Tucson: Rally for peace

TUCSON, Ariz. - About 150 people attended a demonstration at Raytheon Missile Systems plant here Oct. 16, calling for an end to the bombing of Afghanistan and opposing plans for the weaponization of space. The rally began with a minute of silence to honor the dead and grieving in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The demonstration was one of over 110 held worldwide during that week, in response to a call issued by the Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space.

A picketline of signs and banners stretched along the highway south of Tucson, outside the factory where all of the recently launched Tomahawk cruise missiles were made. One out of every 12 people - more than 800 in all - are employed in the experimental development of the exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) missile defense interceptor, a Star Wars boondoggle that is already pound-for-pound the most expensive weapon ever made.

Andrew Lichterman, program director of the Western States Legal Foundation, spoke of the need to treat the attacks of Sept. 11 as crimes against humanity and pursue a just resolution through international bodies, rather than by a declaration of general war.

Sally Light, a member of the board of the Global Network, introduced the crowd to Vision 2020, a U.S. Air Force planning document that presents in detail the comprehensive - and expensive - plan to militarily dominate earth and space.

Jack Cohen-Joppa, a member of Raytheon Peacemakers, the Tucson group that organized the local demonstration, explained that the group does not oppose the Raytheon workers, but is against the militarism that exploits Tucson's need for good-paying jobs.