Letter: The majority of Americans want peace and yet …

Posted 12/27/19

On Saturday, Dec 14, two members of East Bay Citizens for Peace stood in a cold drizzle on the sidewalk beside the post office in downtown Bristol. We have kept this monthly vigil for peace and …

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Letter: The majority of Americans want peace and yet …

Posted

On Saturday, Dec 14, two members of East Bay Citizens for Peace stood in a cold drizzle on the sidewalk beside the post office in downtown Bristol. We have kept this monthly vigil for peace and justice for close to 18 years. 

Holding signs that said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – (Margaret Mead); “Jesus was a refugee”; and “Peace On Earth / Good Will to All”; we were greeted by passersby waving the peace sign, smiling and voicing words of encouragement.

One young woman with a child in tow ran up and gave us hugs. A clergyman gave us cookies and thanked us for being witnesses for peace. I do take heart from our supportive passersby, and I believe that the majority of people in the U.S. want peace and are weary of more than 18 years of war.

Despite this, Congress just passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) devoid of any language that would put a stop to U.S. military support of Saudi Arabia’s genocide in Yemen or amendments that would prevent President Trump from sending our men and women into more unjustified wars.

This bill leaves out all language from the original House version that would have reclaimed Congress’s Constitutional duty to debate and declare war. Instead, it leaves in place both 2001 and 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Acts (AUMF).

These Acts gave the Bush administration the green light to commit our troops to ill conceived and disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and paved the way for each president to wage wars without Congress’s approval. That this NDAA – which now hands President Trump $738 billion for military spending and the power to engage our troops and spend our tax dollars on wars as he sees fit — was passed with all 4 Rhode Island representatives’ approval is indefensible. 

Reflecting on the meaning of this holiday season as a time of peace, love, kindness and generosity, I am dismayed at the leaders of our country. It is a disgrace and a sign of moral depravity that funding the biggest military in the world to engage in endless wars that profit only the arms industry has become a priority over feeding the poor.

Nancy Hood
Bristol

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.