Sunday, March 16, 2003

A Special Place in Hell

There have been increasing reports of “Peace activists” protesting outside of US military bases. I find this striking as in the beginning of the action against the possible war virtually every activist said that they were opposed to the war but supported the troops. Their actions have proven otherwise.

Andrew Sullivan linked to an article in Salon that was particularly disturbing. Here is the most striking section:

”Lumsdaine, the Military Globalization Project coordinator, is a 48-year-old who has been arrested at Vandenberg twice. He describes the base as "the electronic nerve center of the global-surveillance-targeting, weapons-guidance, and military-command satellites that will largely direct the war." The base is 99,000 square acres, with a perimeter running through rugged, wooded terrain. "If people are committed and determined and in halfway decent physical shape, it is possible to get in, because it's enormous and much of the land is still fairly wild," he says.

Within the base, Lumsdaine says, are "major off-limits security zones," that, when breached, "set off a series of responses in their own security procedures which require disruption and partial shut down of regular activities," which means the base can't operate at full capacity.

Other kinds of interference are also expected. "There's the possibility of people blockading roads and bridges inside Vandenberg and chaining themselves to gates," Lumsdaine says. "There are ways in which people can put small objects, aluminum foil or Mylar balloons in front of equipment to nonviolently get in the way of electronic telecommunications systems where they transmit attack orders or targeting data to Tommy Franks and his assault forces. We are not organizing people to disable equipment, but that potential exists. I can certainly say I as an individual do not oppose the disabling of equipment which is being used to conduct mass killing on the other side of the world."

These people think that it is acceptable to shut down the “electric nerve center” of the US military. No consideration is given for the added danger that this action will put the men and women of the military in.

Why is it that protestors seem to think that if their actions are ‘non-violent’ they are acceptable? The protestors do not understand is that their non-violent actions could lead to the very violent deaths of allied forces.

There is some good news on this topic, Sgt. Stryker linked to this storyVandenberg AFB authorizes ‘deadly force’ against trespassing protestors. The best part of this article is the quote from Maj. Stacee Bako “This is not fun and games anymore, We're living in post 9/11. We don't know what's going to happen with the war effort in Iraq. These folks have got to realize their actions. ... They're illegal intruders.'' One can only hope that these ‘illegal intruders’ is met by John Strykers’s friend while he is carrying a breaker bar.

What really gets me about protests at military bases is that the men and women who live and work on these bases have NO control over our national policy. They are doing their jobs – protecting the protestor’s freedom of speech.

The worst possible situation is that these protestors are closing down access to these bases. Imagine this – Your husband has been deployed to a very dangerous part of the world. You have no idea when he will be coming home let alone when you will be hearing from him again. Suddenly you have been thrust into the life of single mother and then you have to explain to your four year old that he can’t go home for a nap because protestors have shut off access to your base.

It is unacceptable that these ‘peace protestors’ will make a difficult situation more difficult for the men and women in uniform and their families. There are members of the peace movement who are acting out of deeply held beliefs. It is vitally important that they repudiate the actions of the extremists who are acting more as saboteurs than as men of conscience. If these saboteurs do succeed - they will have purchased what my high school theology teacher (Sr. Bud) called a 'special place in hell'.

What happened to the claims that while those in the peace movement opposed the war they would ‘support the troops’? I am hoping that claim was not a lie – but I worry that it was.


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