Yesterday was the anniversary of the day (October 7, 2001) the United States brought President Bush's perpetual War On Terror to Afghanistan. And once the first bomb was dropped and the first soldier set foot on Afghan soil, we were locked in, stuck in the place of no return. As Arundahti Roy said in 2001, "once America goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place."
Eight years later, and while folks in Washington, D.C. consider how many more troops to send over to country about which we still understand so little, people in the U.S., by and large, go about business as usual; there is little public conversation (or action) about stopping the war. Of course, our nation is not a shambles due to the long presence of foreign invaders, and incessant military actions, including aerial bombings and missile attacks, that have destroyed environment and infrastructure, and killed and maimed countless civilians.
Much of that death and destruction has been perpetrated by (very) long distance; military personnel (and perhaps the occasional private contractor) sitting in trailers in places like Las Vegas, Nevada, operate unmanned aerial vehicles (a.k.a. drones), their signals transmitted by military satellites. We are conducting war using space technology and, as Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, "Death at a distance is still blood on our hands."
A small band of dedicated peacemakers from Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action bannered and leafleted yesterday outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Tacoma, Washington to remind others that we must Keep Space for Peace. Judging by the overall lack of enthusiasm for our message, I would guess that most people would rather not be bothered by such things as space weapons and perpetual war, as long as they are used/waged somewhere else. Nevertheless, there were some who were receptive to the message. At any rate, our spirits were high as we spread the message of peace and nonviolence to anyone willing to listen.
Note: Photo of members of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action bannering in front of U.S. District Courthouse, Tacoma, Washington on October 7, 2009 taken by Leonard Eiger.