Letter written to Secretary Carter by members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

February 25, 2015

Ashton Carter
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Pentagon, 1400 Defense
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Secretary Carter:

We are writing as representatives of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We are a group of citizens dedicated to working for an end to the illegal wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the illegal bombing, since July of 2008, of Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen. It is our opinion that the use of drones is a violation of international law.

The use of drones causes incredible human suffering, growing distrust of the United States around the world, and is diverting our resources which could be better used to ease human suffering. We follow the principles of Gandhi, King, Day and others, working nonviolently for a peaceful world.

As people of conscience, we are very concerned about the devastation that the U.S. military is causing to the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.” The article states “. . . the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world’s countries.” Visit http://www.commondreams.org/views/2010/06/14/greenwashing-pentagon.

The amount of oil used by your military machine is beyond belief, and each military vehicle also releases pollutants through the exhaust. Tanks, trucks, Humvees and other vehicles are not known for their fuel economy. Other fuel guzzlers are submarines, helicopters and fighter jets. Each military flight, whether involved in the transport of soldiers or in a combat mission, contributes more carbon into the atmosphere.

The U.S. military’s environmental record is dismal. Any war can bring about ecocide in the area of fighting. One example was the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The New York Times reported in September 2014 that the Obama administration plans to spend more than $1 trillion over the next three decades to upgrade the nuclear weapons arsenal. Wasting such an enormous amount of tax dollars on such weapons makes no sense. And the environmental damage caused by the nuclear weapons industrial complex is incalculable.

After fifty years, Vietnam is still dealing with the impact caused by the use of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange. To this day Agent Orange is causing devastating effects on the innocent people of Vietnam, as well as US veterans who were exposed to it during the Vietnam War.  See http://www.nbcnews.com/id/37263424/ns/health-health_care/t/agent-oranges-catastrophic-legacy-still-lingers/.

For many years, in our “War on Drugs,” the US government has attempted to combat the illegal drug trade in Colombia by spraying coca fields with dangerous chemicals such as glyphosate, marketed in the US by Monsanto as RoundUp.  Contrary to official government statements claiming this chemical is safe, studies have shown that glyphosate is destroying the health, water, livestock, and farmland of the people of Colombia with devastating consequences. Go to http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=669http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/31/colombias-agent-orange/ and http://www.commondreams.org/views/2008/03/07/plan-colombia-mixing-monsantos-roundup-bushs-sulfur.

More recently, Mother Earth is suffering because the Pentagon continues to use depleted uranium ammunition. It seems the Pentagon first used DU weaponry during Persian Gulf War 1 and in other wars, including during the aerial attack of Libya.

Because the United States has hundreds of military bases here and abroad, the Pentagon is exacerbating a growing environmental crisis on a global scale. For example, the construction of a US Naval base on Jeju Island, South Korea threatens the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. According to an article in The Nation “On the island of Jeju, the consequences of the Pacific Pivot are cataclysmic. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, adjacent to the proposed military port, would be traversed by aircraft carriers and contaminated by other military ships. Base activity would wipe out one of the most spectacular remaining soft-coral forests in the world. It would kill Korea’s last pod of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and contaminate some of the purest, most abundant spring water on the planet. It would also destroy the habitats of thousands of species of plants and animals—many of which, such as the narrow-mouthed frog and the red-footed crab, are gravely endangered already. Indigenous, sustainable livelihoods—including oyster diving and local farming methods that have thrived for thousands of years—would cease to exist, and many fear that traditional village life would be sacrificed to bars, restaurants and brothels for military personnel.” http://www.thenation.com/article/171767/front-lines-new-pacific-war

Though these examples provide sufficient evidence to show the ways in which the Department of War is destroying the planet, we have grave concerns about the U.S. military for other reasons as well.  The recent revelations of rampant U.S. torture leaves a terrible stain on the U.S. fabric.  Continuing the Pentagon’s policy of unlimited warfare is also detrimental to the USA’s world-wide image. A recent leaked CIA report confirmed that killer drone strikes have only been successful in creating more terrorists.

We would like to meet with you or your representative to discuss the Pentagon’s role in the destruction of the environment.  We will urge you, as first measures, to bring all troops home from these awful wars and occupations, to end all drone warfare, and to close down the nuclear weapons complex. At this meeting, we would appreciate if you could provide a detailed breakdown of the military’s greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide.

As citizen activists and members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, we adhere to the Nuremberg protocols. These principles, established during the trials of Nazi war criminals, call on people of conscience to challenge their government when it is engaged in criminal activity. As part of our Nuremberg responsibility, we are reminding you that you swore to uphold the Constitution. In a dialogue, we will present data to demonstrate how the Pentagon abuses the Constitution and the ecosystem.

Please get back to us, so that a meeting can be scheduled as soon as possible. The current situation is urgent. Cities and states are starving, while tax dollars are wasted on wars and occupations. Innocents are dying because of U.S. military policies. And the environmental damage caused by the Pentagon must be halted.

Most observers have noticed that weather patterns are severely changing. In turn the weather has greatly affected the farmers of the world, resulting in food shortages in many countries. Droughts are occurring in Australia, Brazil and California.  The Northeast is victimized by major storms as we write.  So let us meet and discuss how we can work together in order to save Mother Earth.

We look forward to your response to our request for a meeting, as we believe citizen activists have the right and obligation to be involved in matters of such great importance. Your response will be shared with others concerned with the issues raised above. Thank you for considering our request.

In peace,

Max Obuszewski

Malachy Kilbride

Joy First

Members of National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

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