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After a brief welcoming by
Rev. Art McDonald, Minister, First Universalist Church of Essex, MA, he
introduced Dr. Andrew Bacevich, Boston University Professor of History and
International Studies and author of several books, including The
New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War, and a retired
veteran, who served for 24 years in the military, including a stint during the
Vietnam War. In his remarks, Dr. Bacevich suggested that the major problem
we have is not what to do about the war in Iraq. Rather, he opined, our
most pressing concern is what to do with the current national security policy of
preventive war and militarization. He made it clear he was not what he called a
"peace and justice" type, but rather a political "realist" in the tradition of
the great Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Nevertheless, he considers the
current Neo-Con strategy of preventive war entirely reckless and unsustainable
and that the next President will face the difficult task of turning this
around. While he did not mention this in his remarks, Dr. Bacevich and his
family are living with the tragic reality that his son was killed in Iraq last
year in a war that he calls "misbegotten," much like the war in
Dr. Bacevich was followed by a young former Marine, Liam Madden,
who served in Iraq in 2005, and is now a leading spokesman for the group Iraq
Veterans Against the War. He is currently in Washington, DC, as part of a
program called "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan," taking place at the
International Labor College in Washington. In Madden's compelling and courageous
speech as to why the war in Iraq never should have been fought,
he said he feels "totally used by an Administration which altered the
facts to justify the invasion and ongoing occupation." He then showed
a powerful and disturbing video, "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan."
The event concluded with some inspiring music from Unitarian
Universalist singer and song writer, Pat Scanlon, whose CD entitled "Where
is the Rage" was mailed to all Unitarian Universalist congregations last Memorial Day in a
Peace Package. $2200 was raised for the "Winter Soldier" project at this
The Peace Package called on UU congregations to invite Iraq War veterans
into their pulpits and the Essex congregation took that call seriously.
This small congregation of 75 members and their minister believe that to achieve
peace in the world they need to be working for justice in their own
community as well as nationally. The congregation is a member of ECCO
(Essex County Community Organization), a
congregation-based community organization, and Rev. Art is one of its
leaders who has helped get other area UU congregations involved as well. ECCO works on economic development initiatives to bring jobs into the area and
supports the large immigrant community on the North Shore.
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Last updated on Friday, May 3, 2013.
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Rev. Dr. Art McDonald, Minister, First Universalist Church of Essex; Dr. Andrew Bacevich, professor of History and International Studies at Boston University; Liam Madden, Iraq Veterans Against the War (served in Iraq as Marine, 2005); Winter Soldier Project, Pat Scanlon, Veterans for Peace and UU.
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