Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Published by CounterPunch

Hooked on the War Economy
Woodstock's Dirty Secret

Woodstock, New York

I’m proud of my small town’s worldwide association with peace. Many times during the 24 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve stood in peace vigils on the Village Green – and provided a bit of local color for visitors’ snapshots. Tourists and other assorted pilgrims are drawn to Woodstock by peace as well as by the festival that didn’t happen here.

So I was stunned as I sat the other day in our excellent public library, examining an archive which they store in a remote closet. The documents told me that for six decades Woodstock’s largest employer has been making crucial, custom components for nuclear missiles.

In the 60s and 70s, hippies graced the Village Green. A mile away, down a banal country lane, under the benign gaze of a statue of the Buddha, skilled workers assembled fans that were "critical to the success of nearly every U.S. military missile program," as the company’s promotional material boasted. And specially-designed Woodstock fans were busy in the skies over Vietnam in B-52 bombers, making possible the "Christmas Bombings" of 1972, which were the largest heavy bombing strikes launched by the U.S. since World War II.

Today, Made-In-Woodstock components fly F-15s and F-16s and Apache attack helicopters over Iraq, rumble through Afghanistan in Bradley tanks, fire warheads from rocket launchers, and prowl the oceans in nuclear submarines.

The Iraq War provided an upturn in Woodstock’s weapons contracts, as had the Vietnam and Korean Wars ("Woodstock Company Expands For War Work" was the headline of a local newspaper in the early 1950s).

The Cold War work of Woodstock’s Rotron Inc. fueled the growth of the town and provided employment for some of its artists. The company, which also makes civilian products alongside its core military work, has been a notable supporter of community efforts such as the rescue squad. Meanwhile (although this only became known in the 1980s), TCE and other highly toxic byproducts of weapons production were contaminating the wells of neighborhood homes, who to this day can’t drink their well water or grow their own vegetables.

In 1973, the company even received a Special Award from Rockwell International, maker of the Minuteman nuclear missile. "Year after year," the award said, "the Rotron fan has performed on the Minuteman missile program without a single instance of failure."

Next to a model of a Minuteman, the award displayed a replica of one of Sir Francis Drake’s ships, likening Rotron’s contribution towards keeping the Soviets at bay to Drake’s turning back the Spanish Armada in 1588. (Today, the third generation of Minuteman ICBMs, now made by Boeing, are still a lethal nuclear threat – and still rely on Woodstock components.)

I stared at the nuclear missile and the sailing ship. What does it mean, I wondered, that for 60 years Woodstock, with its hippie-granola-peace reputation, has quietly had an economy anchored in nuclear terror and arms manufacturing?

It doesn’t mean that our tiny town is particularly evil. Rather the reverse: it means that Woodstock – like all towns – is both special and, at the same time, like everyone else.

All over the United States, in every congressional district, communities depend upon the war economy. Our own weapons-components plant, though it looms large in our local economy, is a small fish in the huge and murky pond of military contractors.

It means that, yes, even in Woodstock, too much of our hard work and creativity is expended producing products and services that go to war, that is, to desolation and waste.

And it means that, together with towns around the world, we have a responsibility to turn our local productivity in a positive direction.

Environmental, economic, and security crises are forcing us to rethink the economy. War makes all these crises worse. We can help to solve them by promoting peaceful, green manufacturing and services.

In a recession, people are naturally afraid of rocking the boat when jobs are at stake. But so many things we actually need are desperately underfunded. Fixing our infrastructure, for example, and educating our children. When money is put into these, it creates more jobs (per dollar invested) than war production.

Perhaps we shouldn’t, after all, follow the example of that plunderer and slaver Sir Francis Drake ... or any modern successors.

Laurie Kirby is a Professor of Mathematics at Baruch College of the City University of New York, and a Woodstock musician. He is a member of Woodstock Peace Economy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rescheduled to Saturday, December 19 at 4pm: ROTRON IN WOODSTOCK: THEN & NOW

Due to inclement weather, our showing of Rotron’s promotional film from about 1960, "Rotron In Woodstock" has been rescheduled to Saturday, Dec. 19th.
This short movie, made by James Trainor, is newly rediscovered and restored after being unseen for many years. It provides an intriguing period look at the Woodstock of half a century ago, and perhaps a glimpse of some familiar faces. It will be followed by a slideshow presenting some of Rotron’s products at work, and a discussion of the issues raised by the prominent presence in the Woodstock community of this military contractor.
Did you have family members or friends who worked at Rotron in the 1960s? Come and spot them!
Do you have opinions about Rotron’s place in the community? Come and share them!
Would you like to see Woodstock join the movement to create an economy that would provide more jobs by contributing to peace, not war? Come and help find a way!
4pm at the
COLONY CAFÉ, Rock City Road, Woodstock
Admission free ... Refreshments
Sponsored by Woodstock Peace Economy

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Pentagon budget: two important articles

The Pentagon budget: largest ever and growing by Sara Flounders:
"... in the midst of this life-and-death debate on medical care for millions of working and poor people who have no health coverage, a gargantuan subsidy to the largest U.S. corporations for military contracts and weapons systems—a real deficit-breaker—is passed with barely any discussion and hardly a news article. ..."

Democrats Propose Surtax to Cover War Costs by CQPolitics:
"Senior House Democrats have introduced legislation that would impose a surtax beginning in 2011 to cover the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ..."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stop the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

Video: SUNY New Paltz student, Claire Papell, speaks at a rally in Kingston, NY on October 17, 2009. Also Rebecca Baker is interviewed about her time in the military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cashing in the War Dividend

Interesting interview with Jo Comerford of National Priorities Project on Democracy Now!

Hinchey boosts Predator Drones

This isn't new but we hadn't noticed it before. A year ago, a press release from Congressman Maurice Hinchey boasted :
"Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today visited L-3 Communications in Binghamton, New York for a live demonstration of the company's unique Air Force Predator simulator and to announce $2.4 million in new federal funding he's secured for the company to dramatically improve the simulator to better prepare U.S. Air Force service members for operating unmanned reconnaissance missions. Hinchey used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to secure the funds, which he had included as part of the recently approved Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Defense."
L-3 Communications is one of Hinchey's biggest campaign contributors.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"The Secret About Jobs Military Contractors Don't Want You to Know"

From Jennifer Doak, Foreign Policy In Focus:
A new report "shows that the federal government could generate thousands more jobs, both directly and indirectly, by focusing spending on health care, education, or clean energy rather than on defense."
According to the updated UMass report: "Channeling funds into clean energy, health care, and education in an effective way will therefore create significantly greater opportunities for decent employment throughout the U.S. economy than spending the same amount of funds with the military."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Anti-War Rally in Kingston Saturday, October 17

Join us in Kingston on Saturday, Oct. 17 at a region-wide anti-war protest at Academy Green Park, 1-3:30 p.m.

The demonstration is primarily focused on ending the unpopular Afghanistan War.

The rally — which is part of a day of peace actions in a number of U.S. cities — is being organized by the New Paltz-based Peace & Social Progress Now! (PSPN), and has been endorsed so far by 20 organizations from several counties (including Woodstock Peace Economy), with more expected.

Among the speakers at Academy Green Park are Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter editor Jack A. Smith discussing the Afghan War and today’s antiwar movement; activist union delegate Donna Goodman on the labor movement and the wars; attorney Michael Sussman on the erosion of civil liberties since 9/11; author, long time Bard professor and activist Joel Kovel on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Gaza war; SUNY New Paltz student Claire Papell on youth and the wars; Dutchess County legislator Joel Tyner on the tasks confronting a progressive politician; filmmaker Dee Dee Halleck on the war industry and peace economy; Dutchess activist and organizer Fred Nagel on the GI and vets’ antiwar movements; activist Phyllis Rosner on the healthcare issue; and others as they are selected.

Topical singer Bob Lusk will perform, as will peace singers Julie Parisi Kirby and T. G. Vanini.

More details: http://activistnewsletter.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Peaceful, green investment creates more jobs than war investment

Source: The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending (UMass Political Economy Research Institute, 2007)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Zip just got an idea for his next hippy punching"

Some of the things written and blogged about Woodstock Peace Economy's efforts:

It isn't 1968 anymore. Stupid hippies.
Is this some ecofriendly wacko city hall? Sounds like it. ... Send in the Marines and let them take care of the situation. ... lib nitwits

If I were running Ametek Rotron Inc. I would tell the old hippies in Woodstock, "Okay dude, since you don't want military parts manufactured in your wonderfull little liberal town I'm moving my plant to a town that wants the jobs. Now go protest that assholes".By Russ O'Neal http://boortz.com/nealz_nuze/2008/12/reading-assignments-27.html

"The Anti-War 60's hippies are still there, Drugged up And angry At Nixon !"

Sad little pee spot in the snow that woodstock is... let these anti-American, anti-defense slobbering leftists wallow in their own excrement. Let THEM defend themselves...We culture people like this like I cultured bacteria in biology classes. And now that I think of it, they are a lot like many bacteria. Parasites of a sort with no redeeming social value that make you sick. They couldn’t exist without others to do their dirty work for them.Let these freaks defend themselves then.Sheep.Why waste energy caring about people too stupid to care about themselves. These people are sick, but hey, they are Progressives, and they just got elected to run the country. Woodstock can rot in hell with the artsy-fartsy, washed-up hippy crowd. Woodstock, NY - World Headquarters for oganic shoelaces. Failed hippies. They remain stupid. I suppose if you are a liberal parasite you have trouble understanding the productive.They should be sent to north Africa to live.Morons.Words fail me. I am simply stunned at stupidity beyond comprehension.http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2148319/posts#comment

minisink said: You DO NOT have a say in how other people's businesses are run! So get over it nut jobs.
minisink said: You people are nuts.http://forums.recordonline.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=th-news&tid=13090

Zip just got an idea for his next hippy punching, vacation spectacular

Every day I am astounded by another act of idiocity.....

maccabee wrote on Dec 15, '08
To bad that "they deserved Killin" isn't a good defense in court in these progressive times.

nikkirhoades35 wrote on Dec 16, '08
Ugh. Woodstock is a pretty town overrun by mostly freaky liberals. I visited there once and don't think I'll ever go back again, between the people meditating on the sidewalk, the protests along the road, and...well you get the point. This sounds like something ludicrous this town would do.

Let the hippies make wiffle balls and scented candles. REAL Americans can make the stuff that keeps our troops alive and successful.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Report from
Building a Peaceful, Just and Sustainable Economy

It is 40 years since the historic Woodstock Festival crowned an era now associated with peace, love and rock and roll. Although the 1969 festival itself did not take place in Woodstock, but in Bethel many miles across the Catskills, the town of Woodstock, New York, nevertheless, has become a pilgrimage point for people seeking to either rekindle those years of love and music, or at the very least to buy a tie-dye T-shirt. Despite the great deal of hoopla surrounding the 40th anniversary of the famous festival, very little attention has been paid to the philosophical culture which permeated the event and its aftermath.

In 1969 the Vietnam War was a central focus for the passion of the crowd and the many songs of protest. At the Woodstock Forum, which took place August 15 and 16, 2009, well over 300 people heard and discussed the many pressing issues of OUR time. We are overwhelmed with on-going wars, continuing exploitation of people and resources around the world, worsening ecological devastation and usurpation of our communities for weaponry and repression. In 2009, although the name Woodstock is synonymous with "peace and love", the biggest employer in our own town is a military contractor. Given the perilous state of New York, the nation and the world, we need more than ever to discuss how to convert the engines of war for a peaceful future. In the sessions held at the Woodstock Town Hall on Saturday we heard from historians, poets, workers, social critics and journalists such as:

Peter Woodruff, worker in a Maine weapons factory; grass roots organizer, Mary Beth Sullivan; legendary activist Diane Wilson, author, An Unreasonable Woman and co-founder Code Pink; poet and teacher, Janine Vega; curator and gallery director, Ariel Shanberg; award winning journalists Jeremy Scahill and Jeff Cohen; economist Robert Pollin; historians Sylvia Federici, Simon Harak, SJ, and Richard Grossman; social critics Joel Kovel and George Caffentzis; filmmakers DeeDee Halleck and Tobe Carey.

The speakers painted an ominous view of how militarism has gripped our communities, our culture and our lives.

On Sunday the Forum switched from presentations on what was wrong to reflections on how citizens could right those wrongs. A day of deliberation, contentious at times but essentially forward moving, led to the drafting of an initial statement and the framing of ways to build movements, local as well as regional and national, to carry the struggle forward.

Statement from the Woodstock Forum

We, participants of the Woodstock Forum, meeting August 15 and 16, 2009, the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, reclaim the authority for our lives and our communities. We reject the usurpation of our rights by the military-industrial-media complex.

We reject the actions of our country to foment wars around the world and to manufacture, export and sell weapons. Weapons are the number one U.S. export. Our cities and towns have become home to industries for death and destruction.

We declare that:

1. we will map and research the military industries that control the economies of our communities, that control the minds and pockets of our government officials, that pollute and destroy our land and waters.

2. we will draw attention to these industries of death through educational outreach to local and national media and with imaginative and creative non-violent actions.

3. we will build coalitions to convert weapons-making to peaceful manufacturing and to create meaningful work in education, the arts, health care, and ecological development.

4. we vow to take personal responsibility for the products in our workplaces and in our lives.

We will not cease our resistance to the death machines in our midst and to the laws that support them.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Over 300 people attended the WOODSTOCK FORUM. If you were there and have any comments or suggestions, we'd love to hear from you: L@WoodstockPeaceEconomy.org.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Books, CDs and films by Woodstock Forum presenters

Satirical songster Dave Lippman, also known as Singing CIA Agent George Shrub (right) and Wild Bill Bailout, has several CDs, DVDs and T-shirts.

Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Moist Powerful Mercenary Army.

Diane Wilson is the author of An Unreasonable Woman.

Silvia Federici is the author of Caliban and the Witch and other books.

George Caffentzis is the author of Midnight Oil: Work, Energy, War and other books.

Joel Kovel is the author of The Enemy Of Nature and other books.

Jeff Cohen is the author of Cable News Confidential.

Robert Pollin is the author of The Living Wage and other books.

Mikhail Horowitz's CDs include Poor, On Tour, and Over 54.

The Princes Of Serendip's CDs include What She Said.

Janine Vega is the author of Tracking the Serpent and other books of poetry.

DeeDee Halleck's works include Hand Held Visions.

Tobe Carey's documentaries include Deep Water.

Buy these books and CDs at The Golden Notebook, Woodstock's independent bookstore.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Click on the image for a printable poster/schedule. Subject to change.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 15, Woodstock Town Hall, 76 Tinker St. (Rte. 212), Woodstock, NY
9:00-9:30am Registration, Refreshments
9:30-10:50 The Culture of War, Visions of Peace
Joel Kovel
- activist, author, The Enemy of Nature; Against the State of Nuclear Terror
Sylvia Federici - Professor Emerita, Hofstra University; author Caliban and the Witch
George Caffentzis - Professor, University of Southern Maine; author, Midnight Oil: Work, Energy, War, 1973-1992

11:00-1:00 The Living Wage and the Death Industry: Plowshares vs Cluster Bombs
Robert Pollin - economist UMass; author, The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy
Mary Beth Sullivan - peace activist, Global Network against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Peter Woodruff - wind turbine advocate; maintenance mechanic, Bath Iron works
Andy Heaslet - Peace Economy Project, Saint Louis, MO

1:00-1:30 Lunch

1:30-2:45 Beyond Rock and Roll: Music and Art in the Age of Drones and YouTube: performances and analysis
Dave Lippman - comedian
Ras T Asheber - Reggae musician
Janine Vega - poet and teacher; author, Tracking the Serpent: Journeys to Four Continents
Jeff Cohen - founder FAIR; director of the Park Center for Independent Media, Ithaca, NY
Ariel Shanberg - director Center for Photography at Woodstock

3:00-4:30 Keynote speaker: Diane Wilson, environmentalist, anti-war activist; author, An Unreasonable Woman

4:30-6:00 What is the Role of Non-Violence in Converting to a Peaceful Economy?
Can a Peaceful Non-Violent Society co-exist with the production of weapons of war?
Simon Harak, Jesuit priest, director, Marquette University Center for Peace Making

6:00-6:30 Reception for The Woodstock Generation by Dennis Stock at Center for Photography at Woodstock

6:30-7:00 Excerpts from three decades of anti-war video: from the March for Disarmament to Iraq: Shocking & Awful
DeeDee Halleck, media activist; professor emerita, UCSD; author, Hand Held Visions; Gringo in Mañanaland
Tobe Carey, videographer, Deep Water, Stanley’s House

7:00 Mikhail Horowitz, poet, parodist, mensch
Keynote Speaker: Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist, twice winner Polk award; author, Blackwater

SUNDAY, AUGUST 16, Colony Cafe, Rock City Road, Woodstock

9:30am-12:00 Forging Plowshares: Strategies Working for Peace
Workshop on community organizing

Noon Book signing with Jeremy Scahill, Richard Grossman, Diane Wilson, Joel Kovel, Silvia Federici

12:30pm Music and poetry by The Princes of Serendip and surprise guests

1:30-3:00 Building a Coalition

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let us be clear, we appreciate Rotron's role as a provider of jobs in our community and the other positive contributions they make. And the concerns we are expressing here do not apply to the non-military portion of Rotron’s production. We want Rotron to continue to play a viable role in our community but we do see a need and a potential for change.

What if, instead of yet more gas-guzzling military machines, Woodstock produced equipment that contributed to solving the global environmental crisis rather than making it worse? Peaceful investment is green investment, and it creates many more jobs (per dollar invested) than military investment. Especially in the midst of our deepening economic crisis, Ulster County is crying out for more jobs. Here is an opportunity for Woodstock to take a lead in sustainable manufacturing. Representative Hinchey has spoken up in favor of stimulus measures that will help create green jobs. It can be a win-win situation.

Woodstock is not special. The war economy stretches its tentacles into every congressional district. The peace economy starts in everyone's back yard.
Co-Sponsors of the WOODSTOCK FORUM include:
Dutchess Greens; Dutchess Peace Coalition; WESPAC, Peace Action/NY; Saugerties Committee for Peace and Social Justice; Real Majority Project; Mid-Hudson New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty; World Can't Wait; Murray Colow Veterans for Peace Chapter, Woodstock; Middle East Crisis Response; Code Pink; Woodstock International Walk for Peace; Voices for Peace Choral Group; CLASP; Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Social Justice Committee, Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie; Military Families Speak Out; Al Warren Chapter 60 Veterans for Peace; The Common Fire Foundation; Mid-Hudson Valley 9/11 Truth Committee, and many individuals.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Woodstock Times, July 16, 2009

"The small town of Woodstock has a big reputation for peace." So it says on a flyer being passed around with information about the upcoming Woodstock Forum to be held here on the 40th anniversary of what came to be known as the Woodstock Festival celebrating peace and love.

But the Woodstock Forum is about more than peace and love. It's also about a massive nation-wide weapons industry that stands in the way of peace and how that industry could be converted into something green and sustainable. We know that Woodstock is a community that values peace. But can we claim to be for peace when our largest manufacturer is making parts used in weapons of war and we haven't said a peep about changing that?

Woodstock's largest manufacturer, Ametek/Rotron, makes parts used in F-16 fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, tanks and missile delivery systems.

A small group of us met with the leadership of Rotron some months ago. They referred to themselves as part of the defense industry. But "defense industry" is just another name for the same huge military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about in 1961 when leaving office.

Frida Berrigan, senior program associate with the New America Foundation's Arms and Security Initiative, in an article called 'Weapons: Our # 1 Export?' says the United States leads the world in exporting weaponry. "Increased weapons sales will certainly help defense contractors...but they won't help the overall U.S. economy or the security of the international community."

Defense contractors may provide jobs (green, sustainable economy would provide more) but the production and sale of military hardware has little to do with actual "defense". The very profitable production (for a few) of weapons used to rain death and destruction (on the many) keeps the business of war going on and on.

Two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winner, retired Marine Major General Smedley Butler said it this way, "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives."

On the other hand, for more peaceful tomorrows, the Woodstock Forum is bringing together activists and scholars from around the U.S. for two days of "building a peaceful, just and sustainable economy."

Speakers and performers will include environmental and anti-war activist and author of "An Unreasonable Woman" - Diane Wilson, top investigative reporter, Jeremy Scahill, Jeff Cohen, Mikhail Horowitz, Joel Kovel, Janine Vega and others.

According to esteemed Tibetan scholar and Woodstock resident, Robert Thurman, "Our town should be in the lead in turning America away from a self-defeating war economy to a green sustainable economy, and so the conversion of the Woodstock plant of Rotron from war component making to purely peace-product manufacturing is of vital concern to all Woodstock taxpaying citizens, including myself."

Historian and author Howard Zinn wrote, "I'm gratified that citizens of Woodstock and its environs are organizing to transform the production of components now used for frightful weapons to peaceful and sustainable purposes...perhaps other places in the country where war materials are produced will take up the struggle for a weapons-free, peaceful world.

Remember the dates: August 15 at the Woodstock Town Hall and August 16 at the Colony Cafe. On the flyer it says, "What if Woodstock made Windmills?"

What if? Be there and find out.

Tarak Kauff

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Peter Woodruff, who will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Woodstock Forum, has been an employee at Bath (Maine) Iron Works for 28 years. To see Woodruff interviewed by Bruce Gagnon about proposals for his factory to produce wind turbines instead of Aegis destroyers, go to http://www.archive.org/details/ThisIssuePeterWoodruff.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Peaceful investment creates more jobs than war investment

Source: The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending (UMass Political Economy Research Institute, 2007)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Ending of America's Financial-Military Empire

The Ending of America's Financial-Military Empire by Michael Hudson in CounterPunch lays out some of the international economic background which makes the transition to a peace economy even more essential. Here are some excerpts:

... At the root of the global financial crisis, he [Russian president Dmitry Medvedev] concluded, is the fact that the United States makes too little and spends too much, particularly its vast military outlays, such as the stepped-up US military aid to Georgia announced just last week, the NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe and the US buildup in the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia. ...

Aside from no longer financing the U.S. buyout of their own industries and the U.S. military encirclement of the globe, China, Russia and other countries would no doubt like to enjoy the same kind of free ride that America has been getting. As matters stand now, they see the United States as a lawless nation, financially as well as militarily. How else to characterize a nation that proclaims a set of laws for others – on war, debt repayment and treatment of prisoners – but flouts them itself? The United States is now the world’s largest debtor yet has avoided the pain of “structural adjustments” imposed on other debtor economies. U.S. interest-rate and tax reductions in the face of exploding trade and budget deficits are seen as the height of hypocrisy in view of the austerity programs that Washington forces on other countries via the IMF and other Washington vehicles. ...

If China, Russia and their non-aligned allies have their way, the United States will no longer live off the savings of others in the form of its own recycled dollars, nor have the money for unlimited military expenditures and adventures.

Full article: http://www.counterpunch.org/hudson06152009.html

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cartwright: U.S. Force-Sizing, Basing Strategy Need Overhaul

This is an excerpt from:
Defense News, June 4, 2009

Cartwright: U.S. Force-Sizing, Basing Strategy Need Overhaul


Over the next few years, the U.S. military is likely to become engaged in a number of hot and cold conflicts, each spanning five to 10 years, meaning the Pentagon must "adjust" its decades-old force sizing and basing constructs, says Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. ...

... Cartwright said he continues to press for development of a new weapon that would allow Washington to take out a fleeting target in a manner of minutes.

The Marine Corps general said he has concluded conventionally armed bombers are "too slow and too intrusive" for many "global strike missions."

Cartwright for several years has advocated for a "prompt global strike" weapon, which would be ultra-fast and fitted with a conventional warhead.

Congress, due largely to worries that other nations, like Russia, would be unable to quickly determine whether an in-flight warhead was nuclear, has refused to fund the program.

Cartwright said even congressional skeptics of the idea realize there is a "military requirement" for such a fast weapon to take out fleeting targets.

The requirements for such a weapon are "starting to emerge," he said."At the low end," a PGS weapon would probably need to be launched and hit a target within "one hour," Cartwright said. "At the high end," the time frame could be as short as "300 milliseconds."

The military might need a "hypersonic" weapon that would travel in the exoatmosphere to take out a limited number of fleeting targets, he said.

Finally, Cartwright told the audience the Pentagon is examining a new concept, called "extended deterrence," something "we're trying to force into the QDR."The idea would be to field a weapon so effective that it would dissuade enemies from carrying out a specific activity, while also "not starting a nuclear arms race" and "giving allies comfort."

The options for an "extended deterrence" capability, he said, are not limited to nuclear-armed weapons.

Full article at http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4123641&c=AME&s=LAN

Monday, March 9, 2009


Worldwide, people identify Woodstock with peace and music. We all know that the festival didn’t happen here. But now it turns out that Woodstock’s material contribution to war and peace in the world is weighted heavily on the side of war. We can change this.

Even as Woodstockers were dedicating our Peace Pole last year, just a mile away Woodstock’s largest employer, Ametek Rotron Military and Aerospace Products, was gearing up for another week’s production. According to the company itself, its 380 Woodstock employees make small but essential components of many major weapons systems – fighter and bomber aircraft, attack helicopters, tanks and military ships. These weapons systems have taken leading roles in wars, war crimes and human rights violations across the world.

For example, our local manufacturer claims to make parts for Apache attack helicopters and F-16 fighter planes. These were central in the disastrous and illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Did those particular Apaches and F-16s contain components with the Made-In-Woodstock label? We don’t know for sure, but at any rate we have an obligation to rethink our community’s complicity in such war crimes in the future.

F-16s were also a mainstay of Indonesia’s armed forces as that country massacred civilians in East Timor in 1999. F-16s also help to prop up another prominent human rights violator, Pakistan, and would likely be charged with delivering that country's nuclear weapons. F-16s and Apaches were in the news again recently as they delivered death to over 1300 residents of Gaza, including over 400 children, administering a collective punishment on the civilian population there. Assuming, again, that our community contributed to those particular aircraft, how do we feel about Woodstock’s gift to the children of Gaza? And what can we do about it?

Another of the many weapons systems that apparently have Made-In-Woodstock components is the Multiple Launch Rocket System. This device has been used to fire cluster bombs – by the US in Iraq, and by Israel in Lebanon in 2006. Recently over 100 countries cooperated on a treaty to ban cluster bombs. We should encourage Obama to reverse Bush’s refusal to sign on. Meanwhile we should do our bit to reverse our local contribution to their use.

Let us be clear, we appreciate Rotron's role as a provider of jobs in our community and the other positive contributions they make. And the concerns we are expressing here do not apply to the non-military portion of Rotron’s production. We want Rotron to continue to play a viable role in our community but we do see a need and a potential for change.

What if, instead of yet more gas-guzzling military machines, Woodstock produced equipment that contributed to solving the global environmental crisis rather than making it worse? Peaceful investment is green investment, and it creates many more jobs (per dollar invested) than military investment. Especially in the midst of our deepening economic crisis, Ulster County is crying out for more jobs. Here is an opportunity for Woodstock to take a lead in sustainable manufacturing. Representative Hinchey has spoken up in favor of stimulus measures that will help create green jobs. It can be a win-win situation.

In addition to overcoming our economic and environmental crises, we have a moral and legal obligation to oppose the manufacture of weapons that are helping to create those crises. International law – including the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles – imposes on us not just a right but a responsibility to put an end to our local community’s contribution to war crimes and violations of the laws of war.

We suggest the people and government of Woodstock come together with all parties involved to promote and encourage the conversion of our economy to sustainable, peaceful production while thereby enhancing our jobs base. It is time for us in Woodstock to live up to our worldwide image of peace.

Sponsored by Woodstock Peace Economy