Friday, October 7, 2005

A CHALLENGE TO MILITARY-LED EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANS

CAN I GET A WITNESS? Johann Christof Arnold of the Bruderhof Communities apparently resonates with my own sentiments for keeping the military out of national emergency relief plans (see my earlier post on bikehiker). Here's his comment from The Daily Dig on Thursday:

ONE MORE STEP TO A FULLY MILITARIZED STATE. "For years health officials have warned that a virulent strain of avian influenza could rapidly spread the globe, killing millions. Headlines about such an outbreak now seem to pop up daily, and there is reason for increasing concern. But President Bush's recent request to Congress, asking for the authority to call in the military as part of the government's response to such a disaster, is wrong."

WHO WILL PROVIDE THE LAST SERVICES OF LOVE? "Calling in the troops would set a worrying precedent, and not only because it would be yet one more step to a fully militarized state. If we die alone, under the control of the military, who will provide the last services of love for us, and who will comfort the loved ones we leave behind?"

HOW WILL NEW "LEPERS" FIND COMFORT? Reflecting on plans for military to enforce strict quarantine, Arnold writes: "Sick and dying people are lonely as it is, even in situations where they do have a family and friends. How will they feel when the government forces us to treat them like lepers? How will they find comfort, if they are not even allowed to talk about what is happening to them?"

FUELING FEAR ABOUT DEATH. "Are we going to sit back while we are denied the chance to lay down our lives for each other, which Jesus says is the greatest act of love we can ever perform? A military response will not bring out the best in people, but only magnify the fear and anxiety we already have about death."

SAY "NO" TO FURTHER MILITARIZATION. There are valid and preferable alternatives to a military-led and gunpoint-enforced response to a national emergency like a flu pandemic. We need to think long and hard before we allow this Presidential Administration to lead us down the last leg of the path toward complete militarization of our freedom-loving society. These are the same folks who led us enthusiastically into the quagmire in Iraq under false pretenses and without a credible or workable exit strategy. Whatever interests they are serving and whatever they say, I am convinced Bush advisors do not have the best interests of all the American people in mind or at heart. Say "no" to further militarization.

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