Peace meeting: America is less safe

DALLAS – Eleven months past the Sept. 11 disaster, peace activists gathered here Aug. 11 to evaluate whether or not the Bush administration has made the American people any safer. They held four rotating workshops at Grace United Methodist Church. Topics were the environment, international politics, civil liberties and the nuclear threat. In each aspect, it was shown clearly that the administration’s policies have failed in their declared intent to make Americans safer.

The proliferation of nuclear materials has worsened, and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal is actually increasing. Americans are more afraid than ever of “their own” intelligence agencies. In its continued belligerence toward Iraq, the United States is alone in the world, except for its allies in Israel and the Marshall Islands. Americans are facing increasing danger of choking to death on foul air and water.

It was noted that world outrage toward the Bush policies is blunting some of them. The TIPS civilian-informant program, for example, is not expected to be as horrendous as Bush initially proposed. There is considerable resistance to the rape of our civil liberties, even among some federal judges. Even their closest allies, such as Saudi Arabia, have declared their opposition to the Bush plans to invade Iraq.

The four workshop leaders, experts in their fields, went beyond condemning the policies of the last 11 months as decreasing our safety. They also said that the new laws and practices were unnecessary to begin with. The only possible conclusion is that the Bush administration has undertaken the fouling of the environment, the isolation of American foreign policy, the destruction of civil liberties, and the increasing nuclear danger not to make Americans safer, but for reasons of its own.

Fifty people attended the teach-in. It was the fourth well-attended Dallas peace action in seven days. Activists are gearing up for a statewide demonstration in Crawford, Texas, on August 24, while President Bush continues his vacation there.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org