The military and its crime spree illustrated by Ben Tre

God save us from those who would ‘save’ us.

“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”
–Unnamed US major from a Peter Arnett story in The New York Times, 7 February 1968, about US bombing of a Vietnamese town

There are two rogue sectors most often in overall noncompliance with environmental law–fossil fuel industries and the military. When they coincide it’s even more egregious. It is astonishing how much brazen disregard the US military has for the land they claim to defend but instead despoil. The latest outrage is the announced intention of the Air Force to use the “solution to pollution is dilution” approach on Cape Cod, concerning pollution from Camp Edwards. The primary two sources are fuel spillage and leakage as well as chemicals from a firefighting training area.

Historically, the militaries of the world have created environmental havoc and have always just been above the law. But as they become less relevant perhaps we can ask them to be more considerate. If we focus on making the military completely irrelevant through a combination of strategic nonviolent approaches we can end the long destructive relationship between the forces who are supposed to protect our lands and their ruination of that land. If there were ever an irreducible statement reflecting that twisted relationship and the sick logic of militarism, it was that statement by the US major about the poor Vietnamese town of Ben Tre.

Cape Cod is Ben Tre. Albuquerque is Ben Tre. Much of the world is Ben Tre and given the threat of nuclear weapons, Mother Earth is Ben Tre.

We need another model of protection. Fire the military. Learn strategic nonviolence.

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