Peace


An American Awakening to the Addiction of War The list of U.S. government abuses and failures to protect stretches far and wide, an alphabet soup of depravity: PRISM, NDAA, CISPA, SOPA, Patriot Act, the Monsanto Protection Act, drones, secret kill lists, Guantanamo Bay, DNA tests, Abu Ghraib, Afghan Massacre, Keystone, Tar Sands, Hanford. I’m certain you’ll think of more.”

This is your government on war. An unnatural, synthesized invention, war courses through Congress, city halls and the Oval Office. Paranoia, fear, consumption, degradation, enslavement, betrayal and suffering – these are the family values of a nation on war.

Our government’s addiction consumes the domestic budget, leaving little for health, education or infrastructure. It invades privacy and creates enemies through paranoia and fear, painting its opposition as savage, barbaric, shady, and justifying oppression, enslavement, torture and murder. It desecrates the natural world, poisoning the veins of the Earth and its abundance, waging chemical warfare and extracting the resources to do so.

We need an intervention, an American Awakening, to end the inevitable suffering of the American people – indeed, the global village – at the whims of mega users. Want to protect the Fourth Amendment? Want to protect them all? Call for a 28th Amendment – an amendment to abolish the slavery of addiction, an amendment to abolish war.

Section 1. The American people, in accordance with the promotion of international justice, peace, human rights and dignity, hereby renounce the use of organized, armed force to resolve intra- and inter-state conflict; neither war nor war-making processes shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall neither make nor approve war, nor approve of the use of military force, as a means for resolving intra- and inter-state conflict.

Section 3. The United States shall neither make nor keep locations of detention for prisoners of war, and all prisoners, upon recognition, shall be released to their respective home nations or non-military, judicial courts.

Peaceful Tomorrows September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows was born out of a shared belief that America’s military response to the 9/11 attacks which took our loved ones’ lives would result in the deaths of countless innocent civilians and increase recruitment for terrorist causes, making the United States, and the world, less safe and less free for generations to come
Code Pink anti-war group
Sir! No Sir! The suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam


"Once people believed in human sacrifice -- not any more. Once people believed in slavery -- not any more. Once people believed that women should not vote -- not any more. In your lifetime I hope your children can say: Once people believed in [killing, violence, and] war as the answer -- not any more" (Frances Crowe, peace activist. From the San Antonio Friends newsletter, June, 2014).


"...the Pentagon has requested a total of $1.3 billion for a new type of land mine...

"Since the early 1990s, when the movement to ban land mines became widespread, forty mine-producing countries stopped producing, and millions of land mines have been destroyed, the result being that the casualty rate dropped from 26,000 people a year to between 15,000 and 20,000. But fifteen countries still insist on producing land mines [including the US]...

"...in the Second World War more than half of those who died were civilians...

"Strada rejects the idea of "humanitarian wars," as I do. I can accept that there may be rare situations where a small act of force might be used to halt a genocidal situation (Rwanda is an example). But war, defined as the massive and indiscriminate use of force (and technology dictates that any large-scale use of force cannot be focused on a particular evil-doer) cannot be accepted, once you understand its human consequences...

"Albert Enstein, horrified by the First World War, said: "War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished"" (Howard Zinn. "A Surgeon's Touch." The Progressive, Sep. 2005: 14-15).


"It is organized violence on the top which creates individual violence at the bottom" --Emma Goldman

"... the 19th century's anarchist Emma Goldman's warning about the consequences of the use of unlawful physical force to resolve conflict...

"... nary a word has been mentioned about the influence of violence upon a society that has become not only fascinated by, but has come to deify, it.

"Particularly when it comes to youth we see this idolatry manifest itself today, fueled by graphic international conflicts, movies, television, computer games and, to some degree, music...

"Kids' TV often has a particularly bad kind of violence--the humorous kind...

"Added to this mix is the ever-present influence of a corporatist culture willing to use exploited violence and unfettered competitiveness as a means to satisfy its own insatiable greed while a supportive government cheers it on under the guise of a free-market economy...

"...we have not made peace and non-violence attractive. Perhaps, this is because we ourselves have never really understood what they mean. Our concept of peace has always been framed in terms of the final and stabilized goals of a given conflict.

"True peace, as the famed child educator Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us, "suggests the triumph of justice and love among men; it reveals the existence of a better world wherein harmony reigns"... [from her pamphlet Peace and Education]...

[More from the pamphlet] ""The obedience which is expected of the child both in home and in the school--an obedience admitting neither of reason nor of justice--prepares [them] to be docile to blind forces.

""The punishment, so frequent in schools, which consists in subjecting the culprit to public reprimand and is almost tantamount to the torture of the pillory, fills the soul with a crazy, unreasoning fear of public opinion, manifestly unjust and false," the noted educator adds.

"The perfect and infallible discipline therefore becomes synonymous with slavery for the child...

"[From Montessori again] "The virtue worthy above all others of public encouragement and of reward has always been triumphing over one's school fellows in competitions, and the gaining in examinations of the decisive victory allowing one to pass from one year to another of a monotonous existence of perpetual servitude.

""[Children] brought up in this way have been prepared neither to fight and be victorious, not to conquer truth and possess it, nor to love others and join with them in striving for a better life.

""Their education has prepared them rather for an incident, a mere episode of real community life: war. For in reality, the cause of war does not lie in armaments, but in the [individuals] who make use of them"" (A.V. Krebs. "Sacrificing Childhood to Idolatry of Violence." Progressive Populist, May 1, 2005: 7).


"To their credit, would-be presidential candidate Senator Russell Feingold and former Senator Gary Hart have recently made strong antiwar statements. More recently two other presidential contenders, Senator John Kerry and former Senator John Edwards, have begun to call for a shift in policy, though still in vague and reticent terms. More typical, however, are the other presidential hopefuls, Senators Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden and Evan Bayh, who continue to huddle for cover in "the center." They offer little alternative to Bush's refrain "We must stay the course!"" ("Democrats and the War." The Nation, Nov. 28, 2005: 3).,p.


"A group of internationally known figures, celebrated both for their talent and their dedication to human rights (Gino Strada, Paul Farmer, Kurt Vonnegut, Nadien Gordimer, Eduardo Galeano, and others), will soon launch a worldwide campaign to enlist tens of millions of people in a movement for the renunciation of war, hoping to reach the point where governments, facing popular resistence, will find it difficult or impossible to wage war.

"There is a persistent argument against such a possibility, which I have heard from people on all parts of the political spectrum: we will never do away with war because it comes out of human nature. The most compelling counter to that claim is in history: We don't find people spontaneously rushing to make war on others. What we find, rather, is that governments must make the most strenuous efforts to mobilize populations for war. They must entice soldiers with promises of money, education, must hold out to young people whose chances in life look very poor that here is an opportunity to attain respect and status. And if those enticements don't work, governments must use coercion: They must conscript young people, force them into military service, threaten them with prison if they do not comply" (Howard Zinn. "After the War." The Progressive, Jan. 2006: 16-18).


"It is orgnaized violence on the top which creates individual violence at the bottom" -Emma Goldman

"...the 19th century's anarchist Emma Goldman's warning about the consequences of the use of unlawful physical force to resolve conflict...

"[We are] a society that has become not only fascinated by, but has come to deify [violence]

"Particularly when it comes to youth we see this idolatry manifest itself today, fueled by graphic international conflicts, movies, television, computer games and, to some degree, music...

"Kids' TV often has a particularly bad kind of violence--the humorous kind...

"Added to this mix is the ever-present influence of a corporatist culture willing to use exploited violence and unfettered competitiveness as a means to satisfy its own insatiable greed while a supportive government cheers it on under the guise of a free-market economy...

"We can argue that we have not made peace and non-violence attractive. Perhaps, this is because we ourselves have never really understood what they mean. Our concept of peace has always been framed in terms of the final and stabilized goals of a given conflict.

"True peace, as the famed child educator Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us, "suggests the triumph of justice and love among men; it reveals the existence of a better world werein harmony reigns"... [her] pamphlet Peace and Education...

""The obedience which is expected of the child both in home and in the school--an obedience admitting neither of reason nore of justice--prepares [them] to be docile to blind forces.

""The punishment, so frequent in schools, which consists in subjecting the culprit to public reprimand and is almost tantamount to the torture of the pillory, fills the soul with a crazy, unreasoning fear of public opinion, manifestly unjust and false" the noted educator adds.

"The perfect and infallible discipline therefore becomes synonymous with slavery for the child...

""The virue worthy above all others of public encouragement and of reward has always been triumphing over one's school fellows in competitions, and the gaining in examinations of the decisive victory allowing one to pass from one year to another of a monotonous existence of perpetual servitude.

""[Children] brought up in this way have been prepared neither to fight and be victorious, not to conquer truth and possess it, nor to love others and join with them in striving for a better life.

""Their education has prepared them rather for an incident, a mere episode of real community life: war. For in reality, the cause of war does not lie in armaments, but in the [individuals] who make use of them"" (A.V. Krebs. "Sacrificing Childhood to Idolatry of Violence." Populist Progressive, May 1, 2005: 7).


"If we don't know history, then we are ready meat for carnivorous politicians and the intellectuals and journalists who supply the carving knives. I am not speaking of the history we learned in school, a history subservient to our political leaders, from the much-admired Founding Fathers to the Presidents of recent years. I mean a history which i honest about the past. If we don't know that history, then any President can stand up to the battery of microphones, declare that we must go to war, and we will have no basis for challenging him. He will say that the nation is in danger, that democracy and liberty are at stake, and that we must therefore send ships and planes to destroy our new enemy, and we will have no reason to disbelieve him...

"But if we know some history, if we know how many times Presidents have made similar declarations to the country, and how they turned out to be lies, we will not be fooled. Although some of us may pride ourselves that we were never fooled, we still might accept as our civic duty the responsibility to buttress our fellow citizens against the mendacity of our high officials.

"We would remind whoever we can that President Polk Lied to the nation about the reason for going to war with Mexico in 1846. It wasn't that Mexico "shed American blood upon the American soil," but that Polk, and the slave-owning aristocracy, coveted half of Mexico.

"We would point out that President McKinley lied in 1898 about the reason for invading Cuba, saying we wanted to liberate the Cubans from Spanish control, but the truth is that we really wanted Spain out of Cuba so that the island could be open to United Fruit and other American corporations. He also lied about the reasons for our war in the Philippines, claiming we only wanted to "civilize" the Filipinos, while the real reason was to own a valuable piece of real estate in the far Pacific, even if we had to kill hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to accomplish that.

"President Woodrow Wilson--so often characterized in our history books as an "idealist"--lied about the reasons for entering the First World War, saying it was a war to "make the world safe for democracy," when it was really a war to make the world safe for the Western imperial powers.

"Harry Truman lied when he said the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima because it was "a military target."

"Everyone lied about Vietnam--Kennedy about the extent of our involvement, Johnson about the Gulf of Tonkin, Nixon about the secret bombing of Cambodia, all of them claiming it was to keep South Vietnam free of communism, but really wanting to keep South Vietnam as an American outpost at the edge of the Asian continent.

"Reagan lied about the invasion of Grenada, claiming falsely that it was a threat to the United States.

"The elder Bush lied about the invasion of Panama, leading to the death of thousands of ordinary citizens in that country.

"And he lied again about the reason for attacking Iraq in 1991--hardly to defend the integrity of Kuwait (can one imagine Bush heartstricken over Iraq's taking of Kuwait?), rather to assert US power in the oil-rich Middle East.

"Given the overwhelming record of lies told to justify wars, how could anyone listening to the younger Bush believe him as he laid out the reasons for invading Iraq? Would we not instinctively rebel against the sacrifice of lives for oil?...

"A careful reading of history might give us another safeguard against being deceived. It would make clear that there has always been, and is today, a profound conflict of interest between the government and the people of the United States. This thought startles most people, because it goes against everything we have been taught.

"We have been led to believe that, from the beginning, as our Founding Fathers put it in the Preamble to the Constitution, it was "we the people" who established the new government after the Revolution. When the eminent historian Charles Beard suggested, a hundred years ago, that the Constitution represented not the working people, not the slaves, but the slave-holders, he became the object of an indignant editorial in The New York Times...

"Our present leaders are not so candid. They bombard us with phrases like "national interest," "national security," and "national defense" as if all of these concepts applied equally to all of us, colored or white, rich or poor, as if General Motors and Halliburton have the same interests as the rest of us, as if George Bush has the same interest as the young man or woman he sends to war.

"Surely, in the history of lies told to the population, this is the biggest lie. In the history of secrets, withheld from the American people, this is thebiggest secret: that there are classes with different interests in this country. To ignore that--not to know that the history of our country is a history of slaveowner against slave, landlord against tenant, corporation against worker, rich against poor--is to render us helpless before all the lesser lies told to us by people in power...

"We must face our long history of ethnic cleansing, in which millions of Indians were driven off their land by means of massacres and forced evacuations. And our long history, still not behind us, of slavery, segregation, and racism. We must face our record of imperial conquest, in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, our shameful wars against small countries a tenth of our size: Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq. And the lingering memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not a history of which we can be proud.

"Our leaders have taken it for granted, and planted that belief in the minds of many people, that we are entitled, because of our moral superiority, to dominate the world...

"A more honest estimate of ourselves as a nation would prepare us all for the next barrage of lies that will accompany the next proposal to inflict our power on some other part of the world. It might also inspire us to creat a different history for ourselves, by taking our country away from the liars and killers who govern it, and by rejecting nationalist arrogance, so that we can join the rest of the human race in the common cause of peace and justice" (Howard Zinn. "America's Blinders." The Progressive, April 2006: 22-24).


Mothersday

"...Mother's Day was not meant to be a crassly commercialized, rose-scented tribute to sweet, docile mom. Rather, it began as a bold cry by mothers for all mothers to rise up against war. In the 1860s, thousands of mothers were devastated by the brutal slaughter of the Civil War, and many dared to stand up (at a time when women coulc not even vote) to decry war in the name of motherhood--and to urge that all mothers become a force for peace...

"Over the long haul, CodePink is working for a world without war. To join the effort, go to www.code-pink4peace.org" (Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer. "The Real Mother's Day." The Hightower Lowdown, June 2006: 1).


"... massive military attacks are not only morally reprehensible but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.

"In the three years of the Iraq War, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, the United States has failed utterly in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq...

The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel. Indeed, it has increased the number of its enemies...

"The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations. Even though the United States dropped more bombs in the Vietnam War than in all of World War II, it was still forced to withdraw. The Soviet Union, trying for a decade to conquir Afghanistan, in a war that caused a million deaths, became bogged down and also finally withdrew...

"The United States, which had its way in Latin America for a hundred years, has been unable, despite a long history of military interventions, to control events in Cuba, or Venezuela, or Brazil, or Bolivia.

"Overwhelming Israeli military power, while occupying the West Bank and Gaza, has not been able to stop the resistance movement of Palestinians. Israel has not made itself more secure by its continued use of massive force. The United States, despite two successive wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, is not more secure.

"More important than the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time always results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a "war on terrorism" is a contradiction in terms...

More than a million civilians in Vietnam were killed by US bombs, presumably by "accident." Add up all the terrorist attacks throughout the world in the twentieth century and they do not equal that awful toll.

"If reacting to terrorism attacks by war is inevitably immoral, then we must look for ways other than war to end terrorism" (Howard Zinn. "Why War Fails." The Progressive, Nov. 2006: 14-15).


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS