Modern day warfare affects mainly civilians. U.S. military efforts are no exception. Diana Ohlbaum of the Friends Committee on National Legislation wrote a recent article published in “Defense One” entitled “The Bloated Pentagon Budget Isn’t Just Wasteful. It’s Racist.” She pointed out that over the last several years the U.S. had counterterrorism operations in 85 countries, was engaged in combat in 8 countries and did air and or drone strikes in 7. Nearly all of these were directed against people of color in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and SE Asia. She writes: “Far removed from television cameras, news headlines, and American public consciousness are the human costs of war: 335,000 civilians killed and 37 million displaced due to wars that Congress never authorized or even voted on.”

Congress can reassert its constitutional mandated authority to declare war. As a small start, bills in both the Senate (S.J. Res 10) and House (H.R. 256) would repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization for the Use of Military Force. I would urge Rep. Hagedorn and senators Klobuchar and Smith to co-sponsor those bills.

Martin Luther King said in 1967 that the choice before us was “nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.” Let us choose nonviolence. Others just may follow. Let us do it for our children and grandchildren.

Rich Van Dellen, Rochester

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