ACTION ALERT: Call for an End to America's Global Militarism
June 5, 2016
Debra Sweet / The World Can't Wait & The Peace Boat Campaign
President Barack Obama recently visited two countries that had been seriously damaged by US military assault. Vietnam saw 2 million civilians killed in the "American War" and Japan became the first nation targeted for destruction by nuclear weapons. Instead of offering apologies to Vietnam, Obama offered US weapons in exchange tor access Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam's deep water port, from which the US could challenge China for control over Asia's resources.
Special to Environmentalists Against War
ACTION ALERT: Call for an End to America's Global Militarism
Debra Sweet / The World Can't Wait
WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2016) -- Recently, the current commander in chief made highly provocative visits to countries that the United States did the most significant damage to in the last century.
In Vietnam, where more than 2 million were killed in the illegitimate US war on the people, the words "napalm, B-52 bombers, "tiger cages," and the words "My Lai" did not come from Obama's lips.
He was there to tighten up military alliances with subordinate countries, hand out weapons, and to regain US access Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam's deep water port from which the US made war, and from which it could challenge China. US warships are frequently in the South China Sea; US military aircraft fly over it as a show of military dominance backing up the huge amount of US trade flowing through the region.
Thanks to Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist Mike Hastie, who was in Vietnam in April, for getting to the heart of the empire:
I am standing next to a silk cotton tree and a marker with the names of fifteen Vietnamese civilians who were murdered at My Lai on March 16, 1968. If you look at the December 5, 1969 issue of Like Magazine, you will see one of Ron Haeberle's pictures that was in the article graphically covering the massacre. Seven people appear in a vertical picture, with a Vietnamese woman wearing a red blouse, that was taken at the exact location of my self-portrait.
This is a quote from the article on page 36:
Guys were about to shoot these people, photographer Ron Haeberle remembers. "I yelled, 'Hold it,' and shot my picture.
"As I walked away, I heard M-16s open up. From the corner of my eye I saw bodies falling, but I didn't turn to look."
From Vietnam to The Middle East, The American Empire has never stopped killing. The My Lai Massacre is a metaphor for the entire Vietnam War.
My words on the front of my shirt read: " America is going to war itself into oblivion."
-- Mike Hastie, Army Medic Vietnam
Next, Obama (who approved $1 TRILLION to overhaul the US nuclear arsenal in 2014) tried to play off the nuclear crimes of the US as those of "mankind." The State Department made it clear Obama was not in Hiroshima, Japan to apologize for the US first use of a nuclear bomb on the people there.
Obama's performance was more than hypocrisy -- it was an assertion of US power over the region, and especially, a challenge to China. Revcom.us reported, "since he’s taken office, Obama has visited Asia 10 times, and worked to strengthen relations with countries in the region.
This is why, even as the US and China collude and negotiate sometimes when it serves their interests, the US military has built a chain of air bases and military ports to encircle China.
This is a big reason Obama has fought to push through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would set new, US-favored terms for trade and business investment among the United States and 11 Pacific nations -- and exclude China."
Appeal from US to World: Help Us Resist US Crimes
Environmentalists Against War is among scores of concerned organizations that have endorsed this message by Nicolas J. Sandy Davies:
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has systematically violated the prohibition against the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. It has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes based on its UN Security Council veto, non-recognition of international courts and sophisticated "information warfare" that undermines the rule of law with political justifications for otherwise illegal threats and uses of force.
Former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz has compared current US policy to the illegal German "preemptive first strike" policy for which senior German officials were convicted of aggression at Nuremberg and sentenced to death by hanging.
In 2002, the late US Senator Edward Kennedy described post-September 11th US doctrine as "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept."
And yet the US government has succeeded in assembling alliances and ad hoc "coalitions" to support threats and attacks on a series of targeted countries, while other countries have stood by silently or vacillated in their efforts to uphold international law.
In effect, the US has pursued a successful diplomatic policy of "divide and conquer" to neutralize global opposition to wars that have killed about 2 million people and plunged country after country into intractable chaos.
As representatives of civil society in the United States, the undersigned US citizens and advocacy groups are sending this emergency appeal to our neighbors in our increasingly interconnected but threatened world.
We ask you to stop providing military, diplomatic or political support for US threats or uses of force; and to support new initiatives for multilateral cooperation and leadership, not dominated by the United States, to respond to aggression and settle international disputes peacefully as required by the UN Charter.
We pledge to support and cooperate with international efforts to stand up to and stop our country's systematic aggression and other war crimes. We believe that a world united to uphold the UN Charter, the rule of international law and our common humanity can and must enforce US compliance with the rule of law to bring lasting peace to the world we all share.
This will be sent to all the world's national governments. You can sign as an individual on this page. SIGN HERE
To sign as an organization click here.
Join in the World Can't Wait Conversation
Thursday June 9
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Our mission is to STOP the crimes of empire.
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Debra Sweet is the director of The World Can't Wait
After Words Must Come Action
For a Nuclear-Free World: Together with the Hibakusha
Peace Boat Statement
(June 1, 2016) -- On May 27, 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting United States president to visit Hiroshima. Although his visit was rather limited, he met with Hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
For a president to hear the words of survivors in person is something for which not only Hibakusha organizations but also civil society groups from Japan and around the world, including Peace Boat, have long been calling: this meeting was truly a historic occasion.
The president of the country that currently holds the world’s largest nuclear force, and the only country to have used nuclear weapons, must be commended for facing the victims of these weapons.
We would also like to express our respect for the efforts of Hibakusha, the Mayors and people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Governments of Japan and the US and other related organizations for having realized this visit.
In President Obama's speech at the Peace Memorial Park, he once again put forward the goal of a 'world without nuclear weapons.” However we must point out that there was a severe lack of substance regarding efforts for nuclear weapons abolition.
President Obama made no reference to the basic fact that it was the United States that dropped the atomic bomb which took the lives of more than 200,000 people, nor to the responsibility of the United States for that action.
Further, he stated that “we may not realize this goal in my lifetime,” and he said nothing about concrete policies or steps for nuclear disarmament.
Through the “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project,” Peace Boat has travelled around the world with more than 160 Hibakusha, sharing the reality of the impact of nuclear weapons. The average age of Hibakusha is now over 80, and for many they are fighting for a clear roadmap to nuclear weapons abolition to be established within their lifetime.
This is something achievable. The efforts of the Hibakusha are bearing fruit: in recent years international recognition of the inhumanity of nuclear weapons has grown, with an unprecedented gathering of momentum towards banning nuclear weapons.
The first United Nations Open-Ended Working Group to address legal measures for the banning of nuclear weapons began in Geneva in February of this year, and more than 120 states are now calling for a commencement of negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
However, the United States, together with other nuclear-armed states, is boycotting this working group, and Japan is opposed to the commencement of negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons .
If President Obama and Prime Minister Abe hold sincere aspirations for a “world free of nuclear weapons,” then the United States and Japan must transform their current policies, and immediately participate in negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
President Obama’s speech in Hiroshima reflected upon humanity’s history of war. He also referred to the fact that the victims of the atomic bombs were not only Japanese, but also Koreans and US prisoners of war. Nuclear damage has no national boundaries, and whether in the country of victory or defeat, the overwhelming majority of victims in wars are civilians.
Peace Boat has learned and experienced this reality through our 33-year history of conducting international exchange programmes through our global voyages. This is the very reason that we undertake activities to spread the spirit of Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which sets forth to build peace without relying on force.
To rid the world of nuclear weapons, and never again repeat war: President Obama’s speech contained several phrases which indicated such sentiments. Yet, these words must be turned into concrete action.
In August of this year, marking the 71st year since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Peace Boat’s 9th “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World” will set sail from Japan with first and second generation Hibakusha onboard.
They will call at New York in October, during the General Assembly of the United Nations. During this visit, Peace Boat and the Hibakusha onboard will share the reality of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons with citizens of the United States and people from around the world.
When survivors of war raise their voices, and citizens build connections beyond national boundaries and take action, it is possible to effect change in international politics.
Peace Boat will continue such activities, and call on the Governments of Japan and the United States to eschew expansion of their military cooperation and perpetuation of the existence of their military bases. Instead, Peace Boat calls for truly peaceful cooperation towards nuclear weapons abolition and human security.