Please join us in writing and communicating with the public and our elected officials. Respond to the nonsense whether written in the mainstream media, in your local newspapers or magazines.
NATO should be trying to end war in Ukraine — Gil Halsted
“A NATO spokesperson was recently forced to apologize for suggesting a possible diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine.
Stian Jenssen, the chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at a panel discussion in Norway, said one way to end the war in Ukraine would be for Ukraine to give up some territory in return for being granted NATO membership. But his boss immediately forced him to walk back that suggestion and stick with the current NATO strategy, which is to support Ukraine unconditionally with more weapons that can only prolong the war.
NATO should be working to promote peace, not prolong wars. The word “treaty” is in the organization’s name (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Treaties are what happens when wars are ended and peace is established. Jenssen’s proposal may not be the best way to end the war, but it deserves discussion instead of an immediate veto.”
Gil Halsted, Madison
Dear Editor: I was indoors the other day. I paused and replayed a portion of a podcast and interrupted Zoom as I interviewed new teachers in the afternoon.
Why? The F-35s overhead. Where do I live? Near Schenk’s Corners in Madison. When I’m outside I cringe as they fly over the gardens. In the company of dear friends, tears come to my eyes. I wish to acknowledge my sense of despair and paralysis. I wish to push back.
The fires rage as this summer of undeniable climate change draws to a close. Housing and income insecurity in our town increase. Devastating migration is necessary for so many worldwide. Ongoing war flares around the globe, heightening the threat of nuclear detonation.
I start by acknowledging these nuclear-ready jets in our midst are part of our nation’s military complex — the biggest institutional contributor of greenhouse gases in the world and the recipient of over half the country’s budget — all while energy shifts lag, social supports are further frayed and ongoing insecurity and suffering intensify around the world.
I push back with what I have, my heart and mind. I dare to imagine a world in which the military industrial complex’s presence is not woven throughout this nation and beyond. A world where resources address the pressing needs of humans and the earth of which we are a part.
It is not impossible nor wrong to imagine a world beyond war. In fact, it is healthy and the first step to sanity.
“Dear Editor: In a recent story on Wisconsin Public Radio, Sen. Tammy Baldwin is credited with having secured $69 million in federal funding to replace some Fort McCoy facilities. She is quoted as saying: “They just weren’t keeping up with the times.” She said there were all sorts of failures.
But is she keeping up with the times on this issue? Federal assistance is needed in many other areas that are showing “failures.”
What else could that $69 million have done for the general population of this state? Just for example:
• Feeding Wisconsin reports that one in seven people experience hunger.
• Those facing hunger report needing an average of $22.12 more per week to meet their food needs (Second Harvest Heartland).
• The rate of poor and low-income people in Wisconsin is calculated at 31% by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.
The funding of the military is directly contributing to all the real perils we face. Perils that need immediate attention and all the funding they can get. Those perils are many, from the overall inequity to global warming to underfunded social services.
Even a micro-funding for military barracks contributes to the system that keeps us perpetually ready for war and that also impoverishes our society.
Wisconsin taxpayers contribute more than $11 billion to the Pentagon and military yearly. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness there are 4,907 homeless individuals in Wisconsin. Half of them are families and 36% are veterans.
“In 2022 Congress approved over $113 billion in assistance to support the war in the Ukraine. All the while, our country suffers from climate-related emergencies such as the recent fire in Maui and a variety of social ills related to massive poverty and inequality.
In his famous “Iron Cross Speech,” former President Dwight Eisenhower stated that, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” His goal in the speech was to highlight how money spent on militarism is money not spent on meeting the many needs of citizens.
A recent report noted that homelessness across the country has increased by 11% this year from 2022. Local food banks have seen a dramatic increase in demand for their services. Military spending is nearly half of the federal discretionary budget. This is unsustainable and unethical. The plague of militarism must end. American citizens must demand a shift in our values away from the destruction of war and instead to the construction of a healthy society.”
Glenn Hoffarth, Madison
“Dear Editor: In a recent letter to constituents U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said the war in Ukraine ”will only ultimately end with a negotiated settlement.”
He said “it is critical that the U.S. prioritize maintaining communication” between both Moscow and Kiev. I applaud Pocan for insisting that negotiations should be at the top of the priority list for ending the slaughter in Ukraine. But instead the Biden administration, with congressional approval, has armed Ukrainians with cluster bombs that have been banned by most other countries and whatever else the U.S. arms industry can provide to keep the war hot on the battlefield. Negotiations remain somewhere further down the list of strategies.
This approach will lead to more civilian casualties and ongoing profits for the arms industry, and, in my view, will not lead to a lasting peace. The only winners will be the weapons makers. Continuing to spend American taxpayer dollars on weapons for Ukraine instead of putting intense economic and diplomatic pressure on both Kiev and Moscow to settle at the table will insure more death and destruction.
My fervent hope is that others in Congress will join Pocan in calling for making communication between the warring parties a priority instead of sending more weapons. The best and eventually the only way to win the war is to stop fighting it and start serious negotiations.