trouble getting behind the invasion of Iraq, you might change your mind after reading this report in the English translation of Pravda (Russia).

"An UFO-related incident that occurred four years ago poses a troubling question whether any kind of cooperation is possible between Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and extraterrestrials," UFOlogist Joseph Trainor declared in his review "UFO Roundup."

To read more, go to:

http://english.pravda.ru/main/2003/01/31/42821.html

BOOMERANG ^top

Jim Covington writes from New York, New York:

I enthusiastically endorse [your 6-point plan]. I am a Unitarian Universalist minister with a congregation in Westchester County. I have emailed it to all my congregants.

--------------

Mary Weidner writes from Chesapeake, Virginia:

If you will check out the scriptures you will readily understand that we have a republic, based on democracy with freedom, because of military victory. The Israelites lived daily with terrorists attacks and threats of terrorists attacks by Palestine and other nations, which the Israelites were ordered by God to destroy. But the bleeding-heart liberals and uninformed refused to let this happen and in so doing disobeyed God, and we have reaped the results of their disobedience.

Let's quit this undermining of our leader(s) - one who is a born-again Christian - and stand united under God's direction, praying for leaders to do the right thing by God's measure as well as for the safety of our soldiers and sailors and airmen as they serve in the most noble way on behalf of our country and its philosophy of freedom, liberty, and justice for all.

--------------

Brenda Berck writes from Vancouver, British Colombia:

I was all prepared to sign the 6-point 11th-hour plan until I reached point 6 and its reference to "reinvigorate and sustain the war against terrorism." Without a definition that shows me that you mean something different than the U.S. government does when it describes the war against terrorism, I assume that it means what it has meant so far: racial profiling, throwing people into jail without letting them know the charges, or giving them access to legal advice or allowing them to phone home, and treating in horrible conditions in Guantanamo Canadians, British, and other nationals caught in Afghanistan, as well as Afghanis, as less than human and without the rights guaranteed by the Geneva Convention. And if there should be "collateral damage" here, i.e., innocent people are wrongly jailed, well that's the price we (meaning, they) pay.

--------------

John Serop Simonian writes from Notre Dame, Indiana:

The "peaceful" solution that Sojourners now proposes may be better than the U.S.-U.K. plan for invasion, occupation, and exploitation, but it slides down the slippery slope of humanitarian intervention, that liberal concoction that has been used to justify everything from Vietnam to Serbia. Your plan does avoid the worst excesses of U.S. arrogance, but it places undue trust in international bodies and peace- keepers. U.N. peacekeepers, although technically neutral, are from particular countries' militaries and are under the command of particular soldiers who are also from particular militaries. Moreover, they are armed peacekeepers.

--------------

Paul English writes from Houston, Texas:

Thank you for providing "outside the box" thinking at a time when American journalism is crammed tightly into a war propaganda box.

I hope my fellow readers will consider this one point - one that is never mentioned in the press. Threats of bombing, invading, or otherwise warring against a civilian population cause people to become refugees (choosing that tragic life over becoming "collateral damage"). Since the current inhabitants of the White House began threatening to bring lethal force against Iraq, the BBC reports that more than 500,000 human beings have fled their homes and communities in horror, with only the possessions they can carry. They are homeless, prey for thieves, susceptible to injury and all types of illness...and this, of course, leaves their houses, shops, and lands for looters and pilferers. Thus, even if there is no war, their lives have already been dealt a crushing blow.

I wish our media were not so callously disinterested in the true human "costs" of my country's disastrous foreign policy.

----------------

Bernard Adeney-Risakotta writes from Yogyakarta, Indonesia:

Sometimes the USA has a distorted idea of how progressive it is in relation to the rest of the world. Lani Guinier's article on "The Quota Smokescreen" reminded me that Indonesia passed a law last week that requires all political parties to select women as at least 30% of their candidates for national and local office. 30%. Imagine. This is the largest Muslim country in the world with more Muslims than the whole Middle East put together, but it has a woman president and now has a mechanism that gives the people a chance to choose women as their members of congress. With multiple parties, this means that almost every position in the "senate" and "house" may have a woman candidate in the national elections next year. Incidentally, in the university where I teach, the theological faculty has no quotas, but at least 50% of the candidates for ordination as pastors are women. The future will be different from the past.

-----------------

Janet Barber writes from Oakland, California:

In a recent Boomerang, Mr. Purdy dismisses the mental capacities of more than half the human population of the world when he writes, "I am not a woman nor a sappy hippie. I am a middle-aged Briton who has thought hard about the ramifications of any conflict in that area, and I don't like what I see." And I am an elderly American woman who has thought hard about the ramifications of apparent misogyny, and I don't like what I see.

--------------

Deepa Kandaswamy writes from Bombay, India:

Loved the cool new look to the newsletter. It is brighter and better. My congratulations to the SojoMail team.

--------------------------

Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of views. The views expressed are not necessarily those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice heard? Send Boomerang e-mails to the editor:

boomerang@sojo.net

CULTURE WATCH ^top
The high cost of corporate radio
by Danny Duncan Collum

There is simply no more room in America's cultural mainstream for local, innovative, or original human voices. Many chain stations, in fact, carry the same programming, with the same announcers, from coast to coast. Radio used to be the most local of media. It was where you turned for high-school basketball games, farm-market reports, and local church broadcasts. When I was a teenager, one of my friends had a part-time job as a local DJ in our town of 20,000. On a slow night, I could drive down to the station with a stack of my favorite records and sit in the booth while he played them on the air.

Today when you visit your local radio station, there's a good chance that you won't even find a disc jockey. Instead there will be a computer receiving and broadcasting the feed from some undisclosed location in the ether. Where I live today, the local country station - which is still locally owned - does play bluegrass in the early morning hours (oh blessed holdover), and it does broadcast local ballgames. But the rest of the day, and all of the night, it's an unmanned vehicle delivering a "classic country" format that comes in off a satellite from God knows where.

To read Collum's entire column as it appears in the March/April edition of Sojourners magazine, go to:

http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0303&article=030331

WEB SCENE ^top
Print creative anti-war posters

Another Poster for Peace is a group of designers who are committed to the peaceful and just resolution of the current crises in the Middle East. Its goal is to help create a grassroots campaign for patriotic dissent as a counter to the onslaught of fear and warmongering currently in the media.

http://www.anotherposterforpeace.com


Young peacemakers club

It began in 1992 with an all-volunteer staff and seven children in Sioux City, Iowa. Since that time, Young Peacemakers Clubs have started all over the world by people who believe that each life makes a difference in the world. Learn more at:

http://www.celebratingpeace.com/peacemakers.htm


The Royal Canadian Air Farce

Give yourself a chuckle break from a group of very funny Canadians. Last week was a funny send up of CNN - "the day nothing happened."

http://www.airfarce.com/video/index.html


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