The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers
When Peace Advocates Face a
War Economy
Jamala Rogers
The F-35 and the F-35A cost about $100 million to build and billions to maintain. The problems with construction and operations are ongoing.
Even the Pentagon has cited problems with safety of the pilots. Apparently, like the Wall Street financial institutions that took the country to new
economic lows, the F-35 project is too big to fail.

We aren’t talking about minting the penny. It costs 1.5 cents to produce a penny and we haven’t found the guts to pull the plug on the devalued
coin. The total costs of the ill-conceived F-35 project will costs taxpayers about $1.5 trillion. At a time when social services to meet human
needs are being cut and the military budget is ballooning, this is where the sane and rational voices need to get loud and long.

This is a time to talk about reframing the narrative away from bullying militarism to peaceful humanism. Let’s start with a bit of hidden history.
The concept of a Department of Peace vs. the Department of Defense is a good place to continue. I say continue because it’s a concept that’s
been on the table since 1793 when Dr. Benjamin Rush, a founding father, suggested a role for a Secretary of Peace. From 1955 to 1968, there
were 85 bills introduced in Congress for a United States Department of Peace. In 2001, Representative Dennis Kucinich re-upped the idea by
introducing a bill on the creation of Department of Peace. The re-introduction of the bill continues.

The lofty idea of having a cabinet-level department that promotes peace in our homes, our schools, our work places, our government. That
means that our values, practices, policies and laws must align with a vision of peace and making it operational. It’s both the micro and the
macro. Bringing about peace in a world of chaos and destruction is a realistic imperative.

Thinking and practicing peace starts first in the hearts and minds of The People. The trump administration is taking this country so far from its
intended democratic principles that it’s frightening. If this country is going to be for The People and by The People, this mess is in our hands.
Let’s get to work!
The price of war is far greater than the price for peace. That price comes in many ways beyond dollars.

The Madison community is currently dealing with becoming home to the F-35 fighter planes. I must say that given
the history of Madison as an anti-war, peace-loving community, I was surprised to hear that noise levels were
the prevailing reason for opposition to the plan.

Sure, there were arguments made around the environmental impact, the invading militarism, and the risks of
crashes and accidents. I don’t know if anyone raised the fear of Madison becoming a target for terrorists who
would know that the expensive and cherished pet project of the military was housed at that location.

I live in St. Louis where the contradictions often emerge for organizers like me to fight for workers at Boeing
Aircraft, the second largest defense contractor in the world. It’s philosophically unsettling to fight for workers
who are making equipment to kill people in the name of U.S. imperialism. That’s the current reality.