Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Quaint Plowshares Disturb Business as Usual

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Quaint Plowshares Disturb Business as Usual

Article excerpt

In a post-Cold War age when protesting against nuclear weapons may seem archaic, indeed mad, the six Prince of Peace Plowshares defendants awaiting sentencing in Portland, Maine, are entitled to more than the usual rumination and head-scratching (see page 9).

We could step back from the case itself and consider the nuclear weapons situation and arguments for military preparedness and the awesome sums demanded for such preparedness.

Nuclear weaponry has not gone away; it has been refined. The United States is doing most of the refining. The Aegis class destroyer USS The Sullivans has missiles as prepared to carry nuclear-tipped darts that can kill millions as they are to carry conventional warheads that can kill hundreds and thousands.

Under what circumstances in the world today has the United States need for a growing fleet of new ships with launchers that in one single burst of firepower can kill hundreds and thousands? And keep on killing hundreds and thousands with each succeeding burst?

Is there a little madness here?

It is almost embarrassing to pose the question of the need to kill millions. It is almost, well, crazy to consider the question.

The Department of Defense wants to be able to fight two regional wars simultaneously. That's its idea of preparedness. To this end, Congress -- our elected officials, that is -- gives the Pentagon $9,000 a second. Is that crazy or what? That is $700 million dollars a day.

Enter six people from that sometimes roving, sometimes rooted band of Christians with a combined monetary worth probably somewhere between zero and nothing. We've lived with, known, grown up with, loved, been dismayed by, had our conscience pricked by these people. Lay mendicants -- and a handful of priests, too -- who live on behalf of the poor. …

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