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How anti-war advocates can beat the pro-war oligarchy.. Silence the war drum beat
Why does America slough in quagmires like Vietnam? Stupidly buy into stumbling into Iraqi wars that allow enemies to wear down our military and economy? Who brainwashed America into a war psyche as an answer to all problems? Does the peace movement need better tactics, strategies, time, and energy deployment to beat down the drumbeats that lead us to war? Scott Ritter thinks so, as does Peoples Lobby. There is an art to war, as there is to law making and the peace movement needs to use both better,
Silence the dumbed-down drum beat marching too many to war
Dwayne Hunn, PH.D.
Peoples Lobby Education Foundation Executive Director
On several occasions, I’ve enjoyed Marine Scott Ritter’s energized talks. His talks epitomized the esteem with which he holds the “We the People…” document, which is the foundation for much of the greatness this country can produce.
His recent article “Art Of War For The Anti-War Movement,” which preludes his upcoming book of a similar name prompts Peoples Lobby to add our perspective to his insightful comments.
In short, Scott’s thesis is that the anti-war movement is losing, because they do not employ tactics and strategies that put the pro-war mentality into retreat and silence the well-orchestrated drum beat marching too many to more and more war.
Peoples Lobby (501c4) and its Education Foundation (501c3) have a history of employing limited resources to educate and advocate for tactics and strategies that produce non-partisan benefits to all Americans. Two of the mantras which founders Edwin and Joyce Koupal drilled into our Steering Board members define our overall strategy:
“This country runs on laws. If you want to change the country, write its laws.”
“Final responsibility rests with the People. Therefore, never is
final authority delegated.”
For two+ years Peoples Lobby has been building a law and movement that returns power to “We the People…” It is a law that will dramatically help “form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”
And, in the shrunken 21st century Global Village, it helps build those same benefits throughout the world. In doing so, the law will keep our nation from stumbling into stupid wars, such as Vietnam and Iraq.
Peoples Lobby’s strategy is to involve citizens into driving the process to educate and lobby Congress, our employees, to pass the law “We the people” have written and support. Passing the AWSC Congressional proposals builds a one million strong volunteer American World Service Corps (AWSC) that chooses service at home or abroad that strengthens those volunteers, America, world, and posterity.
The AWSC augments our military by doing the peaceful, productive domestic and international nation building that they are not trained to do. By empowering effective, existing governmental and NGOs under the cost-effective AWSC umbrella with America’s best resources – its people, the AWSC dramatically reduces the need to put military troops into harm’s way.
Please visit http://www.WorldServiceCorps.us for details for here we want to focus on Scott’s concern that:
“…the cause of the anti-war movement, no matter how noble and worthy, is in fact a losing cause as currently executed.”
Many of the concerns Scott expresses were concerns we have expressed to a few of the same groups to which he has spoken. We believe that if the peace movement would implement Peoples Lobby tactics and strategies of direct engagement in law making and then in field service, the peace movement will create the successes Scott sees as missing.
In “Art Of War For The Anti-War Movement,” Scott states:
Despite all of the well-meaning and patriotic work of the millions of activists and citizens who comprise the anti-war movement, America still remains very much a nation not only engaged in waging and planning wars of aggression, but has also become a nation which increasingly identifies itself through its military and the wars it fights. This is a sad manifestation of the fact that the American people seem to be addicted to war and violence, rather than the ideals of human rights, individual liberty, and freedom and justice for all that should define our nation.
How does Peoples Lobby think the peace movement should attack the killing disease that is making us “a nation which increasingly identifies itself through its military and the wars it fights”?
Return final responsibility to “the people” and engrain that involvement through a good, non-partisan law that involves Americans in living up to their strong, just, and ingenious frontiersmen image.
Unfortunately, most of the world no longer views us as that righteous, courageous trailblazer.
AWSC => peaceful psyche => productive nation building
Peoples Lobby believes the anti-war movement would win the battle for quicker peace now and sustain greater peace for future generations by devoting a significant portion of its time into introducing, passing, and implementing the American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals into law.
Now well-intentioned peace groups spend a great deal of time and energy demonstrating on street corners, attending speeches with fellow-believers, and expressing outrage. On the other hand, their pro-war opponents spend little on analogous efforts. Instead, those who lead, or easily fall into, the pro-war crowd, spend their time and resources on making money. Then, they hire expensive lobbyists who make patron-benefiting laws that reflect their view of the world, as narrow-minded as it may be. Their bought laws tend to build the resources of the pro-war group, while sheltering themselves and most of their loved ones from serving in domestic or international areas of need. Living within their comfortable green zone asset base, most pro-war advocates continue building a myopic world-view. In the meantime, the distance between their green zone and world battlefields keeps shrinking, and needy frontiers, which can easily erupt into battlefields, keep growing.
Too many movies, computer games, television shows, etc., and comfortable Americans idealize war. As Scott poignantly points out, those who smell the stench, spray the blood, and feel the fear of war only want to wage it when it is necessary. What is true and healthy about most military service is the teamwork and camaraderie that such service develops around the belief that you are serving a just cause.
If the anti-war movement would invest a significant proportion of its resources into helping make the AWSC happen, a million Americans a year for a generation would involve themselves in growing “the ideals of human rights, individual liberty, and freedom and justice for all that should define our nation.” And the camaraderie that comes from working on the teams under the AWSC umbrella replicates the team work that keeps our soldiers going back to protect their buddies. The difference is that these AWSC teams are armed with books, hammers, stethoscopes, seeds, computers, and micro loans rather than guns, missiles, and scandalous corporate handouts.
Just win baby, win!
Scott also critiques the pro-war dominant American psyche by pointing out that:
“Americans aren’t against the war in Iraq because it is wrong; they are against it because we are losing.”
Scott critiques the shallow but growing pro-war psyche, which myopically believes America should just do whatever to win any war we enter, even if it is a sham-war, by asking:
“At what point did the American invasion of Iraq become a bad war? When we suffered 2,000 dead? After two years of fruitless struggle? Once we spent $100 billion?”
The Iraq War was wrong the moment we started bombing Iraq. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein is no excuse, and does not pardon America’s collective sin of brooking and tolerating an illegal war of aggression.
Why was most of America so dumb about buying into this shamed war? Why do so many Americans have this illogical belief that our over-reliance on a war psyche is a healthy answer to meeting world needs?
About 15% of Americans take out passports. Subtract corporate, military, Club Medish trips, and you have very few Americans gaining an understanding of how poverty, disease, climate change, etc., are damaging and radicalizing too much of the world. Instead of having first hand, practical, indelible experiences raising America’s collective understanding of world needs, increasingly isolated America has been hoodwinked into a pro-war mentality.
And then, Scott uses 21st century words that update and cause pains for one of his Grand Old Party’s perceptive 20th century Presidents, about whom almost everybody was comfortable saying “I like Ike.”
A couple of President Eisenhower’s many worldly-wise quotes summarizes the state of America’s policy making today.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children…
“All of us have heard this term 'preventative war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time... I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
Today, Scott spells out how far the Grand Old Party has fallen from Ike’s worldly-wise leadership when he angrily complains that:
“America is pre-programmed for war, and unless the anti-war movement dramatically changes the manner in which it conducts its struggle, America will become a nation of war, for war, and defined by war, and as such a nation that will ultimately be consumed by war.
“What did ya’ expect!”
Should we expect anything but pro-war programming? A shrinking percentage of Americans taste the world as our:
• Volunteer soldiers did in the Greatest Generation.
• Nation builders under President Kennedy’s envisioned Peace Corps started doing with the 60’s Generation.
• Our network media is controlled , heavily ad-influenced, or owned primarily by corporations vested with the military-industrial estate.
Sarge Shriver, the Peace Corps first Director, reminded us:
“If the Pentagon’s map is more urgent, the Peace Corp’s is, perhaps, in the long run the most important... What happens in India, Africa, and South America -- whether the nations where the Peace Corps works succeed or not -- may well determine the balance of peace.”
According to former Senator Harris Wofford, President John Kennedy, who started the Peace Corps in 1961, wanted the Peace Corps to have 100,000 quickly serving and learning in the world --- and bringing that knowledge home. Wofford recalled, "He said it would then be considered serious. In one decade, it would reach 1 million volunteers."
In 46 years since Kennedy’s marvelous approach to waging war on poverty, disease, resource depletion, etc., was launched, how many Americans have returned to share their field combat knowledge fighting poverty, disease, cultural misunderstandings, etc., and on how the world works?
Only slightly over 150,000 have completed their overseas service and return home to share that with comfortable Americans.
If since then five, ten, or twenty million Peace Corps or nation building volunteers had served, would the world be a safer, better place? Would many, many more American families be aware of the policies needed to build a stable world? Would those families be less easily scared into a naively simplistic war mentality as a cure-all for complex public policy issues?
Scott, as Ike and all those involved in difficult campaigns know, refers to what military men base life and limb on:
“There is an old adage in the military that 'intelligence drives operation.'” The anti-war movement needs to develop a centralized intelligence operation, not a spy organization, but rather a think-tank that produces sound analysis based upon fact that can be used to empower those who are waging the struggle against war.”
Field intelligence => smarter infrastructure development => less warfare
A primary reason behind Peoples Lobby’s drafting of the AWSC was to reverse the decline in America’s practical experience in challenging and overcoming the 21st century’s frontiers. In a century filling up with weapons of mass destruction, the challenge is not to see who can obtain and use more weapons. Today, the earth inconviently feels the strain supporting 6.7 billion. With that number doubling in about 35 years, today’s frontiers and challenges are to understand and tenaciously deal with poverty, AIDS, climate change, man-made and natural disasters, genocides, cultural misunderstandings, resource and species depletion, etc.
In previous centuries, some suggested the globe was too big and the information and delivery infrastructure not developed enough to successfully war against poverty, disease, and killing, as the Bible, Koran, and every religion calls upon us to do. In the 21st century Global Village we don’t have that excuse, and we have the need to dramatically improve life for at least 2+ BILLION souls surviving on a dollar a day. We can’t do that by having today’s dominant military power send more soldiers to costly wars. We can do that by sending a robust American World Service Corps (AWSC) to economically build world stability.
Once introduced and passed in Congress, the AWSC ramps up over seven years so that by the seventh year one million American volunteers per year will serve at home or abroad through such existing organizations as Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, OxFam, Mercy Corps, and State Conservation Corps. The proposal calls for twenty years of such service before Congress would consider sun-setting it.
Imagine today’s state of the world if this program had been running for the last 20 years. Twenty + million Americans would have worked on rebuilding America’s needy neighborhoods, teaching in its schools, or serving abroad reducing poverty, disease, misunderstandings.
With the AWSC working, imagine how advanced our public policy debate would be. Fear-mongerers clamoring for war would not bamboozle America’s worldly aware citizenry. Too many American families would have too much world experience to be fooled into a stupid war.
And if a senseless pro-war psyche started rising what would our response be in an AWSC-implemented world?
Now, anti-war groups work hard to fill a college hall with 200 of the converted to hear Scott Ritter speak of his first hand knowledge of one of America’s most gargantuan public policy blunders. If a senseless pro-war movement started rising in a nation where 20+ million involved Americans had served in peaceful nation building, the peace movement would be filling stadiums without much effort, and pulling in many more fence sitters.
Reading, writing, talking, and grousing about public policy issues is a necessary first step to understanding and eventually changing public policy. Holding meetings, protesting, and demonstrating are part of the necessary process. But in repeating these efforts, Peoples Lobby respectfully submits that the peace movement needs to devote much more time and energy in the more sophisticated and significant effort of creating non-partisan law that dramatically increases the first-hand intelligence level of Americans and the world.
One of the reasons America stumbled into Iraq, and Vietnam, is that not enough of our elected leaders and voting Americans knew enough about the State of World and Our Union.
It’s not enough to have thousands of Americans and paid informers serving as our nation’s intelligence apparatus. When that handful gets it right, too often their elected leaders do not have enough real world experience and common sense to understand, accept, or even read the sometimes correct intelligence analysis.
With so few Americans learning and doing in the classroom of the world, it is easy to understand why Americans can be scared into believing that poor, underdeveloped, agrarian nations like Vietnam, encouraged by a communist nation who can’t squarely frame doorways in its apartment buildings, will topple the world with dominoes and paint America red. Less than four decades after the Vietnam quagmire, our nation’s lack of collective intelligence has us sinking into another deadly quagmire.
This time, however, we are losing to the color reds, as we cover ourselves in the red of a financially broke nation exporting our wealth and equity to China, OPEC nations, and rich oligarchs whose only patriotic loyalty seems to lie within the ostentatious halls of their estates.
Representatives produce laws to create the world in which we and our children live. “Intelligence drives operations” not only for our military but for our citizenry as well. If the mass of our citizens don’t understand how the world, its cultures, and economies work, we will continue blundering into making or allowing laws to pass that kill, maim, and destroy ours and others’ loved ones. Such a stupid course will, in the end, destroy our nation.
Other brewing battlefields
In the 21 nations of Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, United Arab Republic, Kuwait, Turkey, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Indonesia about 910 million mostly Muslims reside. In several of these nations our warring mentality has already left too much blood, and taken too many limbs and lives of our troops and their civilians. Continuing that approach only escalates the surge in terrorists and terrorism.
How many Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) serve in these 21 nations in 2006? Fifty-eight. All in Jordan.
In the nations of Sudan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where the terrorists trained for 911, only 2,217 PCVs served. The last time one worked in Pakistan was 1967, Afghanistan 1979, Sudan 1986. Iran had 1,863 until 1976. Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, etc., have seen 0 PCVs.
If over the last ten years. tens of thousands of cost-effective Americans had served in the do-good organizations under the American World Service Corps umbrella, would we be in today’s bloody mess in that part of the world?
In the meantime, the rest of the world isn’t growing more pleasant for our military or civilians.
• Well-armed Nigerians warriors are gearing up to fight oil companies and their government so their suffering poor have a share in the oil and resource wealth of their nation.
• Zimbabweans have seen their population shrink to 11 million as starvation, AIDS, and genocide have 80% of them unemployed and inflation has skyrocketed over 1000% in less than a year, while an estimated 1.3 orphans roam the streets.
• Indonesians, still recovering from 2004’s five billion dollar Tsunami in which over 130,000 died, 504,000 were displaced, and 36,000 went missing suffers a 2006 flood that makes 220,000 homeless.
• Back home, a hurricane rips through central Florida in 2007 while tens of thousands of Katrina families remain homeless since 2005, as Habitat becomes the Katrina region’s largest homebuilder.
Pick almost anywhere in the world and climate change, increasing disparity, and man-made and natural disasters cry out for us to attack the problems with the right sized service, which enacting Peoples Lobby citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals does.
The AWSC can address needs before resentments and extremists pull our troops into warfare. If we don’t soon field a robust AWSC to understand, learn, and win hearts and minds, what kind of world will your children face?
Exit Strategy is not the problem
Certainly, Congressional resolutions need to be offered and debated as to how to reduce the loss of lives and resources in Iraq, and Iran. Once enough Americans are aware enough of how the world works, they will drive this administration to shift from an over reliance on war. Generals can then withdraw or redeploy to safer enclaves within months.
However, too few elected and government officials are looking beyond today’s Middle East quagmire to implementing an offensive plan that will keep us from being lead into the quick sand of the next stupid war. To avoid the next arrogantly drunken public policy mistake, America needs a much better entry strategy into the world, so we are not again shortly groping for an exit strategies.
When we waste the blood of Americans and wealth of America on stupid wars based on an uneducated world view, we allow other battlefields to grow that will tomorrow suck more life blood from our once strong and admired nation. A smarter battle plan for peace would be to field the cost effective, peaceful, productive, nation building American World Service Corps. Then, we could:
• Reduce those battlefields and reverse the surge in terrorist recruitment.
• Augment our 1.5 million volunteer military with one million AWSC volunteers who will reduce the hatred fired at our troops while building stability at home and abroad.
• Enlighten America’s and the world’s public policy making IQ.
America still runs on laws. And final responsibility should rest with the people,
With that in mind, Peoples Lobby urges the peace movement to deploy more of its troops to help pass its citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals, so that tens of millions of Americans live and spread peace. Doing so would return America’s psyche and character to forming a more perfect union, establishing justice, insuring domestic Tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity… at home and abroad.