Generally speaking the pro-peace events in Chicago surrounding the NATO war summit have been very good, and we’ve been getting superb media coverage. Photos, reports etc to come soon. Here’s my letter to the editor in yesterday’s New York Times (I believe it was only online, not in the “hard copy” of the paper).
To the Editor:
While you paint a fair portrait of the NATO summit meeting in Chicago this weekend, you miss a key point. The “protesters” descending on the city represent the solid pro-peace constituency in the country. Every recent poll shows a large bipartisan majority supporting a rapid end to the American-NATO war in Afghanistan, and a recent University of Maryland poll showed overwhelming support for big cuts in military spending.
The focus on security for the visiting heads of state at the summit meeting are legitimate, and the resulting inconveniences to city residents inevitable. Conjectures about possible violence by demonstrators, however, are overblown.
Our first concern must be the real, not speculative, violence facing the people of Afghanistan in this war. According to the United Nations, last year was the worst year for civilian deaths in Afghanistan, with more than 3,000 killed.
As a former Chicagoan, back in town for various pro-peace NATO events, I agree with Garry McCarthy, the police superintendent, that the city can handle large demonstrations and that the next few days will be “exciting,” as democracy should be.
Executive Director, Peace Action
Chicago, May 17, 2012