Can you join the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance on November 6 and help deliver a Healthcare not Warfare petition to Captain Mark A. Kobelja, the director of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center? Can you sign on to the petition? If yes, please provide name, hometown and your organization. Thanks for your support.
November 1, 2017
Petition from the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
Captain Mark A. Kobelja
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Dear Captain Kobelja:
As members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], we are petitioning you on behalf of the voiceless, the poor and especially those in desperate need of quality healthcare. We are raising two issues in our petition. First, we believe that healthcare is a right, and second, we object strenuously to giving the military complex some 50% of the discretionary budget. Sadly, Donald Trump and many legislators are intent on cutting back on spending for healthcare, while increasing an already-out-of-control military budget.
These are obviously desperate times, and the citizenry are desperate for significant changes in both domestic and foreign policies. As the commander of a world-class hospital, we are petitioning you to first recognize the validity of our concerns and then to speak out that the people need healthcare not warfare.
On September 19 before the United Nations General Assembly, Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea." Acting upon that threat violates the UN Charter, and according to Marjorie Cohn, “indicates an intent to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, the war crime of collective punishment and international humanitarian law. Moreover, a first-strike use of nuclear weapons would violate international law.”
Another sign of desperate times are the effects of the recent storms, caused by rampant fossil fuel use. The current suffering of the people in this hemisphere who were victims of several hurricanes will not be ameliorated any time soon. And it must be recognized that the Pentagon contributes enormously to climate chaos.
In September, many people around the country were fearful that Republican legislators would take away what healthcare they have. So citizens were being arrested on Capitol Hill for speaking out in an attempt to save their healthcare.
At a moment when our government is trying to cut back severely on spending for healthcare, while pushing for a massive increase in Pentagon funding, we need to listen to one of the most powerful moral voices of our time: Reverend William Barber. He was arrested in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office to protest the repeal of Obamacare, and said this: “There are times when silence is no longer an option and you must engage in the dangerous ministry of truth telling. I'm standing with millions across America today to say the fight for healthcare is a fight for the soul of America.”
Rev. Barber makes the connection we are bringing to your attention: he rails against politicians who want to “steal from the poor to give budget increases to a bloated military. That is the NCNR’s message – “Healthcare, Not Warfare.”
“What will make us safer,” Rev. Barber asks, “$54 billion dollars more to a war machine or jobs, education, healthcare, and infrastructure? $54 billion could provide healthcare to 22 million low-income children. What would make fewer people around the world hate us—lifting up the world or bombing and invading? It’s not that we don’t have the money, it’s that our moral priorities are wrong.”
We believe the Reverend’s call to action is prophetic. We must combat systemic poverty and racism, war-mongering, economic injustice, voter suppression, and other attacks on the most vulnerable. We need a long-term, sustained movement led by the people who are directly impacted by this extremism. Let us take inspiration from his leadership, his actions and his words. Let us be clear that Rev. Barber pointed out we need universal healthcare for all. This means we want healthcare legislation that is an improvement on Medicare.
As the director of Walter Reed, you know the importance of quality healthcare. But this cannot be accomplished if spending on militarism consumes some 50% of the discretionary federal budget.
We read this on the website, “Established in 1935 by President Roosevelt, and historically known as The President’s Hospital, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) has a long tradition of excellence.” Also, it was noted that “World-class care is delivered to the nation's leaders - members of the Executive Branch, the U. S. Congress, Supreme Court justices, flag and general officers of the armed services, and eligible family members. Other authorized government officials and beneficiaries, designated by the Secretary of the Navy, and foreign military and embassy personnel are provided care at WRNMMC. A unique military medical complex, WRNMMC serves beneficiaries and senior military leaders from commands around the world.”
Why not world-class care for all? Of course, we all know that if we didn't give the military $700 billion, we would have plenty of money for healthcare. So members of NCNR would like to meet with you on November 6 to urge you to join us in speaking out in support of Healthcare, Not Warfare. All who reside in this country should have access to Improved Medicare for All. Healthcare is a right, and Warfare is a wrong.
Please let us know your availability on November 6? If you are unavailable, could someone from your staff meet with us on this extremely urgent matter?
Improved Medicare for All is the only healthcare business model that makes sense. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said on April 4, 1967, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense [sic] than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." We look forward to having a dialogue with you.
Joy First, Malachy Kilbride, Max Obuszewski and Janice Sevre-Duszynska
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs