Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Veterans Speak: The Reality on the Ground
10 a.m. – Lt. Col. Danny Davis, "National Defense and the Cost of War: Some Bills Aren't Paid in Dollars"
Lt. Col. Daniel Davis has served in the U.S. Army since 1985. He was twice deployed to Afghanistan, once to Iraq and once during Desert Storm. He describes himself as “pro strong national defense” and “not a pacifist” but... he is concerned that in the United States today war has become a “normal state of affairs” and the horrible consequences of war are not simply downplayed, but virtually absent from the national consciousness. The danger of such a condition continuing into the future without examination is that the threshold for more bloodshed goes lower and lower until war is no longer used “as a last resort,” but as a policy option of first choice. In fact, Davis argues that we are already at that point. Davis will point out the cost of these current wars in ways many might never have considered. When the truth is more fully understood, people may be far less likely to support the easy application of deadly force abroad in their name. In his damning report following his return from his second year-long deployment in Afghanistan, Davis draws on about 250 interviews with U.S. soldiers as well as Afghans across the country to conclude: "Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the U.S. Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable." Davis asks how many more must die in support of a mission that’s not succeeding. "When you’re given a mission that cannot — cannot — succeed militarily, then what is the purpose of the mission?”
1:15 p.m. – Veterans Panel, "Three Lives, Three Stories, One Common Experience"
2:45 p.m. – Wilmington College Chorale, "Building Bridges"
Is war obsolete? Can a choir sing about PTSD or how to make plowshares into swords, or answer the question why we fight? Chorale may not have solutions but will sing of a vision of what some brave soulds and dreamers have to say about the idea of war. They will start with an African American Spiritual that says, "Shine on me, I wonder if the lighthouse will shine on me?" On the battlefield, perhaps that is a question soldiers might ask. The text of the spiritual continues, "Is a light, shining for me, is it shining above in the heavens for me, I'm wondering, wondering, wondering if there's a light shining for me?" And while they ponder what light guides us into war, they share the voices that say we are all in this together, we share this world house. Why not aim for the lofty goals expressed in the song From a Distance: "We all have enough, and no one is in need, there are no guns, no bombs, no disease, no hungry mouths to feed, from a distance we are instruments, marching in a common band, playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace, they're the voice of every one." Chorale will end their set with True Light, a contemporary gospel song that suggests it might be God that gives human kind true light, "the light of God that shines within each of us, the light of peace, the light of hope, let's let our little lights shine everywhere we go around the world, let's spread the light of love."
3:45 p.m. - Film Showing, "The Tillman Story"
Pat Tillman gave up his professional football career to join the Army Rangers in 2002—and became an instant symbol of patriotic fervor and unflinching duty. But the truth about Pat Tillman is far more complex, and ultimately more heroic, than the caricature created by the media. And when the government tried to turn his death into war propaganda, they took on the wrong family. From her home in the Santa Cruz mountains, Pat’s mother, Dannie Tillman, led the family’s crusade to reveal the truth beneath the mythology of their son’s life and death. Featuring candid and revelatory interviews with Pat’s fellow soldiers as well as his family, Amir Bar-Lev’s emotional and insightful film not only shines a light on the shady aftermath of Pat’s death and calls to task the entire chain of command but also examines themes as timeless as the notion of heroism itself. (94 minutes, Rated R)
7:30 p.m. –
Karl Marlantes, "Combat and the Spiritual"
Karl Marlantes, "Combat and the Spiritual"
Warriors deal with death. They take life away from others and often they sacrifice their own lives. This is normally the role of God. One of the many tragedies of war is that we ask teenagers to fulfill this role without adequate psychological or spiritual preparation and it messes up many of them for life. There are quips that allude to the spiritual aspects of combat; for example, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” However, we rarely talk openly about the spiritual aspects of fighting, killing, and dying and their effect on the psyche and soul of the fighter. Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of What It Is Like to Go to War, talks about it. Many people are aghast, even outraged, that he can speak of “the spiritual” and warfare in the same breath. This is because in our culture, we like to think of spirituality as pure light, or some sort of pixie dust that one can sprinkle around to alleviate the fear of death or relieve of us of the terror of living and choosing. Many of the world’s religions, however, acknowledge a dark side to spirituality. Witness Tibetan Buddhism where monsters guard the gates to enlightenment, the darker side of Voodoo, the cruel martyrdom of saints of all religions, or the ritual torture practiced by many native American tribes, most notably the Aztecs. In fact, a primary component of Christianity is sacrifice and ritual torture, but most Christians in America much prefer Christmas to Good Friday. Marlantes will explore such topics as his own experiences of the spiritual in combat; the fact that what used to be an unusual and sacred space, “the battlefield,” is becoming increasingly conflated with “normal life” because of technology such as drones, cell phones, and the internet; and the similarities of combat with mystical experiences.
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Special Preview Event: "Why We Fight"
Hosted by The Murphy Theatre
For tickets and show information, please call the Murphy Theatre at 937/382-3643.
Meals: Lunch is available in The Underground, located in the lower level of Pyle Student Center (prices will vary), or in the College dining hall, located in the top of Pyle Center, for $8.85 plus tax. Dinner is available in the College dining hall for $9.14 plus tax. For those who would like to dine off-campus, Wilmington area restaurant guides will be available in the lobby of Boyd Cultural Arts Center, courtsey of the Clinton County Convention and Visitors' Bureau.
Books: Related books, DVDs, and other items will be available for purchase in the Boyd Cultural Arts Center from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and from 7 p.m. unitl 9:30 p.m., as well as at the Peace Resource Center (51 College Street) from 11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. All proceeds from the sale of these items go to support the work of the Peace Resource Center.