Protesters challenge hypocrisy: Raytheon support of JFK Library space celebration

Protesters challenge Raytheon support of JFK Library Space Celebration
Protesters challenge Raytheon support of JFK Library Space Celebration

I joined a protest July 19 outside the JFK Library at Columbia Point that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.  I did this to raise objections to that part of human endeavor aimed at destruction of all life on this planet.  In its way, the Apollo Program was part of the Cold War mindset of “beating the Russians,” this needs to be acknowledged.

Three sponsors of the celebration, Boeing, Draper, and Raytheon are an integral part of the military industrial complex, all are in the business of designing and building weapons – including nuclear weapons. 

The founder of Raytheon, Vannevar Bush, was a principal architect, after World War II of the military-industrial economy that we live under so perilously today.  The Doomsday Clock is set at 2 minutes to midnight. 

Sixty-seven percent of the US discretionary budget goes to the Pentagon. This means that vital programs to serve the public good such as:  public transportation, healthcare, housing, education, environmental protection, and infrastructure maintenance are underfunded and constantly having their budgets slashed.  US wars since 2001 have cost nearly six trillion dollars!

A new report from the Watson Institute at Brown University details the Pentagon use of fuel and contribution to the climate crisis.  Since the year 2001, the Pentagon has released 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases – more than double the current number of cars on the road in the US.  We are living in the sixth great extinction, the ice is melting in Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, permafrost is melting, methane is being released, methane is worse than CO2.  Our military industrial economy is a direct cause of the climate emergency. 

The military-industrial economy is a killer economy.  Human intelligence and endeavor are put to destructive purpose by developing and building weapons that have to be used!  The intent from the beginning was to keep the killing going on, selling weapons, fueling internecine conflicts around the world, using the weapons so more must always be developed.

And so, immediately following World War II were more wars: Korea, Vietnam as well as interventions to overthrow elected governments:  Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Haiti, Honduras, Chile…this is a partial list.  Millions of people have died as a result of these overthrows and wars. 

Today, Raytheon is selling billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  The weapons are being used in a punishing war on Yemen in which tens of thousands have died.  A Yemeni child dies every ten minutes, 130 children die every day.  The UN forecasts that 230,000 people will die by the end of this year.  These weapons sales are being accelerated due to an EMERGENCY – the EMERGENCY is the selling of the weapons to be used in this cruel conflict. 

This blood is on the hands of the people who run Raytheon and our politicians, who so far have allowed the sales to go forward.  Are billions of dollars of arms sales and high stock values worth this carnage?  We say NO!  

The great tasks before us are to end all the wars, close down the Pentagon and all the merchants of death, abolish nuclear weapons and turn our full attention to taking care of planet earth and all living things.  This transformation cannot come too soon.

It’s a world of sorrow and woe, but it also one of wonder and beauty especially when we stand together for peace and planet earth.  It is always a joy of my life to join with beloved peace pals to stand for the human family.  We are one, we are many, we are different we are alike, we know we share a living planet with all kinds of life and that all this life needs a world at peace.