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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/22/20

Conversion to Peaceful Industries Just Happened

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The greatest impediment to doing anything, for homo sapiens, is often that it hasn't already been done. "Well, sure, that sounds easy enough, but I just don't know. I've never seen it done and my cousin's friend heard it was impossible."

The greatest means of smashing through that impediment is for the thing that needs doing to have already happened. "Impossible or not, we just did it 3 feet from where you are standing, while you were standing there. Here's the video."

The best chance homo sapiens has of surviving includes converting the resource-draining, environment-destroying, climate-collapsing, hatred-fueling, oligarch-enabling, secrecy-justifying, nuclear-holocaust-facilitating, murderous war industry to peaceful enterprises aimed at protecting and benefitting humanity and the earth. But who doesn't have a cousin whose friend has heard that that's impossible?

I only know of one person running for federal office in the upcoming U.S. elections who is campaigning on conversion: U.S. Senate candidate from Maine, Lisa Savage. I asked her about it, and she was quick to point out that conversion was just done on a small scale. All that's needed now is to do it on a larger scale.

Lisa and many other activists in Maine have been pushing Bath Iron Works to convert for many years. Bath Iron Works makes war ships. It's owned by major weapons dealer General Dynamics.

For years, the response came back: Impossible! Will never happen! A crazy leftist dream! Can't be done! Too complicated! Why do you hate our workers?

For years, the patient rebuttals were made: We've known how to convert for decades. Conversion creates more jobs. Conversion saves so much money we can assist every single person in the transition. It's been done before in other decades and in other countries. It's not rocket science in fact, we could even abolish rocket science in the process if you'd like.

But when the Coronavirus pandemic got going, as Captain Combover in the White House chose not to take it seriously, money started dripping out of Congress for steps to mitigate the disaster. Senator Angus King called around, and with almost no delay or apparent difficulty, Bath Iron Works agreed to immediately start manufacturing machines to produce special swabs used for testing for Coronavirus. Numerous smaller companies were involved in the plan with little difficulty. And before you could say "impossible," conversion had already happened. A weapons dealer was doing healthcare.

The U.S. government is the word's biggest weapons buyer. If it gives weapons companies the money that they have laboriously and properly bribed and lobbied for but tells them to make trains and solar panels, there isn't actually any question what they're going to say. They're going to take their money and make trains, solar panels, and whatever they're told to make good or bad. They might make these new things a little better than they make weapons, because there's no basis for secrecy and there are multiple buyers creating some degree of competition. But, doubt not, they will make the trains and solar panels.

All that would be needed would be treating the climate crisis as though it were a crisis. Heck, that could be done without even any pretense, since it actually is a crisis which would save us the trouble of inventing fanciful stories about a Russian Menace or looming threat from China.

We could accelerate conversion, of course, if we not only recognized the problem being addressed such as environmental destruction, a disease pandemic, poverty etc., as an emergency, but also recognized the need to end war as an emergency.

I know the U.S. government is the most likely institution on earth to screw this up. After all, His Mask-Free Trumpship toured the nasal swab factory in Maine, and they had to halt production and toss out the swabs they'd been producing that day. But if conversion were on the list of priorities in Washington, even if it were considerably further down the list than photo ops, the world would be a safer place.

Background Links:

Talk Nation Radio: Lisa Savage on What Maine and the United States Could Do Better
Bath Iron Works leads the way in conversion to peaceful production
BIW helps Maine company boost nasal swab production for COVID-19 testing
With $75.5M from the feds, this Guilford swab maker's expansion came together in weeks
Guilford factory had to shut down production the day of Trump's visit

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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