MAP Member Opinion "Peace"  

Response to Alliant Techsystems

by Phil Steger
sent 4-3-03

Dear Editor of the Pioneer Press,

Alliant Techsystems, which has sold 16 million uranium munitions to the US government, munitions that have been used in the 1991 and in the 2003 Gulf Wars, issued this statement about citizens who got arrested at their corporate headquarters in Edina yesterday: "Their actions, regrettably, stand in sharp contrast to those of the brave men and women in our armed forces who are deployed to Iraq some of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."

I agree it is a contrast, but not in courage.

There is no question about the bravery of US service men and women in Iraq. Neither should there be a question about the courage of ordinary men and women here at home who have become aware that Alliant Techsytems' manufactures and profits from rounds of uranium ammunition that, when used, leave behind them tons of radioactive dust. When they openly entered Alliant Tech property yesterday to serve Alliant Tech executives with a letter insisting that they turn over documents about the dangerous and deadly side effects of depleted uranium poisoning, they did so for the sake of the 10,000 Gulf War veterans who died after they returned home from that war, as well as the 200,000 who are now sick, and the incalculable numbers of Iraqi children whose lives have been claimed by leukemia, turning them into “dead children walking”. These citizens are willing to serve jail time in order to get answers and hold those who profit from others' uranium poisoning accountable for their actions. The purpose: to save lives, and to do their part in repairing the integrity of our nation, when ugly profiteering such as Alliant Tech's, does it mortal harm.

The contrast is not between courage and cowardice, but between violence and nonviolence. Everyone will walk away from Wednesday morning's action at Alliant Tech. But how many will lie in the dust when US and Iraqi hostilities are through? And how many of those who walk away today, will stumble, fall, and fail to rise again, like Staff Sgt. Patrick Nauheimer, years from now, their bodies poisoned and destroyed in large part by Alliant Tech's radioactive weaponry?

Phil Steger
Executive Director
Friends for a Non-Violent World
St. Paul, MN

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