Thank you Mayor Rilling for highlighting our need for peace

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An open letter to Mayor Harry Rilling:

I wanted to thank you for your support of the Veterans for Peace project, the “Golden Rule” during its stay in Norwalk. The proclamation you issued was wonderful and we greatly appreciate your participation in the reception for the crew at Eco Evolution. In addition, the escort of Norwalk PD and FD boats greatly helped Captain Kiko smoothly navigate out of Norwalk waters and were greatly appreciated. They did you proud! 

Your participation in the global Mayor’s for Peace initiative was mentioned during the ceremony on Monday. I would just comment that this initiative could just as aptly be named, “Mayors for People.” In 1953, President Eisenhower said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. … This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

It is just as true today as it was then.

More than half of the federal budget (our taxes) is devoted to war and militarism…. about $1 trillion/year. In addition, Washington is planning on spending almost $2 trillion on nuclear weapons over the next 30 years. The 22-year war on terror has cost over $8 trillion thus far per the Cost of War project at Brown University. Think about the horrific results. It has killed 4.5 million people when the non-combat deaths are counted, caused 38 million refugees, and helped to distract us from dealing with climate collapse, future pandemics, and preventing nuclear war. See the Cost of War project estimates here. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has set their symbolic Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight in its 75-year history. This includes the Cuban missile crisis which is just one of the apocalyptic close calls humanity has had since nuclear weapons were created. See their statement here.

Current models indicate that 5 billion people would perish in a full nuclear exchange between the US and Russia. Even a smaller exchange between India and Pakistan could kill 2 billion people. These numbers are hard to even fathom. Those who survive would have to struggle to survive in a Mad Max-like world.   

Meanwhile, we desperately need resources to focus on education (quality of education should not be dependent on zip code), housing/homelessness, poverty, accessible healthcare (including mental healthcare), infrastructure, providing living wages to working people, making sure everyone has clean water, and so much more! In addition, we need to be shifting our economy away from fossil fuels and militarism and toward sustainability and addressing the needs of people. 

I know that Connecticut has a large “defense” industry. Studies show that there are better and more jobs if we convert these sectors to other constructive endeavors. Of course, we need a just transition for those employees currently in these industries. They are akin to those making buggy whips in 1900 when the automobile was on the horizon.

We need Mayors and Governors and masses of people to put increasing pressure on our elected officials in Washington to end nuclear brinkmanship, to de-escalate tensions, to use diplomacy and military restraint, to participate in international treaties, to support strong and democratized international institutions, and to back humanity away from the brink. The global threats of pandemics, climate collapse, and nuclear annihilation threaten all people of all nations.

For perhaps the first time in human history, all nations of the world share these common interests. These global threats require a global response and no one nation can address them alone. We are, indeed, all in the same boat. We can no longer afford to be fighting over land, resources, ideology, or power. We are essentially fighting over deck chairs while the ship is on fire and sinking. We have to cooperate and collaborate and compromise with all nations if we are going to survive and flourish. As Martin Luther King said, “We will either learn to live together as brothers and sisters or we will perish together as fools.”  

Thanks for your help in focusing people’s attention on the need for peace so that we can work on the REAL threats to our safety, security, health, and wellbeing. I can’t think of anything more important. 

John Miksad 

World Beyond War 

Veterans for Peace 


5 responses to “Thank you Mayor Rilling for highlighting our need for peace”

  1. Skip Hagerty

    Spot on. I am confident that the Chinese, Russians, and even ISIS would embrace your beautiful heart felt message and lay down their arms forever…especially if the US leads by example and dramatically reduces, or even eliminates, its military capabilities first.

  2. Tysen Canevari

    I think Harry sent out the fire boat to salute the sailboat because he thought one of his developers was on it by mistake! I mean is this for real? Lets back down our defense industry because everyone else will. LOL

  3. Kate Tepper

    Cynicism and ad hominem comments about matters of great consequence are not a solution to the grave problems facing this planet. War is NOT the answer, it is destruction and death and waste. Eisenhower also said in his 1961 farewell address “beware the military industrial complex” (MIC), we have ignored that prescient warning. Isn’t there a better solution than forever wars that pour ever increasing funding into the pockets of that MIC?

  4. Skip Hagerty

    Kate, I agree wholeheartedly. Our foreign threats are way overblown by the MIC. For example, Kim Jong Un is simply misunderstood. He’s actually a pretty nice guy and his quest to build a long range rocket delivery system for nuclear weapons is just a cry for help. He loves the US and simply wants to be loved back.
    Vlad Putin is similar. He’s another good guy. And, of course, there are Mullahs of Iran. Nice men as illustrated by their embracement of the LGBTQXYZ community and women’s rights. The nuclear centrifuges they are building underground are for the production of clean energy. They scoff at dirty fossil fuels even though oil has been their largest export for 60 years. They’ve even made a secret pledge with Israel to share energy technologies so both countries can be carbon neutral by 2030. There is even hope that the ISIS caliphate and the Taliban will sign on as well.
    Based on all of these facts, no one needs military defense. Those monies could be directed to John Kerry to fight climate change or the FBI to battle the explosion of white supremacy and/or unreasonable mothers at school board meetings.

  5. Kate Tepper

    Have fun Mr. Hagerty!

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