Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Peace research

Research on human beings has undergone a great deal of ethical advancement since the infamous US Public Health Service 40-year 'study' of impoverished African American men who had or acquired syphilis and were never treated nor even told of their diagnosis and availability of a cheap and sure cure, penicillin. This Tuskegee syphilis experiment was finally ended after a whistleblower provided documentation to various media and the shameful conduct was exposed. I suppose if that whistleblower, Peter Buxtun,
a PHS venereal-disease investigator in San Francisco, tried it today he'd be tossed into some DHS prison and charged with aiding the enemy and medical espionage. Ethical advancement may not be a steady state phenomenon, as Bradley Manning has taught us.

Simply, it is imperative that announced ends not be sought by terrible means. Yes, we want to understand disease and violence. No, we do not want to inflict more of the same as we put human beings under our research magnifying glass.

Research processes are not neutral. They are an intervention that changes conflict dynamics. While the final outcome of any conflict assessment will never be perfect, the discussion and learning that happen in the research process constitute a form of peacebuilding....Participants in conflict assessment research can and should become the designers and planners of peacebuilding in their own context.
--Lisa Schirch (2013, p. 34)
Research is not limited to Ph.D.s with big grants. A community organizer does research or fails to get community buy-in (Ohmer & DeMasi, 2009). A nonprofit advocacy organization that hopes to help a neighborhood or a village or a people in their struggles to get more peace and prosperity needs to understand metrics of success by gathering baseline data first and cautiously proceeding from there.

A first precept then, is transparency. Coming to a problem with a hidden agenda or cloaked information is how we make ethical blunders and alienate the very people we hope to help.

We need much more research into how we mitigate and eliminate violence at all levels, from the basic domestic violence in our homes to transnational terrorism, international invasions, and state terrorism by military dictators. That research must be done in partnership with those who are suffering, with their full knowledge and design. This is how trust and sustainable results are produced. Ethical peace research is one way we can help propagate these practices.


Ohmer, Mary L. & DeMasi, Karen (2009). Consensus organizing: A community development workbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Schirch, Lisa (2013). Conflict assessment & peacebuilding planning: Toward a participatory approach to human security. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

GrayPeace? Try imaging

"Has there been any deliberate dialog about the future?"
--Mary L. Ohmer & Karen DeMasi

The peace movement is old and white. Some might wonder, so how is the next generation ever going to seek peace? They are not involved much.

Perhaps it's time to start imaging.

Invite everyone to a work session that you schedule for two hours. Tell them this is the precursor to the development of a strategic work plan. Schedule the meeting for the convenience of the youth in your group. Seriously. Get as many young people to that meeting as you possibly can. Tell them the truth: A planning meeting for the future of the group is crucially dependent on the young ones who have the most at stake. A two-hour window is not really enough to conduct an authentic imaging process, but for most groups it's often all they can ask of young members.

Before you do this, get commitment from one of your youth to be your co-facilitator. Familiarize that person with the bare bones of the imaging process:
1. guided imagery exercise (5 min)
2. individual imaging of a snapshot of a personal scene in a world of peace in 20 years (5 min)
3. sharing those scenes (15 min)
4. group brainstorm of more details of a world without war that exists in 20 years (15 min)
5. collective production of a vision of that world at peace (30 min)
6. construction of a future's history, working backward (30 min)
7. brainstorm of action steps (20 min)

If someone who is 22 years old is thinking about that world when she is 42, she can come out of your meeting feeling stronger and supported, encouraged and enabled by your group. She, and everyone in the group, will have a much more clear sense of her emerging leadership role. She can see how she can be more effective and self-directed, becoming the point person for meaningful projects that prepare the group for its own sustainable role in promoting positive peace. She can see that her currently defined role is one that has a long-term, morphing trajectory that will be important.
If your group feels good about the process, you can return to it and expand certain portions to help gain resolution of that vision, or you can proceed with the results of your session for a while and do it again after some time has elapsed. Re-visioning can be quite powerful and productive. Choosing a particular piece or person or project and focusing on a more detailed and clear vision of that is also quite helpful. For me, it helped my own strategic set of steps from local community organizer to published academic in the study of nonviolence. I still don't know if that direction is the wisest, but it seemed so to me all those years ago when I facilitated an envisioning workshop at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute in northern Wisconsin. No, I did not achieve every piece of my personal part of that visioning session (the most powerful one I ever participated in for me personally), but it did change the direction of my life and created a line of sight that has worked, more or less, ever since.

There is no magic formula for the recruitment and retention of youth in your movement, your campaign, or your group, but imaging the future with a special focus on the individual youth who are participating is a strong step in that direction.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

From opinion to belief, from interest to mass action

US activism often has a natural cap on it. Most movements can only grow to a certain extent, and then they flop. We see this again and again, even when initial public opinion is favorable and even when the issues seem winnable. Yes, there are times when the issues are not winnable, when public opinion simply doesn't support the desired outcome of a movement. That is a problem and that is not the problem about which I'm thinking right now. My question is, When we know that public opinion on our issue is in our favor, how do we win?

There are, to my mind, two major factors aside from the normal logistics (read: hard work) of movement-building.

First of all, it is crucial to recognize that opinion is not a movement. You can have in excess of 90 percent of the population of the opinion that gun laws should be stricter, at the very least improving gun registration laws. But if no one builds that opinion into a movement, it is actionless, meaningless. And if no one begins to change the other, directly contradictory, opinion that gun ownership is a constitutional right necessary to self-protection, the first opinion is cancelled out. The same happens when 'everyone' wants more government services and 'everyone' wants lower taxes. Bleep! No effective movement. Politically, opinions on issues are barely on the agenda unless a politician is convinced that the opinion will actually affect votes, and enough of them to make a difference. Oh, so we are supposed to try to make people into single-issue voters? No, but our issue needs to be important in our coalition. We do have to move our issue up the long ladder of issues worth caring about, closer and closer to the top, and we need to erode the opposing opinion through more education and more persuasion. The correlatives between issue priority, voting choices, and winning or losing are strong. Reprioritizing our issue higher in the list of citizen opinions is how we cross the line from opinion to belief, from passing interest to commitment, to conviction.
Second, we need to recalibrate our movement culture to be appealing. Many factors are important in this regard--the images of happy youth, idealistic purity (not ideological purity), endorsement by wise elders, participation of moral figures--but none more important than a culture of nonviolence, a commitment to peaceful methods. Without this, we hit our natural cap and, invariably, the movement begins to decline. We lose hearts and minds. The 99 percent are simply not going to jump in when they see violence or hatred. Why? Emphatically not because they are mostly pacifists. Pacifism is irrelevant. What happens is that people think, Oh great, if I go get involved, I get knocked around by the cops or I get swept up in some arrest. I lose my job. I lose my health care. I lose my home. I lose.

Really? Those who advocate for a so-called 'diversity of tactics' believe that convincing Americans that they need to be losers is a way to build a movement? Oh, sure, you can point to a couple of minor 'victories' that are produced by that diversity. Maybe a police station was closed and moved out of a neighborhood once their windows were broken (as some 'anarchists' in Seattle claim). Great--most citizens don't want any police--oh, that's right, they actually do. Moving the police station was perceived as a punishment to the community, not a reward. But it's a victory for the windowbreakers! Great...

Everything we do will either resonate with the culture or it will not work. In the US, our culture is not nonviolent, but it is risk-averse, and using tactics that scare off the general public activates that risk aversion and keeps people away. It's true that when the risks of not getting involved grow, that barrier is lowered, but there is still a barrier, which is important unless you are looking to create Syria-like conditions, in which case there is little to discuss.

The impulse toward flattening the hierarchy of a movement is great, but the leadership is in the visioning, strategic planning and ongoing evaluation, not in some sort of "I'm the dominant personality and the spokesperson, so I'll make the decisions and be leader" model. We see such silliness emerging here and there in the wake of Occupy. In my town we now have little campaigns with young male leaders, as though we are learning the lessons of Occupy by returning to some yesteryear model in hopes that it will magically work. That is so sad.

I have great hope for American activism, and there are plenty of creative campaigns that will win in the next period. I only want to help a stronger nonviolent paradigm to go viral and get more done faster. Many others are seeing this; can we create a culture of commitment and nonviolence? If so, we are in it to win it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Deciding for ourselves who we are with

We in the US elect our congress members who then make policy and when that policy affects someone's profits, we have the potential for corruption. If that policy is to make war, we can add bloodshed to potential corruption. If that policy is to make unnecessary war, we can add immorality to bloodshed to corruption.

Welcome to the 21st century. It wasn't always this way hereabouts.

Indeed, this was a worry on back in the Civil War, and the Confederate Congress "experimented" with an "excess profits" tax. The US passed such a law during World War I. The last time it was used was in the Korean War--war profiteering has been quite legal since, even if it is immoral bloody corruption.

Any profit on war is immoral and bloody, and certainly corrupt if the war is unnecessary, but that is the special thing about the 21st century; we find that no war is necessary. Every single one of them could be avoided, every war between nations, every civil war, and every invasion and occupation. We not only have a large and growing number of case studies that reveal alternatives, we have the research and the methods available to all parties in all conflicts so that none ever has to be violent. And yet war, occupation, and violent insurgencies continue.

Let's fix this.

First, let us point not at what the war profiteers wish to point to--how we are all one identity group fighting together against those Redcoats/Rebs/Redskins/Huns/Japs/Gooks/Ragheads. Actually, I have a lot more in common with the old construction worker, the old teacher, or the old peace and justice activist in Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Vietnam, Korea, Japan or Germany than I have with someone in the elite one percent of power and money in the US. A taxi cab driver in New York has much more in common with a taxi cab driver in Baghdad than he does with Mitch McConnell. That taxi cab driver in Baghdad has less in common with Nouri al-Maliki than he does with the New York cabbie. And certainly an American soldier has more in common with an Iraq soldier than he does with his own Commander-in-Chief--than the last three Presidents, in fact, none of whom served in the military. Finally, an Afghan woman whose husband was killed in war has more in common with an American woman whose husband was killed in war than either of them do with Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, pretty much the biggest war profiteer in the world. Oh--that's right, I mean "defense contractor."

What Conflict Resolution scholars Louis Kriesberg and Bruce Dayton remind us is that this identity group business is crucial. Framed and played right, it can have war widows believing that they are all in it together with the owners of the weapons plants, as though the woman from Junction City, Kansas whose husband was blown up by an IED in Kandahar is in the same patriotic sacrificing duty-driven group as the woman from Junction City, Kansas whose compensation from war profiteering is almost $6 million in the past year. We need to ask, who benefits and who sacrifices? Hamid Karzai benefits, Afghan women sacrifice. The corporate heads of warmaking corporations like Raytheon or General Dynamics have much more in common with the Afghan warlords who make up the US-installed government than they do with a struggling child care worker in the US.

Read the 2009 autobiography of Malalai Joya, A woman among warlords (Simon & Schuster).
Joya is clear as a bell that no warlords, no American military, and no NATO force can bring peace and justice to her land--just the opposite. She is the type of Afghan that those of us who believe ourselves to be peace activists should hear. Is she a pacifist? No, but her rejection of all the militaries on all sides and her condemnation of the forced democracy as well as the twisted Islam of those in power is the sort of victim-based groundtruthing that can help us join her identity group and oppose the war hawks on all sides. Joya was the youngest member of the Afghan Parliament until she denounced the war crimes of the very warlords to her left and right in the Afghan House of Parliament, at which point her life was again threatened. She was thrown out of parliament and has survived many assassination attempts.

It took great courage for Joya to renounce her country's warlords. It takes no particular courage for an American to renounce our country's warlords--the policymakers and profiteers alike. Still, I'd like to join Joya's identity group in that regard. She feels so much closer to me than Marillyn Hewson does.

When we can think about the children and women on all sides first, when we can reject and renounce all our warlords, and when we take the power of civil society seriously, we can end all wars. We have everything we need. Let's declare war over and mean it.


Joya, Malalai (2009). A woman among warlords. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Kriesberg, Louis, & Dayton, Bruce W. (2012). Constructive conflicts: From escalation to resolution. (4th ed.) Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grow a set of crystal balls--and crystal eggs

Who can see the future? Gypsy fortunetellers? Gamblers? Pundits? CIA analysts?

Based on some futurology theoretical work by Dutch scholar Fred Polack, Dartmouth sociologist Elise Boulding created a process she called Imaging a World Without Weapons. Elise was a Norwegian Quaker who married a British peace economist, Kenneth Boulding, and devoted her life to reframing scholarship toward positive peace, that is, peace and justice by peaceable means.
This led her to produce the first serious volume of women's history and a serious study of the power of civil society and community. She was a leader nationally and internationally of many peace groups and peace academic organizations, including the one I've been involved with for some years, the International Peace Research Association. She and Kenneth started a scholarship fund with the IPRA Foundation to help bring peace intellectuals from the global south to our conferences.

In short, her life was amazing, and just one smallish piece of it, the imaging workshops, is quite intriguing and quite underutilized. I had an opportunity some 28 years ago to attend a week-long version conducted by her protege, Warren Zeigler, at the Fellowship of Reconciliation Stonybrook Retreat Center outside Nyack, New York. I've conducted some of Boulding's-style workshops over the years.

The essence of the workshop is to put yourself into a mental place of creating images of a future that you desire. Pick a year, say, 2033 (20 years out), and image yourself in a world without weapons, a world which has given up the idea that it's permissible to use violence. My friend, the late Jeanne Larson, who was also in our 1985 workshop, created some great imagery of her sitting at her desk, and the lamp that she was using was made from metal from recycled weapons. The bulb was so efficient it used little electricity to produce good light, and all the electricity came from solar and wind generators. These are the sorts of sharp details that give life to a nascent vision.

Organizationally, it's best to synthesize all the individual visions and agree that the complex compound vision is desirable.

The next step is to create a future's history. If our world exists in 2033--let's say the vision includes the fact that it's been three years since the last reported incidence of actual war--then what conditions would have needed to exist in 2030? And if those conditions existed in 2030, what would need to be in existence by 2025? Describing the stages working backwards and coming up with a future's history that is logical is to transform a fantasy into a vision, giving a line of sight to a future where you and your peace and justice people have created a beachhead in the future. And, if you have done a good job in synthesizing and consensing upon your future's history, you have the scaffolding of a strategic plan.

Warmakers and robber barons, dictators and war profiteers already have their nightmarish visions and their strategic plans, and even inked contracts to reify them. If we want another world, we will create an alternative vision of the future and start making it happen.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

From Russia, with brutality

Didn't you love how John Kerry, our illustrious Secretary of State and loser in the 2004 race to George W. Bush, called for Russia to give up Edward Snowden? He said that this is only routine ("without any question"), that the US returns Russians to Russia whenever Russia requests it, as a matter of course, and that he expected reciprocity.

Really? We send Russians back to get gulaged, psychotroped, dioxined, ricined, or shot? Because that's what Vladimir Putin does to dissidents, human rights activists, or even those who want too much democracy. And Kerry says that Russia should send Snowden back and that would be Russia doing "the right thing"?

Snowden lived in Hawaii, making more money than the first 99 percent of his age cohort, certainly more than the likes of me has ever made or will ever make. He trades it all in for life in a Russian airport or maybe life in some Russian city, with no income, and we just say, well, he just wanted his picture in the paper? I sort of doubt that.

Kerry said that Snowden will have a fair trial. I sort of doubt that too, if he does ever fall into our clutches. Snowden noted that very fear in a letter to the Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa. In the letter, Snowden compared himself to Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, and said he did not believe he would be treated justly and that he could be executed if returned to the United States. Fair point!
In truth, we see from the treatment of Manning, so abysmal that many international human rights workers, including Amnesty International as an organization, have criticized the US military's treatment of him. How could Snowden be faulted for not wanting to throw himself at the tender mercies of a government that strips whistleblowers naked and shoves them into solitary confinement before dragging them through a kangaroo court and possible execution or life in the stockade? He's lucky he's not in Russia--oh, wait, that is where he is stuck.

Snowden had it all, risked it all for conscience, and lost it all. John Kerry, your record as Secretary of State is sad at best, from your weapons gifts to terrorists (both state and nonstate) to your unexamined role as juridical enforcer. You are Obama's poor choice, one of the blotches on the Obama administration.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

As Detroit goes, so goes...

Nice house of cards, America! If we look at how the deck is holding those chairs on our Titanic ship of state, we might figure out what happened to the former Jack of Diamonds, Detroit, which is not just bankrupt; it is Out of Service.

Streetlights are out. Pensions are lost. Social workers are considering emigrating to China. The Motor City has no economic engine.

What happened?

The military-industrial complex happened. By its nature, it is literally and economically a boom-and-bust phenomenon. We invented cars--well, OK, the Germans did, but Ford developed mass production of them. We used our military might to control the global oil flow, more or less, from at least the late 1940s until the early 1970s. The US oil corporations flourished. We kept it cheap, literally fueling a massive artificially jacked-up economy, and everyone had cars. Detroit cranked them out. US auto corporations flourished.

The World War II loser in Asia, Japan, was forced to stay out of the military business, so turned to civilian products. Those products were cheesy and cheap when I was a boy in the 1950s. Made in Japan was the joke. As the US focused on military and ignored efficiency because their military control of much of the planet allowed profligate waste, Japan got very good at two things: electronics and automotive efficiency. So, when the darn Arabs and Persians started to join with the Venezuelans and others, starting in 1960, to form the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the writing was on the wall. Endless supplies of cheap oil were going to falter. By the time of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, OPEC cut off oil to the US for its military aid to Israel, showing the US consumers and showing Detroit a glimpse of the future. A few squinted and began to change. Most burped, averted their gazes, and chugged ahead with high-powered, inefficient, gas guzzling production and consumption.

The Jimmy Carter effort to help America plan strategically was a flop. He told us he wanted 'mandatory conservation'. You could hear the giant collective 'No thanks!' and we brought in a man for the 80s, Ronald Reagan (well, the 1880s, but still...). Reagan focused on two things: building a nuclear arsenal that made nuclear war more likely and more likely to end life on Earth, plus his obsession with Nicaragua and those Sandinistas who were warming up their old Chevies to drive north to invade Texas, obviously. His Middle East policy was to suck wind in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution and send thugs to sell arms to 'moderate' Iranians and use the profits to bolster the civilian-killing Contra in Nicaragua. Brilliant. Efficiency was completely ignored. The Japanese made quiet gains as Detroit kept its ostrich approach.

Clinton made some desultory weak and thready attempts to address the slight problem of America and Detroit increasingly getting its butt kicked by Japan and now South Korea. He was easily rendered impotent by the auto/petroleum lobby. The Bushes, of course, had their own brilliant 41 and 43 combo: reward inefficiency and bomb the Middle East, alienate South America and militarize Africa. They subsidized SUVs and other gross-out gas-gluttons and now we see Detroit going belly-up.

Shocked--SHOCKED, we tell you. You could not possibly have predicted this before 1961.

But with the US savings account all liquidated to build up the military and the US debt massively swollen to do the same, we've got more impoverishment, more economic crashes to come. Every single one of the factors that is going to bring us to bankruptcy and grind us to a crawl will relate to our devotion to violence and the threat of violence. Without some basic transformation in our conflict management practice as a nation, we slowly enter the American Era of Bankruptcy. Detroit is only the first--Wait! It's the 36th since 2010. This Era is underway.

We need a new vision and new commitment. In blighted and bankrupt Detroit, some have begun.
Do we all need to wait this long?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Getting Syria-s

Finally, the Pentagon is getting a bit realistic about Syria and possible US intervention, with a report of options laid out by letter from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, to Carl Levin of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, and the Chiefs warn about expense, loss, and blowback.

The Cold War was a time of proxy wars, showcasing the relative strengths and weaknesses of the arms produced by the two superpowers, fought in other people's countries. Indeed, except for Hungary in 1956, no war was fought on the soil of white people the whole time, an indication of the deep cynicism of both sides. The US always had better big weapons and the Soviets had the daily weapon of choice, the AK-47. Soviet tanks were only good for rolling over friendlies in the Warsaw Pact and their nukes were big and dumb, but their AKs were the gold standard for violent insurgency.

Most of the world is less excited about being crash test dummies for the US and Russia nowadays, although Syria seems to be an exception. Basher al-Assad spends his entire allowance every week on new shipments of Russian warmaking gear to use against his own people. The rebels get their gear mostly from the US through Qatar and Saudi Arabia, often also via Turkey. Both sides fight dirty, ignore international rules of warfare, and yet the kneejerk reaction of many hawks in the US is to ship weapons to anyone fighting the Russian weapon-wielders. Just because the US-backed mujahedeen in Afghanistan used their leftover weapons given to them originally to fight the Soviets against the US later--hence the term blowback--let's forget that ever happened and give more guns and rockets and ammunition to insurgents who behead, execute, blow up civilian markets, torture, and in the most ghastly extreme case, a Syrian rebel leader is shown carving the heart out a government soldier and eating it. Those are the fighters Republicans in Congress want to support and many Democrats actually join this bloodthirsty insanity.

But even though Congress--and apparently President Obama to some degree--have mostly forgotten those lessons, some in the Pentagon seem to suddenly remember, especially as they see the sequester shine a more realistic light on the formerly illimitable funding picture.

The usual kneejerk kill-em-all-let-God-sort-em-out are attacking Dempsey. Will someone tell John McCain that if he keeps up with that apoplectic visage, one of these days it's going to become his permanent look--oops! Too late.
The sad truth is that the nonviolent revolution was stolen from the Syrian people, who started their Arab Spring just as nonviolently as did Egyptians, and very soon after. When the US intervened in Libya, that made the violent ones in Syria assume they'd get US military help too, so they picked up arms. The nonviolent revolution was overwhelmed and defeated in no small measure by this Libya Effect, and that is indeed an Obama decision that resulted in lots of gratitude from Libyans (you could tell by the way they assassinated our ambassador) and also set total fear in Assad's heart and made him image Qaddaffi, bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. That made him totally commit to clinging to power by all means, including the ones that he used so devastatingly on his own people.

Sun Tzu said build a golden bridge over which your enemy can retreat. That golden bridge is built by nonviolence plus negotiation, what we just saw as millions of people used social media to back up successful Norwegian efforts to get the United Arab Emirates to release Marte Deborah Dalelv, a woman from Norway who was raped and then jailed in Dubai for having extramarital sex! The Norwegian Prime Minister was diplomatic and delicate and it all worked.

In Norway, of course, Conflict Resolution and Peace Research experts consult with the highest levels of government. In the US, we listen only to the Joint Chiefs, so good thing they sober up on occasion.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pentagon: Poor, poor pitiful US

Do you plan to take out any new student loans? If so, you'll join the American Impoverishment Program designed by the US Congress as they fund insanely pricey weapons and double the interest rates on those student loans. The Global War on Terror now features the US Congress Battle Against the Middle Class. North Korea blusters but has never actually attacked US soil. Congress goes straight into your paycheck with grubbing mitts, however, so Harry Reid's note on Meet the Press that Gallup Polls show a 10 percent US citizenry confidence in Congress versus a 12 percent favorability rating toward North Korea should perhaps get those members of the elite to think about doing a bit less for Lockheed-Martin (F-35 contractor) and a bit more for the American people's basic need to get their workforce educated without also enslaving them to massive debt.

As the middle class sinks fast--some have a rough proletarian parity, some have hit into a new category of the noveau lumpen--the military continues its grossout at the Congressional feed trough, especially the capital-intensive (and thus capitalist-friendly) huge weapons system. No program is more emblematic of this gluttony gorging than the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapon program in history. To purchase, operate, and maintain the jets is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion over the life of the program. Each jet will cost nearly $160 million just to purchase and the US is currently planning to buy 2,457 total F-35s.

Originally conceived to fight Soviet fighter jets, the F-35 is nearly useless against the security threats of the 21st century (terrorism, climate change, cyber warfare). Even worse, the F-35 doesn't work. Its development has been plagued by design flaws, technical failures, and a host of other problems that mean even under the best circumstances, the F-35 is years away from meeting minimal operational standards.

Yet Congress and the Pentagon are pushing forward with plans to keep buying more F-35s - broken planes that they know will require billions of dollars in repairs before they can ever be used in combat. The very same politicians rushing to slash social security, privatize Medicare, and defund nearly every agency of government are insisting that we continue full speed ahead on the F-35. And with an army of lobbyists at its disposal, Lockheed Martin - maker of the F-35 - is fighting hard to make sure nothing changes.
Can anyone but a war profiteer justify this? For a woe and whiny Pentagon version, see the DOD website. They have no shame. Give us everything, or else.

For once, let's choose 'or else.'