We know that many people disagree with us.  Some people agree with our goals, but not with the means which we use.   Some assert that although they support us as individuals, they don’t agree with breaking laws.

This discussion is one that we want to have.  So help us get started! Please leave your comments and responses here.


13 Responses

  1. Did you really have to enter the base to make your point?

    • We have lobbied congresspeople, written letters to elected officials, held banners in marches, stood outside bases with signs. And although all these actions are necessary, I find that they are not enough.

      We are the ones who have to begin to turn our swords into plowshares. We, the ordinary people, need to begin to close our own military bases and start being friendly, diplomatic, to others.

  2. Was it necessary to cut the fences? Destroy property?

    • The weapons are illegal. When I look at pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombing in 1945, I understand why. Tremendous suffering was rained down on civilians: on children as they sat in classrooms, on Mothers and Fathers. On ordinary people.
      So what is the moral and legal response to an ongoing crime? To an urgent situation?
      Cutting the fence, going into the bunker area seems, to me, a very appropriate and, even small, response to these illegal and immoral weapons.
      I think about WW II Germany. What would I have done if I had lived near a concentration camp, and people in my town were working at it, and there was a big deafening silence about it?

  3. In the situation here the missiles are protected by the fence, and that keeps them from being seen and from being dismantled. Some “fences” are bigger and I wish I could use bolt cutters to dismantle them.
    Fences are used to destroy life in Palestine, where electric fences make it so farmers can not get to their land. A year ago, I wasn’t sure if “property-destruction” can be non-violent and necessary. That’s because I had not seen fences as violent as the ones that take life and destroy homes.

  4. I’m interested to hear any practical suggestions you have for starting the disarmament process. Also, if the United States took measures to get rid of our nuclear weapons, do you think other countries would necessarily follow suit?

    • Practical Suggestion
      Once a week leaflet in a public place about the need to set time tables for the elimination of nuclear weapons at the Nuclear Non Proliferation Review that will take place in May of 2010 in New York.
      In other words, the US and other nations should agree on a timetable for the elimination of nuclear weapons. But the people in the US have to understand this, and push for it.

      The analysis by the international Mayors For Peace committee is that the other things such as passage of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, taking nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, and stopping the production of fissile material are very positive steps to be taken, but should not be used to stop the setting of a definite date for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
      The Mayors for Peace, whose president is Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima, are calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2020.
      Other nations have said they would follow in disarming their nuclear weapons, if the US was to initiate the process. The problem is that although the US is reducing the number of on line nuclear weapons, we are still funding research and enhancement of other nuclear weapons. More, nuclear weapons taken out of the stockpile are not destroyed, and could be used.

    • Hi T —

      I read an article in the New York Times that reminded me of your question (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/opinion/19blechman.html?th&emc=th). It’s called “Stop at Start,” and it’s by Barry Blechman.

      One paragraph excerpted below.

      [Many diplomats] say it is unrealistic to pursue zero weapons in the near term. Fortunately, that’s not true…
      Here’s how a global nuclear disarmament treaty could work. First, it would spell out a decades-long schedule for the verified destruction of all weapons, materials and facilities. Those possessing the largest arsenals — the United States and Russia — would make deep cuts first. Those with smaller arsenals would join at specified dates and levels. To ensure that no state gained an advantage, the treaty would incorporate “rest stops”: if a state refused to comply with a scheduled measure, other nations’ reductions would be suspended until the violation was corrected. This dynamic would generate momentum, but also ensure that if the effort collapsed, the signatories would be no less secure than before.

  5. I am curious to know where yall got your information saying nuke warheads are illegal? And why pull such a stupid stunt as to breaking on Bangor base. Do yall not know the trauma you caused the families that live on base/ The wives who are left behind with their children who feel safer living on base while their husband is deployed, and your stupid stunt just threw that safety out the window. Yes we are aware of the dangerous weapons on base, but that doesnt mean we should go play with them. Yes I am one of those wives on base, and yes you took the safety that i felt while my husband is deployed and stole it from me and my children. it is people like you who disgust me and I feel sorry for you.

    • Dear Brandy,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment about our action, and the security of the base.
      You asked about how I know that the nuclear weapons are illegal. There are rules about how wars are supposed to be fought. These rules are written up in treaties, and the treaties become law under the US constitution.
      The weapons that are illegal are ones that can’t discriminate between civilians and the military. Military folks aren’t allowed to indiscriminately kill civilians, indiscriminately kill everyone in a town, or city.
      Weapons are illegal if they poison the environment for generations to come.
      We certainly don’t want you to feel unsafe because of our action, but you are living on a base with about 20 percent of the US nuclear weapons stored there. That makes all of us unsafe.
      But, thanks for writing to us…
      Sincerely, Susan Crane

  6. The action at Bangor was magnificent. That people are willing to sacrifice so much to save human life is truly profound. It is a reality that keeps the destructive forces from us and gives us more time. Unfortunately, the rhetoric surrounding the action does nothing to reveal the power of God.

    In the statement that announced that the indictments were being handed down God was mentioned only once. It was said that, “The power of the resurrection is much stronger than our destructive ways,” and “I believe that the presence of God made manifest through the witness of nonviolent action will break the bonds of fear, hopelessness, and death in which nuclear weapons imprison us.” And that was it. It is only the power of God that can get us out of our current dilemma. There was no other mention of God in the statement. The rest of the statement sounded like warmed over secular leftism than anything that had to do with the reality and power of Jesus.

    In statements like this a great deal of attention is given to nonviolence and when Jesus is mentioned he is often called the nonviolent Jesus. Actually, Jesus never articulated an ideology of nonviolence. That has been grafted on to the stories about Jesus and stems from King, Gandhi and others. What Jesus articulated was a relationship with God set in the context of a specific tradition. Jesus renounced violence for himself and others but that is not an ideology of nonviolence. The important thing to Jesus was God and the day to day relationship with God. It is a hard thing to live according to the ideology of nonviolence but harder still to live everyday according to the heart of the living God. All ideologies serve to limit the reality and action of God and that is something that we must never do. In the case of another being attacked God would never inspire us to respond with violence even if that is the only alternative? And we would already know this because we have an ideology that tells us so? This is of course nonsense.

    When one speaks of the nonviolent Jesus or speaks of nonviolence in terms of Jesus one does not get the idea of the Jesus who called the Pharisees brood of vipers, sons of satan and murderers. It does not bring to mind the Jesus who said that those who are not with me are against me and those who are against me scatter or the Jesus who said that he had come to bring division and that he would divide families. Of course Jesus also had a more gentle manifestation that was known through his forgiving people, wilderness feedings, etc. The fact is that both have to be held together and lived out. In the rhetoric surrounding actions like this and others the “nonviolent”, gentle Jesus is emphasized while the other is excluded. Jesus did not speak of nonviolence, he spoke of love. And to know the love of Jesus one has to know the stories about Jesus and what he said and did.

    You wrote about being citizens of a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people”. The people language has never been true but more important is that if we are of God we cannot identify with the most murderous Empire in history. Empires are the enemy of God and ours is no exception. In fact we have to make a choice between the Empire and the reality of God that currently exists and that God is bringing into existence. We must never support or sound like we are giving support to the Forth Reich.

    The statement said that you are not asking for unilateral disarmament. I never thought that a plowshares group would say that. God is our security or God is not. There are no two ways about it. Maybe we will give up some of our Auschwitzes and then see if others give up some of theirs and if not we will keep the rest that we have. This is actually blasphemy. God is our security or God is not. Jeremiah told the people not to resist the Babylonians that were riding down on Judah and Jerusalem. Of course they did and were destroyed. The mandate from God is to give up our weapons no matter what anyone else does because only God is our security. This is basic to our relationship with God. There is absolutely no short term strategic or tactical reason for backing multilateral disarmament. The multilateral disarmament position was amplified in an article on the May 2010 non-proliferation treaty review on the disarm now plowshares website. It is a position that should be retracted immediately.

    It is amazing that the communities in general that feed and clothe people and stand up to the powers are ignoring the central reality of our time: the fall of this society and the nations of the world. This was a central preoccupation of God and the prophets. The problem that the prophets had was that they had to break through the denial that was suffocating the people. This and God’s extreme agitation led to some of the extreme speech and actions of the prophets. People in this society have to know that the society is coming down, that their children are in immediate danger and that they have to fight for the lives of their children. In other words they have to know what they already know but are in denial about. Your rhetoric has no power to break through the denial. In fact, the absence of speaking about God and concentrating on international law, citizenship and disarmament processes serves to increase the denial. The reality of God can never be assumed or a subtext; it has to be forcefully communicated.

    God still has the power to annihilate the evil systems and nations even if that does not fit into nonviolent ideology. We are called to create those communities so that we can help others survive. We are called to speak of the catastrophe to come so that people can prepare. Just like the prophets did. We are called to speak and act in ways that break through denial. Only God can save us or a remnant of us. We need to act and speak as if that were true.

    Don Whitman

    • I wrote the comment above. If anyone wants to comment directly to me about it my email is dwhitman80@yahoo.com. I would like to receive any comments: pro, con or both. I believe one of the problems of our current situation is the lack of debate about differences in belief. In the Bible people debated with each other and God all the time. It makes for a healthy situation.
      Don Whitman

  7. I have written this to explain more fully what I was saying in my first letter.

    The problem in communities today is that we have strayed from our tradition. As I said in my earlier letter Jesus did not articulate an ideology of nonviolence; he articulated a relationship with God. The God that Jesus spoke about and prayed to is a God that is both love and power.

    If a person looks at the web sites of the various communities that follow Jesus both Jesus and God are hardly mentioned just as it is on your web site. There’s a history of the community and descriptions of what the community does and when the liturgy takes place but not much mention of God. Of course Jesus and God are assumed but not discussed. When Jesus is discussed the emphasis is on the gentle Jesus and not the harsh Jesus. Yahweh is not even mentioned. But nonviolence is always mentioned.

    The result is a very distorted idea of who God is. The ideology of nonviolence has come to take the place of God. The main thing that communities have to accomplish is getting the technique of nonviolence right. The main question is was the vigil or action sufficiently nonviolent. Jesus’ renouncing of violence should not lead to this.

    We live in a time of extreme crises. Humanity is threatened with extermination. The imperial bayonet is being held to the throat of every child on earth. The bible tells us that during times like this the rhetoric about God heats up; it is not diminished or abandoned. And the question is who is God and what is God doing? Or to put it another way: how is God leading his people?

    In Exodus, the prophets and Revelation Yahweh is the Lord of the Nations and therefore the Lord of History. The people “cry to the Lord” and the Lord sees their pain and responds. At times, as in the Exodus, the Lord uses the natural means at his disposal and frees his people. At other times, as in the time of Jeremiah when the Babylonians are riding down on Judah, the Lord is punishing his people but as Isaiah says Yahweh promises his people a new beginning and a new life. In Revelation Jesus tell his people how to live on the earth in the midst of Empire as the battle rages in Heaven. The renouncing of violence by Jesus is always in the context of the power of the Lord of the Nations and the Lord of History and never in the context of an ideology of nonviolence.

    Those who follow God do not need any ideologies. God is enough. Ideologies only get in the way and serve as a buffer between us and God. As I said earlier the nations are coming down. Yahweh, the Lord of the Nations, is pulling the nations down using the means at his disposal as he has at other times in history. And he is preparing us for the new beginning, “the new Heaven and the new Earth”. Compared to this an ideology of nonviolence is weak and insignificant.

    God tells us to prepare to live through this. The castrophe to come will be horrible but the love of God will remain strong. And we must remain strong so that the new beginning that God is preparing for us can take place. The new beginning is now and is lived through the communities that already exist. We may not see the fullness of God’s reign but we can experience the beginning of it now. We are called to stand against the nations and remain faithful and die if necessary so that others can experience that fullness.

    The communities, which are so important to the new beginning, have almost totally failed in communicating this to people here and now which is God’s foremost concern. We live in the age of Jeremiah and the Babylonians are riding down on us and the communities conduct their public witness as they have for the last thirty years. Perhaps in basic ways the communities are in denial as much as are people in the mainstream. God wants us to tell people that this nation and the nations are coming down, that their children’s lives are in immediate danger and they must prepare by forming authentic community. God wants us to reveal the power of God and that God is the Lord of the Nations. Jesus wants us to communicate his way as the nations come down. For those who worry about speaking to those who are not followers of Jesus it is an easy matter to say we are not pushing beliefs on anyone but speaking from our own tradition. And people can hear a larger truth even if they are not of that tradition.

    The communities that currently exist do many good and necessary things and undertake risks for the sake of God. But to not speak publicly about the end and the new beginning and the power of God is to violate the covenant we have with Jesus. There is nothing more important in our time than revealing this to people and helping them prepare. This is not to say that we should not talk about specific weapon systems and other immediate issues. It is to say that we must always talk about this within the larger context of who God is and what God is doing. We must walk with God into the new life.

    I hope that this and the pervious letter will be answered on your web site. Whether you support or refute what is written a dialogue about this reality is desperately needed now.

    Don Whitman
    Seattle, Wa

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