By Ralph Nader
If there is one glaring omission among the daily declarations of both empty suit Donald Trump and hawkish Hillary Clinton, it is the strategy for peace. They’ll tell us they want to do more than President Obama is doing to go after ISIS. They’ll tell us they want a more robust military without calling for reducing the huge waste, fraud and redundancy of the military-industrial complex’s budget (a concern that drew a major warning from President Dwight Eisenhower). But how do they plan to wage peace?
Waging peace? In the current militarist climate of boomeranging perpetual war, expanding the geographic and devastating reach of adversaries, waging peace may sound vague, soft and squishy.
Have we forgotten about past peace treaties that have ended wars, followed by demobilization of the unneeded military might? The U.S. is still a prominent signatory to the Kellogg-Briand Treaty Pact of 1928, in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve “disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them.”
There are numerous active pro-peace, anti-war citizen groups in the U.S. such as the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker-initiated group) and Veterans for Peace. They are grossly underfunded and pretty much blacked-out by the mass media. Peace is so unexciting, compared to the visuals and visceral intensity of destroying lives and property.
On the other hand most people, when asked, prefer peace to war and militarism. They are not like the frothy, bloodthirsty, arrogant war-mongers that surrounded the Bush-Cheney war machine invading Iraq (which the 48 Democrats in the Senate had the filibustering votes to stop in 2003).
But being abstractly for peace without the requisite knowledge to focus and drive the urgent moral indignation that leads to collective action by the people tends to promote passivity and powerlessness.
A remarkable graphic novel titled Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can’t Kick Militarism – an illustrated exposé by Joel Andreas will inform and motivate readers. Since it was published in 2002 and updated in 2015, over 450,000 copies in multiple languages are in print worldwide. Only 74 pages with 164 footnotes at the back, this book is a remarkably accurate and comprehensive narrative. It is heavily endorsed with comments from veterans, scholars and clergy, among other notables.
Written with “humor, erudition and wisdom,” writes David Swanson, author of War is a Lie, “this is a book to buy in bulk and give to everyone you know.” Michael Parenti, author of History as Mystery called it “Political comics at its best. Bitterly amusing, lively, and richly informative… about the link between U.S. militarism, foreign policy corporate greed at home and abroad” (you can obtain a copy for $12 from Oakland, California based AK Press).
The author, Joel Andreas, teaches Sociology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He divides the graphic novel into seven chapters. They are: “Manifest Destiny,” “The Cold War,” “The New World Order,” “The War on Terrorism,” “The War Profiteers,” “Resisting Militarism” and the final chapter, “Do Something About It!” lists active groups who would welcome your civic energy.
As a serious scholar, Mr. Andreas realized that entry-level education about peace cannot start with 500 page tomes on diplomacy, foreign policy and preventable wars. He presents documented historical facts from past to present that invite readers to make informed judgments and decide if they want to count among “the sovereign people” shaping our country’s drive for peace. No one else is going to do it for us. Major redirections and cessations from disasters must start with “We the People”. Get copies at bulk rates for your friends and neighbors.