When people sign the declaration of peace at WorldBeyondWar.org they have the opportunity to type in a brief statement in their own words. Thousands have done so, including those pasted below. (And a few great quotes from the past have been added here in graphic form.)
“I support this proposal and agree with this great and important initiative to abolish militarism and war. I will continue to speak out for an end to the institution of militarism and war and for institutions built on international law and human rights and nonviolent conflict resolution.” — Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate
“As a 29 year veteran of the US Army/Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel and having served as a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and resigning in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war, I firmly believe war does not resolve political issues. We must work diligently to force the governments of our nations to use diplomacy, not weapons.” —Ann Wright
“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” — Noam Chomsky
“It is so inspiring to see a new group coming together not to focus on a particular war or weapons system, but on all war–everywhere. And it’s great to have such beautifully crafted arguments about why war is not inevitable and how war contributes to so many other global ills. This coalition is worthy of Martin Luther King’s call to end violence and instead put our energies and resources into ‘life-affirming activities.’ Bravo!” —Medea Benjamin
“We must work to end all war because: 1. In war there are no winners, only losers. 2. To thrive, humans need peace, which cannot be created by war. 3. We need all our ingenuity, creativity, technology and will to find a solution to runaway climate change. We cannot afford the military-industrial complex.” — Sally Reynolds, Abingdon Peace Group
“The abolition of war is an idea whose time has come. We are at a transformative moment in history. Our Mother Earth is under siege from destructive global warming and industrialization. It is essential that we mobilize to save our planet. War is a cruel and untenable distraction, draining trillions of dollars and incalculable losses of intellectual firepower away from the essential work that needs to be done to create a livable future for humanity.” — Alice Slater, Global Council of Abolition 2000
“War is a crime against humanity. When 90% of the casualties of war are civilians including children, its time to End ALL WARS! The world badly needs the resources to meet human and environmental needs. Wars are not making us more secure, but creating more enemies. There are more effective means of achieving security than war and killing other people’s children. As former President Eisenhower said, ‘I like to believe that the people of the world will want peace so much that governments will have to get out of the way and let them have it.’ When the people of the world decide to end war, we can end it. At least 99% of the world’s people do not benefit at all from all the wars our governments are waging. The time is NOW. Please join us.” —David Hartsough
“If anything can halt climate change it’s redirecting the unfathomable pile of money and energy now wasted on a war machine that kills for fossil fuels and consumes a good share of them in the process. The symptoms of militarism addressed by human rights and civil liberties groups would end if the disease were treated. Our culture of violence, our government of secrecy, our provocation of animosity around the world: these would end if we stopped slaughtering people under the banner of war. If a fraction of those damaged by war work to end war, it will quickly become a thing of the past — seen then as the unmitigated barbarism that many find it hard to recognize as long as war is accepted by those in positions of power.” — David Swanson, author of War No More: The Case for Abolition
“History has shown us that the institution of war created by humans is not only morally reprehensible, but utterly ineffective in resolving any kind of disputes. The human, social, environmental and economic costs of war are too high. We now know more about the reality of a global peace system built upon global collaboration, social change and constructive conflict transformation. It is time for a re-energized effort to build a world beyond war by challenging the war system and supporting the infrastructure of peace.” — Patrick Hiller, Peace Scientist and Director of War Prevention Initiative by the Jubitz Family Foundation
“War is a great destroyer. And human history has arrived at a pivotal moment. We can choose a path built on cooperation, where our caring and sharing side uplifts us, or we can continue to embrace a worldview where domination using violence imprisons us in cycles of killing and destruction. I’m a biologist, and war is not genetically fixed. War is a cultural invention. It’s time to end this abomination, and this World Beyond War movement is uniquely focused on unifying the human community to create one of the biggest revolutions in history. I’m in. Join us!” — Judith Hand, Founder: A Future Without War.org
“Change will not come from a President Gandhi. Rather, the initiate for change will come from the bottom up as citizens force politicians to act. We just need to put our voices together and get sufficiently organized. Ultimately change will come from the ingenuity, compassion and ability of the American people to self-correct and chart a more secure and sustainable course for the future.” — Russell Faure-Brac, author of Transition to Peace
“Our greatest enemy today is not a particular group of people in a far-off country. Our greatest enemy is war itself.” — Paul Chappell, author of The Art of Waging Peace
“We must work to end all war because the health, welfare, and safety of the children is the most important element of a society. The children can be the focus for mobilizing, conflict resolution, and uniting for the future of humanity. The children allow the people of the world to show kindness, generosity, and compassion.” — Andre Sheldon, Director of Global Strategy of Nonviolence
“We must end war because war is an abrogation of the inviolable bonds of connection between all people, all living things and the planet. To participate in it is a denial of the trust in continuity deeded to us by our forebears and expected of us by future generations. Every act of war and aggression diminishes the humanity of the individuals involved, destabilizes communities and nations; and scars the entire human family. We are committed not to ending wars but to ending war itself, and to addressing the fear, greed, misunderstanding and drive for power that lead to violent conflict and war.” — Rena Guay, Executive Director, Center for Conscience in Action
“Richard Wendell Fogg, Center for the Study of Conflict, years ago said rather than saying we need to abolish war, we should talk of REPLACING war. In the field of conflict analysis and transformation, there are creative strategies we can apply to solutions that can solve problems and make war unnecessary. With increasing lethality of weapons, evolving technology and communications, war is obsolete. It is a solution worse than any problem it presumes to solve. We can address conflicts constructively. Beyond diplomacy, we can use mediation, negotiation and problem-solving strategies to transcend war.” —Diane Perlman
“Humanity can no longer afford war for two reasons. 1) We need all our resources to deal with the consequences of climate change and peak oil, and 2) War is too wasteful of both human and physical resources to be further utilized or tolerated by the human species. Indeed, nuclear war, which remains a major threat to the world as we know it, would likely make our planet uninhabitable for our own species and many others.” —Peter Bergel
“War is at the heart of all global problems, impeding humanity from a full realization of just, equitable and sustainable communities.” —Kent D. Shifferd
“There is enough for everyone to have what they need without exploitation. Adequate distribution of resources, including education, without violence can lead to a sustainable system that doesn’t stress the ecosphere. Alternately, continued violence feeds population surges and hoarding the products of exploitative extraction, which endanger the survival of our species. In short, if we want a future with humans on Earth, we’ve got to stop war.” —Vernon Huffman
“Life on earth is not sustainable continuing down this path. War destroys people, the air, the ground, the water. It destroys history. It inhales money/resources literally taking food out of the mouths of the people. It takes generations to recover if that is even possible. Enough.” —Barbara Cummings
“War is the worst act of terrorism and among the greatest causes of human suffering and death and ecological degradation. Wars are declared by the rich and fought by the poor. There will be no real justice and protection of human rights and the rights of nature until a sustainable global peace has been achieved.” —Brian J. Trautman
“I know from my lengthy experience as a journalist, researcher, and human being working in various war-torn or recently war-battered countries that all wars inflict terrible, long-lasting damage on all the residents of the war-zone– with the weakest members of society always suffering the most. There is no such thing as a ‘humanitarian’ war. In cases of conflict or bitter oppression, the very best way to mend broken relationships while building a solid basis for a better situation going forward is to use all nonviolent means possible to de-escalate tensions and work for a better life going forward on the basis of the equality and equal worth of all human persons.” —Helena Cobban
“War murders our children and sickens the survivors. ‘Peace or Perish: Abolish War on Planet and Poor’ (Theme of the 2014 Veterans For Peace National Convention, Asheville, NC, July 2–27).” —John Heuer
“The main obstacle to disarmament is the general/common belief that it is impossible. And it is — just as impossible as ending slavery, apartheid, the Cold War, and tearing the Iron Curtain. Humanity suffers under poverty, unhealth, pollution, depletion of resources, climate change. Instead of being an extremely expensive and deadly risk on top of all those threats militarism is clearly the best option/chance/opportunity to do something substantial — if all countries would join in abolition of military force and forces (the idea that Nobel in his will for ‘the champions of peace’ called ‘creating the brotherhood of nations’).” —Fredrik S. Heffermehl
“Militarism is the world’s biggest problem…morally, socially, economically, and environmentally.” —Ward Reilly
“Creating a world beyond war may be the noblest endeavor we can work on. Can you imagine what future generations will think if we succeed? We will leave them a world where trillions of dollars are not wasted annually on weapons and war, where tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands are no longer slaughtered in unnecessary wars. Surely we can imagine solving conflicts between nations in a more mature way; we can imagine the human race evolving to a higher consciousness that no longer requires war. We can imagine a world without war, now we have to work toward such a world. It will be a global challenge, uniting the world to accomplish this great new reality.” —Kevin Zeese, PopularResistance.org
“War is a lie. War is a racket. War is hell. War is waste. War is a crime. War is terrorism. War is not the answer.” —Coleen Rowley
“War destroys. War obliterates. War is ruination. And war begets more war. After thousands of years of experience proving this, and reams of literature and countless works of art exposing it, when are people going to learn?” —Lisa Simeone
“War is a barbaric tool of the war profiteers and Empires who employ them. War pits young people from the working class against other similarly poor, or disadvantaged humans, for nothing but the greed of the few. Only we the people can make war obsolete by not participating in the profound crimes of the profiteers and other war mongers.” —Cindy Sheehan
“War causes pain, suffering, and gross violations to human needs and rights. War causes a violent domino effect for years to come. Humans have no business being involved in war. We are an evolved species that needs to focus on peace and justice in our world. We must honor and show respect for our planet and all living and nonliving entities. We need to shift away from violence and focus on the beauty of nonviolence. War and destructive violence are not solutions to any problem. War must be ended. When that happens we will lift the pain and suffering of our world and allow humanity to begin to heal. It is time we wake up and raise our thoughts to a higher consciousness. If we do not end war now, it will end us. Call on me. I am ready to help end all war!” —Joy Henry
“We need a movement if we are going to stop wars and this may be it. So many of us are working in small groups and we need to come together as one.” —JoAnne Lingle
“The future existence of our planet depends upon ending war. War and violence are not a solution to conflict. They contribute to more violence, more death, more poverty, more suffering physically and psychologically, more patriotism, more borders, more ignorance, and more stupidity. How tragic is all of that. The ecology of our planet is in jeopardy and the pollution of the war machine world wide is a huge contributor to climate change.” —Ann Tiffany
“As professor of global peace studies at the International Islamic University of Malaysia I am committed to the ending of war also through criminalization of war, an approach that has not been sufficiently used in spite of the UN Charter outlawing war — with too many loopholes used buy aggressive countries.” —Johan Galtung, Founder of TRANSCEND International
“I applaud the establishment of a global movement to end all war, but note that citizens of the United States have a special responsibility to make this happen. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has bombed more than 25 countries. In those 68 years, no other nation has killed and injured more people living outside of its borders. Most Americans remain silent while we spend more on war, and have more soldiers in other countries, than all other nations combined. War and soldiers are glorified in the U.S. Please recognize and honor those who have had the courage to take a public stand against one or more U.S. warswww.uspeacememorial.org/Registry.htm. We celebrate these role models in hopes of inspiring other Americans to speak out against war and for peace.” —Michael D. Knox, US Peace Memorial Foundation
“War is about nothing but violence. War is terrible! I have a first-hand war experience and I know what war is all about! I dream of peace!” —Fidaa Abuassi
“War, and preparation for war is draining resources that are life giving from countries, statesnd cities. The world we help create is the world we leave for those who come after us. I am committed to living non-violently in response to the violence in my neighborhood, my city, my state, my country, my hemisphere and my world because non-violent love in action is the most powerful force for change that exists.” —Joyce Ellwanger
“As Ernest Hemingway wrote, ‘Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead…’” —Christopher Flynn
“The biosphere can no longer tolerate the toxic affects of modern warfare, which threaten the continued existence of all humanity and many animals and plants on which we are dependent.” —Richard Ochs
“War benefits no one, with the exception of military contractors and their shareholders. It makes our communities poor, our nation less safe, and ourselves less fully human. We must commit to diplomacy, peacemaking and development!” —Diane Farsetta
“This atavistic practice has always been horrible, but technology makes it even more destructive and savage. it is time for humanity to become civilized.” —Sally-Alice Thompson
“We need to solve some of the world’s problems like climate change, world hunger, homelessness, income disparity, the influence of money ine lections, destruction of the environment, etc. and stop wasting our resources on killing people and destroying the environment.” —Jean Gordon
“The U.S. has become the most egregious war-monger and terrorist nation in the world, as well as the long-time leading purveyor of weapons of war throughout the world, and because here at home, we have 50 million of our citizens living in poverty, one in four children surviving on Food Stamps, a collapsing education system, poor health care, and many other disasters, none of which can be addressed as long as the country keeps pouring trillions of dollars into war and militarism. This madness and criminality must end!” —Dave Lindorff
“It’s obvious: war is a waste of human and earth resources that results only in suffering. There are other ways to disagree.” —Karen Malpede
“As John F. Kennedy said, it will end us instead. ‘If mankind does not put an end to war, then war will put an end to mankind.’ Modern war is ecocide, genocide and ethnocide and is not sustainable. The costs of war are enormous, not just financial but social, ecological and global. War must become obsolete if the world is to survive.” —John Judge
“We’re destroying life on earth in all its forms. By supporting war we are creating poverty that includes fear and anxiety about the future which leads to depression, poor health, food insecurity, and homelessnes. People all over the world are experiencing the destructive effects of investing most of our country’s resources in war resulting in the failure to create a healthy, well-educated and secure environment for humanity around the world.” —Nancy Schoerke
“We must shift from ‘war is a necessary evil’ to ‘peace is a necessary good.’” —Swami Beyondananda, Steve Bhaerman
“The myth that war creates justice, solves problems, improves security and enables peace is absurd. If we weren’t so bombarded with propaganda to the contrary, everyone would know that. We need to insist on a new story, the true story. We must forbid the few to profit from war so that we may all begin to profit from peace.” —Robert Shetterly
“We have seen enough of war to know that it doesn’t work to resolve conflicts. It only exacerbates them. It is time we find other solutions and dedicate ourselves to life–not death.” —Peter Kuznick
“To the extent that today’s world is civilized at all, it’s largely thanks to yesterday’s opponents of war and misery: the soldiers who refused to fight, the civilians who refused to accept war and occupation, and all those who worked for a global order based on peace and equity. Yet the institutions and forces that produce war have not been eradicated. Today we must build an international movement that will not only prevent future wars but transform the very structures on which war, militarism, and imperial domination are based. This struggle will not be won quickly, but in the process even small acts and partial victories can help save numerous lives.” —Kevin Young
“It is clear to me that war creates violence and does not solve problems. I have lived and worked in Iran. Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and have seen first hard the broken bodies of children and the anger at our impact as a nation on people’s lives. Thank you for putting this opportunity together. Peace” —Ann Huntwork
“I don’t believe there is such a thing as a ‘just war’. Murder is murder, whether sanctioned by a government or not. All people should have the right to life and liberty, so long as they do no harm to others, and war extinguishes both.” —Ethan Bell
“War promotes rascism all around the globe.” —Muhammad Ali Khan
“The greatest threat to humanity today is climate change. Militarism exacerbates that threat, and is in no way useful for addressing that threat. The resources invested in militarism must be redirected to combat climate change and global warming.” —Larry A. Unruh
“As a very young man I signed a declaration – ‘I renounce war and will never support another’. That was in 1939 and I have maintained this stand throughout the whole period, including WW2, as a Conscientious Objector.Worked to achieve Peace since. It is necessary for individuals to take this stand and maintain it. War never solves anything – it accentuates any problem, whatever it is, and makes matters worse. There is no moral or humanitarian justification for it.” —Donald Saunders
“Having survived WWII as a child I am TOTALLY against ALL wars, there is not excuse for killing and injuring humans, all innocent, for life. I am still traumatized from the war and the bombing and starvation.” —Ingrid Kepler-May
“We still carry ancient beliefs from thousands and thousands of years ago when war was the only thing known. We have options now. This organization will help shift the collective consciousness toward greater humanity and peace. War has indoctrinated the U.S. government as well as other countries. There is no integral intention that exists behind war. It is a contradiction and therefor useless. Its time to evolve greatly. ‘Love precious humanity’” —Leslie Naugle
“I want a world without war. War never works it just kills. I want my children to never have to have a close contact with war. I want my children and future generations to grow up free and in a peaceful world. War is not freedom it is a malignant force imposed by men in power. We must change the views of people in power now and let them know that in a diplomatic and peaceful way issues can be solved.” —Ana Martins
“I am working with the higher education system in Afghanistan. My work in this world is teaching and serving as a role model for peace, particularly in this environment that has been devastated by the ravages of 30+ years of horrific conflict. I have a number of close Afghan friends and they, probably more than any people I have ever met, want peace for themselves, their families and their country. I am privileged to know them and am inspired by their endurance and resilience. Endless war serves only to enrich those who champion it and it is long past time that it be stopped.” —James Stapp
“We know, deep down inside, it’s wrong! There’s nothing you can say to ever make it right! Killing is killing, no matter how you slice it! And the ones doing all the killing should be locked up, and be forced to watch the world transform from, This evil place they’ve created, To the wonderful place we should be creating!” —Ronald Richter
“Why must we work to end all war? War keeps us from progressing as a race. We can’t reach a point of sustainability with war taking up so much of our time. It attributes to the division of wealth providing greater conflict between classes and it hands over authority to the wealthy class. It makes them richer while the working class is left to die. War need to end because it’s a tool used to control the masses with fear. It distracts us from the problems within the social hierarchical systems that have been established. We must end all war because we’ll never have peace without it. War is expensive and destroys makes the economy unstable. War is a tool of capital gain, it’s marketable and from youth we are encouraged to take and defend our ruling authority without question. There are other ways to solve conflicts. Civilians are the ones who suffer the most damage. War and violence is terrible for you Psyche due to the traumatizing events. And Finally the main reason we should end all war is because it will kill us if we don’t.” —Jessica Gartner
“While I was always aware that there was a sickness that pervades every social institution I just could not make the connection to myself and this ‘sickness’ until my beautiful child was murdered in the ‘theater’ of ‘War’. This experience was eviscerating. I was disgorged of this ‘sickness’. I could see that ‘war’ is just goddamn MEAN. It bears no resemblance to what lives in my heart and mind so why was I able to accept it as a way of life? Why was I able to accept my son being part of a force for death…for entropy? I see it all clearly now, though. There is a deep sickness that pervades all social institutions and these sicknesses have made us mentally ‘disturbed’ – working out of balance with the gift of life. My granddaughter, Eva, is now four and has no father. She has no protector in this mean world where men prey upon life with a sense of entitlement that desires are to be quenched at all costs. Who will protect my granddaughter now? Through the physical death of my beloved son I have learned that misogyny is the root of warring behavior – and this thought process, this behavior is just goddamn mean.” —Jamie Santos
“Every person who dies is someone’s son, dad, mom, brother or sister.” —Gaston Locklear
“Nelson Mandela said: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ Peace is possible.” —John Bonifaz
“Every modern war has had its root in exploitation. The Civil War was fought to decide whether the slaveholders of the South or the capitalists of the North should exploit the West. The Spanish-American War decided that the United States should exploit Cuba.” —Larry Egly, Veterans For Peace Chapter 961 Codirector
“Another war will likely lead to the end of the human race.” —Lewis Patrie, WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility
“LAW opposes the illegal use of force supports the use of national and international law to settle disputes, prosecute offenders and protect rights.” —Gail Davidson, Lawyers against the War
“As a 70 year old woman, I have seen just what the destruction of war has done to my home country and also those we have invaded in the name of democracy! None of this has been done with my consent, so for the rest of my life I want to promote peace.” —Katherine Schock
“War takes people’s lives and destroys property, but it does not resolve the world’s problems. If anything is achieved through war, it is to plant the seeds for the next violent conflict as the vanquished and their children will usually not accept the outcome.” —Bruce Van Voorhis
“War is an irrational, counter-productive way to handle conflicts.” —Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History emeritus, SUNY/Albany
“Because we are being used as pawns in an endless game of bloodletting. One generation has to stop this. Please let it be ours.” —Lynne Thomas
“War traumatizes soldier and civilian alike; warfare is a profit-making racket; warfare resolves nothing that negotiations can’t resolve better; the weapons we have now make non-violence the only option to planetary annihilation.” —Madeline Taylor, Topanga Peace Alliance
“Those who exploit our susceptibility to the us-them fallacy to enlarge themselves are today no worse than those who have done the same down through the ages. But the world is different.” —Roger Arnold
“I know war. I was in one in 1991 in Bosnia. It is something that has to stop now. Noone should experience something like that ever again.” —Hatidza Isic
“War is the worst thing that human beings can do to each other, and the worst form of exploitation by the rich and the powerful.” —Nicolas J Sandy Davies
“As a geologist I have travelled the world and lived and worked amongst wonderful but disadvantaged peoples. I am emotionally moved to welcome this campaign.” —Kenneth Buckland
“It is time for the thinking man to realise that what we do to other living things and our environment we do to ourselves. As previous civilisations have learnt, the only way is to create harmony in our world and move beyond hypocrisy.” —Nozar Mossadeghi
“War must become obsolete in the 21st Century. Modern War is genocide, ecocide and ethnocide. Wars profit the few and destroy the many. ‘The hour is getting late,’ sang Bob Dylan. War is destroying the future of humanity.” —John Judge
“We owe it to our children and their children. The end of war is an end to poverty. War is a crime against humanity.” —Jean Andrew
“It’s time, at this 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I, for us all to join together to fight only war itself.” —Marie Reinsdorf
“War ain’t good for shit!” —Bryant White
Is U.S. foreign policy based on myths?
Public pressure has helped push back against a bill in Congress that would have torn up the negotiated agreement with Iran by imposing yet more sanctions on the people of that country. The people of this country are not eager for another war, and have not accepted that sanctions lead away from war rather than into it.
But supporters and opponents of that bill tend to agree that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and that this program must be stopped by one means or another. This underlying assumption is not supported by any evidence and never has been. We've heard it propounded for over thirty years, and the repetition has had its intended effect, but any evidence at all has always been lacking. A belief without evidence is a myth.
Iran has a nuclear energy program because the U.S. and European governments wanted Iran to have a nuclear energy program. The U.S. nuclear industry took out full-page ads in U.S. publications bragging about Iran's support for such an enlightened and progressive energy source. The U.S. was pushing for major expansion of Iran's nuclear program just before the Iranian revolution of 1979.
Since the Iranian revolution, the U.S. government has opposed Iran's nuclear energy program and misled the public about the existence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. This story is well-told in Gareth Porter's new book, Manufactured Crisis, and by Porter is his upcoming interview this week on Talk Nation Radio.
The U.S. assisted Saddam Hussein's Iraq in a war against Iran in the 1980s, in which Iraq attacked Iran with chemical weapons. Iran's religious leaders had declared that chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons must not be used, even in retaliation. And they were not. Iran could have responded to Iraqi chemical attacks with chemical attacks of its own and chose not to.
Iran is committed to not using or possessing weapons of mass destruction. The results of inspections bear that out. Iran's willingness to put restrictions on its legal nuclear energy program -- a willingness present both before and after sanctions -- bears that out. Inspections should continue. All steps should be taken to move the world toward safe and sustainable energy sources. But can we drop the idea that Iran wants to nuke us?
Selective Skepticism / Naiveté as National Duty
It's odd how quick we are to spot government deception or ill will when it comes to new health insurance programs, taxes, environmental regulations, or any domestic policy, and how trusting and naive we are when it comes to war. One would think we'd have learned our lessons. Eisenhower warned us that preparing for war would bring war. When the Soviet enemy disappeared, new ones were quickly found. According to both former NATO commander Wesley Clark and former UK prime minister Tony Blair, the Pentagon has a list of several nations' governments to be overthrown.
The vast stockpiles of weapons in Iraq weren't there. The claims about chemical weapons attacks in Syria have fallen apart. The evidence that the Libyan government was planning to slaughter civilians has not held up -- although plenty of civilians died under NATO's bombing and are dying now in the chaos left behind. Increased U.S. militarism in Asia is being followed by increased military spending by Asia (although we tend to reverse the chronology and the cause-and-effect in our minds).
We are supposed to learn from experience. It should matter to us that there was never any evidence that Mexico attacked the United States, that Spain blew up the Maine, that the Vietnamese fired in the Gulf of Tonkin, or that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. When you hear advocates for war and peace alike refer to "the Iranian nuclear weapons program," ask them for some evidence.
Myth is the Foundation of War
War gains support and acceptance from widespread belief in false information, and the accumulation of false information into generally false concepts or myths about war. This is good news, because it means we are not intractably divided by ideology or worldview. Rather, we will find more widespread agreement about war if we can just achieve more widespread awareness of accurate information.
WorldBeyondWar.org has grouped myths about war into the following categories:
WorldBeyondWar.org has also created a Prezi (kind of a cooler PowerPoint) to allow people to present to real-world groups the information that has been collected on the WorldBeyondWar website.
Use this tool to present at a public event:
Here's the same presentation as a PDF.
"History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."
From the Associated Press:
"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year."
Notice those words: "legally" and "policy." No longer does U.S. media make a distinction between the two. Under George W. Bush, detention without trial, torture, murder, warrantless spying, and secret missile strikes were illegal. Under Obama they are policy. And policy makes them "legal" under the modified Nixonian understanding that if the President does it as a policy then it is legal.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the nations in which drone murders take place, treaties to which the U.S. is party, international law, and U.S. statutory law, murdering people remains illegal, despite being policy, just as it was illegal under the less strict policy of some months back. The policy was made stricter in order to bring it into closer compliance with the law, of course -- though it comes nowhere close -- and yet the previous policy remains somehow "legal," too, despite having not been strict enough.
Under that previous policy, thousands of people, including at least four U.S. citizens, have been blown to bits with missiles. President Obama gave a speech last year in which he attempted to justify one of those four U.S. deaths on the basis of evidence he claimed to have but would not reveal. He made no attempt to justify the other three.
The new policy remains that the president can murder anyone, anywhere, along with whoever is near them, but must express angst if the person targeted in a U.S. citizen.
The idea that such lunacy can have anything to do with law is facilitated by human rights groups' and the United Nations' and international lawyers' deference to the White House, which has been carried to the extreme of establishing a consensus that we cannot know whether a drone murder was legal or not unless the president reveals his reasoning, intention, motivation, and the details of the particular murder.
No other possible criminal receives this treatment. When the police read you your rights, you are not entitled to object: "Put those handcuffs away, sir! I have a written policy justifying everything I did, and I refuse to show it to you. Therefore you have no grounds to know for certain that my justification is as insane and twisted as you might imagine it to be based merely on what I've done! Away with you, sir!"
The loss of a coherent conception of law is a grievous one, but that's not all that's at stake here.
Numerous top U.S. officials routinely admit that our drone wars in the Middle East and Africa are creating more enemies than they kill. General Stanley McChrystal, then commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said in June 2010 that "for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies." Veterans of U.S. kill teams in Iraq and Afghanistan interviewed in Jeremy Scahill’s book and film Dirty Wars said that whenever they worked their way through a list of people to kill, they were handed a larger list; the list grew as a result of working their way through it. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion.
We are shredding the very concept of the rule of law in order to pursue a policy that endangers us, even as it helps to justify the erosion of our civil liberties, to damage the natural environment, and to impoverish us, as it kills many innocent people. Maybe they've secretly got drones doing the thinking as well as the killing.
Originally published by the Times Record
Polls showed a large percentage of us in this country supporting the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and even — though somewhat reduced — the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But not long after, and ever since, a majority of us have said those were mistakes.
We’ve opposed attacking Iran whenever that idea has entered the news. We opposed bombing Libya in 2011 and were ignored, as was Congress. And, by the way, advocates of that happy little war are rather quiet about the chaos it created.
But last September, the word on our televisions was that missiles must be sent to strike Syria. President Barack Obama and the leaders of both big political parties said they favored it. Wall Street believed it would happen, judging by Raytheon’s stock. When U.S. intelligence agencies declined to make the president’s case, he released a “government” assessment without them.
Remarkably, we didn’t accept that choice. A majority of us favored humanitarian aid, but no missiles, and no arming of one side in the war. We had the benefit of many people within the government and the military agreeing with us. And when Congress was pressured to demand approval power, Obama granted it.
It helped more that members of Congress were in their districts with people getting in their faces. It was with Congress indicating its refusal to support a war that Obama and Kerry accepted the pre-existing Russian offer to negotiate. In fact, the day before they made that decision, the State Department had stressed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would never ever give up his chemical weapons, and Kerry’s remarks on that solution had been “rhetorical.”
The war in Syria goes on. Washington sent guns, but refrained from air strikes. Major humanitarian aid would cost far less than missiles and guns, but hasn’t materialized. The children we were supposed to care about enough to bomb their country are still suffering, and most of us still care.
But a U.S. war was prevented.
We’re seeing the same thing play out in Washington right now on the question of whether to impose yet more sanctions on Iran, shred a negotiated agreement with Iran, and commit the United States to joining in any war between Israel and Iran.
In January, a bill to do all of that looked likely to pass through the Senate. Public pressure has been one factor in, thus far, slowing it down.
Are we moving away from war?
The ongoing war in Afghanistan, and White House efforts to extend it beyond this year, might suggest otherwise. The military budget that still eats up, across various departments, roughly half of federal discretionary spending, and which is roughly the size of all other countries’ military spending combined, might suggest otherwise. The failure to repeal the authorizations for war from 2001 and 2003, and the establishment of permanent practices of surveillance and detention and secrecy justified by a permanent state of war, might suggest otherwise. As might the ongoing missile strikes from drones over a number of nations.
But you’ll notice that they don’t ask us before launching drone strikes, and that their assurances that no innocent people are harmed have proven highly misleading.
War may be becoming acceptable only as what its advocates have long claimed it was: a last resort. Of course if we can really make that true, we’ll never have a war again.
DAVID SWANSON will be speaking at 3 p.m. Feb. 15 at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.
To: Richmond, Va., Mayor Dwight C. Jones, Police Chief Ray J. Tarasovic, Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr,
From: David Swanson, author; Phil Wilayto, editor, The Virginia Defender; Ana Edwards, chair, Defenders' Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
We hope you will consider this request from deeply concerned Virginians on its legal merits rather than its acceptability in certain social circles or how it might be received by certain television talking heads.
Conspiracy to torture has long been a felony in the U.S. Code, in both Title 18, Section 2340, and Title 18, Section 2441. The United States is also a party to the Convention Against Torture, which requires the criminal prosecution of complicity in torture, and which -- under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution -- is part of the supreme Law of the Land.
Were a local resident credibly accused of torture, we sincerely doubt you would hesitate to seek his or her immediate arrest and indictment.
Waterboarding was universally recognized as torture until its acceptance by the U.S. government between 2001 and 2009. The United States hung Japanese soldiers for it following World War II, and U.S. citizens have been convicted for it in U.S. courts.
Former U.S. President George W. Bush has repeatedly admitted to personally authorizing waterboarding. He has made this confession in writing and on television, repeatedly, also declaring "I would do it again."
The Virginia state legislature has banned Virginia law enforcement personnel from cooperating with federal efforts to detain any U.S. citizen in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act in violation of the U.S. Constitution. George W. Bush ordered such unlawful detentions, including in the well-known case of Jose Padilla, as well as numerous such unlawful imprisonments and kidnappings of non-U.S. citizens, including one case in Italy for which 23 U.S. subordinates of President Bush have been convicted in criminal court.
Then President George W. Bush's submission of his March 18, 2003, letter and report to the United States Congress justifying a war on Iraq on false pretenses violated federal criminal law, including: the federal anti-conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. - 371, which makes it a felony "to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose..."; and The False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, 18 U.S.C. - 1001, which makes it a felony to issue knowingly and willfully false statements to the United States Congress. Not only does overwhelming evidence show us that Bush knew his claims about WMDs to be false, but the former president has shown us that he considers the question of truth or falsehood to be laughably irrelevant. When Diane Sawyer asked Bush on television why he had claimed with such certainty that there were so many weapons in Iraq, he replied: "What’s the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger." The difference was, of course, one of life and death, but also one of law.
The Law Enforcement Oath of Honor reads:
On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the Constitution
my community and the agency I serve.
This admirable oath does not commit one who swears it to upholding the Constitution when convenient, or finding courage when Fox News approves, or betraying one's integrity as long as there's a good excuse handy.
There is no good excuse we are aware of not to arrest George W. Bush if he sets foot in Richmond as he plans to do to speak at the Richmond Forum. Other towns in the United States have passed ordinances committing to seeking his arrest should he set foot there. Bush could be arrested and turned over to federal authorities. What they do with him, if anything, is not our concern.
Or Bush could be arrested and indicted in Virginia. Why Virginia? A program of warrantless spying instituted by Bush has almost certainly violated Virginia law in Virginia. Programs of lawless imprisonment and torture developed by Bush have almost certainly violated Virginia law in Virginia, including in the case of Chelsea Manning's torture at Quantico under Bush's successor, as well as the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi whose illegal treatment under Bush's presidency has been recognized as such by the U.S. Supreme Court. The CIA's torture program has almost certainly violated Virginia law, U.S. law, and the Convention Against Torture at the CIA's headquarters in Langley and its training facility in Williamsburg. Virginia's obligations under the Convention Against Torture are not eliminated by the United States' open and shameful violation of that treaty. Members of the U.S. military from Virginia were sent to their deaths in Iraq on the basis of claims known by Bush and his subordinates to be false. That last fact led famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi to draft an indictment of Bush for murder.
Powers seized by Bush are being continued and expanded by his successor in the White House, whose attitude of law enforcement by "looking forward" is a grant of immunity that the state of Virginia is under no obligation to support.
We thank you for your serious consideration of the legal and moral action to be taken in this moment of national weakness. We would be grateful for your response, and we promise to seriously consider any points on which you can enlighten us.
David Swanson, author; Phil Wilayto, editor, The Virginia Defender; Ana Edwards, chair, Defenders' Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
I'd like to insert a joke about "freedom is on the march!" here but am too disgusted to do it. I just received a lengthy report from Dr. Muhamad Al-Darraji, President of CCER (Conservation Center of Environmental & Reserves), Fallujah City, Iraq (PDF, Doc). It documents the attacks of the past year on the people of Fallujah by the government of Iraq. The U.S. government has rushed weapons to the Iraqi government for this assault. A petition opposing further U.S. arms sales to the government that decades of U.S. violence left behind in Iraq is here.
The U.S. has moved, over 30 years, from arming a brutal government in Iraq, to attacking it, to bombing and sanctioning that nation, to utterly destroying it, and back full-circle to selling weapons to a brutal government left behind by yet another nation-building humanitarian war that built no nation and ripped humanity's heart out to stomp it in the dust.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in recent fighting in Fallujah, as the Iraqi government shells the city with American-bought weapons. The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior claims that al Qaeda has taken over the city and that a heavy-handed military response is needed to take the city back from terrorists. But many residents of Fallujah insist that tribal militias control Fallujah and that al Qaeda forces play only a marginal role in the fighting.
The violence began when the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al Maliki, forced a year-old, nonviolent protest camp in Fallujah to disperse. The Iraqi government has since bombed Fallujah with American-bought Hellfire Missiles, a weapon system that is believed to contain uranium and could cause indiscriminate public health effects, something that would not be new to Fallujah after the assaults of 2004 (images here) that have left such an epidemic of birth defects that women are advised by doctors not to become mothers.
Here's more background on the recent assaults:
Le Monde Diplomatique: Violence and Power Struggles
OrientXXI: Is al Qaeda in Control of Fallujah? (French)
The Guardian: Victims of Fallujah's Health Crisis Stifled by Silence
Democracy Now: As U.S. Rushes Weapons to Iraq, New Assault
The Justice for Fallujah Project
CCER's report provides eyewitness accounts, photos (don't scroll down if you don't want to see what your taxes buy), and links to videos, as well as this summary of what is happening:
"Since the start of the peaceful sit-ins of December 2012, numerous peaceful protests have sprung up and spread in the Sunni Iraqi provinces against the sectarian political system, and the continued violation of human rights by the repressive Maliki forces. Instead of negotiating the legal, legitimate demands of the protesters, the Maliki regime conducted a brutal crackdown on the protests, the brutality increasing gradually with time. The number of arbitrary mass arrests increased with a parallel increase in killings in an attempt to exterminate the protesters. This was especially evident in the three consecutive crimes that took place at the beginning of 2013, where protesters were gathered in the cities of al Huwayja, Fallujah, an Mosul. Maliki’s regime justified its policy with the excuse of fighting terrorism, then declared that the demands of the protesters were legitimate, only to go back to declare war on terrorism, a war that in reality is a war against those who oppose that regime and its sectarian government."
While the current violence does not rise to the level of the horror that existed when U.S. and other foreign troops occupied Iraq, it is serious and worsening:
"The continuing genocidal policies against the Sunnis in Iraq motivated a member of the European Parliament, Mr. Struan Stevenson, who heads the European Parliament Committee on Relations with Iraq, to say that “Iraq is regressing quickly to a state of civil war and ethnic cleansing.” His point is made even clearer through the televised speeches by Maliki, in which he threatens the protesters, and, with sectarian language, encourages supporters to aid him in his struggle against the residents of Anbar."
The report argues for the right of violent self-defense, and pleads for international intervention, both of which positions raise troubling issues. In particular, Western governments associate "intervention" with missiles, not humanitarian aid or negotiators. The crimes the report documents are terrible:
"The residents of Fallujah have accused the Maliki government of murdering their children by bombing schools and demolishing mosques and homes (22,10, 23). The victims of the Iraqi forces’ artillery, which are centered in Mazra’a Camp near Fallujah, have confirmed that many bombs fell on their houses in the morning, while families were having breakfast, injuring numerous women and children in the village of Sbeyhat (the city of Karma) near Fallujah (4). An elderly man (living in the area of Jubeil) who was injured upon exiting the taxi-cab that had taken him to the city from Baghdad, claimed that the military had opened fire on him meters after he left the area which they controlled. He was transported to the hospital with life-threatening wounds and a critical state of shock (6)."
The report gives a lot more examples, and summarizes the damage:
"The chief of the Residing Physicians in General Fallujah Hospital, Dr Ahmed Shami Jassem, spoke to us about the number of victims as of January 27th 2014, saying there were 313 severely wounded civilians (amongst them 31 children, 31 women). The number of dead is 59 martyrs (amongst them 10 children and 4 women). He added that bullets caused most of the wounds during the first three days of the operation, which proves that military tried to force their way into the neighborhoods of the city. This contrasts with the wounds that he treated after January 3rd 2014, which were caused by shrapnel due to the indiscriminate shelling of the city and its homes (2).
"We were able to find an official medical document that confirms that the number of civilian casualties in Fallujah since the beginning of the military operation by the Maliki Regime on December 30 2013 up until February 5th 2014 is 452 victims. Of them, 69 have died, and 383 were wounded. Of the wounded, 40 were children and 39 were women, and amongst the dead 10 were children and 4 were women (12). While another medical sources in Fallujah said the number of martyrs reached 85, while the wounded had exceeded the 400 injured, mostly children, women and the elderly (30)."
The report provides images. Here's just one sample:
"A ... young girl (Assile Jaber Hamid Ghatran) (aged 14), she was wounded by shrapnel in her neck, the upper right side of her body, and the lower left side of her body, as can be seen in the picture below.
Arrival at a hospital is of limited value in Fallujah, as the Iraqi government has repeatedly shelled the hospital, as documented in the report by eyewitnesses and photographs.
"The Head of the Doctors Residing in the Hospital confirmed that the general state of depression, terror, and fear amongst the medical cadres was overwhelming, not to mention the dangerous psychological effect the shelling has on the patients."
That's a shell in front of the emergency room.
Of course, we've recently learned that killing people is only a concern to the U.S. government if it's done using chemical weapons. Sadly, that may be part of the story here as well.
"Some information from eyewitnesses within Fallujah has confirmed that gasses defused from some mortar shells for several hours after they landed. Mahmoud Nouri Kamel, one of these eyewitnesses, has given us images of these thermal shells .... When the shells fell, a strong flame blazed from [them], and a chemical vapor that smelled like rotten eggs wafted towards those nearby. Images below depict the occurrence. Other eyewitnesses have sent us videos of the remains of a mortar that exuded a nausea-inducing vapor (8).
The report is not perfectly translated, but I urge reading it in full (PDF, Doc) and considering its recommendations, including the desperate need for aid (which is of course far less expensive than "military aid") and including the halt to weapons shipments.
Not only would providing doctors, medicine, cleanup crews, aid workers, and negotiators cost less money than providing weapons; it would also provide greater security and protection to us in the West. Don't imagine the world doesn't know that Iraq wasn't like this before we provided our unsolicited assistance in the form of a "war on terror" that continues to terrorize.
War and greed, militarism and extreme materialism, killing and consuming -- these two threats play off each other, and both can be cured by similar means. In this week's show we hear an audio message from a newly forming movement called World Beyond War: http://worldbeyondwar.org
And we speak with Jeremy Brecher, author of "Global Nonviolent Law-Enforcing Insurgency: A Plausible Strategy for Climate Protection?" Jeremy Brecher’s new book Save the Humans? Common Preservation in Action, just published by Paradigm Publishers, addresses how social movements make social change. Brecher is the author of more than a dozen books on labor and social movements, including Strike! and Global Village or Global Pillage and the winner of five regional Emmy awards for his documentary movie work. He currently works with the Labor Network for Sustainability.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
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