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WAR PANEL—Panel speakers from left: moderator Fred Logan, Chris Moore, Rev. Thomas Smith, Father David Taylor, and James Stewart. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart)
“If Martin Luther King was alive, he would be in Barack Obama’s behind because of his use of drones to kill; his having run a campaign and never once even mentioning poverty; and his taking care of the business sector before rebuilding America’s ghettos, barrios, infrastructure and putting people to work.” This statement by Rick Adams, Co-convener, W. Pa Black Political Assembly, was one of the pivotal points of discussion at the “Cost of War” forum, hosted by the Black Voices for Peace.
The event, held at the East Liberty Branch of the Carnegie Library, was convened in commemoration of the Martin Luther King weekend, and leadership thought it would be fitting given King’s anti-war sentiments, which he readily expressed in the last years of his life. But also because the group’s leadership wanted the local African-American community and all people of conscious to join in its campaign to end U.S. wars around the world.
To this end there was first a panel discussion whose speakers were Chris Moore, a Vietnam vet, himself, and talk show host for WQED-TV, KDKA Radio and PCNC-TV; Rev. Thomas Smith, pastor of Monumental Baptist Church; James Stewart, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Penn State University; and Father David Taylor, St. Charles Lawanga Parish. Each speaker took 10 minutes to discuss their perspectives on where they believed the overriding cost of war lies and how our community has been negatively impacted.
“For me, it is not only the vast financial cost of the war, but also the human cost,” Moore said. “When you look at the fact that 1/3 of the homeless in the United States are vets, and when you consider the tremendous nature of the complex injuries of veterans and what they are costing this country, and for those who manage to make it home and have no physical wounds but are wounded from the inside out, how do you quantify the damage to these soldiers? Add to this the ongoing suffering of the indigenous civilians living in war torn countries, who are just going about their daily lives and suddenly find themselves running for shelter from a dropping bomb.