Fleet Week? How About Peace Week!?!?!

War and Peace

As I write this, U.S. and Canadian warships and Coast Guard vessels are steaming up the Hudson River, right outside my window. It looks like a slow but well planned attack is converging on New York's Upper West Side (look out!).

I find the sight to be disconcerting. For one, seeing war machinery up close and personal in the peaceful waters of our free, and peaceful city (and country) is jarring. What must it be like to be on the receiving end of the guns of these behemoths? They are fearsome.

And JUST NOW the F-18 fighter jets have roared passed. Talk about fearsome!

Second, the spectacle is disconcerting because it is no less than a glorification and celebration of machines designed to do nothing less than maim, kill and destroy. Why do we celebrate technology that destroys rather than advances life? I find Fleet Week to be a wholly uncomfortable affair.

(and in oddly timing, Aerosmith comes onto my radio singing "There's something wrong with the world today, I don't know what it is...")

Reminds me of the time I was in Paris for Bastille Day. It was the first time I had ever seen a real deal military parade, and I was taken aback. There were tanks and copters and planes and jeeps and guns and all kinds of military pomp and circumstance--I thought only military dictatorships did these sorts of things. I half expected goose stepping and Kim Jong Il to come by in a convertible saluting the flag waving crowd.

Well, a whole week of festivities dedicated to Machines of Death. A lot of the festivities will be at the Intrepid Museum, the retired aircraft and "one of the most successful ships in US history."

Successful at what exactly? I think you know the answer...

Why not Peace Week instead of Fleet Week? Here's what I might schedule for Peace Week:

- How about parades of peace activists past and present up Broadway. Let's send Nobel Peace Prize laureates up Broadway with ticker-tape parades.

- Let's make giant floating versions of Gandhi and MLK and send them up the Hudson River.

- How about turning the USS Intrepid into a anti-war museum? Shall we put up displays of death and carnage from America's wars? Let's do it! Every foreign war from 1776 on, with special displays set aside for the Native American genocide perpetrated by our leaders past.

- Ceremonial de-commissionings of war vessels, vehicles, bombs, missiles, and nuclear weaponry in, where else? Battery Park!

- Tug-of-war competitions between Red Cross, ACLU, Amnesty International, IRC, HRC and the rest of those fighting the good fight.

Possibilities are endless! What might you do to celebrate Peace Week?