Strengthen All Feeble Arms, Steady All Tottering Knees | Sojourners

Strengthen All Feeble Arms, Steady All Tottering Knees

Elizabeth McAllister, Phillip Berrigan and Daniel Berrigan were among those who came to Washington D.C. on Dec. 28 to remember the Feast of the Innocents with civil disobedience at the Pentagon. The holy day was marked by a symbolic blood pouring at the two main entrance and by a number of people hand-cuffing themselves to the doors, thus blocking entrance for over an hour. The action was undertaken to warn that slaughter will be the fate of the innocents again if present U.S. military policy and the escalating nuclear arms race goes unhindered. Liz received a six-month prison sentence for the action, which is under appeal. Phil and Dan were to be sentenced in late January. This interview took place the next day at Jonah House, the resistance community in Baltimore, which has been the base of much of the recent protest against U.S. nuclear policies.

Jim: Most of us knew of the three of you first in the sixties, protesting the war and, before that, in the struggles with racism. Out of that era of the war resistance, it seems that the focus of your lives and efforts has turned to the nuclear question. Could you describe how that happened and what that meant for you?

Liz: It was really a very conscious and dramatic process. I think the beginning was Schlesinger’s announcement in 1974 of the change in policy from mutually assured destruction to the flexible and strategic targeting options. He talked about re-targeting missiles, and about developing counterforce weapons. Every commentator who wrote on that announcement pinpointed the fact that this increased the likelihood of nuclear war.

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