Less war, more jobs: How hard is that?
Last Friday marked an incredible 10 years since the United States began the use of military force in Afghanistan. The results have been well documented, including the many lives lost and hundreds of billions of dollars (and counting) spent on the war. And it continues to drag on, with no immediate end in sight.
A group of religious leaders decided to mark the anniversary on Friday in a special way - getting arrested in downtown Los Angeles. A demonstration organized by the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace resulted in 14 arrests following a rally and prayer service.
In a press release announcing the event, ICUJP chair Steve Rohde explains: "ICUJP is calling for withdrawal of all troops and private contractors from Iraq and Afghanistan, an end to drone attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere, an end to torture abroad and at home, and funding for wars to human needs such as jobs, education, healthcare and housing.”
What a novel idea--instead of spending money on killing people overseas, we could instead use that money to benefit the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet here at home. Meanwhile, the president continues to argue with both Republicans and fellow Democrats over his proposed jobs bill, on the grounds that politicians simply can't justify taxing the rich as a solution to the ongoing unemployment crisis. Yet the frivolous spending on the war continues unfettered.
Neither I nor ICUJP are the first to see a problem with this type of thinking. I don't know how much good a protest like the one on Friday does in sending the message to Washington, but it is good to know that people of various faiths in this country are coming together to show their support for ending the wars and rebuilding the economy. And if the message doesn't get through now, we can always try again at the polls next November. But with a problem whose solution is long overdue, can we really wait that long?