Pitstop Ploughshares Acquitted After Disabling U.S. Navy Plane

The “Pitstop Ploughshares” — a group of five peace activists from the Catholic Worker movement who broke into Shannon airport in Ireland and disabled a U.S. Navy supply plane with hammers and a pickaxe  — have been found not guilty by a Dublin jury. This follows two mistrials.

One of the defense attorneys challenged the jurors, in closing arguments:

What would rise you to action?

If a child’s plastic ball rolled into the street and the child ran after it, would you leave it to the Garda to go after the child?

Or if a child’s beach ball went into the water, and the child went into the water and risked drowning, would you leave it to the life guards?

If a child has both knees cut, would you leave it to the parents to bring the child to the Out Patient’s?

If a woman’s handbag is snatched, would you help her or just leave it to the Garda?

If it happened on a bus, would you intervene or leave it to the bus driver?

What would drive you to action?

The Traprock Peace Center has put an mp3 on-line of a talk on “Economic Disarmament” given by Juanita Nelson in . Some excerpts:

“One individual, living by firmly-held beliefs, can begin to change the world in a small but significant way.” And I really think that’s all we can do.…

And so we must look to changing ourselves. I always cringe when I hear “Oh, Bush is doing so-and-so.” Bush didn’t make all the bombs. He couldn’t just put those bombs on his back and swim over to Iraq, you know. We are enabling that. At least that’s the take I have on it.

And we’re the only ones we can really control. We can’t always do that very well, but anyway we can try to do that for ourselves.…

I have this idea that if George Bush and Company would bring about peace as we want them to do (I don’t think they’re omnipotent; I’m not sure they can do it by themselves anyway), I think there would be a real revolution in this country — and maybe some of us would join it! — because we wouldn’t be able to have everything that we have now. No way, in a peaceful world.

So my idea is: why don’t we give it up now, before we kill some more people and we get killed?

Plus the fact that I think that example is the best way, and that if we did something really good, maybe George would see the light and follow our example. If we really did something besides talk about peace, and how much we love peace.…

War tax resistance, of course, that’s very economic — don’t buy what you don’t want. I have this friend who’s made a sign — she goes to peace parades but she stands with that and says “don’t buy this war” — “I Haven’t Bought a Bomb Since .” And I’m going to revise it and say I haven’t bought a bomb .…

Chris Floyd made a similar point a couple of months back:

[H]ow many of those now opposed to this horrific military action are prepared to pay the actual cost of ending it: i.e., relinquishing the guarantee of cheap oil and the lifestyle it sustains? The number is doubtless very small. The large remainder should perhaps be seen as the true “Bush base.” For while they may oppose his tactical incompetence in this instance, they share, wittingly or unwittingly, his strategic goal. With this basic common cause between the elite and the majority, the wars for oil will go on — no matter who sits in the White House.

Certainly, being the biggest bully on the block entitles the United States to a lot of swag and deference. But it’s also a very expensive hobby. Nelson & Floyd assume that if the United States pursued a path of peace and justice instead of domination, its selfish citizens would rebel at the loss of loot and privileges.

I’m not convinced this is the case. It seems to me that the return-on-investment for the truly vast sums American taxpayers spend on its military is probably very poor (except, of course, for the politicians and military contractors themselves). I would not be at all surprised to find the United States, and its citizens, prospering and thriving without the (expensive) ability and inclination to pull off shock-and-awe smash-and-grabs.