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Helping Those In Need with Nonviolence

Posted by Erin Bechtol
09.06.17

A letter to the editor posted in the Napa Valley Register by Teresa Cahill planning a Campaign Nonviolence Action during the Week of Actions, Sept 16-24!

With the horrific destruction of Hurricane Harvey in Texas comes a great need for additional assistance to all who have lost not just their homes and businesses but schools, roads, etc.

This may be the impetus Congress needs to make a decision on the way the national budget is allocated towards the military. “The $600 billion in this year’s budget for military spending is more than the six combined countries of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, and Saudi Arabia.” This information, plus the following quotes are from the May Washington Newsletter of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Sadly, an audit of the Pentagon’s books has still not been furnished, even though in the 1990s a law was passed requiring it to be provided. “Weapons systems regularly overrun their budgets or are rendered obsolete, while still in development. Such as the billions-over-budget F-35 fighter jets (designed for wars that the U.S. doesn’t fight anymore) to the Littoral combat ship that the Pentagon says it doesn’t need. The Pentagon’s own internal study found some $125 billion in potential savings over five years just in administrative and bureaucratic waste.

Violence and threats are not the answer. “The State Department, USAID, and other development agencies are critical in preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.” This was presented to Congress in February by more than 120 retired generals and concluded that early conflict prevention programs “help forestall open-ended crises that are far more damaging to American interests and far costlier to the American tax payer.” General Thomas Waldhauser, head of the U.S. Command in Africa, testified before the Armed Services Committee in March that, “‘We could knock off all of ISIL and Boko Haram this afternoon, but by the end of the week, those ranks would be filled.”

“At a time when the U.S. is facing multiple foreign policy crises, the U.S. should increase investment in the cost-effective programs that promote diplomacy, development and international cooperation. We need more tools in our foreign policy toolbox, not fewer”.

One of the “tools” at our disposal is the CAMPAIGN NONVIOLENCE (CNV) happening across the United States the week of September 16-24.  Last year, 758 events, vigils, marches study groups, etc. were held in all 50 states. This year 1000 events are planned to promote a culture of peace, and nonviolence free from war, poverty, racism, and environmental destruction.

Here in Napa on Sunday, September 24,  from 2-4 pm, a Vigil for Peace, will take place on the four corners of Third St. and Soscol. Vigils are only one way to make our hearts and minds known and I hope that all in our community will find their own way to envision a world free from violence. From the national magazine of CNV; “At a time of permanent
war, growing poverty, threats to civil liberties, ecological devastation, the enduring terror of nuclear weapons and the scourge of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and economic injustice, we face the challenge and opportunity to choose powerful and creative nonviolent alternatives.”

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”.  Proverbs 29:18!

Teresa Cahill

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