The late Carl Levin looks like a nice guy, doesn’t he? When corporate press are fawning over his daughters helping to “christen” a warship named after him, they are helping to manufacture consent for endless war. As chair of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin shepherded billions of dollars in spending on war and weapons. The blood of millions of civilians including children is on his hands, but you’d never know it from this bland corporate messaging at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine.
The banner displays a special crest dedicated to his accomplishments, including imagery that evokes the Great Lakes, which Levin fought to protect as senator from Michigan.
Ironically, the USS Levin will continue to contribute to the negative impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes.
The system of lakes have seen increasingly lower water levels and reduced ice cover due to elevated temperatures, and this has had a negative impact on Michigan’s economy.
What’s to celebrate?
When we gathered in Bath on October 2, I spoke about how consent for endless war and endless weapons programs gets manufactured.
Here is a video of our program with an index to the speakers, thanks to Martha Spiess of Peace Action Maine:
Their warship remembered the late Carl Levin, but our protest remembered the late Peter Woodruff. A BIW worker who organized for conversion at the shipyard, Peter was a steady presence outside the gates after his retirement due to neurological injuries from inhaling metal particles for many years. He is sorely missed — a gentle, kind man and tireless organizer with the wisdom to oppose warmongering as a jobs program.
INDEX for video
02: Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space 16: Rosalie Paul, Peaceworks of Greater Brunswick
22: Dud Hendrick, Maine Veterans for Peace
30: Mare Honan, ordained UCC minister
34: Bill Bliss, ordained UCC minister 38: Mary Beth Sullivan, social work supervisor 45: Lisa Savage, Maine Natural Guard
Dud Hendrick of Veterans for Peace spoke at the “christening” of the warship USS Levin October 2 at General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works. Inside the gates were both Maine’s senators, plus Rep. Chellie Pingree, and Gov. Janet Mills, full of praise for building yet another warship to hasten climate crisis.
Here is what Dud told us:
Value Change for Survival
This past June, I had the privilege of a life-time, having the opportunity to sit with and interview the renowned Onondaga faith-keeper, Oren Lyons. The now 91 year-old chief spoke of values.
As you may know, the Onondaga people are one of the six tribes of the Iroquois nation (Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and the Tuscarora). Values—we learned a great deal that is relevant to our presence here today. Chief Lyons informed us that in the Iroquois Nation decision-making philosophy/governance is based on the well-being of the seventh generation into the future.
Unquestionably, there would be no more warships built here if such wisdom were governing the planning process of our dominant culture. It can arguably be posed that the values of the dominant culture have brought us unfettered militarism, depletion of resources, climate crisis, and, in general, a fouling of our planet, Mother Earth, as the Onondaga call it.
Chief Lyons also spoke of his work with the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival convened back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Over 1000 prominent world leaders representing over 83 countries, to include the Dalai Lama, Bishop Tutu, Mother Teresa, Mikhail Gorbachev, and VP Al Gore convened annually for several years, pledging to work against the, “perils of armaments, for balancing resources, and for a fundamentally changed and better world.”
Chief Lyons was given a standing ovation on the closing when he read a letter Chief Seattle had written to President Franklin Pierce in 1855 saying, “the white man’s hunger for land would eat the earth bare and leave only desert. Continue to soil your bed and one night you will suffocate in your own waste.” At the conclusion of their deliberations, the collective wisdom was summarized by their closing statement to the leaders of the world: Value Change for Survival.
Consider the inanity of our military spending. The U.S. annual military budget is approaching $800 billion! More than the next 10 nations’ spending combined. China spends less than a third, Russia, just over $60 billion, Iran–$15 billion and, get this, the bogie man, North Korea, at $4 billion, lower than the New York City police department!!! General Dynamic’s CEO, Phebe Novakovic, receives a compensation package is in the $19 million range!
We know the politicians are in the pockets of General Dynamics and we know what is expected of them in return. Just as General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and their brethren determine what major media allow us to read and hear and we are ill-informed for it. And then there are those 800 U.S. military bases on foreign lands—most, if not all, contributing to the fouling of the planet in ways so familiar to the neighbors of the over 600 superfund sites associated with domestic bases, as acknowledged by the Department of Defense.
The military is the single entity that contributes most to the climate crisis and the assault on Mother Earth, our home.
This picture altogether is outrageous. It’s all so appalling as to defy belief.
Bath Iron Works and its ilk will either change willingly or change will ultimately be forced upon it. Those of us who live to see that day when wisdom and sanity and concern for the 7th generation rules will celebrate.
Value Change for Survival!
May the will of the people ultimately force the value change or Mother Earth will.
Our elected officials pretend they don’t know that by investing in warships they are sponsoring a crappy jobs program, in terms of how many jobs are generated. Research shows that investing in other industries and economic sectors would actually generate many more full-time with benefits jobs.