Tags: UDRI, University of Dayton
**Update May 2014: I am re-posting this one because the A-10 has been in the news again, this time as the subject of potential budget cuts for the Pentagon. The current debate is: (1) Keep the A-10 because it saves lives, or (2) eliminate it because it is expensive. Another angle on the A-10, however, is that it was singled out as a problem by Human Rights Watch, a few years ago, because it was killing so many civilians.
Great news released March 30  by the University of Dayton – UD’s research is keeping the A-10 flying! Biofuels!
Keep in mind that Human Rights Watch has specifically criticized the A-10 for killing civilians:
“NATO forces have reported using . . . anti-tank aircraft like the A-10 ‘Warthog.’ Human Rights Watch expressed particular concern over repeated reports about the use of A-10s in civilian areas. Warthogs are primarily designed to serve as anti-tank attack planes, but also use high-speed machine guns and exploding shells to strafe infantry.
“ ‘ NATO should reconsider the use of highly destructive but hard-to-target weaponry in areas where there is clear risk of considerable civilian casualties,’ Zarifi said.”
(The A-10 Thunderbolt II is the official name for the Warthog:
Part of UD’s usual justification for its robust military contracting is that its inventions will eventually have civilian applications, some decades down the line – but this article mentions only other military aircraft which may use the Barley-O-Hol fuel or whatever they call it.
(Apologies to George Orwell for the title on this post.) [Because Orwell wrote a novel titled Keep the Aspidistra Flying]
You can’t argue with Michael Scott.
“But, in 1965, some of us stood up to it [mandatory participation in ROTC for males at the University of Dayton], each in our own way. One got out of signing the required ‘defense loyalty oath’ because he said he needed them to define ‘God,’ a word in the text. One of us got out of drills because they did not have a belt that fit, and we were not allowed on the field out of uniform. Two of us became the first conscientious objectors to the program, and we were allowed out of the second year to take health classes instead. The other disabled people in the health class wanted to know what was wrong with me, and I told them ‘morals.’ ”
-This is an excerpt from the terrific Euraenis #40, which I am so proud to host here on PeaceGarret. Link above to the right.
He wrote this because I had asked him how he felt about my including some words about Christian teachings on a website in which he is mentioned. John was an atheist. He told me:
I see nothing wrong with introducing Catholics to scripture and the clear position taken by Christ, whom they claim to worship and emulate, regarding violence and peace. It’s one of the few areas where a quote cannot be taken out of context, because love and peace were the true religion of Christ.
Religions have aligned themselves with the state and state-sponsored violence for most of history, and their false teachings have been used as the excuse for wars and crusades and inquisitions. I once suggested that UD change its motto from Pro Deo et Patria to Pro Patria et Deo, since that was clearly its real ordering of priorities.
People who invoke Christ and the Bible to justify hatred, prejudice and war are perverting the whole message that Christ preached. Those who claim to follow Christ must constantly be reminded what he said and did and where he stood on violence and hate as well as love and peace. “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” “Those who say they love God but not their neighbor are lying.” Let there be “no more of that” as you quote.
Whole theologies in favor of militarism have been invented by perverting the meaning of a few random quotes instead of looking at the whole context and the consistent message of peace, which the whole Christian community that grew from his teachings followed. I studied all the religious leaders and their consciousness, and in all cases the universal religion is one of love, not one of hate, revenge, war and living by rules. Guilt paralyzes, conscience informs, consciousness transcends. Not only did Christ preach against war and violence, he lived out love in so many ways and countered false consciousness as well. So, vote the atheist in as wanting to remind the Christians about Christ – John Judge
The site with John’s biography:
The page I asked him about:
My friend John Judge died last week. He lived in Washington, DC and, like me, was a graduate of the University of Dayton. He was 66. He suffered a stroke in January, and died on the day that he was moved out of a hospital and into a rehabilitation center.
I was introduced to John by another University of Dayton (UD) alum who knew that I was publicly raising questions about the military contracting at UD. UD is a Catholic university which, among other things, has taken huge government contracts to maintain the Minuteman III nuclear missile system. Catholic teaching condemns nuclear weapons, so I have pointed out the contradiction for some years.
John had beaten me to the point by a couple decades; he was instrumental, for one thing, in ending mandatory ROTC membership at UD back when he was a student there. In the 1960s, all male students at UD had been required to join the ROTC, until John and others lobbied to end the practice during the Vietnam War.
Judge was also a co-founder of CHOICES, an organization engaged since 1985 in providing information to D.C.-area high school students about the negative aspects of, and alternatives to, military service. He had also worked with several service members who had become conscientious objectors while in the military; I heard several of them thank him at his annual birthday dinners. More on those in a moment.
John was also, safe to say, a conspiracy theorist. He believed that the shooting of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s was an assassination attempt by, in a nutshell, the military-industrial complex. He believed that there were U.S. government ties to the Guyana massacre of Jim Jones’s followers, whenever that was — 1978? He had many other similar ideas. I did not agree with them, and it made some of our conversations uncomfortable. But still, John was the one person — the one single person, ever — who would call me out of the blue to recommend things like a peace book that he thought I would like, or an article about the latest weapons contract at UD.
John threw himself a huge birthday party every December in D.C., inviting, apparently, everyone he knew. Between 20 and 50 people would be there. I went most years. I made it to his final party, this past December, and obviously I am glad I did.
Here is an excerpt from his invitation to his birthday party in 2012:
The world and the universe get stranger by the moment. Luckily my birthday falls before the alleged Mayan prophecy of the end of the world, so either way I can eat, dance, sing and be merry in the face of lots less work to do if it happens. I’d rather hang around with all of you a bit longer, though. Thanks for all you have been to me and the support you have given that makes my life possible.
We could even have a mini-roast, and tell the worst and wildest John Judge stories we can remember! I know a few! Please come if you can, and either way have a wonderful holiday season and a good new year.
Love and peace to you all,
“Love is the only engine of survival” Leonard Cohen
“Enlighten all sentient beings” Gautama Buddha
“Ease the pain of human suffering, all else is drunken dumbshow” Allen Ginsburg
“Aunt Polly ‘lowed how she was going to civilize me. I’d been that route before. I lit out for the country” Huckleberry Finn
So anyway, everyone in Heaven, you are on notice — if anyone is being neglected outside those pearly gates, John is going to raise questions about it.
Our friends at Northern Sun have some new Pete Seeger items, like this t-shirt:
And bumper sticker:
Well, I’m afraid my mind wandered to the opposite of this: What was taught — or not taught — to a child who grew up to prioritize war?
I am thinking of Albert Speer, the German architect who managed arms production for Hitler. I read his book Inside the Third Reich, and a passage about his youth has always stuck with me. He wrote:
“A whole generation was without defenses when exposed to the new techniques for influencing opinion.”
This is on page 8 of the book. The “new techniques,” of course, were things like Hitler’s speeches, and fascist control of mass media. Why, according to Speer, were so many young people “without defenses”? Because:
“In school, there could be no criticism of courses or subject matter, let alone of the ruling powers in the state.” . . .
“There were no courses such as sociology which might have sharpened our political judgments.” . . .
“Even in our senior year, German class assignments called solely for essays on literary subjects, which actually prevented us from giving thought to the problems of society.” . . .
“One decisive point of difference from the present was our inability to travel abroad. Even if funds for foreign travel had been available, no organizations existed to help young people undertake such travel.”
And he wrote, as I began:
“It seems to me essential to point out these lacks, as a result of which a whole generation was without defenses when exposed to the new techniques for influencing opinion.”
His point about travel I find especially striking. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to travel to many areas which have been or still are regarded as enemies — Palestine, Nicaragua, Russia. I think this is hugely important for youth — and so did Albert Speer.
(Speer served twenty years in prison after the war, and was then released. His book was published in 1970.)
I’m all for that!
But later in that same speech he mentioned how great it was when “our Marines and civilians rushed to aid those battered by a typhoon” in the Philippines.
I am certainly glad we helped, and of course it had to be the Marines, because we don’t give agencies like USAID the logistics power the military has — but why couldn’t we? If disaster relief is so important to us, wouldn’t it be more efficient to have it done by professionals who did not also have to be trained as marines?
But of course we don’t really want the disaster relief on its own, I’m afraid; we want it as something for our military to do.
A blog in Foreign Policy in Catherine A. Traywick, in January, pointed this out:
“Officials from both nations quickly framed the catastrophe as a justification for a broader U.S. military presence in the Philippines. Two weeks after Haiyan made landfall, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the disaster “demonstrated” the need for U.S. troops in the Philippines. Shortly after that, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg argued that Haiyan underscored his top priority: to deepen the military relationship between countries.”
So the President does not want a “permanent war footing,” but . . . well, yes he does.
The U.S. involvement includes intelligence, and smart bombs, but not, the article says, direct participation by U.S. soldiers:
“Under the Colombian program, the CIA is not allowed to participate directly in operations. The same restrictions apply to military involvement in Plan Colombia.”
However, we here at PeaceGarret remember that the government said the same thing about U.S. involvement in El Salvador, just a few years ago in the 1980s; but then in 1996 the government admitted that yes, U.S. soldiers had been involved in direct fighting. It did this when recognizing 21 U.S. soldiers who had been killed in El Salvador in a firefight. Details:
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) – Washington, D.C.
|Date:||May 6, 1996|
|They stepped forward solemnly yesterday across the lush green Arlington National Cemetery lawn — a wife here, a son there, several teenage children in one case, a graying father and mother in another — all to receive military service awards for loved ones who died years ago in a Central American war where U.S. forces were not supposed to be fighting, or so the U.S. government said at the time.But U.S. troops did come under fire in El Salvador, and fired back, as U.S. authorities now acknowledge. Dozens of soldiers who were there, many of them still in uniform, watched yesterday as Salvadoran children, escorted by U.S. commandos, placed tiny American flags beside the names of 21 killed in action.
Later at an Arlington hotel, about 50 of the more than 5,000 U.S. veterans of El Salvador’s civil war also were honored for service in sometimes hazardous operations for which they have never received the kinds of badges and patches normally issued to U.S. service members after combat.
“For too long, we have failed to recognize the contributions, the sacrifices, of those who served with distinction under the most dangerous conditions,” William G. Walker, U.S. ambassador to El Salvador from 1988 to 1992, told the cemetery crowd. “Only today, a full four years after the achievement of peace, are we finally and officially proclaiming that those who served and those who died did so for the noblest, the most unselfish of reasons.”
I agree that the U.S. soldiers in El Salvador were brave, and had unselfish motivations; and I assume that there are brave U.S. soldiers in Colombia now who are also pulling triggers for unselfish reasons.
Yes, it is presumptuous of me in the extreme to surmise what Chalmers Johnson would say about our potential departure from Afghanistan, but . . . someone needs to.
Background: Chalmers Johnson was an American foreign affairs analyst (d. 2010) who wrote Blowback and other books in which he described how the U.S. military presence around the world does us more harm than good. Our worldwide network of military bases regularly kicks hornets’ nests (that’s my summary); Johnson wrote Blowback before the 9/11 attacks, and the book predicted them, in a way.
Johnson’s wife, Sheila K. Johnson, wrote in April 2011 about the event that got her husband writing about this specific subject:
“On September 4, 1995, three American servicemen abducted and raped a 12-year-old Okinawan girl, provoking widespread anger and demonstrations on the island. In response, Chal began to write extensively about those American bases on Okinawa, which had been established as World War II ended and never stopped growing.”
Do things this bad happen in Afghanistan? Yes, they certainly do; innocent people are regularly killed by our attacks, for example, such as the 2-year-old boy last week.
Johnson wrote that such violence of our worldwide military occupations draws retribution upon the U.S., a.k.a. blowback. His argument makes sense to me. I assume that today’s Afghan orphans will be tomorrow’s terrorists. One example of the U.S. killing an innocent Afghan that I always remember is the tall guy who was killed by a drone because he was tall:
“In February, 2002, along the mountainous eastern border of Afghanistan, a Predator reportedly followed and killed three suspicious Afghans, including a tall man in robes who was thought to be bin Laden. The victims turned out to be innocent villagers, gathering scrap metal.”
I read this, and I assume that this guy’s family will now hate the U.S., understandably, and could be expected to exact revenge if they can. Most Americans, however, it often seems to me, apparently assume that Afghans are the most forgiving people in the history of the world, who will continue to pardon us as we repeatedly kill their 2-year-olds, tall men, etc.
I think Chalmers Johnson would say that our departure from Afghanistan, all things being equal (i.e. assuming we do not just move all the bases and hardware to Uzbekistan or somewhere else nearby) would probably make us more secure in the long run.