Are you ready for nuclear attack warning sirens in your community? I live in Hawaii and the State of Hawaii decided two months ago in December 2107 to begin monthly nuclear attack warning siren drills, similar to the monthly tsunami warning sirens that are tested each month.
You know what happened -- an employee of the State of Hawaii Emergency Management Department pushed the wrong button and the siren went off -- and no one alerted the public for nearly 49 minutes that this was a drill. Cell phone alerts to everyone in the 808 area code flashed "Nuclear attack warning-take cover" and residents and tourists alike went into crisis mode.
Three days prior to the mistaken warning siren, 20 of us attempted to call to the attention of the state government that the sirens are being used for political advancement of a hysteria for war with North Korea. We do not believe the North Korean government is going to attack the United States and that the nuclear sirens and "duck and cover" drills are purposeful and dangerous fear mongering.
The sirens heighten the anxiety and stress of impending conflict and devastation, make citizens afraid and, in their fear, accept whatever the government feeds them on how great threats to our nation are.
Successive administrations have lied our country into wars -- from Vietnam to Iraq. We do not agree for the need for war with North Korea and refuse to accept the attempted US intimidation of North Korea which could lead to war. The sirens normalize the potential for war.
Certainly, If the U.S. initiates military action against North Korea, militarized Hawaii with its four major military bases on Oahu -- the headquarters of the U.S. military Pacific Command that covers half the world, the Army's 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Marine Expeditionary Force at Kaneohe, Hickam Air Force Base and Pearl Harbor Navy Base, the huge NSA underground listening station near Wahaiwa, the massive practice bombing area called Pohakuloa, on the Big Island and the Pacific Missile Range on Kauai would be a retaliatory target for North Korea and any other nation threatened by the United States.
Therefore, it is in Hawaii's survival interest that we demand that the U.S. government resolve issues with North Korea in a nonviolent manner.
The national government in Washington, DC does not feel the need to have nuclear warning sirens, so why should Hawaii? One would think the politicians who make the decisions for war and the Pentagon would be bigger targets than Hawaii.
We held our protest outside the State Capitol and got media coverage, but the siren program continued -- until the false alert siren went off. However, after the mistaken alert fiasco, the governor has suspended the siren warnings.
As this was going on in Hawaii, I joined a 16-woman delegation from five countries who participated in a Civil Society Roundtable held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada sponsored by the government of Canada and in a public forum on security and stability on the Korean peninsula in conjunction with the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of 20 countries of the US-led Korean command.
Some of our delegates had long collective experience engaging with North Koreans through citizen diplomacy and humanitarian initiatives and others had expertise on militarism, nuclear disarmament, economic sanctions and the human cost of the unresolved Korean War.
Instead of approving of the warmongering of the Trump administration, our delegations' recommendations to the meeting of Foreign Ministers appealed for sanity in dealing with the North Korean government:
--Immediately engage all relevant parties in dialogue, without preconditions, to work toward achieving a nuclear-free Korean peninsula;