Letter: Local vets celebrate peace, not NATO

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is coming to the nation’s capital on April 4 to mark its 70th birthday. Instead of celebrating NATO’s anniversary, a growing coalition of individuals and organizations, including members of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace in Asheville, are calling attention to the issue of peace rather than bombing others.

NATO has repeatedly violated international law, bombing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya. Under the guise of “humanitarian intervention,” NATO targeted civilians and city infrastructure, such as bridges, power plants and local businesses, in the former Yugoslavia. Decades later, the region is still reeling from billions of dollars in damage and an outbreak of cancer, as a result of the six tons of uranium bombs dropped on the country in the 1990s. This illegal war never got United Nations authorization.

NATO now accounts for three-quarters of all military spending and weapons dealing in the world. Wars contribute to the growing global refugee and climate crises, are the basis for the militarization of the police and the top cause of the erosion of civil liberties.

April belongs to Martin Luther King Jr., not militarism. Instead of saying “Happy Birthday” to NATO, we’re celebrating peace, in commemoration of MLK Jr.’s speech against war on April 4, 1967, as well as his assassination on April 4, 1968. Go to notonato.org to learn more about No to NATO, Yes to PEACE, this April 3-4 in Washington, D.C.

— E.L. Halsey
Asheville

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