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Tucson needs to accept that it profits from-- and is threatened by--war, death and misery

It's scary to speak freely on a particular topic in Tucson: Raytheon.

People who are trying to believe something that they are afraid might not be true will fight like crazy to defend whatever or whomever they are trying to believe. I lost a good friend who was outraged by my "arrogance" and "insensitivity" to his situation--the situation to which he's trying to be blind. Facing reality is no fun for most of us, and the more we want to believe a lie, the more we want to "kill the messenger."

The liar thousands of Tucsonans are trying to believe is a pillar of our community. Raytheon has a mafia-like grip on the ovaries and testicles of our city. Exposing Raytheon would force Tucsonans to take responsibility for our own behavior.

Although Raytheon is among the reasons the Tucson region has been listed as a "high threat" area for terrorism by the Department of Homeland Security, charities, churches and secular social causes kiss up to the war machine for its favors. Politicians and even some who sympathize with the peace community pretend not to see the "elephant in the living room" and try to believe that the fifth-largest munitions factory in the world--that exports weapons to 70 other countries--is dedicated to making our country safe from attack.

Our collective unwillingness to see the obvious has led us on a witch hunt for migrant terrorists and to imprison ourselves behind walls, while Raytheon boasts to the world about its cluster bombs, ICBM kill vehicles and--not satisfied to rule the Earth--its plans to dominate space.

In plain sight on the edge of our city is the No. 1 threat to our safety, a prime target for those who would do us harm. A strike against Raytheon would render us all collateral damage in an instant--damage that would be irreparable.

Raytheon's well-paid higher-level employees--and not-so-well-paid lower-level employees--are servants of a reckless war profiteer. If they would allow themselves to see what they are doing, they wouldn't do it. While our country engages in wars of aggression, they blind themselves and pretend they are working for "defense." They don't see the devastation and carnage, hear the terrified cries of suffering children or smell the burning flesh. Some 11,000 Tucsonans are "just doing their jobs."

During World War II, factories all across the United States manufacturing refrigerators, cars and roller skates became war plants overnight. The "home front" sacrificed luxuries and united in the "war effort." Surely Raytheon and the people of Tucson can join forces to do the same thing in reverse.

We need to reconcile our motives, our words and our behavior. If Raytheon would give up its pride in its killing machines and clean up its mess, and if the brilliant minds that have been seduced by a war plant would focus on their children's future as inhabitants of this planet--instead of being able to afford designer jeans for them now--Tucson could become a model of heroic goodwill.

We have never had the collective courage to let go of the past and reach with both hands for peace on Earth. It's almost, but not quite, too late.

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