When: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (During AFA $330 per plate banquet)
Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745 We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd. directly across from the Gaylord National Resort.
Sponsored by: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. For more info contact: Art Laffin – 202-360-6416
“The Air Force Association’s Annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition is the premier event for those companies who wish to do business with the US Air Force. Air & Space enjoys exceptional visibility among Air Force and DoD leadership as well as international air force attendees. 2010 saw the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force on the exhibit floor throughout the event, and the Deputy Secretary of Defense also made time to walk the exhibit floor. The exhibitors on this event run the gamut from military units and government agencies to small businesses and the giants of the defense industry.”
(From AFA web Site)
The immoral and illegal U.S. wars against continue in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, over 2 million Iraqis have died since 1991 from bombings, sanctions and a brutal occupation. In Afghanistan, tens of thousands of civilians have died since 2001 as a direct result from U.S. bombings and an unrelenting war and occupation. In both wars, over six thousand U.S. soldiers have died and countless more have been injured and traumatized for life. For the second year in a row, more American soldiers—both enlisted men and women and veterans—committed suicide than were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 462 soldiers died in combat, while 468 committed suicide. In 2009, there were 381 suicides by military personnel, a number that also exceeded the number of combat deaths.
The U.S. has also dramatically increased its military intervention in Pakistan, Yemen and Libya. At least 2,200 people have been killed and more than 1,100 others injured by the unauthorized U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, according to a new study conducted by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The study also revealed that up to 168 children have lost their lives in more than 291 attacks since they began under George W. Bush. The aerial raids have escalated since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. At least 236 attacks have taken place during his term.
And the financial cost of U.S. warmaking has been staggering. A recent Brown University study shows that U.S. warmaking has cost $3.7 trillion over the last decade, a major contributing factor to the $1.4 trillion government defecit.
The Air Force and some 150 arms contractors taking part in the AFA Air & Space Expo have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. These arms dealers are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Air Force and numerous arms contractors are committed to U.S. nuclear superiority and militarizing and controlling space.
From September 19-21, speakers and seminars will be addressing how the U.S. can continue and refine its warmaking and remain the preeminent nuclear-military superpower on earth and in space. And on September 21, the AFA will hold a $330 per plate banquet which is being sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons contractor.
For over 25 years many of you participated in nonviolent protests at the annual AFA Air & Space Expo, what we call an ”Arms Bazaar,” that were held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel (formerly the Sheraton) in Washington, D.C. Now the AFA is holding their “expo” outside of D.C. at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, located on the National Harbor in Maryland. Last year over 20 people witnessed in resistance to this blasphemous event. We prayed in memory of all the victims of U.S. warmaking. And we urged all Arms Bazaar participants who could see and hear us to resist this celebration of weapons and war and join with us in creating the Beloved Community.
On September 21, as the AFA holds it’s opulent banquet, The Dorothy Day Catholic Worker will once again sponsor a nonviolent vigil to decry this sinful Arms Bazaar.
Friends, can we let these arms merchants, who are displaying the latest killing technology and weapons, conduct their gala banquet without protest? Who will give voice to the victims who have suffered and died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere as a direct result of U.S. warmaking, and weapons, like the Drone ”Predator” and “Reaper” bombing planes, produced by the arms contractors participating in the “Arms Bazaar? In the name of God who calls us to love and not to kill, it’s time to end this scandalous Arms Bazaar! It’s time to repent of U.S. war crimes and make reparations to all victims of U.S. warmaking. It’s time to bring all the war money home, meet urgent human needs, and save our environment. Please consider coming (and bring a friend) to this important vigil, and say Yes to Life and a resounding No to the war profiteers. We must not let this Arms Bazaar go unaddressed!