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“Battleground States”

Photo credit: Fincantieri

KATHY KELLY, kathy at vcnv.org, @voiceinwild
Kelly is co-founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and just wrote the piece “Battleground States.” She writes: “On Thursday, June 25th, President Trump’s re-election efforts took him to the ‘battleground’ state of Wisconsin, where he toured the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard. He railed against the Democrats as a scarier enemy than Russia or China. He also celebrated Wisconsin’s win over domestic enemies like the state of Maine in securing a key shipbuilding project. ‘The first-in-class FFG(X) [frigate] will not just be a win for Wisconsin workers; it will also be a major victory for our Navy,’ Trump said. ‘…The stunning ships will deliver the overwhelming force, lethality, and power we need to engage America’s enemies anywhere and at any time.’ On many military minds, it seems, was China. …

“Before the pandemic hit, and before this U.S. Navy contract was awarded to Marinette, my fellow activists at Voices for Creative Nonviolence were planning a protest walk to the Marinette shipyard. As Trump noted in his speech at Marinette, they are currently building four Littoral Combat Ships for sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. … In late 2019, with the U.S. Navy no longer interested in purchasing Littoral Combat Ships from the yard, the Marinette shipyard had been ‘saved by the Saudis’ and by Lockheed Martin, which had helped arrange the contract.

“The Saudi military has been using U.S.-supplied Littoral (near-coast) Combat Ships to blockade the coastal ports of Yemen, which is undergoing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis due to a famine exacerbated by the Saudi-led blockade and an invasion involving relentless aerial bombardment. Actual cholera epidemics, reminiscent of centuries past, were another result of the war’s creation of lethal delays and shortages for Yemeni people in desperate need of fuel, food, medicine and clean water. Yemen’s humanitarian situation, worsened by the spread of COVID-19, is now so desperate that the United Nations humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, warned Yemen will ‘fall off the cliff’ without massive financial support. President Trump took full credit for the Saudi contract at [Thursday’s] rally. …

“We must resist signing contracts with weapon makers profiting from endless immiseration of the Middle East and needless superpower rivalries inviting full nuclear war. Such contracts, inked in blood, doom every corner of our world to perish as a battleground state.”