Update on Korea People’s Tribunal

A five minute video created by Brad Wolf  while in Hiroshima during a memorial in the Peace Park for the Korean victims of the Atomic Bombings.  Speaking is Taeje Lee, President of the Second Generation of Korean Atomic Bomb Victims, and after his words he plays a song on the traditional Korean wood flute entitled “Spring of My Hometown” for all the lost souls of Korea who perished in the Atomic blast so far from their hometown. (Voice over by Brad)

Click here to view the video

A bomb that was set off 79 years ago not only had huge numbers of unintended victims, but continues to victims generations today with cancers and health issues.

And here to visit the Tribunal web site

Korean Atomic Bomb Victims Seek Justice

Korean Atomic Bomb Victims

Korean Atomic Bomb Victims

Read Brad’s article in CounterPunch.

On June 8th, 2024, in Hiroshima, Japan, The International People’s Tribunal On The 1945 Atomic Bombings met with the goal of holding the United States accountable for the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This People’s Tribunal focuses on the Korean bomb victims, 100,000 of whom were forcibly taken from their homeland by the Japanese to work in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the war and were subsequently exposed to the A-bomb blasts.

The recent Tribunal gathering in Hiroshima consisted of legal scholars from Germany, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, discussing legal theories to hold the United States accountable for violating international law for the 1945 atomic bombings, and attempting to establish the illegality of current nuclear threats and nuclear weapon states.

The Tribunal and its Korean plaintiffs are also seeking an official apology from the United States to the Korean victims for the dropping of the two atomic bombs. First and second-generation victims of these bombings were present at the conference and gave powerful testimony as to the multigenerational effects from the bomb blasts.

The Tribunal itself will hold its opening gavel proceedings in New York City in May of 2026 to coincide with the United Nations meeting on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Participants in the June 8th conference were given a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Park and the Hiroshima Peace Museum, which solemnly exhibits the horrific events of August 6th, 1945. Throughout the museum are displays of the burnt and tattered remnants of children’s clothing, charred bicycles, panoramas of the city after detonation, and graphic pictures of atomic bomb victims staggering toward the rivers of Hiroshima in a futile effort to extinguish their pain.

In a single white flash, some 70,000 souls were extinguished at 8:15 in the morning on that August day. Black Rain followed, pouring down on the alive and the barely alive radioactive water. Charred bodies covered the ground and filled the rivers.

A stone step with the vague outline of a human shadow forever singed into it rests in the museum, allowing the viewer to ponder a person sitting there at the time of the blast, casting a shadow on the stone beneath them as the rest of the stone was bleached by radioactive light from the A-bomb blast. In the Peace Park on a grass hill is Memorial Mound, where the unclaimed ashes of tens of thousands of victims are stored.

Such images linger: A person incinerated and reduced to a shadow. A river so filled with charred corpses no one can enter its waters. Burnt skin falling from bodies like flaps of clothing. The bustling city turned to a hellscape of fire. A grass hill transformed to a charnel house. On an August morning, Hiroshima became Dante’s Inferno.

Cancers and keloids developed in the decades ahead continuing to inflict pain and again victimize the Koreans who had been forcibly removed there. Healthcare of the ongoing illnesses was not provided to the Koreans by the Japanese or the U.S. For the past 79 years, they suffered.

But now they seek redress and justice.

The Koreans seek an apology from the United States for what has happened to them over these last eight decades. With dignity and great strength, they stood together on this June weekend of 2024 stating their case and asking that their plight be recognized.

Why now? What would an apology mean to the Korean victims?

To apologize would be an expression of regret and an accepting of responsibility by the United States, an acknowledgment that the bombing of these two civilian sites was unlawful and inflicted multigenerational pain and suffering on the victims. An apology would be a step toward reconciliation and lasting peace.

And why a People’s Tribunal comprised of Korean, Japanese, American, European, and other nationalities? What can its members hope to accomplish against powerful nation-states? Through the rule of law and the justice of international courts, they hope to gain legal remedy. And, equally important, they seek to stand with the victims. As legendary peace activist Philip Berrigan said, “Until we go into the breach with the victims, the victimization will not cease.”

During the conference, a memorial service to the Korean victims was held in the Peace Park. Japanese representatives spoke, Korean victims spoke, and in the audience were Americans invited to participate in the Tribunal. People from three countries connected by the atomic bombings and bearing unreconciled grievances were present at this memorial service. At Ground Zero of the blast, they attempted to heal and reconcile, to move forward into a world without nuclear weapons.

The people, the citizens, are ready. The governments of each country must now follow. This Tribunal seeks to make that happen.

“If the US, which bears the original sin, admits and apologizes for the responsibilities of the atomic bombings in 1945, then no country will ever contemplate using nuclear weapons. This is why I am participating as a plaintiff in The International People’s Tribunal to hold the U.S. accountable for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” — Kee-youl Lee, First Generation of Korean Victims.

Brad Wolf, a lawyer and former prosecutor, is director of Peace Action Network of Lancaster, PA, and co-coordinates the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal. His new book on the writings of Philip Berrigan is entitled “A Ministry of Risk” and was published on April 2 by Fordham University Press.

H.A. Penner discusses the Penny Poll

H.A. Penner discusses the Penny Poll, and the never-ending work to change our perspective on how to achieve peace in our world, on WITF, the local PBS station in Harrisburg PA on February 15. 2024.

H.A. Penner discusses the Penny Poll on WITF

H.A. Penner discusses the Penny Poll on WITF

(Click the picture to listen to the interview)

From the description on WITF:

Harold, known as H.A., is more than just a name; he represents a symbol of hope amid global turmoil. As a pivotal figure within 1040 for Peace, a prominent organization committed to fostering peace in a world plagued by conflict, Harold stands as a beacon of change. The organization’s mission goes beyond mere rhetoric, actively involving communities in their pursuit of peace through initiatives like public penny polls. Through thought-provoking articles and journals, they articulate their vision for a more humane approach to conflict resolution.

Harold and his team tirelessly advocate for peacekeeping strategies that prioritize human welfare over hostility. Their efforts aim to challenge societal norms and redefine collective values toward a more peaceful coexistence. In a world often overshadowed by violence and discord, Harold’s leadership underscores the importance of conscious activism and grassroots engagement in building a better future. As he continues to champion the cause of peace, Harold embodies the spirit of resilience and optimism, inspiring others to join the movement towards a more harmonious world.

Click here for information on the National Priorities Project referenced in the interview.

2023 Penny Poll on Tax Day

Anticipating Tax Day 2023, representatives of the Peace Action Network of Lancaster and 1040 for Peace conducted a Penny Poll on the northwest corner of the square in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, April 15, 2023. 

A Penny Poll gives passers-by 10 pennies and asks them to distribute them according to the federal budget priorities that they would like to support.  Participants look at the options and think about their choices. They may distribute the 10 pennies however they wish among containers marked with 10 different budget categories.

A penny poll engages a wide range of participants in a public place as an interactive tool for good conversation and learning about current U.S. budget priorities and one’s own values.   It reveals how one would like their tax dollars used compared to how those dollars are actually spent by the federal government. 

Eighty-four passers-by participated in Lancaster Square’s Penny Poll.  They indicated that they would like to have their federal taxes spent as follows:

Agriculture – 7%


Diplomacy – 5


Education – 17


Environment (Green Energy) – 14


Health – 18


Housing – 11


Mass Transit/Roads – 5


Military/Homeland Security – 10


Veterans – 11


Other –2


Total – 100%

It is difficult to compare these Penny Poll votes with the actual federal funds’ expenditures since the national budget is not organized according to the Penny Poll categories. The federal funds budget is made up of discretionary spending that Congress appropriates each year. It does not include dedicated funds such as Social Security and Medicare.  In addition, some areas such as Education receive far more funding through local taxes than through the federal budget.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting comparisons.

While the Penny Poll placed military/homeland security spending at 10%, most budget analysts estimate military spending to be 40%-50% of the federal funds budget. (https://www.nationalpriorities.org and https://www.warresisters.org/catalog/federal-budget-pie-charts

Another large discrepancy between Penny Poll voters and the federal budget is in the environment/green energy spending.  Penny Poll voters want 14% of the budget spent in this sector. The actual amount, according to https://www.nationalpriorities.org is 6% (Energy, Environment, and Science).

Penny Poll participants want the federal government to spend 5% of its budget on diplomacy. The actual figure spent on International Affairs, according to https://www.nationalpriorities.org is 3%.

Thanksgiving, A Very Difficult Good Day

Thanksgiving, a Very Difficult Good Day

As a citizen of USA I have very ambivalent feelings about today, Thanksgiving Day.  I affirm gratitude and aim to live with a sense that I am fortunate to enjoy the more than adequate supply of food, clothing and shelter which I have.  

But I am at least dimly aware of my USA neighbors who struggle  to survive, and equally pained by the oppression suffered by neighbors around the world.  They are oppressed by imperial powers, and mostly by the imperial power of the USA, with its 800 military bases over the globe.  Bases for what purpose?  To enforce US hegemony and access to the world’s resources in a proportion far beyond anything deserved.  Presumed entitlement is a description far to benign to characterize this reality.

So today when I eat turkey and enjoy family and friends I will also think of our larger human family.  And I will think of this visual depiction of the experience of indigenous peoples in Palestine and North America  https://www.fosna.org/the-fosna-blog/thanksgivingambivalence

Will they answer?

The Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal group which I joined in Washington D.C. on Thursday delivered questions to military profiteering corporations.  Will they answer the questions?  

It is doubtful, because our subpoenas asked for information which, by past record, they want to hide, and we were not received with open arms.  Lockheed Martin unwelcomed us in their lobby.  Boeing attempted an appearance of welcome with some shiny words,  but never came close to acknowledging the horrors of their global weapons  sales and profits.  Raytheon, in their giant building, offered neither signage nor personnel to acknowledge their presence there, and called police to move us out.  General Atomics refused the subpoena, which our delegation of two who went inside then taped to the door.  

The subpoenas were framed to give voice to the People of the World, calling on weapons manufacturers to reveal their complicity in aiding and abetting the United States government in committing War  Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Bribery, and Theft.  

The subpoenas ask for information in 23 specific areas.  Three example items follow:

1.  Documents indicating all profits generated from sales of specific military weapons and supplies, year by year, produced by Defendant since September 11, 2001;

2.  Documents demonstrating the number of lobbyists retained by defendant, year by year, since September 11, 2001, and the cost, for the purpose of influencing members of Congress with respect to their decisions on weapons and military supplies sales and regulation and foreign and military policies;

13.  Documents since September 11, 2001, explaining how the corporation leadership can, in good conscience, participate in the construction of nuclear weapons, given the certain knowledge that the use of these weapons will lead not only to gross human death and suppering but the near certainty that their use will lead to the extinction of the human race;

         The United States government is derelict in its duty to citizens of its land and the world for secretive complicity with these weapons manufacturing corporations.  So we took this action to implement just a little more democracy in the American empire.  Moro information on the War Crimes Tribunal (schedule, research plans, etc) can be found at https://merchantsofdeath.org

John K. Stoner

11/12/22

Off to Washington

The Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal will serve subpoenas on the corporate offices and directors of weapons manufacturers Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Atomics tomorrow, November 10, in Washington, D. C.  I’m going to support this action on behalf of the global victims of American militarism.

I go to support family and future.  My family and yours face a future either catastrophically troubled or no future at all, if the corporate profiteers of America’s imperial wars continue business as usual.  I go to support also the global human family, of which the good old USA is a part, like it or not  We will learn to live together as a family, big and happy at least some of the time, or we’ll die together, big and very unhappy for all time. 

I go to support truth and love.  I’ll try to make a faithful witness to the truth as I see it (is there any other way for you or I to see any truth?)  We will speak the truth of the voiceless to those who try to control all voices.

We’ll speak the truth in love, love so real it will tell those corporate brothers and sisters where they are wrong.  We will speak the truth of the powerless to those who imagine they are very powerful.  We will take the power of truth and love to the power of violence and destruction.  No one ever got PTSD or suffered moral injury by doing an act of kindness.

I go to support democracy and peace.  Democracy thrives on a free market of ideas.  Americans voted yesterday  Today they begin two years of conversation and debate, before the next big vote,  in their search for a future for humanity.  If the military corporate profiteers are as honorable as they would like us to believe, they will welcome this opportunity to state their case before this global tribunal.   If they decline the subpoenas and invitations, they will say something else about themselves.

We will give peace a chance by giving war a good interrogation. When all is said and done, more has been said than done to bring the peace which everyone says they want to the only world we all have to live in.   We will challenge the failed assumption that peace is the fruit of war.   We will join the universal struggle to make peace the way to peace.  https://merchantsofdeath.org

John K. Stoner 11/09/22

Think Family, Not War September 29, 2021

What would we have if we didn’t have the Empire—the American empire.?   Like MAGA.  Make America Great Again.

What would we have?  A good question.  Worth thinking about a little.   Maybe even feeling a little.  Let’s get in touch with this feeling about America the great.  What is it…a feeling of strength maybe?   A feeling of goodness?  Something big to belong to.   Something more than my little self  (big as I am in my own eyes…at least some days).

It’s natural and right to identify with some group or community beyond ourselves.   We like to belong to something bigger or greater.   Th fact is, we can’t flourish alone, any more than a stalk of corn or stem of wheat can survive, let alone flourish, alone. 

But the empire is troubled, big time, and it’s not clear that we’re getting what we need from it.  We…getting…what…we…need….that’s one way to ask what’s happening.  But it’s a pretty small way, after all, and maybe a bit selfish.   I, me, and mine.  A way of looking at the world, but kind of poverty stricken, really.  

Another way to think about what “we” have would be to start with a bigger “we”—a much bigger we.  We could, when we say “we the people” mean we the people, all of us, who inhabit this little blue globe of a planet.  

We Americans could be thinking of “we the human family” which we totally forgot in the exploited trauma of 9/11.  I called the human family  “our other family” in a previous blog.  We could expand whatever small or large goodness we have known in our biological family to a much larger family.  Family is the place of second and third and more chances.  It is what, in some form, gave us each and all our start.  

What if we didn’t have the Empire. and decided instead to build our lives around the human family.  That is, we could become honest about the fact that as a human species we will either survive by cooperation or die by greed and war.  If that is not true, the earth is flat.  If we cannot see that, we think that the earth is flat.  

We could begin to imagine solving problems rather than making war as the way to live in a family.  That would be instead of empire.  A plan big enough to make a difference, and small enough to start with one’s own circle of friends.  “Our other family” could be a family where we do to each other what we would like done to us.  

 John K. Stoner 9/29/21

Our Other Family September 12, 2021

Twenty years ago on 9/11, in our rush to act like an empire, we forgot something.  

We forgot our other family.

I know, nobody forgets their family.  You can’t do that.  But we did.

It didn’t take a week that fateful year until the USA was acting like whole great swaths of humanity were enemies and terrorists.  Anything but another family.

In a previous post I said I hope we will stop and think about empire. 

Today I hope we will feel the warm reality of our other family.

Humanity, the whole sweet damn mess of us, is our other family, and no amount of forgetting or wishing it otherwise can change it.  Here we are, interconnected, surviving or dying together. 

So let’s do something different for the next twenty years   Let’s live as if our other family, humanity, is real and it matters.   

If we let ourselves feel it, we all have inklings of a larger family.  From our biological family we branch out to friends, neighbors, strangers, opponents, and enemies, but we all need each other and our fate is bound together, so let’s have the heart, imagination and creativity to bind our energy and our outlook together.

Stay with me in future days to explore the possibilities of our other family as a better way than empire.    

John K. Stoner 9/12/21

Empire: Let’s Stop and Think

“If one was to stop and think, it might seem unfathomable that people in the United States, living in the most extensive war-culture the world has ever known, have so little consciousness of it.” — Kelly Denton-Borhaug

Take this as an invitation to stop and think.  To think about war-culture and empire, and to grow in consciousness.

I was reading two books at once (off and on) when I came upon the above sentence by Denton-Borhaug.  And it did seem unfathomable to me…in fact it had been seeming unfathomable to me for some time, thought maybe I had not described it as unfathomable.  But I was deeply troubled by this blissful ignorance of our culture—a war-culture— and our empire.  

Yet I keep finding other people, a few of them, who are troubled by the same thing.  Just this morning I read this terse description of the problem by Caitlin Johnstone:

“There’s more public criticism of ordinary people taking ivermectin than there is of planet-dominating power structures driving humanity to armageddon.”   Interesting…to stop and think about that. 

Besides Denton-Borhaug’s book AND THEN THEIR SOUL WAS GONE:  MORAL INJURY AND U.S. WAR-CULTURE,  these days I am also reading THE SORROWS OF EMPIRE:  MILITARISM, SECRECY, AND THE END OF THE REPUBLIC by Chalmers Johnson.   Here the key word is “empire.”

Do we think of empire?  Do we think we live in an empire?  How would you describe this country in which we live?  If not an empire, then what?  

Chalmers Johnson published his book in 2004.  He was calling the USA an “empire” in 2004.  Were you?  

Here’s a possibility.   Thinking of the United States of America as an empire might help us understand ourselves as Americans, and our troubled moment in world history.  Let’s stop and think: what if we could understand ourselves better if we recognized not only racism and white supremacy as debilitating moral injuries in our culture, but imperialism and assumptions of American supremacy as also profoundly injurious to our collective health? 

John K. Stoner    9/10/21

SOUL CARE—AMERICA’S FIRST WAY OF WAR 9/14/20

Who ever thinks about how many ways of war there are?

In chapter three of the book AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, readers are introduced to “America’s first way of war.”  It’s a grim, but probably necessary, project for us to think about our country’s ways of war.

In 2005 military historian John Grenier published THE FIRST WAY OF WAR: AMERICAN WAR MAKING ON THE FRONTIER, 1607-1814.   Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz quotes his description to open chapter three, titled “Bloody Footprints.”  Here is the text:

Americans depended on arts of war that contemporary professional soldiers supposedly abhorred: razing and destroying enemy villages and fields; killing enemy women and children; raiding settlements for captives; intimidating and brutalizing enemy noncombatants; and assassinating enemy leaders….In the frontier wars between 1607 and 1814, Americans forged two elements—unlimited war and irregular war—into their first way of war.
Those morally abhorrent practices have influenced America’s warmaking ever since.  Proposing moral distinctions between forms of the fundamentally depraved practice of war itself seems strange to me, like ranking forms of racism or slavery,  but there it is.  A graphic description of the kind of war used against the Indigenous Peoples on this continent, and now for the war of terrorism in the “war on terrorism.”  

Our souls’ search for redemption, to say nothing of innocence, in this historical milieu is fraught with difficulty, to say the least. 

Soul Care—A Vast Inhabited Land

Only by increasing our awareness of the large populations and skilled lifestyles of the indigenous population of North American before European setter colonialism devastated them can we begin to appreciate the scope and depravity of the destruction of those original inhabitants and their way of life.

So today, for the health of our souls and selves, a few facts from the first chapter of AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. 
When Lewis and Clark began their trek up the Missouri River in 1804, ethnologist Dale Lott has observed, they beheld “not a wilderness but a vast pasture managed by and for Native Americans.’” Native Americans created the world’s largest gardens and grazing lands—and thrived.

Native peoples left an indelible imprint on the land with systems of roads that tied nations and communities together across the entire 
landmass of the Americas.  Scholar David Wade Chambers writes:

“The first thing to note about early Native American trails and roads is that they were not just paths in the woods following along animal
tracks used mainly for hunting.   Neither can they be characterized simply as the routes that nomadic peoples followed during seasonal
migrations.  Rather they constituted an extensive system of roadways that spanned the Americas, making possible short, medium and 
long distance travel.  That is to say, the Pre-Columbian Americas were laced together with a complex system of roads which became
the roadways adopted by the early settlers and indeed were ultimately transformed into major highways.” pp. 28, 29.

Gardens, grazing lands and roadways in North America, including Mexico,  lived upon by approximately 200,000,000 people. (p. 17). 

Two hundred million people.

John K. Stoner   8/30/20

Soul Care–Where We Are Today

I promised more reflections on  the book AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.  

So here I go to the last chapter of the book, a paragraph which summarizes painfully well why and how our world and souls today are shaped by the genocide of America’s first inhabitants.
The conventional narrator of US history routinely segregates the “Indian wars” as  a subspecialization within the dubious category of “the West.”   Then there are the westerns, those cheap novels, movies, and television shows that nearly every US American imbibed with mother’s milk and that by the mid-twentieth century were popular in every corner of the world. (1)  The architecture of US world dominance was designed and tested by this period of continental US militarism, which built on the previous hundred years and generated its own innovations in total war.  The opening of the twenty-first century saw a new, even more brazen form of US militarism and imperialism explode on the world scene when the election of George W. Bush turned over  control of US foreign policy to a long-gestating neoconservative and warmongering faction of the Pentagon and its civilian hawks.  Their subsequent eight years of political control included two major military invasions and hundreds of small wars employing US Special Forces around the globe, establishing a template that continued after their political power waned.  p. 218
 
(1) Slotkin GUNFIGHTER NATION.  

None of this is normal or acceptable human behavior—hence the searing damage to our souls.  
John K. Stoner

Soul Care–On United States History

  For my own mental and spiritual health I will in the future have a moment of contrition every time I touch a $20 bill, which carries the image and inscription of the homicidal and genocidal Andrew Jackson, the 7th and most popular to that date president of the United States.

Jackson, who rose to fame and power by terrorist attacks on America’s indigenous inhabitants, said to the few survivors, after decimating the Muskogee (Creek) Nation in Alabama territory, 1814: “We bleed our enemies in such cases to give them their senses.” (p. 100, AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, 2014.)
As a spiritual discipline in this COVID-19 time I am trying to learn American history, because I believe that we can know neither where we are or where we are going if we do not know where we have come from.
About the book I am now reading, Robin D. G. Kelley said, “This may well be the most important US history book you will read in your lifetime.”  At 78 I think it is time for me to be reading the most important US history book.
There are facts in USA history which need to replace self-congratulatory myths and cover-ups if we are to think honestly about who we have been and are.  This paragraph from AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is the first of a few thoughts I will share from this history published in 2014. 
Neither superior technology nor an overwhelming number of settlers made up the mainspring of the birth of the United States or the spread of its power over the entire world.  Rather, the chief cause was the colonialist settler-state’s willingness to eliminate whole civilizations of people in order to possess their land.  This trend of extermination became common in the twentieth century as the United States seized military and economic control of the world, capping five hundred years of European colonialism and imperialism.  The canny Prussian Otto von Bismarck, founder and first chancellor (1874-90) of the German empire, was prescient in observing, ’The colonization of North America has been the decisive fact of the modern world.”  Jefferson was its architect.  Andrew Jackson was the implementer of the final solution for the Indigenous peoples east of the Mississippi.”  (p. 96). 

John K. Stoner

Self Care—White Supremacy and American Supremacy?

 At a time when the ideology of white supremacy is under critical scrutiny across the land, is American supremacy remaining intact and embraced by all?  It is possible to wonder how history will judge this current USA military occupation of the world.    


Seventy five years ago the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people in the blast and firestorm.  Tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days after Hiroshima the U.S. dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.  Thousands more there died from the delayed effects of radiation poisoning.  With Japan on the cusp of surrendering, did the U.S. really need to do that?  


Probably yes, if American supremacy is the starting principle.  


In the 1990’s a right wing think tank called “Project for the New American Century”  (PNAC) produced a document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” which called for “Full Spectrum Dominance” of land, sea, air and space by American forces—a bold doctrine of American supremacism.  PNAC was the brain child of such ideologues as John Bolton, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, non of whom ever saw a war they didn’t like. 


The endless war on terrorism, skyrocketing military profits and uncontrollable military budgets which have come in the wake of PNAC seem to be accepted as a reasonable norm for national behavior, noticed by few and deplored by even fewer.  One great enabler of this pandemic scourge of war is the annual, unheralded cozy cooperation of Republicans and Democrats in Washington to pass military budgets like $740.5 billion for 2021.  Here is one congressional action where all differences are laid aside, and RepDems make something happen.  A wonder to behold.  


On this another Hiroshima/Nagasaki anniversary, let’s pause to ask whether there will ever be remorse for the greatest of all human evils, war itself.  Will we allow American supremacy to replace white supremacy without a second thought?  


Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in his Nobel peace prize speech, “Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his method must inexorably choose falsehood as his principle.”  This is as true of nations as it is of men. 

Stay human,
John K. Stoner 
Still refusing to look at the virus as the only thing that matters.

Soul Care—Freedom to Answer

    Yesterday I asked if we are protecting our freedom to ask ANY question, no exceptions.  I think you told yourself that of course, you maintain your freedom to ask any question.

Today I want to ask if we’re free to accept an answer which is radically different from the public consensus on politics, health, etc.  Or do we know, in our heart of hearts, that we never have and never will take a position, never accept an answer, which is really far off from the majority answer to any question which we feel quite free to ask?

Stay human,
John K. Stoner

Soul Care — Freedom to Question

Every day during this COVID-19 time I ask myself:  Am I, are we, maintaining our freedom and our duty to question everything?  To keep asking questions, however hard or unpopular?

I start with this question:  Is a thing true just because everybody, or seemingly everybody, believes it?  There, I’ve asked it as a “yes” or “no” question, and I should question whether that is a good or necessary way to ask it.  
So I will begin by granting that the best answer is not a categorical “yes” or “no.”  But I will maintain that a “no” answer is better than a “yes” answer as a starting point for the discussion. 
A thing is not true just because seemingly everybody believes it.  In our culture/nation, virtually everybody thinks that war is a necessary function of the state/government.  That is the consensus, and I don’t grant for a minute that it is right.  That is not a trivial case for my point that a thing is not true just because  everybody believes it.  Add to this some other cases: predatory capitalism, white supremacy, women’s suffrage.   

So where do I go from there?  Well, if the majority can be wrong on a few big ones like that, on what other big ones might they be wrong?
John K. Stoner  7/23/20

Soul Care—2020 Is The Year The Unseen Becomes Seen 7/14/20

        Today I share a comprehensive look at our COVID-19/Election Year times by Caitlyn Johnstone.  Johnstone is a writer whom I find not infallible but generally trustworthy and helpful. She warns her readers not to even be looking for perfection in people—journalists, opinion writers, politicians—but rather to nurture their own capacity to recognize truth when they find it.

I especially appreciate her focus on the disclosure, the revelation, of previously hidden or unrecognized realities of our situation.  https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/07/14/2020-is-the-year-the-unseen-becomes-seen/#comment-38753
Stay human,
John K. Stoner

Soul Food—“At the Un-National Monument”

At the Un-National Monument (along the Canadian Border)

by William E. Stafford

 

This is the field where the battle did not happen,

  where the unknown soldier did not die.

This is the field where grass joined hands,

  where no monument stands,

  and the only heroic thing is the sky.

 

Birds fly here without any sound,

  unfolding their wings across the open.

No people killed—or were killed—on this ground

  hallowed by neglect and an air so tame

  that people celebrate it by forgetting its name. 

____
Posted by John K. Stoner  7/4/20

Soul Care—Jason Reynolds, Writer 6/28/20

“One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread” is the way Sam Shoemaker described sharing good news.


So that’s about the best I can do these days—tell you where I’m finding bread.  I thought that this interview of Jason Reynolds by Krista Tippett gives some good insights from an African American writer  into the origin, subtleties and persistence of racism, and what to do about it.  

His books sound real interesting.

Stay human, (Reynolds has some thoughts on what that means),

John

Soul Care—To Celebrate Generosity and Goodness 6/19/20

People want  to celebrate the things that symbolize generosity and goodness in their lives.”   Jared Seide

I read that sentence today, and thought, “that is something I believe about people—or at least try to believe and act upon.”
But there is so  much in U.S. American culture that works against generosity and goodness, and conditions us to suppress those qualities, that we need constant help to uncover and discover our latent generosity and goodness.
So I invite us to spend our lives helping ourselves and others to discover and celebrate the things that symbolize generosity and goodness in our lives.  
John K. Stoner  6/19/20

Soul Care—Second Amendment War on Indigenous and Black People

Second Amendment gun advocates probably know their US American history better than many of us do.  A groundbreaking history of the Second Amendment is available now, and it clarifies the purpose of the private militias provided for in the Second Amendment.  

LOADED: A DISARMING HISTORY OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2018) documents the purpose of the the militias.  Dunbar-Ortiz writes:  “Settler-militias and armed households were institutionalized for the destruction and control of Native peoples, communities, and nations.  With the expansion of plantation agriculture, by the late 1600s they were also used as “slave patrols,” forming the basis of the U.S. police culture after enslaving people was illegalized.”  
Reading this book will help us to understand US American history and empire, and the “defund police” cry of today’s oppressed people.  
Human development and humanitarian work today clearly challenges us to defund violence-first institutions like the military and police.  This is real basic soul work, requiring contemplation, courage, action and persistence.  It is central to the Jesus revolution of living life by doing to others what we would have them do to us.  
John K. Stoner  6/13/20

Soul Care—Liz McAlister’s Witness for Nuclear Disarmament 6/11/20

The call for a redirection of funding from police to community welfare, from war to peace, has been sounded courageously by Liz McAlister for many years.  

Her sentencing on Monday for protesting the Trident Submarine weapon of mass destruction inspired her daughter Frida Berrigan to write this message to the judge and all who will listen to a plea for justice  https://radicaldiscipleship.net/2020/06/11/frida-berrigans-statement-at-liz-mcalisters-sentencing/  As society’s response to McAlister’s plea for humanity she was sentenced to “time served” (17 months) and a fine of $25 a month (a relatively low figure because of her poverty) to pay on a fine of $30,000, the total levied against the seven activists. 
I hope you will read Frida’s statement and add your voice in some way to stand in solidarity with those who feel the threat of the pandemic of nuclear weapons.  
John K. Stoner 6/11/20

Soul Care—Defund the Police and Refund Education 6/9/20

The (White) American notion of finding safety and security from police mirrors its obsession with finding national security from bombs and guns, and now even a new branch of “armed services” (aka homicidal force) called “Space Force.”  That would be hard to beat for a lunatic use of America’s wealth.  


To one like myself who has advocated defunding the military and war tax resistance for decades, “defund the police” with their homicidal history and proclivities sounds like human development.

But we need an equal parallel emphasis on the alternatives, and the emerging call to “fund our communities” will build true security.  Another focus might well be “refund education.”

Turning these hashtags into political action and national policy is now the agenda. 
John K. Stoner  6/9/2

Soul Care—Ken Sehested on More

Sometimes I feel that my posts here are one move too far from giving comforting care for the soul—one step too far on the side of afflicting instead of comforting; that is, afflicting the comfortable instead of comforting the afflicted.  


And then I think, but we are way too much in love with our comfort.

You decide that.

Anyway, today I share the voice of Ken Sehested in North Carolina, my favorite Baptist, whom I have known as a fellow peaceworker and counted as a friend for more than 40 years.   

Much, probably most, that is possible is not easy.
John K. Stoner

Soul/Self Care—Looting and American Exceptionalism

When someone, in the context of the current rebellion against America’s racial and economic injustice, mentions “looting,” (probably to condemn it), what should be our first thought and response?

How about this, by African American Rev. Dr. Nick Peterson:  “

“I mean if we want to talk about looting, let’s talk about the “stolen properties” that structure the entire existence of this horrible project.  America is a testimony to the sanctity of white looting. 
#pentecost
Looting in 1607. That’s when the first “permanent” English settlement was established on the “James” river.”

https://radicaldiscipleship.net/2020/06/02/looting/

I have determined to memorize these words and be able to repeat them to further the education of my friends and neighbors about the true history of this nation. 

John K. Stoner

Soul Care—Cornel West on U.S. Racism History

One week ago an African American man named George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis while bystanders objected and recorded it all by video.  Now more than ever U.S. Americans need to hear the voices of Black people, to try to come closer to understanding what is happening in the wake of that atrocity.  


We do not have the voice of Martin Luther King today, but his message lives on in prophets like Cornel West.  I encourage you to watch West’s comments here, 7 min. https://truthout.org/articles/cornel-west-we-are-witnessing-america-as-a-failed-social-experiment/?utm_source=Truthout&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons  This is related to the question of American “exceptionalism” which we have been considering.

Today I encourage you also to watch the Youtube interview of Anand Giridharadas discussing his book THE TRUE AMERICAN: MURDER AND MERCY IN TEXAS,  recommended in an email response by John Martin a few days ago  https://youtu.be/8i-pNVj5KMw
As we know more truth, we will become more free. 
John K. Stoner

SOUL/SELF CARE—THE TRUE AMERICAN 5/29/20

I just read a book recommended by my grandson: THE TRUE AMERICAN:  MURDER AND MERCY IN TEXAS by Anand Giridharadas (2014). 


It tells a story of revenge and forgiveness after 9/11.  A novel, based on fact and extensive historical research.  

Asks a question:  who is the true American?  Or maybe, what is the true America?

A Dallas character in the story, anti-death-penalty activist and peace studies teacher Rick Halperin, said of this story:  “I don’t know any other story that would raise the issues to make America look at itself the way this case does.”
 

To help America look at itself is the purpose of our inquiry into American exceptionalism.  For our own good, individually and nationally, nothing is so useful as honest self-evaluation.  

Maybe there is no “true” American, and no “true” America.  We and it are all a mixture of true and false, good and bad, right?  But even if that is your starting assumption, more or less true, more or less good still matter, do they not?

So today I recommend reading this book, or reading some reviews of it.  What is the true meaning of America’s response to 9/11?  Did the Texas murderer or the Bangladeshi Muslim immigrant get it closer to right? 
John K. Stoner  5/29/20   
   

Self-Care—The Magician’s Craft 5/24/20

While the left hand of the magician is over here, his right hand is doing something else over there.

Do you give your informed consent to a new cold war and a new round of nuclear roulette in which we could all lose but no one could ever win?
If you do, that’s a world you want but most of us don’t.  
While we’re watching real and fake machinations around COVID-19,  the magicians (power-hungry oligarchs and billionaires, militarists, heads of corporations and states) are envisioning new ways to control the world’s population.  
A little woman with a prophetic bent has asked us a few questions about this, and I share them with you today.  Caitlin Johnstone does not write for the New York Times, but she writes, and she never helped take us into the Iraq war or justify endless wars after 9/11.https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/05/24/do-you-consent-to-the-new-cold-war/
You will have a healthier heart, mind and soul if you put courageous and persistent creativity and energy into resisting the propaganda of imperial powers in our troubled world.  You will meet the resurrected Jesus while doing that. 
John K. Stoner  5/24/20

Soul Care—More Toward Assessing our Greed-induced Behaviors

If there is such a thing as American exceptionalism, it is most likely in the area of consumerist capitalism.  To think more accurately about this is surely one essential path toward healing.  How should we respond to this? 


Paul Clark says that his response to America’s exceptional consumerist capitalism is to “return to a deep place within to know truly who I am and then attempt to create some modest friction within the Greed Machine.”


Norman Lowry has often said that his life is, among other things, a protest against the racism, bigotry, militarism and poverty-production of the American system.  What does the Greed Machine produce?  “Poverty production” says Norm.

Upon the recommendation of my grandson I’m reading THE TRUE AMERICAN: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas, a novel based on the murder and attempted murder of (supposed) Arabs post-9/11 in Dallas.  One victim (who survived) this one-man retaliatory “war” was Rais Bhuiyan.  The piece I’m picking up today from that story is one thing which Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi immigrant to the USA, did to establish his authenticity as an American.  Giridharadas describes it this way in the opening sentence of chapter 7: “In the America of the aughts, [first decade of the 21st century] nothing said you belonged like buying a car you couldn’t afford.”  Bhuiyan did that, and struggled for 2 years with car payments he should never have committed to.  But think of the pathos and tragedy of that sentence.  That kind of self-inflicted suffering has damaged not only thousands of immigrants, but millions of U.S. born Americans and savaged the world as one of our “nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems” (Michael Moore).   

So, can we move into new and deeper levels of imagining what must do to move beyond “greed-induced behaviors and systems”?
John K. Stoner  5/22/20

Soul Care: Assessing our Capitalist Record 5/19//20

In response to “Truth: Making Uncomfortable and Free”   https://1040forpeace.org/news-and-blog/ on Sunday, Dennis Rivers wrote: ”It seems to me, after a lifetime of wrestling with the Angel of Truth, that Truth is one of the most important of three or four central human ideas.  Like an essential vitamin, it plays a role in almost all other ideas. But I like the expression “truthfulness” better, because it locates the topic inside  of us as living beings, rather than just “out there” somewhere.” 

Dennis goes on to point out how truthfulness is something we do, not only what we think.  That’s good!

Paul Clark said that truth talk took his mind back to grade school when he quit saying the pledge of allegiance, because it did not pass his own truth test.  
 
In this blog are now asking whether the notion of American “exceptionalism,” or “manifest destiny” to conquer the west and now rule the world, passes any reasonable or useful test of truth.  Or is  a more truthful assessment of our “homeland” available, as I suggested on Sunday?

We are a “capitalist” nation, by all estimates, and that raises the question of whether we will judge our capitalist present by its ideal or by its historical record.  Going with the historical record, we do find what Michael Moore called our “various nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems.”  I think we do have such things.  Would you help me name them, and suggest ways we should be changing them for the health of our own souls and the world’s?
John K. Stoner 5/19/20

Soul/self Care—Truth Making Uncomfortable and Free 5/17/20

A wise person once said (it may have been Jesus) that you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.  We like that. However,  another wise person added “but first it will make you uncomfortable,” and we should remember that too.


We, in our selves and our souls, are nourished by truth.  And by love and beauty.  These and many other things will keep us in health and freedom.  In our reflections on the notion of American “exceptionalism,” I suggest we think for a few days now about truth, love and beauty, each in turn.


When I suggested two days ago, borrowing from Michael Moore, that the exceptionalism in which USA Americans have excelled is “nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems” there was a flash of recognition in at lease some readers.  


Paul Clark responded, “Until the great powers are forced to abandon the path of warring and death, the creation will suffer along with the poor.”  Might it be that creation finds ways to complain about the human path of warring and death?  The Spanish flu in 1918 came right on the heels of The Great War, WWI, in which some 20 million people died.  The Spanish flu killed some 60 million people worldwide.  I wonder how many people wondered then, “Given what a flu virus can do to humanity, why did we just kill 20 million of ourselves in war?”  The endless wars of the USA have killed millions of people since 9/11—a truth which will make us uncomfortable if we let compassion inform our self-awareness.  We are part of nature, not just “other” than nature, and if we respond to a viral pandemic by thinking about our war pandemic(s), maybe that is good for us?  


In a personal note to me, another reader wrote “You addressed a topic that I think is one of the primary roots to our evil collective U.S. behavior—the absurd notion that we are exceptional (we are exceptionally evil).”  That, if there is truth in it, is making us uncomfortable before it is making us free.  


So it might be useful, if not at first freeing, to have a more truthful assessment of our (as the closet, or not-so-closet fascists call it) homeland.  Let’s at least for a while try on that thought.  

John K. Stoner  5/17/20

Soul/self Care—USA Exceptionalism as Planetary Emergency 5/15/20

Soul/Self Care—USA Exceptionalism as Planetary Emergency  5/15/20

My last email/blog invited reflection on Michael Moore’s new movie “Planet of the Humans.” https://1040forpeace.org/soul-self-care-planetary-emergency/  That movie has proven to be intensely controversial in the environmental/green community, largely because it offers criticisms of some of the broad strokes and hopes of the efforts of the environmental movement to date.  

We all want hope, and are instinctively critical of voices which question, or seem to question, particular sources of our chosen reasons for hope.  So far so good.

But at some point it becomes necessary to ask whether our hopes are well placed and based on something better than wishful thinking and optimism fueled by ignorance more than awareness.

Responding to criticism he received, Moore wrote: “Yes, we are in a serious, multi-level planetary emergency – and it involves climate, water, food, topsoil, overconsumption, missing species, ocean life and humans. Mostly humans, and our various nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems.”  https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/62782-we-are-in-a-planetary-emergency

Today I want to suggest that for the betterment of our own selves (soul care) citizens of the USA would do well to reflect on what Moore called “our various nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems.”  This, he says, is the MOSTLY feature of the multi-level planetary emergency.  I’m not sure that I see his critics honing in on this challenge, but I am watching for that.

If you wanted to name the thing that best defines American “exceptionalism,” might it be an unwavering commitment to our various greed-induced behaviors and systems?  Yes, I acknowledge that patriots, politicians and political theorists who use the word “exceptional” to define the essence of the USA mean some kind of divinely appointed global mission and/or infallible spirit of benevolence in our national character, but I’m challenging that idea of American exceptionalism and suggesting instead the one named here by Michael Moore.  

This becomes a call to quit measuring our needs by our greeds, and it is addressed to all USA Americans whose lifestyle is already more than adequate (which is tens of millions), and not to America’s oppressed poor and disenfranchised. Overconsumption is not the problem of everyone in the USA or any country of the world, but it is the problem of those who think they run the country and the world, so let’s address it.  

This old pandemic of greed and consumption has brought the planet to the brink of destruction—for all we know, maybe over the brink, but for now let’s still give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe something can be done about it.

But what?  You will ask, but what?

People say, “Well, we’d fix our more-than-four-months-old pandemics of predatory consumerist capitalism, fascist homeland security politics, and delusional global militarism if we knew what to do about them.”  Would we really?

I’m not so sure about that, but I am pretty sure that if we thought that our various nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems were the biggest cause of the global crisis, we would be obsessing with the question of what should be done about those in a manner not too different from our obsession with what to do about COVID-19.  

Soul/self Care—Planetary Emergency

Last Friday I recommended viewing Michael Moore’s new film “Planet of the Humans” https://1040forpeace.org/soul-care-look-but-do-not-fear-5-1-20/  A number of readers have shared good comments on this email list.  Today I add two further sources on this subject of our ecological/earth care crisis.

First, the following April 28 Common Dreams article by Cynthia Kauffman, critical of the film.
https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/04/28/mobilizing-climate-action-face-planet-humans

And second, a column by Michael Moore, saying we are in a planetary emergency with multiple causes, but “Mostly humans, and our various nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems.
https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/62782-we-are-in-a-planetary-emergency

All of this is a call for more radical changes in consumption and “way of life” expectations than most of us want to consider, I fear.  Yet, we may respond with positive action and caring. 

John K. Stoner 5/7/20

Soul Care–Look, But Do Not Fear 5/1/20

 Jesus often said “Fear not,” but I do not know that he ever said “Look not.”  


Over the years Michael Moore has invited the public to look at a number of things, most recently at the ecological abyss into which we stare.  I recommend his new movie, “Planet of the Humans” online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE

As I have said before in this email/blog series, the current focus on CORVID—19 must not cause us to forget all else about our world.  The sustainability of our planet continues to hang in the balance, and failing or refusing to look will not change the fact that earth-care decisions and practices which emerge after CORVID-19 will decide our fate. 

So I hope you will view “Planet of the Humans” and share your thoughts as we continue to seek to care for ourselves and our planet inextricably and all together.
Remain human, (a thought from Mazin Qumsiyeh  http://qumsiyeh.org ,) 
John

Soul Care–Not Back to Normal 4/28/20

On April 23 we considered ‘Wisdom essential for survival’  https://1040forpeace.org/soul-care-wisdom-essential-for-survival-4-23-20/.  That reflection made a strong claim: that humanity must move from a notion of survival by dominating, homicidal power to the embrace of survival by empathy and cooperation with humanity and earth’s fragile ecosystem.  Can we do that?

There is a lot of talk these days about getting “back to normal,” or finding “the new normal.”  But let’s be clear that “getting back to normal” will not give us a livable future.  What we have come to accept as “normal” was, and is, killing our world.  That is the point of Arno Gruen’s book THE INSANITY OF NORMALITY: TOWARD UNDERSTANDING HUMAN DESTRUCTIVESS   https://www.arnogruen.net/.
So will the current global agony issue in a turning (first of all for the U.S.A.)  from obsession with war, military power and global domination?  Of all the things we are thinking, obsessing, and praying about these days, this would be a good one for some of our time.  It is extraordinarily hard to be hopeful about our future if we go back to the normal war program and global dominance aspirations.  
Envision a better world, and resist war taxes or give us your ideas of something better, to make it happen.
John

Soul Care: Wisdom Essential For Survival 4/23/20

 “War or Peace:  We cannot survive with Real-Politik” is the title of Arno Gruen’s reflection on modern culture and psycho-social conditioning.  The following words in the second paragraph of the article state his thesis that “real-politic” is based on an ultimately suicidal belief that the world must be run by dominating, homicidal power.  https://www.arnogruen.net/war-or-peace.pdf

“We live in cultures that are characterized by competition and insecurity and that make it difficult for people to develop the self-esteem that comes from a sense of one’s inner worth, which can evolve only if people learn to accept and share their suffering, pain, and adversity. This is what enables an inner strength to emerge—informed by an attitude of equanimity in spite of insecurity and of self-confidence in spite of helplessness. Only such a development forms a person’s genuine substance. In cultures that mistake strength for invulnerability, this kind of development is hardly possible because suffering, pain, and helplessness are stigmatized as weakness.”

Our challenge, he says (even, or especially in a pandemic time, I add), is to discover that suffering, pain, and helpless are not weakness, but the human lot which allows the person’s inner strength to emerge.  
 
In the essay, Gruen argues that cultures condition us to think that competition and dominating power are the traits which assure human survival, crushing our in-born impulses for empathy and cooperation.  
 
“Real-Politik” is a political philosophy based on that cultural conditioning.  Ultimately it abhors human compassion, love and cooperation, considering them weakness.  I wonder, is that our functioning, if not consciously explicit, political philosophy?  If it is, what kind of leaders are we looking for?
 
John K. Stoner
4/23/20
 
See this and earlier Soul/self Care emails on the www.1040forpeace.org blog.  Subscribe or unsubscribe to these emails by sending me a note at jstoner961@gmail.com.  

Soul Care–Sabbath Reflection on The Land

On this Sunday/Sabbath I recommend renewal of your spirit/soul by listening patiently to “On Being”, Krista Tippet interview with Ellen Davis and Wendell Berry.

https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5zaW1wbGVjYXN0LmNvbS9BdUF4SF9CZg&episode=NDE4NTQ5ZjQtZTY1My00MmQxLTk1MDUtNTgzZWYwZGI5N2Rh&hl=en&ved=2ahUKEwir29KwufToAhUwmHIEHbyGCL4QieUEegQIBRAE&ep=6

You will do better than me if you get all the wisdom and inspiration of this hour in one listening.

See this email also on the blog at www.1040forpeace.org. Subscribe or unsubscribe with an email to me at jstoner961@gmail.com.

John K. Stoner
4/19/20

Soul Care–Do We Think We Can Survive War?

Yesterday I shared the link to Arno Gruen’s “War or Peace:  We Cannot Survive With Real Politic.”  https://www.arnogruen.net/war-or-peace.pdf  Today I’m wondering if you read it and what you thought of it—I saw no comments on it. 


I know we’re all focused on surviving COVID-19, but I wonder nevertheless if we think or care about how we are going to survive war.  


Gruen’s writings on “the insanity of normality” speak to our culture of obedience and dominating power.  We have made obedience to (government and other) voices claiming authority and the global practice of dominating power (war) normal.  Gruen says we cannot survive this.


What do you think?  

John K. Stoner

4/17/20

See this and earlier “Soul Care” emails on the blog  www.1040forpeace.org.  To start or end a subscription to Coronavirus Soul Care emails, send a note to me at jstoner961@gmail.com

Soul Care–We Cannot Survive… 4/16/20

SOUL CARE—WE CANNOT SURVIVE…

The purpose of the title is to provoke interest.  Cannot survive what?  Read on.


What are we doing here in these Soul/self care emails?  I see it this way:  Some of us want to have hard conversations toward the end of avoiding even harder consequences.  History is, after all,  relatively (more likely absolutely) unforgiving.  Having said that, I am the eternal optimist, believing that human nature is capable of much better things.   


How does it happen that I find myself these days reading A SAVING REMNANT: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds by Martin Duberman?  The stories of two Americans who spent their lives in the 20th century making sacrifices for the cause of peace and justice.  It makes me wonder what the rest of us were doing in the 20th century. 


Obsessed as we are, and no doubt should be, about the future we face, we could still do worse than consider our past for clues to the future.  The prophetic word has always started with a clear and honest look at the past, not a magic or crystal ball prediction about the future.  Prophecy knows that behavior has consequences, that the rape and pillage of lands and peoples produces moral injury in the lives of those who do it, and the future is not so quick to forgive us as we are to forgive ourselves.  
We have a fearsome corporate history. 


But we also have deeply troubled personal histories.  Our corporate and personal histories are like a bird with two wings and maybe it is too much to bring them both up at once, but then  you think of a bird trying to fly with one wing…. 


So let’s take them together if they come that way.  In an email yesterday Norman Lowry recommended the writings of Arno Gruen.  Norm wrote: 


 
Hello Blair (& other friends),

For a good look at The Insanity of Normality:  Toward Understanding Human Destructiveness, I would suggest the following website of Dennis Rivers (friend of John Stoner and me).  https://www.arnogruen.net/.  I would also suggest that you consider reading Dr. Gruen’s essay; “War or Peace?  We Cannot Survive with Real Politik” https://www.arnogruen.net/war-or-peace.pdf. 

The second link given above (“War or Peace?”) completes the phrase “we cannot survive.”  This essay by Gruen helps us to understand our society’s culture of obedience and dominating power.  Given that we do want to survive, let’s read it and see what it says to our coronavirus moment. 



We will spend at least a week, maybe two, on this essay.  If we cannot learn something from this about our survival, we should quit wasting our time here and go back to beer, TV and shopping.  But we are, I insist, capable of better things. 

John K. Stoner

4/16/20

 

Soul Care– Propaganda Normalized 4/13/20

Good morning, friends,

I had these thoughts this morning, before I read Julio Vincent Gambuto’s article submitted by James Landis last evening. I wrote down my thoughts (in response to Caitlyn Johnstone’s piece which I had just read).  So my thoughts (in italics) below and Caitlin Johnstone’s piece are my contribution today, all as my expression of profound appreciation for Gambuto’s article (see it here https://forge.medium.com/prepare-for-the-ultimate-gaslighting-6a8ce3f0a0e0) and James sharing it with us. 


  In my view, we
 did not come to a place of believing the words of billionaire oppressors of common people overnight.  We have been conditioned into this over a long period of time.  Just ask yourself one thing:  How important do you think it is to billionaires to have common people believe that they (the billionaires) care about everybody?  How important?  If it is important to them, what would they invest in psychology, sociology and advertising (propaganda) to make it happen?  Please linger at some length on your own thoughts about these things.  (For me the importance of all this goes way beyond presidential races,)


I hope we are not already at a place where we cannot (it is not safe to) ask such questions.  


What follows is just the voice of one common person who does not have much money.  I became aware of Caitlin Johnstone a few years ago.  I was then and continue to be impressed by her courage.  Maya Angelo said
 
Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

Courage, and hope,

John

from Caitlin Johnstone

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/04/13/this-absolute-bullshit-would-not-be-possible-without-propaganda/

Manufacturing Normality

“By ‘manufacturing normality’ I mean the way the plutocrat-owned political/media class pour massive amounts of energy day in and day out into making the ridiculous, horrific status quo seem normal.”https://t.co/ebZ9QjWQJS

,,,,,

This is the case not just with this bullshit US presidential race, but with all bullshit everywhere. A world where powerful governments attack, destroy, starve and undermine weaker governments which refuse to bow to their interests, a world where the wealthy continue to steal more and more wealth from an increasingly impoverished working class and use the leverage that wealth gets them to steal more, a world where governments demand more and more opacity for themselves and more and more transparency from ordinary people, a world where police are becoming increasingly militarized and speech is becoming increasingly restricted, a world where the response to a global pandemic is not to rally together and overcome but to advance pre-existing authoritarian agendas and manufacture support for new cold war escalations against China.

None of this bullshit would have been possible without all of us having been raised in an atmosphere of mass-scale obfuscation and manipulation. None of us would ever accept such a world without having been manipulated into it, which is why they have done exactly that.

______

John K. Stoner

4/13/20

Soul Care–Questions of Inevitability and Possibility 4/10/20

Soul Care:  Questions of Inevitability and Possibility  4/10/20


What is inevitable, and what is possible?  Those are larger questions, and/or assumptions, around which we form our ideas about how the world might be run.  Is war inevitable?  Is a world without war possible?  Today I pick up the question of war itself.


So it has come to this: we are asking ourselves how the world might be run.  Underlying that is something of an assumption that change might be good, that the way it is now being run leaves something to be desired. 


This is a very old question, actually, and if COVID-19 is focusing our attention now, it could do worse than focus our attention on how the world should be run.  


I tend to look in two directions for input on that, not claiming these to be comprehensive, but sensible places to start.  First, to that significant (maybe we can agree) figure of history, Jesus.  And second, to a piece of human experience, the success and failure of WWII.


Looking first at Jesus, he named himself “the human one” or “Son of Man,” as his most common self description.  He identified himself as one of us, a human being.  So let’s start out by doing what he did, identifying him with ourselves and ourselves with him, rather than jumping to mystical, metaphysical or spiritual religious confessions about how he was all different, greater, bigger and better than poor little you and me. 


The words Jesus used to express his message and mission succinctly were “the kingdom of God.”  Kingdom in his day and place  meant “way to run the world.”  Kingdom meant hierarchical organization of the world around kings and kingdoms.  But Jesus threw in a modifier to kingdom, and it was “God.”   Kingdom
of God.


God—that’s a big one!  For starters I’ll tell you if I believe in God after you tell me who God is.  Seriously, that’s only fair, and it will go some ways to level the playing field of our discussion if we both take some responsibility for defining the words we use. 


I think of Jesus as spending his life showing what God—or if you prefer, Everything That Really Matters—is like.  All of that in relation to how to run the world, which he called “the kingdom of God.”


He told “parables of the kingdom” and in one of them he said the kingdom of God is like a small seed which grows into a big tree.  The idea which he lived and practiced most consistently was love, caring for one’s fellow humans.  It was understood and practiced by few, small like a seed, in his time, and has remained pretty small ever since.  But it has the potential to become big, if we were to choose it as our way of running the world. And it is just that, a choice which we could make in face of multiple other ways of trying to run the world, of which we see plenty right now.  


The second direction I look for ways to run the world is human experience…what have we tried, how did it go?  


And this comes less as a question to history than a question to  you as an interpreter of history—and the future.  Maybe Jesus doesn’t speak to you.  This is about how you speak to yourself and to others in your little circle of influence. 


I submitted the following question last evening to David Swanson on the World Beyond War conversation, but of course there was not time for all the questions, and mine did not come up.  Here it is:


David, do you think that the people of Germany were so depraved that they would have continued their support of Hitler if even half of the human lives and physical resources spent on World War II had been shipped to Europe to right the wrongs written into the Treaty of Versailles settlement of World War I?


Of course, the question about the Germans is beside the point now.  But it’s the question we ask about any group of human beings which your government or mine might tell us is worthy of being visited with a “just war” today or tomorrow.  Are they so depraved…?  And in asking it, do not fail to assume that “they” are asking if “we” are so depraved….


Finally, ask yourself, are the people who answer “yes” to this question  pessimists or optimists?  Or using other language, more hopeless or hopeful about the future of humanity?  


To watch David Swanson of World Beyond War shred the argument that war is inevitable and speak other truths strange to American ears, see the video of the webinar Tuesday evening: https://worldbeyondwar.org/video-of-webinar-david-swanson-on-ending-war/ 

John K. Stoner  

Akron PA

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This email text and previous ones are on the blog at www.1040forpeace.org.

Soul Care—COVID-19 and War: Considerations of the Inevitable 4/8/20

Soul Care— What do CORVID-19 and War Have in Common?  Considerations of the Inevitable  4/8/20


Today (as a conversational device…not a teaching device, we know we learn by talking these days, etc. not from teachers, right?…yeah, I too know that) I will compare two evils.  One of the ways we do learn is by comparing the familiar with the unfamiliar.  


But first also an apology for using the word “evil.”   That’s kind of old school language, so please think of your preferred word like sub-standard, retrograde, not cool or whatever and use that.  


In any case, there are useful comparisons to be made between the CORVID-19 crisis and war.  


Last evening I watched the two hour teaching conversation offered by David Swanson of World Beyond War.  I believe that a few of you readers saw at least some of it, after Phyl Leaman and I shared an email announcement of it yesterday afternoon.


Swanson said things which most Americans have never heard or thought.  That in itself would seem potentially useful, wouldn’t it?  Or are Americans such a repository of wisdom that no one should presume to give them a new thought?  (Let me say that I’m not nationalistic enough to think that, but I want to recognize those who do.)


Swanson said that war is not inevitable.  Not inevitable, like  slavery, sexism, safety when you leave your house and join a crowd and racism are not inevitable. 


There I referred to CORVID—19 in relation to “safety.”  Now I will refer to war in relation to safety.  All of this having to do with what is “inevitable.” 


Even if the fact of CORVID-19 is (has been) in some sense inevitable, we are not going to treat as if it is inevitable, are we?  First of all, we will have a healthy fear of it, and try to act accordingly, right?  We kind of care about our survival in face of CORVID-19, yes, no?   


So then, what about war and the fear of it as an issue of human survival?


A week or two ago I wrote that our history and practice of war has made us very ill as a people—we have suffered incalculable damage (moral injury)  by our embrace of war and treating it as something inevitable.  And we think we can do that with impunity, or some kind of immunity.


Have you tried suggesting that the consequences of COVID-19 might be anything less than threatening to human survival itself?  (Linger on this thought for a moment). 


But we do this with war all the time.  In fact, as David Swanson told us last evening, the U.S. war machine spends billions of dollars convincing our population that war is not only less than threatening to human survival, it is inevitable, a good thing, and we had better accept it as a good thing or else.  


If there is anything of a new thought for you in any of this, I encourage you to take a look at Swanson’s message.  It’s still there for you at https://1040forpeace.org When this page comes up, you could click on the Martin Sheen one minute video on “the weapon that kills the most,” just to get into the website. 


I am not trying to recreate Swanson’s whole hopeful worldview here, just to intrigue us with what might not be as inevitable as we thought it was.  


Imagine, a vaccine to protect us from the deadly propaganda that war is inevitable.  We could call it “truth” or something like that. 

John K. Stoner

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This text is also available at www.1040forpeace.org.  Respond there by using the Contact button at the top right. 

 

Soul Care: Are We Starting A War on Nature? 4/5/20

Are We Starting A War on Nature? Is This the Real Struggle? 


THIS being, not what will a virus coming out of nature do to us, but what will we, with all of the possibilities of our own nature, do to ourselves?  


We have needed something to focus our attention, the attention of the whole world, no less, on the hopeless situation into which our approach to living on this planet has brought us.  Our attention—the whole world’s attention—is now focused as never before; as absolutely never before. and what are we doing with this attention?


Are we starting another war, a war on nature this time, like we started the endless wars after 9/11 on Them and The Other: Muslims, Eastern nations, Enemies all of them?


Another war as mindless and endless as the wars since 9/11?  Did we learn anything from THAT? 


When was the last time you felt a kind of immobilizing fear, as if history was being divided into before and after, as if everything was now changed?  9/11 perhaps?  Think about that now.   


By any reasonable standard of all that is just and humane, our response to the test of 9/11 was an abject failure.


We turned an opportunity for honest self-evaluation into a miserable obsession with endless war.  That is a fair and balanced evaluation of America’s response to 9/11.  By any standard of all that is just and humane, you judge our response to 9/11.  


Are we about to do something just as stupid with the coronavirus challenge of 2020?  


Are We Starting A War on Nature? Is This the Real Struggle? 


THIS being, not what will a virus coming out of nature do to us, but what will we, with all of the possibilities of our own nature, do to ourselves and to nature?  


Like a deer in the headlights, we stand immobilized by what might be coming rather than mobilized in response to what is present.  Let’s look at all, or something closer to all,  that is present. 


What if, due to immobilizing fear of what the virus might do to us, we close our eyes, then agree to economic, political and military measures which are certifiably more deadly than any virus which has ever erupted from the earth?  Those economic, political and military measure present every possibility of doing to us what nothing from the earth itself has ever done to humanity


What the economics of predatory capitalism, the politics of homeland fascism and the militarism of nuclear insanity have done with their war on nature, and are doing to the human part of nature,  dwarf the worst that millions of years of the biology of creation has ever done to humanity.  Those years of struggle have produced life—all the life that we know.   In starkest contrast, these above named human—these inhumane—projects  have been for years already threatening the destruction of the planet as a livable place.  CORVID-19 has not lessened or removed those suicidal human behaviors, it has focused our attention in such a way that we could now choose to adopt an  economics of democratic social caring, a politics of civil liberty and a global security system of nonviolent compassion toward the goal of our survival.    That could be our response to this illness that comes from the earth, or from bioweapons laboratories, we really don’t know.  


There is an indigenous wisdom of humanity which for tens of thousands of years sought the wisdom of how to live in harmony with the earth and its creatures.  For several hundred years another paradigm of human “wisdom” has prevailed, one which has viewed creation as an enemy to be conquered, an opponent over which to gain dominion.  The earth has taken all of that that it’s going to take, and it is now time for us to choose a new path.  The indigenous and dominionist approaches might not be polar opposites, but they are distinct choices which take us in different directions.  We are choosing.  This is the real issue we face.


Let’s have a conversation about it.  


John K. Stoner

April 6, 2020

This is also available on www.1040forpeace.com.  Respond by using the comment function, top right. 

Soul/self care–A Letter to Mennonite Central Committee U.S. 4/3/20

Today, in my series on Soul/self Care, here is an example of a group response to the problem of American militarism.  The 1040forpeace.org group in Lancaster county PA, which supports conscientious objection to war taxes, sent the following letter (see text below)  to the Mennonite Central Committee U.S.  The concept of the letter predates the coronavirus panic and was not derailed by it.
John K. Stoner
 
 
1040 for Peace
108 South Fifth Street
Akron, PA  17501-1204
 
April 2, 2020
 
Ron Byler, MCC US Executive Director
Jesus Cruz, MCC US Program Director
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, MCC US Washington Office Director
Jes Stoltzfus Buller, MCC US Peace Education 
 

Dear Ron, Jesus, Rachelle and Jes,
 

Because of COVID-19 we live in a time of uncharted territory which provides a new opportunity for Anabaptist denominations and 
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to influence and bring about change in our world.  A crisis has the potential to produce real change.  When that crisis occurs, the available ideas prompt the actions that are taken. 
 

Seeking to be the Christ-like witnesses that we are called to be, we believe the COVID-19 pandemic exposes a desperate need as well as a window of opportunity to encourage the reapportionment of the U.S. budget priorities away from military spending and toward health care, economic reform, diplomacy and efforts to mitigate the climate crisis.
 

As members of 1040 for Peace 
(https://1040forpeace.org), the mission of which is to encourage U.S. taxpayers to express their opposition to U.S. military spending and imperialism, we think now is the time for MCC to re-address militarism.  Underwriting war-making compromises our faith.  Indeed, we suffer moral injury when we continue to participate in actions which bring harm to others.  The incalculable death and destruction wreaked on the world by U.S. wars has damaged America’s soul.  We cannot ignore this with impunity.  Because war-making is rooted in nationalism, we call on MCC US to launch a program of anti-nationalism teaching to prevent the U.S. from becoming like WWII Germany.  
  

MCC has a proven history of providing assistance to and building relationships of trust with people who are suffering. This is the time for MCC to redouble its efforts to draw connections to US policy and the US systems that create war, displacement and poverty.  These systemic issues should not only be the focus of the Washington, DC, office of MCC US; all constituents of MCC US need to be engaged. 
 

These systemic issues need to be addressed while U.S. citizens and politicians alike are realizing that without adequate spending in public health, the country is not secure.   The United States, indeed the whole world, is at much greater risk than was previously understood.  When both the world and national health are at risk, something the US military cannot appropriately address, there is insecurity.  
 

While the current U.S. government may have enabled economic growth and prosperity for the wealthy and increased the U.S. military budget at the expense of other public-oriented programs and the poor, it is clear that a strong economy and military power do not address the needs of the world’s poor or keep America safe, especially during a pandemic like COVID-19.  Therefore, we want MCC and its constituency to encourage the U.S. government to reallocate the Pentagon budget toward health care, economic reform, diplomacy and efforts to mitigate the climate crisis.
  

MCC US can’t do this alone.  It has to collaborate and become part of larger coalitions such as the Poor People’s Campaign, the NAACP and 350.org.  But MCC US can help its constituency understand the need for military budget redistribution through renewed emphases on education and political advocacy for health care, economic reform, diplomacy and the environment.   MCC US can also inform and help individuals and congregations do advocacy to communicate this message to government representatives.  Yes, with its historic peace church reputation, MCC US can be a powerful voice while many question whether the huge U.S. military budget keeps America safe.  
 

As 1040 for Peace we call on MCC US to re-engage the issue of the misguided and disproportionate U.S. military budget.  That budget needs to fund programs benefiting humanity as a national security issue.  We urge MCC US to engage and enable public deliberation to develop alternatives to existing policies.  
 

Might what appears politically impossible become politically inevitable?  Our hope and prayer is that when COVID-19 abates, when citizens and politicians are no longer controlled as much by fear, that people will realize that without adequate spending on health care, economic reform, diplomacy and the climate crisis, the world is at risk. 
 

Sincerely, 
 

Signed by the following members of 1040 for Peace:
 

Curtis Wesley Book, Lancaster, Pa.
Richard Boshart, Lititz, Pa.
Patrick Brady, Landisville, Pa.
Marian Buckwalter, Lititz, Pa.
Nathan B. Hege, Lititz, Pa.
Phyllis Leaman, Lancaster, Pa.
Richard Leaman, Lancaster, Pa.
Luke Martin, Lititz, Pa.
Ruth Martin, Lancaster, Pa.
Rhoda Nolt, Lititz, Pa.
H.A. Penner, Akron, Pa.
Rick Stamm, Lancaster, Pa.
John Stoner, Akron, Pa.
Leon Weber, Lititz, Pa.
 

cc:  Michelle Armster, MCC Central States
       Bruce Campbell Janz, MCC East Coast
       Eric Kurtz, MCC Great Lakes
       Nathan Yoder, MCC West Coast
 

SOUL CARE—THE CALL FOR A GLOBAL CEASEFIRE 4/2/20

SOUL CARE—THE CALL FOR GLOBAL CEASEFIRE  4/2/20

Imagine what it would do for the soul of America if the nation heeded the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez for cessation of all wars in the world now that the CORVID_19 virus crisis is upon us.  “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. That is why today, I am calling for a global ceasefire in all corners of the world.   It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives” he said on March 23.   

While it is hard to imagine the U.S. war machine shutting down, why not?  Readers have reminded me that the U.S. war machine is a response to the fears of the people—it is supported and paid for because we are afraid.  That is undoubtedly true.  Is it the last word?  Shall it be the last word?  Ultimately that is ours to decide. 
It is good to acknowledge our fears—they are real and cannot be denied.
But we should also acknowledge our courage—that too is real.
And our imagination, which also is real.  
Our fears will determine our destiny if we allow them to immobilize us.  
For the USA to close down its war machine would be a great shock to the system—comparable in intensity no doubt to the coronavirus itself, but of a different sort.  What energy are we willing to expend, what effort will we make, to see it happen?  The task looks impossible, but we do what we can in the face of apparently impossible tasks, don’t we?  

My ongoing plea for the soul of American does not come from a place of ignorance of what is actually happening.  I too read the news.  The US is not tamping down its belligerence.   ofhttps://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/01/despite-calls-global-ceasefire-trump-threatens-war-iran-amid-covid-19?cd-
And I know that Joe Biden, who adamantly argued for the war against Iraq, is the favored candidate for president of many Democrats.  As Andrew Bacevich wrote  in “Judgment Day for the National Security State:”    Imagine, if you will, Democrats in 1880 nominating not a former union general (as they did) but a former confederate who, 20 years before, had advocated secession.” 
So we do not see the U.S. heeding the call for cessation of war, but be do not have to accept what is as what should be.
John K. Stoner  4/2/20
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Comments can be made at the “Contact” function at the top right. 

SOUL/SELF CARE: RESPONSES TO MORAL INJURY POST 4/1/20

Soul/self care: Responses to Moral Injury Post  4/1/20

Responses to yesterdays post about a US military suicide in Iraq war were varied.  


One person said, inventing a probably useful verb, “to me there remains no violencing that is essential, in any way, shape or form.  If I were given to fear, our societal assumptions would scare me.”  


Indeed, what is essential?  This led me to wonder whether one in a hundred, or thousand, Americans asked themselves whether war production was essential.  


Another response, “do these two paragraphs (taken from the 3/28/2020 “What a Plague Reveals” article at https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/62098-focus-what-a-plague-reveals) feed into the discussion of “nationalism” that you’ve initiated?”

 

“. . . overall, the pandemic has revealed in particularly stark terms that the extreme economic inequalities unmasked by the 2008 economic collapse remain unaddressed. There’s a titanic dynamic playing out now in real time. Celebrities and the wealthy are first in line for the lifeboats of coronavirus tests. Rupert Murdoch and his familyhttps://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/business/media/fox-news-coronavirus-rupert-murdoch.html while profiting from a news empire that downplayed and outright disputed the threat of the coronavirus. The permanent residents of resort towns on the Eastern seaboard are being shoved aside https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/nyregion/coronavirus-leaving-nyc-vacation-homes.html who are stripping shelves of food and flooding the limited local health facilities.


Another said:  I haven’t thought specifically of less arms production and the reason is probably that the arms industry is kept out of sight, spread around the country, out of mind. Actually, that doesn’t seem like a good answer. We could watch the stocks of the arms producers.


And this question came:  I support you and your efforts but …


I have said  earlier that I think violence, torture , war etc are like scabs  in the infection of “FEAR” . Unless we address Fear we will only deal with the superficial  symptoms of the Fears that we all deal with . This fear of “survival” in the broadest sense  is not some excuse I offer but the cause of these terrible “Fight reactions” . Why is this not  included in your concepts. What am I missing??  To begin the relationship with “Mutual fears” rather than You are evil for your violence and I am good because I am for peace will make a difference in  resolution efforts. Such efforts requires greater effort to “understand”  the person or nation  etc  and work to deepen resolution than just stopping the violence. 

But what am I missing. ? I deeply applaud your writing and conversation  stimulus.”


I hope I may be forgiven for trying to help us avoid national suicide by letting our fears of one thing blind us to the deadly plague of another thing.  

John K. Stoner

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This and earlier Soul Care reflections can be seen on the website of https://1040forpeace.org, in the right column blog.  To respond, use the “contact” function, top right. 

MORAL INJURY: EXAMPLE AND DESCRIPTION 3/31/20

MORAL INJURY: EXAMPLE AND DESCRIPTION  3/31/20

I have been saying that moral injury is damaging to soul/self care. 


An assumption here is that societies, and countries, can experience collective moral injury as surely as individuals can experience it.  


Rita Nakashima Brock has been a pioneer of naming and researching moral injury.  With co-author Gabriella Lettini she published SOUL REPAIR: Recovering from Moral Injury after War, in 2012.  I will quote from her book to give an example and description of moral injury.


“Women can also be used in sexist ways for torture.  In one case, Alyssa Peterson served with C Company in Military Intelligence in Iraq as an Arabic-speaking interrogator at the prison at Tal Afar airbase.  A twenty-seven-year-old devout Mormon, she was put in “the cage,” where “enhanced interrogation” techniques included “walling, cigarette burning, punching and being blindfolded naked.”  The blind-folded captives were humiliated when their blindfolds were removed to show women were present.  After two days, Peterson refused to continue with the interrogations.  She believed the torture demeaned her to the point that she did not want to live with what she did in the name of serving her country.  She shot herself on September 15, 2003.  No public media source reported her suicide.  


Any person with a conscience feels occasional guilt or shame for something she or he did, but war can require extreme actions that violate the very basis of moral identity.  The life or death urgency of war forces untenable actions that can elicit profound gilt or shame.  When we feel that what we did was wrong or unforgivable and that our lives and our meaning system no longer make sense our reason for living is in tatters.  The shattering of the soul challenges what holds life together, and the anguish of moral injury begins.”  SOUL REPAIR, p. 52. 


Our country, the USA, sent Alyssa Peterson to Iraq, and we paid her to do what she did.  We, that is, you and I with our taxes.  For doing that we suffer some moral injury.  My plea today is that we begin to think about what that means.  And to begin to reflect on that, not as narrowly as possible, but as expansively as possible, so that we might find ways to look toward healing and away from national suicide.  
John K. Stoner
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Is Military Production Essential Production? 3/30/20

IS MILITARY PRODUCTION ESSENTIAL PRODUCTION?  3/30/20

 

I have started to post these emails on the https://1040forpeace.org website.  You can find past and current posts of this series there.  Sharing this URL with others will be an easy way to broaden the discussion.  


Today something simple, just a question, before continuing tomorrow more deeply into the toxic ideology of nationalism.


Have you seen any cases or evidence of military production closing down as nonessential work in the US?  Please let us know if you have. 


And, had it occurred to you to wonder about that, or look for such closures?  If that had not come to mind, why do you think it had not?

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Soul/self care in hard times 3/29/20

Good morning, friends,
Before going further with what is lost due to moral injury, let’s look a little more at what the healthy, pre-injury human being looks like.  


I will share fresh insights which came to me this Sunday morning.  Janet keeps me listening to Krista Tippet’s “On Being” early on Sundays.  Today Tippet interviewed Ross Gay, whose bio includes this:  “
Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project.”  His comments on delights, justice, sports, gardening and other subjects are interesting, to say the least.  

Listen to the interview here, just scroll down until you find the interview.    https://onbeing.org/series/
Here is Ross Gay’s website: book titles, poems and essays.  “Loitering is Delightful” might intrigue you as it did me. 
https://www.rossgay.net/about  Gay helps us draw the circle of our caring ever larger, and see the good that comes from that. 
Thanks for the things you have written in response to my last post.  In general I think it’s good to share your thoughts with the whole list, but I do ask you to consider whether you want  to reply to “one” or “all.” 
Enjoy goodness,
John