FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Peace Movement in South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina. Everyday people want peace, not only in “Old Europe” and around the world where millions of peace-loving people turned out over the weekend in protests to stop the United States’ invasion of Iraq, but even in this bastion of the United States’ defense establishment.

In South Carolina a flourishing peace movement is organizing and getting more media coverage as peace vigils become larger each week. Although most of the media trumpet the martial call of President Bush with eager editorializing for war, some stories about troop deployments depict the families of military personnel questioning why they have to go. Along with a myriad of heart wrenching stories in our media of departing young warriors hugging and kissing their wives, husbands and children goodbye beneath headlines proclaiming “In Service of Their Country”, stories of peace protests are growing in number and the diversity of activists is evident.

South Carolina is the military laden province of Saint Strom Thurmond, who never heard of a U.S. military action he didn’t like, since the Confederacy lost the Civil War. Our state is the home of Fort Jackson Army Training Center, Parris Island Marine Training Center, Shaw Air Force Base, the Charleston Air Force Base, the Beaufort Marine Air Base and the Savannah River Site, a giant nuclear weapons complex. But, even where George W. Bush triumphed in a crucial contest for the presidential nomination in 2000 and Republicans now control the Governor’s office and both houses of the legislature, some unlikely folks have become outspoken advocates for peace and disarmament..

Folks like Robert Marek of Aiken, South Carolina, a former United Nations’ weapons inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The day before Chief Inspector Hans Blix briefed the U.N. Security Council Marek stepped up and told The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. that his friends who are currently weapons inspectors in Iraq had e-mailed him saying they need more time than “President Bush is willing to give” to do the job they are supposed to do. “I think it would be unfortunate if they didn’t give them the time they need to do the job”, said Marek, who spent three years as a nuclear inspector in the Far East and now is a law student at the University of South Carolina.

Marek also said, “All the people that I know over there…are all very competent. When it is done properly, they will find out what they are supposed to.”

“I’d hate to see all that ruined for political reasons.” Marek said. He said inspectors in Iraq are getting reasonable cooperation from Saddam’s regime according to recent e-mailed reports he has been getting from his inspector friends in Iraq.

Marek came within a month of going to Iraq in late 1998 to monitor its dozen nuclear labs and research reactors, but a missile attack by the U.S. and Britain resulted in the withdrawal of weapons inspectors, according to Marek. He spent the next three years inspecting nuclear facilities in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. His job was to monitor whether those nations were diverting their nuclear technology into weaponry. Weapons inspections require painstaking procedures to identify, analyze, map and trace suspected materials and that is why Blix and his team need more time, Marek said.

Over lunch Marek told me about coming to South Carolina to work as a nuclear engineer at the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons complex at Aiken making nuclear weapons. Robert Marek said he looked into his young son’s eyes one day and contemplated his future with the escalating danger of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He then decided to work as a weapons inspector at the U.N. in the cause of peace and disarmament

On World Peace Day last Saturday, the Carolina Peace Resource Center(CPRC) was a co-sponsor of a Teach-In for Peace at the University of South Carolina(USC) and a March and Rally at the South Carolina State House. Leading the singing of peace songs like “Down By The Riverside”, and “Blowin’ In The Wind” with a wonderful country-folk voice was Travis Nagy, a Young Republican leader at USC. Travis said he attended the peace rally in Washington, D.C. on January 18 and was impressed by the diversity and sincerity of the participants.

At the South Carolina State House rally on Saturday was a former artillery officer named Steve Lefemine. Steve is an anti-abortion advocate who held a sign that said “Just Say No! To Abortion & Emperor Bush’s New World Order IRAQ WAR!”.

The world-wide weapons industry relies on the politics of hate, fear and war to sell their evil products throughout the world. The global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction demands global disarmament before it is too late..

It is time for peace and disarmament! Let the inspectors do their work in Iraq, and also in North Korea, Israel, Iran and other dangerously armed nations like the United States, the nation with more weapons of mass destruction than the next fifteen nations combined.

TOM TURNIPSEED is an attorney, writer and civil rights activist in Columbia, South Carolina. www.turnipseed.net

 

 

More articles by:
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
Patrick Cockburn
Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?
Joseph Grosso
The Invisible Class: Workers in America
Kim Ives
Haiti’s Popular Uprising Calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s Removal
John Carroll Md
Dispatch From Haiti: Trump and Breastfeeding
Alycee Lane
On Heat Waves and Climate Resistance
Ed Meek
Dershowitz the Sophist
Howard Lisnoff
Liberal Massachusetts and Recreational Marijuana
Ike Nahem
Trump, Trade Wars, and the Class Struggle
Olivia Alperstein
Kavanaugh and the Supremes: It’s About Much More Than Abortion
Manuel E. Yepe
Korea After the Handshake
Robert Kosuth
Militarized Nationalism: Pernicious and Pervasive
Binoy Kampmark
Soft Brexits and Hard Realities: The Tory Revolt
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Localization: a Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
Kevin Zeese - Nils McCune
Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?
Chris Wright
The American Oligarchy: A Review
Kweli Nzito
Imperial Gangster Nations: Peddling “Democracy” and Other Goodies to the Untutored
Christopher Brauchli
The Defenestration of Scott Pruitt
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail