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Students should organize against war and empire

Christians have a moral obligation to challenge war profiteers and militarists.   |   infopls.com

 

As planes dropped iron fragmentation bombs and napalm on the jungles of Vietnam, television sets nationwide in the 1960s and 70s displayed grainy images of a country swept by a culture of student protest and activism against the first “living room war.” As the United States quietly adds Yemen to the long dossier of countries it has bombed, news of the latest intervention was met with shrugs and apathetic nods. If Biolans are to pray for the victims of war and empire, we should pray with our feet. Students should protest and march and find new ways to influence public discourse on war.

A Sanitized View

Despite several protests by anti-war veterans and concerned citizens, the anti-war movement will not likely materialize in the near future or ever. Modern war is sanitized from the airwaves — no more pictures of young American soldiers missing limbs or riddled with bullets are repetitively shown on the endless stream of cable news since the War in Vietnam. The Yemenis suffering from the U.S.-backed Saudi bombing campaign are deliberately silenced, first by bullets and bombs and next by the duty of the press to sell the war to the American public.

The U.S. military fired Tomahawk missiles at radar stations operated by Houthi Rebels in Yemen on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The airstrike was in retaliation against the failed missile attack on a U.S. naval destroyer off the Yemeni coast. The U.S. justifies their involvement in Yemen as part of the global “War on Terror.”

Shouded in secrecy 

Since the inception of the Yemeni civil war two years ago, the Pentagon has been supplying financial support, intelligence and military aid to Saudi Arabia — a country whose bombing campaign has killed and maimed countless civilians in Yemen. According to a press release by the U.S. Central Command, “The U.S. military conducted three counterterrorism strikes against al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula” before, but this is the first time American warplanes targeted Houthi rebels.

Shrouded in secrecy, our wars are increasingly being fought by proxy forces or special forces. It is understandable why students are not protesting at nearly the same magnitude as the Vietnam war student protests. 18-year-olds are not being drafted, and, for the most part, American soldiers have distanced themselves from the front lines with laser-guided missiles and drone strikes.

A fortune from war

War is not the only issue — it is the issue. According to an Al Jazeera article, a team of researchers and legal experts called “The Cost of War” estimated, “U.S. conflicts have cost more than 600,000 military and civilian lives, resulted in more than seven million refugees and displaced people, and run-up perhaps nearly $13 trillion in financial costs over the lifetimes of the conflicts.” Just recently, the Saudi-led coalition used American-manufactured MK-82 guided bombs in an attack that killed more than 140 people and wounded 525.

The war economy and its civilian contractors has made a fortune selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, who has used the war to commit war crimes in Yemen. As Christians, we have a moral obligation to challenge war profiteers and militarists. It is not enough we pray with our mind and our hearts. We must pray with our feet and organize against war and empire. No war, regardless of the adversary, can be considered just if it does not receive approval from the public.

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