Editorial missed point of speaker’s testimony on war

On May 13 your paper published an editorial denouncing my testimony before the Education Committee of the Oregon State Legislature (“When Salem’s Right Not to Listen”).

Your editor wrote:

“DeCoursey, with his ‘cherry-picking’ nonsense, seems to be implying that there are multiple episodes comparable to the Holocaust in modern history, and that Oregon lawmakers, for political reasons, chose it alone.”

I did not “seem to be implying” any such thing. I began my testimony before the Committee citing the statistic that 80 million people died in World War II, and 50 million of them were civilians who never touched a weapon. All 80 million died by reason of their religion, race, nationality or politics.

The thrust of my testimony was that the schools should not obsess over members of one political or religious group of victims. The whole war was a failure of civilization. We need to stop the war culture. We need to stop celebrating war and selling it to children as a fun video game. We need to stop promoting war in the schools as a fun vocation. Every human death is a tragedy, and this society is criminal for promoting war, which inevitably results in mass killings.

The transcript of my testimony as it was (partially) read to the Committee, and as it appears in the Legislative record of the hearing, can be found at https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/198087.

The video of my interrupted testimony can be seen at http://oregon.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip+id=26837

Mark H. DeCoursey