US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Daily Links, May 18: NATO

Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit gets underway this weekend, here in U.S. Catholic’s hometown of Chicago. As I write this, there is a single unmarked vehicle with tinted windows parked in a particularly advantageous position on the roof of the normally-full parking garage just below my window.

The big crowds of protestors began to gather today in Daley Plaza today as the National Nurses Union marched to send a message to Wall Street (and, actually offer a solution to the failing health care system, unlike lawmakers set on repealing the Affordable Care Act): “They’re calling for a “Robin Hood” tax of 0.5 percent on financial institutions’ transactions to offset cuts in health care, social services and education.”

Ten Catholic Workers demonstrated at the Obama campaign headquarters launching the protests earlier this week. Three were arrested.

The maniacal focus on protestors has many feeling that Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is spending time and resources entertaining a party of warmongers while trying to disguise the city’s problems with poverty. Such as its 60 percent rise in crime this year.  I wonder what a $1 million grant to the Interrupters would do for neighborhoods riddled with gang violence.

With all the hoopla and whatnot over the protests and how to respond to them, there’s been considerably less reporting on what’s on the agenda for NATO.  The Council of Foreign Relations writes that the top three items are “navigating a tricky endgame in Afghanistan, implementing NATO's new ‘smart defense’ doctrine, and bolstering the alliance's global partnerships.”

There’s also been little media attention devoted to why people protest NATO. Here’s why. Just regarding Afghanistan, the number one agenda for the summit, points out that “NATO's Afghanistan war is the longest in U.S. history, and 2011 was the deadliest year in the Afghanistan war since the U.S. began its invasion and occupation…in 2001…450 people a day are displaced in Afghanistan, and 250 children a day die in Afghanistan due to malnutrition, according to Voices for Creative Nonviolence…[and] [t]he decade-long War in Afghanistan has caused the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians directly from insurgent and foreign military action, as well as the deaths of possibly tens of thousands of Afghan civilians indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war. Civilian death tolls are estimated at upwards of 40,000 people, with direct and indirect deaths linked to U.S./NATO military action estimated conservatively at more than 9,000--and perhaps as many as 29,000--civilians.

The list goes on, though. Some people also had to move their wedding date or were disenabled from go shopping or to the Hershey Factory. [(sic) The Tweeter probably meant the Hershey store on Michigan Ave.]


At least some Catholic school students learned a thing or two about political-military alliances. And also the day off.