Michael D. Knox
Michael D. Knox, PhD, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida*,is Founder and Chair of the US Peace Memorial Foundation: https://uspeacememorial.org/ since 2005. His biography is included in current editions of Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World, Wikipedia, and at www.uspeacememorial.org/Knox.htm.Dr. Knox’s antiwar activities are listed in the US Peace Registry.
Militarism and COVID-19
by Michael D. Knox
July 22, 2020
Military-related activities are the highest priority of the U.S.
I don't usually share my personal opinions using this medium, but the failed response to COVID-19 underscores the fact that military-related activities are the highest priority of the U.S. government. The need to honor and encourage those who work for peace is more important than ever. Please read my article in today's CounterPunch "Militarism and COVID-19."
After six months of enduring this tragic but preventable COVID-19 pandemic, there is still no national leadership. More than 200,000 Americans will die, and hundreds of thousands will suffer through the disease process, and then continue to have debilitating symptoms long after. Compare the response to how quickly our nation mobilized for war after less than 3000 died on 9/11; war that we continue to fight in the Middle East and Africa.
The inadequacies of our healthcare and public health systems and the persistent shortages of equipment, supplies, hospital beds and timely testing underscore the fact that military-related activities are the highest priority of the U.S. government. Its 2020 military budget is $738 billion. That’s over $84 million an hour for war. That’s where our tax dollars go and that’s where the resources are—spread around the world to intimidate and do harm, rather than good.
The President’s recent extravagant patriotic speeches and ceremonies ignore the pandemic and instead, extol the virtues of “law and order” and the largest military budget ever. Flyovers of fighter jets, used as a way of showing appreciation to healthcare workers treating COVID-19, demonstrates an effort to tie all aspects of our life, even this most desperate public health situation, into the U.S. war culture. Obviously, the cost of these nationwide military tributes and ceremonies, which is significant, could have provided medicine, testing, facemasks, and other items that are still desperately needed to help stem the spread of this disease. Perhaps these expensive public relations stunts were an effort to distract us from the government’s continuing failed leadership in handling the COVID-19 crisis.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if war was deemed a non-essential activity, and our country focused instead on eliminating healthcare disparities, systemic racism, aggressive policing, poverty, and this heartbreaking pandemic. These are the things that are terrorizing Americans.
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Michael D. Knox, PhD is the founder and chair of the US Peace Memorial Foundation and Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida.
Ending U.S. War by Honoring Americans Who Work for Peace
Michael D. Knox, PhD
I travel frequently and have seen the many monuments to soldiers and to wars that occupy our city squares and parks.In the summer of 2005 my son James and I visited Washington, DC after he finished his first year of college.We made the standard tour of the city, visiting museums, the White House, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the newly dedicated National World War II Memorial.
These memorials exist to reinforce the notion that war efforts or activities are highly valued and rewarded by our society.In this and other visits to the National Mall, I have encountered dozens of war veterans discussing their combat experiences with their children, grandchildren, other relatives and friends.I imagine that most of the listeners were proud of the speaker’s military service and some viewed the war veteran as a potential role model.
Suddenly, with my son present, I realized that all of my own personal memories and stories in this realm were of antiwar activities.I was immediately struck by the fact that there are no National Monuments here to convey a message that our society also values peace and recognizes those who take action to oppose one or more U.S. wars.There is no public validation of antiwar activities and no memorial to serve as a catalyst for discussion regarding courageous peace efforts by Americans over the past centuries.This realization led to the organization of the US Peace Memorial Foundation in 2005 and my retirement in 2011 so that I could devote the remainder of my life to creating this monument, initially online and later as a physical structure in our nation’s capital.
It is time to dedicate a National Monument to peace and those who work for it.Our society should be as proud of those who strive for alternatives to war as it is of those who fight wars.Demonstrating this national pride in some tangible way may encourage others to explore peace advocacy during times when only the voices of war are being heard.
By presenting the antiwar sentiments of many American leaders - views that history has often ignored - and by documenting contemporary U.S. antiwar activism, the US Peace Memorial will send a clear message to our citizens that advocating for peaceful solutions to international problems and opposing war are honorable and socially acceptable activities in our democracy.
(Read more: https://www.uspeacememorial.org/the_idea.htm)
Since 2005, the US Peace Memorial Foundation has directed a nationwide effort to honor Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual Peace Prize, and planning for the US Peace Memorial in Washington, DC. These projects help move the United States toward a culture of peace by recognizing thoughtful and courageous Americans and U.S. organizations that have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. We celebrate these role models to inspire other Americans to speak out against war and to work for peace…
Our Board of Directors, Founding Members, andVolunteers are the mainstay of the US Peace Memorial Foundation.
US Peace Memorial Foundation
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