Feast of the Holy Innocents
Faith and Resistance Retreat - Dec. 28, 2007 Pentagon
We gather at the Pentagon this morning, December 28, 2007, to remember the innocent children massacred by empire in the days of Herod and to remember the innocent children massacred by the US empire today.
Occupation and forced migration create outright slaughter in battle, as well as suffering and death for people, animals and all of creation. Jesus and his family were forced to flee to Egypt to get away from the violence of King Herod and empire. In the early years of the US , indigenous people were forcibly removed from their homes and land in crimes like the Trail of Tears. Today 4.2 million Iraqis have been forced to flee home and/or country. Around the world, millions are forced to flee environmental crises and conflicts caused by resource depletion and climate change.
We bring their stories to the empire that decrees their plight. We to remember all the refugees we never see and to remind us all of the Pentagon's power to create and maintain the suffering caused by U.S. warmaking.
American Historian Howard Zinn, in reflecting on his experience as a bombardier, and his research on the wars the US has waged, has come to these conclusions about war:
One : The means of waging war (demolition bombs, cluster bombs, white phosphorus, nuclear weapons, napalm) have become so horrendous in their effects on human beings that no political end (however laudable), the existence of no enemy (however vicious), can justify war.
Two : The horrors of the means are certain, the achievement of the ends always uncertain.
Three : When you bomb a country ruled by a tyrant, you kill the victims of the tyrant.
Four : War poisons the soul of everyone who engages in it, so that the most ordinary of people become capable of terrible acts.
Five : Since the ratio of civilian deaths to military deaths in war has risen sharply with each subsequent war of the past century (10% civilian deaths in World War I, 50% in World War II, 70% in Vietnam, 80-90% in Afghanistan and Iraq) and since a significant percentage of these civilians are children, then war is inevitably a war against children.
Six : We cannot claim that there is a moral distinction between a government which bombs and kills innocent people and a terrorist organization which does the same. The argument is made that deaths in the first case are accidental, while in the second case they are deliberate. However, it does not matter that the pilot dropping the bombs does not "intend" to kill innocent people -- that he does so is inevitable, for it is the nature of bombing to be indiscriminate. Even if the bombing equipment is so sophisticated that the pilot can target a house, a vehicle, there is never certainty about who is in the house or who is in the vehicle.
Seven : War and the bombing that accompanies war are the ultimate terrorism, for governments can command means of destruction on a far greater scale than any terrorist group.
These considerations lead us to conclude that if we care about life, justice, children, we must, in defiance of whatever we are told by those in authority, pledge ourselves to oppose all wars.
For more information contact
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202.882.9649
or Jonah House: www.jonahhouse.org