Camp Casey Detroit--Day 11
Some people are questioning why we would continue to hold vigil against the war in Iraq at Camp Casey Detroit while there is such an immediate disaster to respond to in our own country. We've even been instructed to get ourselves down to New Orleans if we want to do something worthwhile.
First of all, I can't see how our presence in a city that has been ordered to be evacuated would be of help to anyone. And secondly, I believe that the presidential decision to wage a war based on lies, to divert 204 billion dollars so far (not counting an additional 45 billion dollars which is currently pending before Congress) from use at home to destroy a country that was of no threat to us, to send some 7,000 soldiers from the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard (40% of Mississippi's and 35% of Louisiana's regular Guard strength) to fight that war thousands of miles from their home states where they are now sorely needed, makes stopping the war against Iraq and bringing those troops home now more crucial than ever.
And so we here at Camp Casey Detroit continue to vigil, to be a public witness to the futility and true costs of war, to dialogue with those who see things differently, to stay on our little corner of the planet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Today was Day 11.
Every day we welcome new faces to our camp. Today it was Ron and Sigrid Dale, long-time peace and anti-nuclear activists here in the Detroit area, Becky, a military spouse who often stands vigil at 9 Mile and Woodward on Monday afternoons with a group of dedicated peace activists, Marc Anthony who lives in the neighborhood and agrees totally with our call to bring the troops home now, and Kevin, a union organizer who is hard at work with the NWA mechanics in their strike against Northwest Airlines.
And these were just the new faces I saw during my three short hours at the camp this afternoon.
But Camp Casey Detroit is thriving after 11 days because of stalwarts like Derek, who has spent more nights at Camp Casey Detroit than just about anyone except perhaps Willie (with Jessica right up there too), and Abayomi, who has done the day shift from 9:30-4:30 PM every day since we opened on August 22, usually returning around 8 PM for a few more hours, and Pat Lent who takes a bus from her home close to 12 Mile Road down to Grand Circus Park just about every day so she can spend at least 4-6 hours helping us out.
There are many more individuals without whom Camp Casey Detroit would not exist, but these were the ones I saw today.
So I invite those individuals who see our peace encampment as irrelevant during these times of national crisis to please look at the larger picture and ask yourself, "Would New Orleans be in the terrible state it's in today if our national priority had not been the war against Iraq?" As a help in analyzing this question, I offer a few links to articles/columns I've found to be helpful:
"Iraq Mess Adds To the Problem" by Juan Gonzales
"Iraq War Costs Now Exceed Vietnam's" by Jim Lobe
"Why New Orleans is in Deep Water" by Molly Ivins
"Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?" by Will Bunch