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The Burden of a War Economy
EJC Asks Kathy Kelly How War Affects People and Planet

by Lan Richart, Co-Director
Eco-Justice Collaborative
July 9, 2019

The U.S. now spends over $700 billion annually on defense, more than the next seven countries combined. This is over two and a half times the military spending of China and more than ten times that of Russia. At the same time, our infrastructure is in dire need of repair, we rank 27th in the world for our level of health care and according to the USDA, more than 41 million Americans face hunger, including 13 million children.

As we face the growing and unprecedented global threat of a warming planet, many of our elected leaders scoff at the prospect of mounting a serious effort to confront the crisis, saying the cost to do so would be prohibitive.  But Kathy Kelly, international peace activist says otherwise.

In this excerpt from our April, 2019 interview with Kathy, Kathy expresses her belief that we will never be able to address our overwhelming social and environmental challenges, as long as the co-dependency between the U.S. military and the private defense industry justifies and feeds perpetual wars. As co-founder of Voices for Creative Non-violence, Kathy leads an organization dedicated to confronting the U.S. war economy; the staggering loss of human life that it has wrought; and its devastating effect on our country’s ability to provide for the health and well being of its people and our planet.

More About Kathy Kelly
Kathy is an American peace activist, and author; one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness; and  co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence based in Chicago, Illinois.  Voices draws from the experiences of those who challenged the brutal economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and U.N. against the Iraqi people between 1990 and 2003.  From 1996 – 2003, Voices activists formed 70 delegations that openly defied economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq. Kelly traveled to Iraq 27 times, during that period. She and her companions lived in Baghdad throughout  the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing.

Since 2009, Voices has led delegations to Afghanistan to listen and learn from nonviolent grassroots movements and to raise awareness about the negative impacts of U.S. militarism in the region. Kathy's recent travels have focused on Afghanistan and Gaza, along with domestic protests against US drone policy. She has been arrested more than sixty times at home and abroad, and written of her experiences among targets of US military bombardment and inmates of US prisons.

To learn more, and to support Kathy's work, visit: Voices for Creative Non-Violence

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