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Posts Tagged ‘war & peace’

God never leaves us without the thing we most need, which is God’s own self.”

—- Roberta Bondi

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God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city, it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter,
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
see what desolations he has brought on earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth,
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
—- Psalm 46

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tedken4
The record shows that Kennedy, whatever else you might think of him, got the whole Iraq thing right, unlike the Right:
“The Bush Administration says America can fight a war in Iraq without undermining our most pressing national security priority — the war against Al Qaeda. But I believe it is inevitable that a war in Iraq without serious international support will weaken our effort to ensure that Al Qaeda terrorists can never, never, never threaten American lives again.
“Even with the Taliban out of power, Afghanistan remains fragile. Security remains tenuous. Warlords still dominate many regions. Our reconstruction effort, which is vital to long-term stability and security, is halting and inadequate. Some Al Qaeda operatives – no one knows how many – have faded into the general population. Terrorist attacks are on the rise. President Karzai, who has already survived one assassination attempt, is still struggling to solidify his hold on power. And although neighboring Pakistan has been our ally, its stability is far from certain.
“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction. Our intelligence community is also deeply concerned about the acquisition of such weapons by Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria and other nations. But information from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.
“War with Iraq before a genuine attempt at inspection and disarmament, or without genuine international support — could swell the ranks of Al Qaeda sympathizers and trigger an escalation in terrorist acts.”
—- From a speech by Sen. Ted Kennedy at Johns Hopkins’ Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. concerning the war, Sept. 27, 2002

—- And here’s an excerpt of a Kennedy speech to the Center for American Progress, broadcast on C-SPAN 01/14/04
“The advocates of war in Iraq desperately sought to make the case that Saddam was linked to 9/11 and Al Qaeda, and that he was on the verge of acquiring a nuclear capability. They created an Office of Special Projects in the Pentagon to analyze the intelligence for war. They bypassed the traditional screening process and put pressure on intelligence officers to produce the desired intelligence and analysis.
“As the world now knows, Saddam’s connection to 9/11 was false. Saddam was an evil dictator. But he was never close to having a nuclear capability. The Administration has found no arsenals of chemical or biological weapons. It has found no persuasive connection to al-Qaeda. All this should have been clear. The Administration should not have looked at the facts with ideological blinders and with a mindless dedication to the results they wanted.
“A recent report by the Carnegie Endowment concluded that Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. They also concluded that the intelligence community was unduly influenced by the policymakers’ views and intimidating actions, such as Vice President Cheney’s repeated visits to CIA headquarters and demands by officials for access to the raw intelligence from which the analysts were working. The report also noted the unusual speed with which the National Intelligence Estimate was written and the high number of dissents in what is designed to be a consensus document.
“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President Bush himself made clear that his highest priority was finding Osama bin Laden. At a press conference on September 17th, 2001, he said that he wanted bin Laden “dead or alive.” Three days later, in an address to a Joint Session of Congress, President Bush demanded of the Taliban: “Deliver to the United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land.” And Congress cheered. On November 8th, the President told the country, “I have called our military into action to hunt down the members of the al-Qaeda organization who murdered innocent Americans.” In doing that, he had the full support of Congress and the nation-and rightly so.
“Soon after the war began in Afghanistan, however, the President started laying the groundwork in public to shift attention to Iraq. In the Rose Garden on November 26th, he said: “Afghanistan is still just the beginning.”
“Three days later, even before Hamid Karzai had been approved as interim Afghan President, Vice President Cheney publicly began to send signals about attacking Iraq. On November 29th, he said “I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that this guy [Saddam Hussein] is clearly … a significant potential problem for the region, for the United States, for everybody with interests in the area.”

—- And there’s more and much more on Kennedy’s nearly lone-wolf opposition to the Iraq invasion and his subsequent efforts to hold the warmongers accountable. Anyone can look up and watch the entire speech from C-SPAN, or do a search on Google, and see just how right he got it all in his relentless dissent regarding Iraq.

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*** IN THE PHOTO: The Rev. Stan Cardwell and his wife, Michelle, followed God’s call to Uganda where they met with youth who were victims of the country’s civil war. The Cardwells hope to become the legal guardian of one former child soldier. UMNS photos courtesy of the Rev. Stan and Michelle Cardwell.
—–
From the United Methodist News Service, a “love story” from Uganda:

By Melissa Lauber*
August 25, 2009 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
They’re called “the invisible children” – a generation of young boys and girls in Uganda who were torn from their villages, brainwashed and used as pack animals and bullet fodder for the Lord’s Resistance Army of Joseph Kony.
A teen named Lazarus, who also calls himself Joe, lived amid these atrocities, and then on the streets, eating out of garbage pits, after escaping Kony’s terrorist army.
Only about a year ago did he let himself smile.
This fall, if all goes according to plan, Joe will join the Rev. Stan Cardwell, his wife, Michelle, and their three children in Bel Air, Md., welcomed as a blessing from God.
Talk about a divine plan. Less than four months ago, the couple knew next to nothing about the civil war that had ravaged the east-African nation for 23 years. They had never heard of Joseph Kony.
The whole whirlwind journey to become the legal guardian of a former child soldier is overwhelming and risky, said the associate pastor of Bel Air United Methodist Church.
“But God doesn’t call us to love abstractly,” he said. “God calls us simply to love, and love is messy.”

Saving one life
The journey began in May, when Caldwell and his wife joined friends from a house church called Burning Hearts on a mission trip to Uganda.
With the assistance of the ministry Active Blessing, they met with victims of Kony’s campaign to establish a theocratic government in Uganda. The United Nations estimates that his rebellion as leader of the Lord’s Army from 1987 to 2006 involved the abduction of an estimated 30,000 children, who made up 90 percent of the army, and the displacement of more than 1.7 million Ugandans.
In Mbale and Kitgum, the Cardwells spoke with the former child soldiers and discovered many of them had moved past sheer survival instincts and were now searching for some kind of love, trust and purpose.
They walked with the boys to church and worshipped with them.
“They would teach us their music and some songs and dance and we would teach them ours,” Michelle Cardwell said. “Our team would teach them from the Bible about love and the Father’s forgiveness, because a lot of them have a lot of guilt about what they were forced to do in the war, and they all still have nightmares every night.”
One day, Simon Peter, 17, approached Cardwell carrying a King James Version of the Bible. “I don’t understand this passage,” he told him. Cardwell, who had an easier to understand Today’s New International Version, suggested they trade Bibles.
The passage Simon Peter was having trouble with also stirred Cardwell’s heart – Psalm 68, which reads, in part, “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy habitation. God sets the lonely, the solitary, in families.”

Considering adoption
Both Stan and Michelle Cardwell had, over the years, toyed with the idea of adopting a child.
Michelle Cardwell says many young Ugandans are searching for trust, love and purpose.
But, on this trip, the idea of God creating families spoke to them both, and each also knew the person to whom God had led them.
Joe had taken Michelle Caldwell into town to buy souvenirs. On the second night of their visit, he told them his story. Several of the details were vague. “He said just enough, making sure to not displease us,” she said.
The teen gradually let his story unfold, an act of trust the Cardwells hold as sacred.
They don’t see a victim when they look at Joe. They see a child of God – someone God has placed in their path to love.
“We hope to give him back a family,” Stan Cardwell said. “We will love him as a father and a mother and help him grow fully into the person God created him to be.”

Sacrifice for love
It will not be easy.
The Cardwells are aware that someone who lived as a rebel soldier at the age of 5 is bound to have post-traumatic stress disorder or other trauma-related issues. They will be dipping into their college savings to bring Joe to their home.
“It’s a level of trust with God that we’ve never had,” Stan Cardwell said. “It’s one more step in the journey.”
Their act of self-sacrificial love is already bringing blessings.
On Father’s Day, 14 families from Bel Air United Methodist Church sponsored young men from Uganda through Active Blessing after Stan preached, sharing their story.
The Cardwells’ children, ages 14, 15 and 17, also share their excitement. Daniel, their son, volunteered to share his room with Joe. They wonder about this new member of their family, who may arrive as early as November.
“I wonder if he’s a picky eater and how he’s going to do at night. He might have nightmares, I could comfort him,” said Daniel, who is looking forward to teaching Joe something about American sports and American girls.
They exchange e-mails now. “He’s a cool guy,” Daniel says.
The Cardwells no longer love Africa abstractly. They cannot ease all the suffering there, but they can make a difference in one youngster’s life.
“God doesn’t call us to love the whole world, that’s his job. But God does call us to love a slice of the world,” Stan Cardwell said. “Uganda is our slice.”
* Lauber is the editor of UMConnection, the newspaper of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

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Here are two blog postings from the conservative Andrew Sullivan’s “Daily Dish” blog. Andrew is a terrific writer who has been waging a campaign opposing torture for a long time, and making the case against torture very well.. . . . . .
What They Still Hide
By Andrew Sullivan at Andrewsullivan.com

Among those parts of the 2004 CIA report censored from viewing: the circumstances of four prisoners tortured to death (among up to a hundred murdered by the CIA and military under Bush’s command), and the near-death of KSM under the torture techniques of the Khmer rouge, proudly championed by Dick Cheney as a “no-brainer”.

Also from Andrew:

“The Failings Of Our Democracy”
by Andrew Sullivan
“John Hinderaker {an ultra-conservative blogger at the blog “Powerline”} believes that democracy fails when it tries to keep its executive branch from violating the rule of law by authorizing the brutal torture and abuse of thousands of prisoners, many innocent.
Let that sink in.
” It is part of the failure of democracy, in Hinderaker’s view, that it doesn’t empower the government to do anything it wants to do in the name of national security.
“To put it bluntly, this is the classic fascist critique of liberal democracy. Fascists have always criticized democratic restraints on executive war-power, even when that war power is specifically designed to include citizens and to apply across the territory of the homeland as well as anywhere on the globe. As for the torture techniques previously used by the Gestapo, the Communist Chinese, the Soviet Gulag, and the Vietnamese, Hinderaker believes these were all “reasonably humane.” What was done to John McCain, in Hinderaker’s view, was humane, and certainly not torture; and what McCain was forced to confess was as reliable as the tortured confessions we now see on Iranian television.
“Understanding the current right’s embrace of total state power against the individual takes time to absorb. “But liberal democracy has no more dangerous enemies than these.”
—–
Indeed, by the conservative Hinderaker’s pretzel logic, the torture inflicted on John McCain in Vietnam was humane.
What would Jesus do, by the way. Would Jesus torture anybody no matter how evil that person?

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Ken Bacon, showing his living quarters in Darfur

Ken Bacon, showing his living quarters in Darfur

Ken Bacon, a longtime Wall Street Journal reporter and Pentagon spokesman in the Clinton Administration, has died of melanoma.
Bacon in recent years served as the president of Refugees International, an advocacy agency for the millions of people displaced or rendered homeless by wars and conflicts and natural disasters. Bacon was a humanitarian who worked tirelessly and passionately for refugees through Refugees International, whose website is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in what’s happening in places like Darfur and Iraq and Afghanistan to the innocent and always neglected men, women and children who suffer from conflicts.
Here’s Bacon’s obit from the Washington Post.
Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Kenneth H. Bacon, 64, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was top spokesman at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration and later became a prominent advocate on behalf of international refugees, died Aug. 15 of melanoma at his vacation home on Block Island, R.I. His primary residence was in Washington.
Mr. Bacon had spent 25 years at the Journal’s Washington bureau before becoming the chief spokesman at the Pentagon in 1994, working under then-Defense Secretary William J. Perry. He held the position of assistant secretary of defense for public affairs and stayed in his post when William S. Cohen was named defense secretary in December 1996.
In daily briefings, Mr. Bacon kept reporters informed of developments in civil wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 and other military matters. He was known for his bow ties and his cultivated, straight-arrow manner.
On a visit to the Balkans in 1999, Mr. Bacon saw firsthand the human toll of warfare, as hundreds of thousands of people were driven from their homes with no place to turn.
“I had never seen refugees before, never fully appreciated the sheer magnitude of one million people leaving their homes and needing food, shelter and medical care,” he told the New York Times in 2001.
After leaving the Pentagon in 2001, Mr. Bacon became president of the D.C.-based advocacy group Refugees International and emerged as one of the strongest voices for the dispossessed around the globe. His organization, which accepts no funding from governments or the United Nations, estimates that there are 12 million international refugees.
Mr. Bacon was among the first to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, and he helped bring to light the problems facing millions of refugees from the war in Iraq. He was instrumental in finding sanctuary for displaced Iraqis in Middle East countries and lobbied for greater numbers of Iraqi refugees to be admitted to the United States. Between 2006 and 2008, the State Department increased funding for Iraqi refugees from $43 million to $398 million.
“The U.S. cannot afford to win the military battle and lose the humanitarian campaign,” Bacon said.
He visited refugee camps in Afghanistan, Somalia, Colombia and Cambodia, among others, and often wrote articles or appeared on television to discuss humanitarian concerns. In the final weeks of his life, he provided seed money to establish a center at Refugees International to assist people displaced by global climate change.
“I’ve seen him in action in Sudan,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in his blog last week, “and he combines passion with intricate knowledge of policy to make a difference.”
Kenneth Hogate Bacon was born Nov. 21, 1944, in Bronxville, N.Y., and was a graduate of the private Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. His father was an administrator at Amherst College in Massachusetts, from which Mr. Bacon graduated in 1966. He received dual master’s degrees, in business administration and journalism, from Columbia University in 1968.
After working as a legislative assistant to Sen. Thomas J. McIntyre (D-N.H.), Mr. Bacon joined the Washington bureau of the Wall Street Journal in 1969. He covered banking, economics, education and international finance and was the paper’s Pentagon correspondent from 1976 to 1980.
“He was amazingly insightful and was seen as such by both sources and colleagues,” said Gerald F. Seib, the Journal’s executive Washington editor.
The one blemish in Mr. Bacon’s career came in 1998, when he was briefly embroiled in the scandal surrounding President Bill Clinton and onetime White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In 1996 and 1997, Lewinsky was an assistant in Mr. Bacon’s office at the Pentagon. One of her friends was an employee in the department, Linda Tripp, who had tape-recorded telephone conversations in which Lewinsky said she was having an affair with Clinton.
In March 1998, Mr. Bacon authorized a deputy to release parts of Tripp’s personnel record to a reporter from the New Yorker magazine, revealing that Tripp had not disclosed on an employment application that she had been arrested for theft when she was 19. The charge was reduced to loitering.
The episode touched off a firestorm in conservative circles, as critics accused Mr. Bacon of breaking federal privacy laws to damage Tripp’s reputation. He quickly admitted he had handled the situation poorly, and a Pentagon inspector general concluded in 2000 that Mr. Bacon had not followed Defense Department procedures. Then-Defense Secretary Cohen sent Mr. Bacon a letter expressing “disappointment” over his “hasty and ill-conceived” actions.
Despite that incident, Cohen said in an interview with The Washington Post last week, Mr. Bacon “was always extraordinarily well prepared.”
“He was a special guy,” Cohen added. “But for that Linda Tripp issue, I have nothing but accolades.”
Mr. Bacon was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies and was chairman of the board of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.
Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Darcy Wheeler Bacon of Washington and Block Island; two daughters, Katharine Bacon of Brookline, Mass., and Sarah Bacon of Brooklyn, N.Y.; his father, Theodore S. Bacon of Peterborough, N.H.; a brother; and two grandchildren.
After struggling with metastatic melanoma, Mr. Bacon wrote about his illness and his problems with insurance coverage in an essay published by The Post on July 21.
“My oncologist has spent hours filling out forms and arguing with the insurance company to arrange coverage for my chemotherapy,” he wrote. “Now my wife and I are waging our own fight with the provider to arrange payment for my daily brain radiation, which has been rejected as ‘not medically necessary’ even though the cancer in my brain is growing rapidly.”
“For me and other Americans suffering from advanced cancer,” he concluded, “the health-care debate this summer is no abstraction. It is a matter of life or death.”
© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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Bacevich

Bacevich


August 6, 2009, 6:10 pm Posted by Mollie Wilson O’Reilly in Commonweal.com

From Commonweal, the highbrow, highly intellectual Catholic magazine:
Now that President Obama has pledged to refocus attention on U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the New York Times reports that “the Obama administration is struggling to come up with a long-promised plan to measure whether the war is being won.”

Does it even make sense to talk about “winning” when it comes to this conflict? And if so, what will “winning” look like? According to the NYT article, the National Security Council is working on a list of “broad objectives for metrics to guide the administration’s policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Besides defeating insurgents and capturing terrorists, success involves “eliminating corruption, promoting a working democracy, and providing effective aid” — as well as building a self-sufficient army.

All this follows on President Obama’s promise, in March, that his administration would “set clear metrics to measure progress and hold ourselves accountable.” But is pressing forward with this part of the Bush agenda really the right way to go? In the next Commonweal, Andrew Bacevich asks whether the U.S. ought to be dedicating so much of our energy and resources to pursuing the “war” in Afghanistan. The issue date is August 14, but you can read the article — “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan and the Limits of American Power” — online now. Bacevich wonders:

What is it about Afghanistan, possessing next to nothing that the United States requires, that justifies such lavish attention? In Washington, this question goes not only unanswered but unasked. Among Democrats and Republicans alike, with few exceptions, Afghanistan’s importance is simply assumed—much the way fifty years ago otherwise intelligent people simply assumed that the United States had a vital interest in ensuring the survival of South Vietnam. As then, so today, the assumption does not stand up to even casual scrutiny.

And now, about Andrew Bacevich, a most interesting military man, author, war critic, whose son was killed in Iraq (from Wickapedia):
Bacevich graduated from West Point in 1969 and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, serving in Vietnam from the summer of 1970 to the summer of 1971. Afterwards he held posts in Germany, including the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the United States, and the Persian Gulf up to his retirement from the service with the rank of Colonel in the early 1990s. He holds a Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University, and taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University prior to joining the faculty at Boston University in 1998.

On May 13, 2007, Bacevich’s son, also named Andrew J. Bacevich, was killed in action in Iraq by a improvised explosive device south of Samarra in Salah Ad Din Province.[3] The younger Bacevich, 27, was a First Lieutenant.[4] He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.

Bacevich also has three daughters.[4]

[edit] Writings
Bacevich has described himself as a “Catholic conservative” and initially published writings in a number of politically oriented magazines, including The Wilson Quarterly. His recent writings have professed a dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration and many of its intellectual supporters on matters of American foreign policy.

On August 15, 2008 Bacevich appeared as the guest of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS to promote his new book, The Limits of Power. As in both of his previous books, The Long War (2007) and The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War (2005), Bacevich is critical of American foreign policy in the post Cold War era, maintaining the United States has developed an over-reliance on military power, in contrast to diplomacy, to achieve its foreign policy aims. He also asserts that policymakers in particular, and the American people in general, overestimate the usefulness of military force in foreign affairs. Bacevich believes romanticized images of war in popular culture (especially movies) interact with the lack of actual military service among most of the population to produce in the American people a highly unrealistic, even dangerous notion of what combat and military service are really like.

Bacevich conceived The New American Militarism not only as “a corrective to what has become the conventional critique of U.S. policies since 9/11 but as a challenge to the orthodox historical context employed to justify those policies.”

Finally, he attempts to place current policies in historical context, as part of an American tradition going back to the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson, a tradition (of an interventionist, militarized foreign policy) which has strong bi-partisan roots. To lay an intellectual foundation for this argument, he cites two influential historians from the 20th century: Charles Beard and William Appleman Williams.

Ultimately, Bacevich eschews the partisanship of current debate about American foreign policy as short-sighted and ahistorical. Instead of blaming only one President (or his advisors) for contemporary policies, Bacevich sees both Republicans and Democrats as sharing responsibility for policies which may not be in the nation’s best interest.

In March 2003, at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bacevich wrote in The Los Angeles Times that “if, as seems probable, the effort encounters greater resistance than its architects imagine, our way of life may find itself tested in ways that will make the Vietnam War look like a mere blip in American history.”[1]

An editorial about the Bush Doctrine was published by the Boston Globe in March 2007.[2]

In an article of the The American Conservative dated March 24, 2008, Bacevich depicts Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama as the best choice for conservatives in the fall. Part of his argument includes the fact that “this liberal Democrat has promised to end the U.S. combat role in Iraq. Contained within that promise, if fulfilled, lies some modest prospect of a conservative revival.” [5] He also goes on to mention that “For conservatives to hope the election of yet another Republican will set things right is surely in vain. To believe that President John McCain will reduce the scope and intrusiveness of federal authority, cut the imperial presidency down to size, and put the government on a pay-as-you-go basis is to succumb to a great delusion.” [5]

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6a00d83451c45669e20120a4cb13cc970b-500wiIN THE PHOTOGRAPH: A man prays for atomic bomb victims before dawn in front of the altar at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on August 6, 2009. The western Japanese city marked its 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing. Photo By Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images.

These remarks were delivered by Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of
The City of Hiroshima:
That weapon of human extinction, the atomic bomb, was dropped on the people of Hiroshima sixty-four years ago. Yet the hibakusha’s suffering, a hell no words can convey, continues. Radiation absorbed 64 years earlier continues to eat at their bodies, and memories of 64 years ago flash back as if they had happened yesterday.
 
Fortunately, the grave implications of the hibakusha experience are granted legal support. A good example of this support is the courageous court decision humbly accepting the fact that the effects of radiation on the human body have yet to be fully elucidated. The Japanese national government should make its assistance measures fully appropriate to the situations of the aging hibakusha, including those exposed in “black rain areas” and those living overseas. Then, tearing down the walls between its ministries and agencies, it should lead the world as standard-bearer for the movement to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020 to actualize the fervent desire of hibakusha that “No one else should ever suffer as we did.”
 
In April this year, US President Obama speaking in Prague said, “…as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act.” And “…take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.” Nuclear weapons abolition is the will not only of the hibakusha but also of the vast majority of people and nations on this planet. The fact that President Obama is listening to those voices has solidified our conviction that “the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished.”
 
In response, we support President Obama and have a moral responsibility to act to abolish nuclear weapons. To emphasize this point, we refer to ourselves, the great global majority, as the “Obamajority,” and we call on the rest of the world to join forces with us to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. The essence of this idea is embodied in the Japanese Constitution, which is ever more highly esteemed around the world.
 
Now, with more than 3,000 member cities worldwide, Mayors for Peace has given concrete substance to our “2020 Vision” through the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, and we are doing everything in our power to promote its adoption at the NPT Review Conference next year. Once the Protocol is adopted, our scenario calls for an immediate halt to all efforts to acquire or deploy nuclear weapons by all countries, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which has so recently conducted defiant nuclear tests; visits by leaders of nuclear-weapon states and suspect states to the A-bombed cities; early convening of a UN Special Session devoted to Disarmament; an immediate start to negotiations with the goal of concluding a nuclear weapons convention by 2015; and finally, to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. We will adopt a more detailed plan at the Mayors for Peace General Conference that begins tomorrow in Nagasaki.
 
The year 2020 is important because we wish to enter a world without nuclear weapons with as many hibakusha as possible. Furthermore, if our generation fails to eliminate nuclear weapons, we will have failed to fulfill our minimum responsibility to those that follow.
 
Global Zero, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and others of influence throughout the world have initiated positive programs that seek the abolition of nuclear weapons. We sincerely hope that they will all join the circle of those pressing for 2020.
 
As seen in the anti-personnel landmine ban, liberation from poverty through the Grameen Bank, the prevention of global warming and other such movements, global democracy that respects the majority will of the world and solves problems through the power of the people has truly begun to grow. To nurture this growth and go on to solve other major problems, we must create a mechanism by which the voices of the people can be delivered directly into the UN. One idea would be to create a “Lower House” of the United Nations made up of 100 cities that have suffered major tragedies due to war and other disasters, plus another 100 cities with large populations, totaling 200 cities. The current UN General Assembly would then become the “Upper House.”
 
On the occasion of the Peace Memorial Ceremony commemorating the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing, we offer our solemn, heartfelt condolence to the souls of the A-bomb victims, and, together with the city of Nagasaki and the majority of Earth’s people and nations, we pledge to strive with all our strength for a world free from nuclear weapons.
 
We have the power. We have the responsibility. And we are the Obamajority. Together, we can abolish nuclear weapons. Yes, we can.

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