This article set me thinking again about war and the historic failure of all peace agitation over the past century.
This writer is the latest in a long string of folks attempting to advance the peace agenda. They fail always for the exact same reason. They want unilateral action when war is patently never unilateral. If they ever actually succeeded in their agenda, they would all end up been hanged for treason.
Yet the time to address the prospect of universal peace is now upon us. War itself, newspapers notwithstanding who are going to report the last battle of the last war of the last ethnic conflict spun out of control, is no longer a winning proposition in any economic form.
In fact it is mostly out of business. This decade a few thousand have died in battle. Last century, 50 – 70 million died as a result of the Second World War alone. We have instead pseudo wars against some seriously ill informed teenagers who have bought into the local mullah’s fanaticism.
There is still a smattering of regional liberation efforts sputtering along where they can.
While all this is going on, the rest of the world is learning to read English and are accessing the internet via cell phone. Fanaticism does poorly in the full glare of publicity and open debate between friends. You no longer can shut people up so easily.
In the meantime, look at Mohammed Younis and his world of microcredit. He has singlehandedly created a mechanism, now actively imitated worldwide that is delivering credit to the least serviced. That generation will produce children who will get educated and be upwardly mobile. And so the great cause of economic distress vanishes before our eyes to be replaced by a society of stakeholders demanding a more civil society.
It needs a fanatic to order young men to kill each other. In fact it takes two. Most come by it honestly, as part of been a patriot. A few come by it because they follow a ‘prophet’
They are both sides of the same coin.
If we want universal peace, today it is a simple matter of letting the world talk it all out through their cell phones. And it is happening anyway. The Islamic jihadists are effectively the only folks left pushing a warlike agenda. Everyone else is largely out of the war business.
Among the jihadists, we have clear hot spots and continuing socioeconomic failure that worsens the situation. I think though that the trends are going in the right direction on the ground were we fail to see things. Hopefully we will not have to wait until the whole world joins the global middle class before these folks come to their senses
How to End Wars
by David Swanson
Global Research, November 8, 2009
After Downing Street - 2009-11-07
The peace movement was defunded and demobilized by the absurd belief that an election alone would make a difference, and now there is widespread desire to tell everyone that it didn't. Certainly, it didn't. We have a larger military budget, bases in more nations, and more troops and mercenaries on the ground in
There is still and will always be a role for journalists, bloggers, authors, and pundits to expose the abuses of any and all government officials, including the president. But the primary role of peace activists should have nothing to do with presidents, or with senators. We have virtually no ability to influence them. When you're invited to discuss these wars on a television show, by all means expose what the president is doing.. But asking members of an activist group to spend their time writing or calling the White House is a waste of energy that could be better used. It should be directed at the House of Representatives.
And when we look at the House, we see that the easiest way to quickly generate a large list of cosponsors is to propose bills. This pleases our closest allies in the House and impresses funders and allies in
Passing a bill barring the spending of any money on an escalation in
If you want to stop funding wars, or even just the escalation of wars, the easiest way is to just not fund them. This can be done in the House alone. The Senate is not needed. The president is not needed. Rather than passing a bill stating that you won't fund wars, and then dreaming about getting the Senate to pass it too, you can choose to not pass bills that fund the wars. If the House makes clear that it will not fund an escalated war, then the war cannot be escalated. If the House makes clear that it will not fund a continued war, then the war cannot be continued.
The process of signing congress members onto a bill against funding or a bill requiring an exit plan is not counterproductive. It nudges them in the right direction. It creates a discussion about the possibility of including such measures in funding bills. It identifies lists of congress members to target in lobbying for stronger commitments. But when these bills are all we ask for, then they are not compromises or middle-ground. They are harder to move forward when they are all we ask for. And moving them forward without a broader vision of how we actually end the wars doesn't get us anywhere in the end.
Our primary demand must be: publicly commit to voting no on any bill that funds these wars. If unrelated measures are included in such bills, they must still be voted down and those other measures passed separately. If your representative is worried about funding a withdrawal itself, assure them that a bill to fund purely withdrawal has our support. If they are worried about abandoning foreign nations, assure them that we support diplomacy and aid. But we need them to join the list of their colleagues who have committed to voting no on bills that fund the wars. And we need them to lobby their colleagues to join them on that list.
By moving our focus to Congress we do something else useful. We allow people to protest wars who refuse to protest a president. By identifying wars with a president, we grant all future presidents the power to make wars, and we discourage participation in citizen activism by people who fantasize about the president being their friend or who think it's not wise to protest a popular president.
Our focus on Congress should include their responsibility on
If Congress asserts the power to hold war criminals accountable (which, again, can be done without the Senate or the president), we will be in a far better position to deter further wars and escalations, and Congress will be in a better position to cut off funding.
In June, 32 congress members voted No on war funding. They should be thanked and rewarded. But they should, above all, be asked and pressured to make a commitment to join this list of members committed to voting No from here on out:
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said that he'd like to see another $50 billion passed in another supplemental war spending bill in the next few months. This is money to fund an escalation that we are supposed to believe has not been decided upon yet. This must be stopped. Some congress members are speaking against it. Even the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee David Obey has suggested he might oppose this. He very much needs to be encouraged by people around the nation to not put our money where his mouth isn't.
I just had the privilege of speaking at a rally in
Resources to help in this effort (and a place to report your results) in your congressional district can be found at http://afterdowningstreet.org/whipwars. Here's a flyer on ending the war in Vietghanistan: PDF. Here's how to step up your activism. Here's what's needed instead of bombs and guns. Here's a way to nonviolently resist.
Here's a very useful list of top targets and multiple ways to contact them. You can help with that even if they are not your representative.
What I am proposing is not easy. It's just the easiest path we have. It will be easier, the more of us get involved, the more of us refrain from discouraging each other with our knowledge of how hard the struggle will be, and the more of us who are willing to go beyond lobbying to nonviolently disrupting, including by sitting in our congress members' offices and refusing to leave until they agree to leave Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. These wars, like all wars, are Congress's wars. The blood is on their hands and they represent us.
David Swanson is the author of the new book "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect