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Vail Daily column: Another useless conflict

Arn Menconi
Valley Voices

I was arrested for “crowding, obstructing and incommoding” at the Foreign Relations Hearing on the Authorization for Military Force with Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Head of the Joint Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey. I stood and asked, “Why are we starting another endless war with no geographical boundaries, creating more terrorism and killing innocent people?”

CNN posted a story of the arrest: bit.ly/arnmenconi.

Every day since I was arrested for telling Secretary Kerry that we don’t need an endless war, I have been asked: “So, Arn, do you think we should not be at war with ISIS?”

And I say: It depends. Do you think we should fight terrorism everywhere at any price? Do you think we should be allowed to kill as many innocent people as we are said to have killed? Do you think we should spend more than half a trillion dollars a year on a war while other countries don’t have to? Do you think we should have to be the leader on each and every war?

When a Saudi king dies and our president and most of the Senate flies to his funeral in a nation that helps export terrorism, do you think we are hypocrites? Do you think ISIS is an imminent threat to us or to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Jordan? Do you think ISIS is 3,000 people or 30,000 people?

No, I don’t think we should be at war with ISIS right now. I think we should follow the Constitution and decide without the military-industrial complex telling our federal representatives if we should go to war. I think the American people better wake up and start talking about it, sending letters to the editor about it and exercising some form of speaking up.

Instead of playing spectator politics by streaming another episode of “House of Cards,” we should read and listen to what the independent media is telling us. We should speak out against a war that breeds more terrorists, costs us our financial future and kills innocent people. At what point do we acknowledge our inability to craft a durable long-term solution?

Not every war is bad — if it is justifiable. But all too often, there is no imminent threat. Was there an imminent threat when we went to Korea or Vietnam? How about Central America or Grenada? What about Iraq? Pick an invasion — not only is the threat virtually absent or fabricated; the world is not safer as a result.

I am just one person with one voice and a sign. We need more people willing to stand up and announce their presence and interest. We need to stop thinking of military intervention as our first and only option, and we need to start thinking about why our tax dollars go toward killing innocent people in the short-term and jeopardizing our interests over the long term.

We need to think before we act, and we need to do everything we can to help prevent Another Useless Military Fiasco.

Arn Menconi is an activist journalist. He is a former Eagle County commissioner and the founder and former executive director of SOS Outreach, a charity for disadvantaged children.


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