Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Where is the antiwar...
. . . .

Where is the antiwar movement?

Steve Morse - August 30th, 2007
As we approach the end of the fifth summer we’ve been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s evident that virtually no progress has been made toward effecting a cease-fire, not to mention a lasting peace. And, what is worse, there is no end in sight — notwithstanding that the American people voted to replace the Republican-held Congress with Democrats who, we thought, looked favorably upon ending the conflict.
It’s now clear that following the 2006 mid-term elections, after having been repeatedly lied to for six years by the Republican administration, the American Left was ignored and then peremptorily dumped by the Democratic leadership in the Congress. That “leadership,” which has been in office since the start of the year, is supposed to be in charge of Congress - a Congress, however, that now has a “confidence” rating of 14%, the lowest since Gallup started asking the question in 1973 and five points lower than the Republicans scored last year.

How’s the War Going?
The quick answer: terribly.
We now have 160,000 troops (plus several thousand government personnel) stationed in Iraq, an all-time high. The war is in high gear in both Iraq and Afghanistan at the monthly cost of $12 billion ($10 billion for Iraq), a third higher than in 2006, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. The predicted cost of a one-year surge of 30,000-40,000 troops, according to the Congressional Budget Office was $22 billion (two years for a cut-rate $40 billion). (In January 2007 when the surge got underway, the President predicted the cost would be $5.6 billion.)
Regarding the cost of the war, moveon.org has now calculated the cost for each state and for each congressional district. The total amount for the entire country is $456 billion, which will last through September. Michigan’s share so far is $12.12 billion. The 4th congressional district (Rep. Dave Camp) is in for $645 million, the 2nd (Rep. Peter Hoekstra) is in for $759 million, and the 1st (Rep. Bart Stupak) is $607 million. Each household in the United States has been tapped for $4,100.
Based on the populations of Michigan counties as of the last census, I’ve worked out these figures (based on a per capita percentage basis): the cost of the war for Grand Traverse County is $101.8 million; Leelanau County, $26.6 million; Benzie County, $20.6 million; Charlevoix County, $31.5 million; and Emmet County, $40.0 million. As for the 4th congressional district, moveon.org’s report says that instead of funding the war, its taxpayers could have gotten: health care coverage for 238,880 people or for 475,071 kids for the duration of the war; or Head Start for 104,200 additional kids; or 9,694 new elementary school teachers; or 75,443 scholarships to make college more affordable; or renewable electricity for 976,870 homes; or 5,603 affordable housing units; or 15,028 public safety officers to keep the streets safe. (As you can see, for example, folks involved in such civic efforts as that of resisting the closing of the Bertha Vos Elementary School are simply fighting the trickle-down effects of the war in Iraq.)
The death toll is now 3,707 American military personnel, and 27,186 wounded. Of the American wounded, an estimated six percent suffer amputations. (The average in earlier U.S. conflicts, where the equivalents of IEDs and car bombings did not play such a role, was three percent.) And, of course, thanks to enterprising reporters (not to the Pentagon or the Congress), we know what happens to the wounded when they are returned to VA and military hospitals in the U.S.
According to figures compiled by the Iraqi Health, Defense, and Interior Ministries, the number of Iraqi civilians who died in July 2007 was 1,652. The Associated Press put that figure at 2,024, and the Washington Post said it was 1,539. Middle East scholar Juan Cole (of the University of Michigan) says the approximate number of American civilians who would have died in July if a similar level of killings were underway in the United States was 18,000. And the estimated number of Iraqi deaths from the invasion of 2003 through June 2007 was just over one million, according to Just Foreign Policy. Meanwhile, between two million and 2.5 million Iraqis have fled their country, with another 40,000-50,000 departing each month (nearly 2,000 a day), according to UN figures.
Moving for a moment into “relative trivia,” here are the figures for what is perhaps the most basic staple of life, drinking water. According to the UN, only one in three Iraqis have access to clean drinking water. In 2007, waterborne diseases, including diarrhea, “the most prolific killer of children under five,” are up in some areas by 70 percent over the previous year.

How’s the Antiwar Movement Going?
The quick answer: not so good.
It’s been clear for some time that people in Europe and Canada have been amazed at the complacency of the American antiwar movement. But now there’s a growing number of observers here at home who feel the anti-war movement in this country has fallen asleep. “For sure,” says Alexander Cockburn of The Nation magazine, “there are actions around the country. Quakers and Unitarians picketing outside shopping centers, campus vigils, resolutions by city counsels and so forth. [But] it’s all pretty quiet. . . . The bulk of the antiwar movement has become subservient to the Democratic Party and to the agenda of its prime candidates for the presidency in 2008. . .”
Cockburn concludes (for the moment) by saying that the Democrats have signed off on funding the war, the Guantanamo detentions, the new and looser definitions of “torture,” and, just recently, Bush’s police-state orders of July 17. The fact of the matter is that the Democrats have just given up. “And guess what?” he adds. “Just as their poll numbers are going down, Bush’s are going up, by five points in Gallup from early July... So are we better or worse off since the Democrats won back the Congress?”
It’s enough to make a true antiwar activist furious. And it should make all Americans, especially Democrats, activists or not, furious.

Okay, So What Do I Do?
The quick answer: get involved, decide what you want to do, then do it. Now.
That’s the easy part. You can do it in this area by joining the Traverse Area Peace and Justice Community, the Northern Michigan People for Peace in Petoskey, the Straits Area Concerned Citizens for Peace and Justice, the Women in Black, the Quaker Fellowship, Universal Unitarian Church, Veterans for Peace, or some other similar organization or church of your choice. Just do it! You can start by checking out www.traverseareapeacealerts.com to find out more.

Steve Morse practiced law for 30 years in Indiana, and served on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame Law School. He served for eight years as president of the board of the ACLU of Northwest Michigan. Also active in the antiwar movement, he is retired and lives in Suttons Bay.



 
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