Fighting Terrorism Policy in Short
*with a primary focus on fighting U.S. forms of terrorism
*To read the policy in full, see futher below
"More important, [Schriner] said, is addressing the whole set of precipitating factors behind the terrorist attacks." -The Athens (OH) Post 11/12/01
"Standing in solidarity with Athens, Ohio, residents during a peace vigil on the town square shortly after 9/11, I held a sign that read: Let's not respond with more violence and suffering." -Joe
"I told the Sanford (ME) News that if a kid grows up in dead-end inner city poverty here, they are more apt to join a gang. If a kid grows up in dead-end abject poverty in the Third World, they are more apt to join a terrorist cell. To impact some of terrorism at its roots, we have to impact more Third World poverty." -Joe
*Note: Terrorism toward the United States isn't happening in a vacuum. That is, some of our actions are creating rising anger and resentment worldwide. While on one hand, our administration would work to protect Americans from immediate terrorism threats through solid Homeland Security efforts, our approach would also be multilateral.
Our administration would analyze which U.S. actions (nuclear weapons build-up, training foreign paramilitary groups in terror techniques, exploiting other countries resources, promoting free trade that undercuts subsistence farmers in the Third World, etc.) are provoking other countries. And then we would work stridently to change these things.
In addition, we would work just as hard to reverse conditions leading to the terrorism we generate in our own country. That is, some 4,400 babies are killed in the womb every day in America. The disparity between the "haves" and "have-nots" is leaving abandoned inner city cores where terror (murders, gang violence, drugs and hunger) reigns in L.A., Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland... School shootings and child abductions are increasing. The terror of domestic violence, driven by drug and alcohol addiction or trans-generational abuse cycles is currently rising exponentially
• Strategic Homeland Security initiatives against bio-terror, dirty bombs, cyber terror to electronic linkages connecting transportation, energy, commerce, food.
• However, no physical or mental torture of terror suspects.
• However, no unauthorized NSA phone wire tapping of U.S. citizens.
• However, no National ID Card and/or biochip implant for tracking purposes.
• End U.S. nuclear terrorism (we have thousands of nuclear missiles aimed all over the world).
"What if we let the weapons inspectors into Montana? [Asked Joe.]" -ABC News, Toledo, Ohio.
• End U.S. food terrorism (hoarding, over-consuming and wasting a tremendously disproportionate amount of food, while 24,000 people starve to death every day in the Third World and billions of others are exceedingly undernourished).
In Vermont, Cambodia Maryknoll Fr. Jim Noonan told me Americans are food terrorists of the worst kind. That is, 3,000 people died in the World Trade Centers, while eight times that number starve to death daily, in part, because of our lack of compassion and sacrifice. (We could help so much more.)
• End U.S. environmental terrorism.
During a talk on environmental stewardship in Wellington, Ohio, I said we produce the most global warming greenhouse gases, by far, of any country in the world. Then during an interview with the Mount Vernon (OH) News, I said this is like a bunch of terrorists shooting slow motion bullets at countries experiencing climate change related droughts, super-charged hurricanes and typhoons, receding glaciers that is drying up crop irrigation.
• Stop the U.S. School of the Americas terror training of foreign military, and para-military groups to help promote U.S. interests. (As a presidential candidate, I stood in solidarity with people protesting to close the School of the Americas.)
• Stop U.S. forms of free trade terrorism.
As an example, we parlay huge corporate profits into buying mega, high-tech farms. And with the help of free trade (which the U.S. has pushed for), we are now able to undercut subsistence farmers selling to their local markets in, say, Guatemala.
• Stop U.S. cultural terrorism.
Author Richard Horsley in his book Religion and Empire said the 9/11 terrorist attacks were, in part, motivated by those angry at the western capitalist consumerism that has invaded their lives and undermined their traditional values. Our media and entertainment industry is now regularly beaming a steady fare of sexually explicit and violent imagery into these countries, which are also undermining cultural values.
• Stop U.S. eugenics terrorism
"With abortion we have become our own worst terrorists, said Schriner." -The Range News (Arizona).
• Assess other significant roots of terrorism
Iraq sanctions that were responsible for the deaths of almost 1 million people.
U.S. backed Israeli military.
U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia.
Allowing so much abject Third World poverty, while much of the Western World lives so affluently in comparison.
I attended a talk by William Hartung, who is a Presidents Fellow for the World Policy Institute. He said "...there is tremendous economic inequality worldwide," and he added, "there should be more programs for constructive opportunities for youth in the Third World" (so there's less motivation to join a terrorist cell).
What if the Amish were in charge of the War on Terror?
In a Sojourner Magazine article, Diana Butler Bass noted that "the Amish practice of forgiveness (in Nickels Mines, PA after the shooting of the school children) unfolded in four public acts. They were actively making peace," she wrote.
During a talk in Oberlin, Ohio, I posed, "What if we started to fight terrorism with forgiveness? "
We also propose a U.S. Department of Peace, intended to improve international relations significantly.
*Long paper below...
…With a Primary Focus on: U.S. Forms of Terrorism.
“The U.S. must look at why terrorism exists and why people hate the United States, [Schriner] said.” – Ashland (OH) Times Gazette
“[Schriner] expressed disdain for the Bush administration’s willingness to tolerate civilian deaths (post 9/11 Afghanistan bombing) as “inevitable collateral damage.” – The Athens (OH) Post
Categories covered below include: 1) The Plan; (a Synopsis); 2) Axis of Evil?; 3) Nuclear Terrorists; 4) Food Terrorists; 5) Environmental Terrorists; 6) Backing Terror Elsewhere (School of the Americas); 7) Free Trade Terrorists; 8) Cultural Terrorists; 9) Eugenics Terrorists; 10) Suburban Terrorists; 11) *Significant Roots of Terrorism (Iraq Sanctions, U.S. Backed Israeli Military, U.S. Military Presence in Saudi Arabia, Abject Third World Poverty…); 12) What if the Amish were in Charge of the War on Terror?
1) The Plan (a Synopsis)
Our administration would fight terrorism on a multitude of fronts.
We would seek to avoid future threats to our soil. Such threats include those that could come through bio-terror in the air and/or water, dirty bombs (limited, portable nuclear devices), cyber-terror to electronic linkages connecting transportation, energy, commerce, food…
We would combat these and other threats with strategic Homeland Security initiatives. And we would continue, in part, some of what the Bush Administration has already put into place for Homeland Security.
However, we would not agree with any form of torture to get information about terrorist threats, including the torture of terrorist suspects held in military prisons like Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Our administration would hold strictly to Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention: “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion may be inflicted on a prisoner of war.”
And we would not approve of phone wire-tapping and the building of a massive data-base of phone calls of U.S. citizens – as has recently been carried out by the National Security Agency.
*Also, we would not support a U.S. National ID Card and/or a biochip implant for security tracking purposes.
What’s more, there needs to be more than just basic Homeland Security measures.
It is our belief that to effectively “fight” terrorism at its roots, we have to deeply analyze and stridently work to eradicate U.S. forms of international (and domestic) terrorism. It is, we believe, this U.S. terrorism that is starting to create a tremendous, worldwide backlash.
Some of these forms of U.S. terrorism include: nuclear terrorism; environmental terrorism; food terrorism; cultural terrorism; free trade terrorism; eugenics terrorism…
Each of these will be explained more in the following sections. But first, here is an overarching lens through which I believe we should view our significant contribution to the world of terrorism:
2) Axis of Evil?
While campaigning in Utah several years ago, I went to a talk about the late Thomas Merton. Merton was a monk and a well-known author.
Fr. George Kilcourse, who was the presenter that evening, said Merton’s take on terrorism would have been much different than modern, mainstream America’s take on terrorism.
Some 50 years prior, Merton wrote that hatred of ourselves is often too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. So we minimize our “sins,” and exaggerate the faults of others – in order to take the focus off our excruciating self-hate.
We are the righteous.
The other is the demonic (Or put another contemporary way: “the axis of evil.”)
The enemy’s bombs are always from Hell.
Our bombs are always from “Divine Providence.”
And speaking of bombs…
3) Nuclear Terrorists
“What if we let the weapons inspectors into Montana?” I posed to an ABC News reporter out of Toledo, Ohio.
That is, we are currently concerned with North Korea, Iran and other “rogue” nations developing nuclear weapons – while we have 10,000 nuclear warheads aimed all over the world!
During an interview with the Loudonville (OH) Times, I said that outside of this country (with our deadly nuclear arsenal aimed all over), we must look like the biggest “(nuclear) terrorist” in the world. Why wouldn’t other countries be racing to get their own nuclear weapons to defend themselves?
Now, why don’t we want to look at our own “shadow self” (as Merton would put it) on this nuclear weapons proliferation?
Because it is too ugly, that’s why.
We have squandered billions and billions of dollars on our own over-protection (we could blow the world up a 100 times over) – while 24,000 people starve to death every day in the Third World! Our concern about ourselves has trumped the concern about little children, worldwide, slowly, and agonizingly, starving to death.
At a Peace & Justice meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, I learned that Fr. Charles McCarthy, who is the founder of the Center for Non-Violence at the University of Notre Dame, said: “Apathy in the face of relievable human misery is radical evil.”
That’s us in spades on this one.
What’s more, whether we want to look at our shadow self, or not, the U.S., indeed, is perceived as a “nuclear terrorist threat” worldwide. And what’s more, we have, to no small degree, fueled a nuclear arms race that has prompted eight other major countries to amass rather significant nuclear arsenals, with more countries getting in line as I write this.
Which means by domino effect, that we have been a catalyst in helping divert even more billions of dollars (other countries’ nuclear weapons expenditure) that could have gone to help end world hunger and disease, clean up the environment… including nuclear waste.
And that’s where the domestic terrorism comes in on this one.
The Hanford Nuclear Power Plant in Southeast Washington made nuclear weapons. It also had a significant amount of controlled, and documented, radiation releases in the middle part of last century.
According to a Seattle Times article, in early December of 1949, scientists conducted a secret experiment. They poured caustic chemicals on a ton of radioactive uranium, fresh from a nuclear reactor. This spewed a plume of radiation that was carried downwind to, among other places, Walla Walla, Washington.
Walla Walla’s Steve Stanton was five-years-old at the time. He went on to become the father of three, a civil engineer, and in his mid-30s, contracted thyroid cancer. The Times article said Mr. Stanton, and some 2,300 “Hanford Down Winders” with cancer, birth defects, respiratory illness and other physical maladies that could possibly be tied to the radiation releases, were suing the companies that built and ran Hanford.
On a stop in Walla Walla, I interviewed a woman who grew up here during some of the radiation releases. Her career was cut short when she contracted a brain tumor, and a number of other debilitating physical problems. This woman (who chooses anonymity), too, believes her physical problems were tied to the radiation releases from Hanford.
In Luck, Wisconsin, we interviewed the co-director of Nuke Watch, Bonnie Urfer. She said there were more than 300 above ground tests of hydrogen and atomic bombs over 20 years during the middle part of last century. The Limited Test Ban Treaty succeeded in finally stopping above ground tests. (Yet more tests continue below ground today.)
Again depending on the wind with these above ground tests, “this contaminated a whole lot of people,” Ms. Urfer said.
One of them might have been Janet Chisolm. We heard Ms. Chisolm talk at a National Conference at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas for the: Many Stories, One Vision for a Nuclear-Free World.
Ms. Chisolm is the chair of the National Episcopal Peace Fellowship. And she grew up in Las Vegas during the era of the above ground nuclear tests.
She said Las Vegas was a small town then and the test site provided jobs. What’s more, she said the bomb was considered “patriotic” at the time. And times of the bomb testing and maps of where to view it best were published in the local newspaper.
Ms. Chisolm said she and her family would stand with sunglasses at daybreak, with thousands of others, hearing the massive explosion and watching the mushroom cloud form.
“The government violated the land, the people… and they knew it wasn’t safe,” she lamented.
And it still isn’t safe, whether that is the below ground testing of current nuclear weapons, or the mining of raw uranium itself for that matter. And the government knows these aren’t safe either.
Ms. Urfer also said that the mining and milling process for uranium, which is the main ingredient in nuclear energy, contaminates the surrounding water, air and soil in countries like Canada, Africa…
And high-level nuclear waste might contaminate the soil below Yucca Mountain in Nevada some day. That’s where 77,000 tons (and counting…) of high-level nuclear waste are slated to be buried.
On a west coast campaign swing, we interviewed Mohave Community College geology professor John Squibb. The college is in the Yucca Mountain region, and Professor Squibb has followed Yucca Mountain developments closely.
He told me geographic fault lines could develop near Yucca Mountain, triggering an earthquake(s) or volcanic reaction, sparking a “high level’ radioactive release that could put the region in tremendous peril – as if a number of terrorist “dirty bombs” were detonated.
On the containment end, Professor Squibb noted that there’s a good possibility the containment vessels for the nuclear waste will break down long before the tens of thousands of years it will take for the nuclear reaction inside to stop.
Professor Squibb said he believes the safest way to dispose of the high-level nuclear waste is one proposed by former Atomic Energy Chairperson Dr. Dixie Lee Ray. Professor Squibb said Dr. Ray explained to him that this proposal is to drill a hole in a “desert region” of the Pacific Ocean near North America. The reinforced hole would extend quite deep to the “Moharavcic Zone of Discontinuity.” Then the nuclear waste would be injected into this hole in such a way that the North American platelet (which is in slow, continual motion) would fold it over toward the core of the earth. Professor Squibb added that the core of the earth is radioactive, and this nuclear waste would dissolve into the original atoms.
According to Professor Squibb, this option would be much more expensive than the Yucca Mountain burial proposal.
I told the Kingman (AZ) Daily Miner newspaper that even though this proposal would be more expensive, I would be in favor of the disposal of the nuclear waste in the safest way possible.
In tandem, we would propose unilateral nuclear disarmament – and count on other countries following suit. At a stop in Omaha, Nebraska, Fr. Tom McCaslin, the former Social Action Coordinator for the Omaha Diocese, told us he believes in unilateral nuclear disarmament as well. He said his theory is that: You do the right thing. Then you trust God.
We would also lobby for the closing of all nuclear power plants in this country. Not only are they terrorists targets, but, as we’ve experienced with the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Russia (and almost experienced with the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant here), they are nuclear time bombs – whether in reactor cores or in Yucca Mountain storage barrels.
4) “Food Terrorists”
And besides all the money diverted from the hungry on our nuclear weapons build-up, we, in the U.S., are “food terrorists” in a most dramatic, and “evil,” way.
At a talk in northwest Ohio, I heard Sr. Christine Pratt, the head of the Toledo Diocese’s Catholic Rural Life Association say that Americans waste (throw away, let spoil…) an astronomical amount of food – about one-third.
And along with all this, Americans yearly waste billions of dollars on non-nutritional junk food.
What’s more, some 59% of Americans are now overweight, with 33% of these people being “obese,” Joe Sneed told me during an interview in Marysville, Tennessee. (Sneed is a certified personal trainer and writes a newspaper column on health issues.)
Sneed also said the American Medical Association Journal notes obesity in America has increased 25% since 1960.
Then if you add in all the people who obsessively over-eat, then just as obsessively over-exercise…
In a word, we have collectively become massively gluttonous when it comes to food in this society – while, again, 24,000 people starve to death every day in the world.
Connecting the dots:
Gluttony in many religions is a sin. Sin is evil.
Gluttony while little children starve, as Fr. McCarthy puts it, would seem “radical evil” in the face of relievable human misery.
So using deductive reasoning:
Wouldn’t we be a major part of the “axis of evil” in the world’s (and God’s) eyes?
Fr. Jim Noonan thinks so.
Fr. Noonan is a Maryknoll missionary in Cambodia. I interviewed him in Shelburn, Vermont, while he was home for a few weeks.
He said 50% of the children in Cambodia are malnourished and he, too, noted the high daily starvation rates around the world.
Fr. Noonan then said some 3,000 people died in the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11 at the hands of terrorists. Yet every day, eight times as many people starve to death worldwide, in large part, because the U.S., and other First World countries, are tremendously selfish with the gifts God has given them.
Given this, Fr. Noonan said we in the U.S. are, in a very real sense, “food terrorists” – of the worst kind.
And the world (especially those with malnourished children in the Third World) recognizes this.
And the anger towards us grows.
Our administration would wage war on worldwide hunger.
We would ask the American people to tremendously sacrifice, as they have during wartime before. We would ask them to cut back on their lifestyles and fund a significant cross section of initiatives to end world hunger, in our time.
5) “Environmental Terrorists”
And some of this sacrifice would be asked in the arena of energy. You see, America has become extreme “environmental terrorists.”
We have six percent of the world population and are responsible for generating some 25% (by far, the most in the world) of the greenhouse gases, which are causing global warming.
Carbon dioxide spews from our motor vehicles as we drive practically everywhere. Carbon dioxide pumps out of our coal and gas plants as they generate power for our air-conditioned and centrally heated homes and businesses – while half the world has no air conditioning, no central heating (often just fires, if that), no power…
What’s more, our factories pump out huge amounts of even more carbon dioxide to create most of the products that we consume at a higher rate than any other country on the planet.
Bluffton College Environmental Science Professor Bob Antibus told me if every country consumed like the U.S. – we’d need three planets.
Once again, this is tremendous gluttony.
What’s more, studies are showing the emission of these greenhouse gases is starting to wreak “terror” worldwide with the byproducts of global warming.
As the oceans heat up, some scientists speculate more and more super charged hurricanes (like Katrina) and typhoons will be crashing into shorelines. In addition, consistent data shows polar ice caps are melting at record paces and glaciers are dramatically receding, like in Peru.
During a talk in Wellington, Ohio, in the midst of our End Global Warming Bicycle Tour, I read an excerpt from a recent Washington Post article:
“When Peruvian farmers look upon the Andes Mountains, instead of ice and snow, they see the bare brown edges of the mountain top. They’ve heard the scientific talk that the blue ice that dressed these peaks for thousands of years and fed the streams below is disappearing rapidly.
“This they don’t dispute. They despair.
“The steady supply of water they need to grow crops has become erratic.
“‘If there is no water, this land becomes desert,’ said Benedicto Loayza, a 52-year-old farmer in Cuzco, Peru.”
Because of our energy gluttonous lifestyles, I said at the talk, we are contributing significantly to what could become famine in Peru, and to perhaps some of the famine that is already happening in more arid countries like in Africa.
I then said that this is the all too real metaphoric equivalent of Americans (terrorists) aiming guns at these people in, say, Peru, and firing slow motion bullets at them.
I mean, if our lifestyles “trigger” this…
Our administration would sign the Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions, immediately. We would stridently push for alternative forms of energy and transportation, immediately. We would spark a nationwide movement to cut back on energy use in general. (For more, see our Energy platform.)
We stopped in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to view the memorial to the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing. Our administration would be tough on terrorism perpetrated against us, as we would be tough on terrrorism America perpetrates around the globe as well.
Photo by Joe
Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds. The U.S. is ‘gassing’ the world. Environmental
Thomas Merton facitiously points out that the enemies bombs are “…always from Hell.”
But our bombs are “…always from Divine Providence.” Good point.