This June, after 104 months of combat, Afghanistan passed Vietnam as America’s longest war! For those of us who seek a just foreign policy and a world in which every child and every person can experience hope, that is a painful milestone.
On October 7, 2001, the U.S. government responded to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon by bombing Afghanistan.
By contrast, Fresno’s progressive community responded to the attacks of 9/11 by organizing a solidarity march with the local Muslim community because a climate of prejudice had developed in the United States toward people of Arab, Muslim and South Asian descent. The community also hosted a forum for discussion of the attacks and afterward began holding weekly meetings at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence to formulate appropriate community responses.
Peace Fresno is the group that grew out of the meetings at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence. Over the years, Peace Fresno has taken the lead in organizing local antiwar activities.
On Saturday, September 11, 2010, at 4 p.m., Peace Fresno will host a dinner and meeting for the entire peace community to reassess and recommit to a local antiwar strategy. We will collaborate on setting an effective, coordinated agenda for the local peace community. Think standing on the corner with a sign is a waste of time? Believe YouTube and Facebook are the way to reach youth? Want advocacy training? Have an idea that would double attendance at events? Know how to make the community more effective? Bring your ideas and energy.
The meeting will be reminiscent of the meetings held in the days following the attacks of 9/11 in its focus on challenging U.S. foreign policy, examining the local peace community’s possible strategies and actions, and defining our priorities. But it will differ from the 2001 meetings because of all that has occurred post-9/11. Gone is the hyper-patriotic atmosphere of 2001 and 2002. Today, Americans are disillusioned with war and with our government. Our country is in debt, our economy is collapsing, jobs are disappearing and public education is seriously endangered. Because our antiwar message resonates with a growing number of our neighbors, our opportunity to change government policy is greater.
Although the nationwide peace movement struggles, Fresno’s peace community continues to be active and vocal. There are more peace groups, more members, and more leaders than there were nine years ago. We share our resources, we network and we support each other. After the Peace and Justice Festival on March 21, Karen Bernal, chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, commented, “The festival was great, so many groups and so much positive energy.”
The Peace Community Dinner will take place on Saturday, September 11, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno (2672 E. Alluvial Ave., Clovis). Reserve your seat now for the meeting and dinner for only $10. Send your check to Peace Fresno, P.O. Box 5115, Fresno, CA 93755; please write “Peace Dinner” and the names of the attendees on the memo line. Voicemail 559-487-2515.
Duration of Major American Military Conflicts
Afghanistan (ongoing) 104 months
Vietnam War 103 months*
American Revolution 100 months
Iraq War (ongoing) 88 months
U.S. Civil War 48 months
World War II 45 months
Korean War 37 months
War of 1812 32 months
U.S.-Mexican War 21 months
World War I 19 months
Spanish-American War 5 months
Gulf War 3 months
*All sources do not agree on the duration of the Vietnam War. This figure covers the period from the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution until the withdrawal of the last American combat forces from Vietnam (Asian News International [ANI]).
Source: Lee, R. The History Guy: Comparing America’s Wars by Length. Retrieved June 16, 2010, from http://www.historyguy.com/american_wars_by_length_of_time.html.