Armistice Day Nov 11 2021 KCMO

My name is Mary Hladky and I am a mother of a veteran. My son, Ryan, was an Army Infantry officer who served 13 months, in Afghanistan at the height of President Obama’s Afghanistan surge. His unit was under active combat nearly every day, in Zhari District, considered the spiritual home of the Taliban.

I wholeheartedly support the Veterans For Peace initiative to Reclaim Armistice Day. Returning it to its original intent – a day set aside to celebrate peace. In 1918, the people of the world were mourning the loss of 40 million people, both military and civilian, calling for an end to all war, fully realizing that it is utterly futile to use war-making to achieve peace.

War, and its effects, are devastating today just as they were in 1918.

So I will briefly talk about what I know.

My son fought in a war that could never be won, one of hundreds of thousands of Americans who have had their lives forever changed by the pointless and tragic Afghanistan war.

Our soldiers suffer because they were sent by their government, and its people, that’s you and me, to senseless, rarely questioned wars. The Afghanistan Papers released in December 2019 revealed that the Afghanistan war was based on governmental and military lies; they also detailed early on that the war was a debacle and could not be won. Yet, our military and political leaders chose to continue that war for another 16 years after determining the war was unwinnable.

Most tragic has been that nearly all Americans are disengaged from the issue of war. Less than 1% serve in the military. The vast majority of the American people were incredibly indifferent to what was actually happening to our troops and the Afghan people. Our troops gave their lives, limbs and emotional well-being for this futile 20-year war. The Afghan people have suffered even more.

We must never again send troops to fight senseless, illegal and immoral wars.

Thank you for your Service” will never erase or be enough for what has been lost.

We must ensure those who served receive appropriate medical care.

It is time to prioritize Peace.

We must stop trying to control the world at any cost and start cooperating with it. War, the war economy, and militarism are literally killing all of us.

War is a deadly and destructive force. War not only kills with its weapons but has infected the way we think. We have the capability of annihilating the world with nuclear weapons, either with purpose or accidental – and too many of us seem just fine with that. The U.S. has militarized the police and our borders; we now treat just about everyone as a threat, or an enemy.

Here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero emissions, the earth would still be headed—head first and at full speed—toward total disaster for one major reason: the US military.” Prof. Barry Sanders author The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism

The U.S. military is the largest single entity spewing carbon emissions and the deadly toxins of war both overseas and here at home. The deadly poisons of war pollute the air, water, and the land hurting people and all living things.

War and militarism are destroying the environment and all those who live on the planet.

We can no longer remain silent; we must speak out about the evils of war, the war economy and militarism.

It is time to stop spending ungodly amounts of money on death and destruction, which is the Pentagon budget.

Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has spent $21 Trillion dollars on war and the overall war machine.

We do have the money to take care of our people and our planet. We, in the United States, have made a choice to support the war economy while wholly neglecting the basic needs of our people. It is a matter of priorities.

We do have a choice. Our actions show what we truly value.

We can start by demanding significant Cuts to the Pentagon Budget (Congress votes soon on this budget) and legislating a wealth tax, requiring large corporations, millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share.

It is possible to do so much better. We, the American people, as a whole, must demand it. Choose Peace.

VFP and PeaceWorks Armistice Day 11-11
VFP and PeaceWorks Armistice Day 11-11-11 rally, WWI Memorial

—Mary Hladky is the Vice President of the Board of PeaceWorks-KC. Copyright 2021, Mary Hladky;  photos by Jim Hannah, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.