Several of my friends were active in trying to prevent the tax break that was recently given to Bath Iron Works. I wondered if people would understand their reasoning. After all, BIW provides good-paying union jobs.

Lately the government of Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a brutal bombing campaign in Yemen. Bombs have destroyed most of the infrastructure. People there are without clean water, electricity or adequate food. In addition to this, over a million people are suffering from a cholera epidemic. Children are starving to death. When the bombs hit most of them say, “Made in USA.”

When the unrest happened in Egypt several years ago, many people pointed out that we had given huge amounts of aid to the government there. We gave them money that was mainly used to purchase American-made weapons. We were propping up our own arms manufacturers.

Our leaders visit foreign countries and come back boasting of the weapon sales they’ve arranged. All over the world American made weapons are causing enormous damage.

Bath Iron Works produces ships designed for war. The manufacture of weapons is one of the main engines of our entire economy. But our weapons are causing enormous destruction, death and displacement around the world.

Meanwhile, our own infrastructure is crumbling. Our schools are underfunded. Climate change is causing more and more devastating disasters. It’s time to switch to an economy that supports life, health and peace — to beat our swords into plowshares.

I think that what my friends who are questioning BIW are pushing for is a transition to an economy that serves the people here and that produces products that foster life not death.

Abby Shahn


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