Friday, June 22, 2018

Austin is a peace-loving city and should not be a weapons producer

Upon learning last Saturday from an article in the Austin American-Statesman that Austin is one of 5 cities being considered as the site of a proposed "Army Futures Command Center,"  I wrote a letter to the editor, which was published in today's edition, to express opposition to this.  I wrote also to our Austin City Council members and the following letter to members of the Economic Development staff at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce:

Dear member of the Economic Development staff, Austin Chamber of Commerce,

I write to you as a concerned, longtime Austin resident in response to the article in the Austin American-Statesman on Saturday, June 16, “City 1 of 5 finalists for Army site.”  The article indicated that the Austin Chamber of Commerce supports the idea of having a proposed Army Futures Command Center placed in Austin.
Reading this article was the first I learned of the Army’s selection of Austin as a possible location for this center.   The article also indicated that the final city selection may be made by the end of this month.  This offers very little time for any community input.
I do not agree that Austin would be a suitable location for this Army site.  The primary purpose of the Army center, as described in the Statesman article, apparently would be to enhance the Army’s arsenal, “including improvement to its tactical missile system, combat vehicles and helicopters, defense teams and weapons.”  Is that really what we want in Austin?  The Army says it wants a “creative culture” in which to place its facility, but weapons are not creative, they are destructive.
I have worked along with many military veterans over the years and have witnessed what the weaponry and tactical systems of war kill in a person even when the person survives.  There is too much life-long trauma, too much physical and moral injury, too much suicide.  I’ve also witnessed the trauma borne by refugees who have fled US wars.   
Please, let’s use our high-tech, creative genius in Austin for what really enhances life: excellent health care, fine education, green energy development, efficient communications and transportation systems, good maintenance of our infrastructure and wise stewardship of our natural resources.