INTRO: Chris McCarus has this fifth part of our series on the National Strategic Narrative. He finds people connected to the military asking what’s wrong with our country and how do we fix it?
Navy Captain Wayne Porter co-wrote the National Strategic Narrative so regular folks could solve the world’s biggest problems. It was:
“To open a dialogue among citizens so they can recognize it’s ok to say we think things need to be changed in a positive way and here’s how we should do it.”
Captain Porter works at the Naval Post Graduate School with Dr. Leonard Ferrari, vice-president and provost. The school’s mission is “to increase the combat effectiveness of U.S. and allied Armed Forces and to enhance the security of the United States.”
“Let’s suppose there are all these horrific things going on whether it’s climate change, derivatives in our financial system, or there’s all kinds of examples. They come in all different forms. Because Wayne is right. The oceans become more acidic. The non-toxic plants are dying. The fish are eating toxic plants. Four-fifths of the fisheries are overfished. If you read Jared Diamond’s book ‘Collapse’ we look like we’re in collapse.”
Dr. Ferrari is an electrical engineer who worked for Bell & Howell and Polaroid. He’s critical of the automobile, oil, tire and cement industries, known as the highway lobby. He singles out Exxon Mobil Corporation that earned $9 billion last quarter.
“The major problems that we face all come together at the top at Exxon. I’m sorry. I need my car to get home. But they all come together at that point.”
Ferrari hosted 20 educators near the campus in Monterey, California. They had all been moved by the National Strategic Narrative. It was written while Porter and Marine Colonel Mark Mykleby worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ferrari sounds frustrated.
“….and yet we are sitting here talking about we’re going to educate kids better and what are they going to do with the education?
Others in the room said the rise of diabetes and auto immune disorders could sound an alarm bell. Ferrari says no way. America must take the lead in saving the planet. And that requires values that Americans haven’t embraced.
“If Arnie Duncan is talking about education and he’s not talking about the impact on the environment and he’s not talking about the economy and how the kids need to be educated to support the nation as opposed to support the corporations then I think you have a problem.”
(choral music performed by Saginaw Valley State University chapter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute)
In Saginaw, a group of mainly retired teachers has been meeting for a decade, performing together, having lunch and furthering their education about the world. Recently, Professor Hyun Kim talked about Korean politics. He also mentioned the National Strategic Narrative.
“I think the article is very important because they tried to change the thinking of national interest into the national interest plus prosperity and also emphasize an active role of all citizens in creating domestic and international peace.”
“How do we change things? They’re not talking about little individual acts. They’re talking about structural change, thought change.”
Cornell Lugthart is 81. He’s part of the Saginaw group. He was a navy lieutenant then a CIA officer in Africa and Asia. Lugthart is inspired by the Narrative, that readers sometimes call the ‘Y Paper.’ He’s comfortable with the defense department getting its budget cut.
“So we have to bridle ourselves and if we do we have to think how we do and this has to be institutional leaders. It has to be corporate, academic and others. If they begin to embrace the ‘Y’ papers they have a chance.”
Costofwar.com says Iraq and Afghanistan are up to $1.4 trillion dollars. That website and ranking military officers say that’s not sustainable. And the military should stop helping companies profit from war.