|By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 2:35 pm: Edit Post|
Read the story on the Department of Peace by Chris Stockdill at:
Department of Peace: More than a Dream
Department of Peace: More than a Dream by Chris Stockdill, April 2000
Current US military expenditures are roughly equal to the rest of the world combined. Martin Luther King Junior said, in his speech explaining why he opposed the Vietnam war, "...A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death...." Clearly we spend more on defense than any program of social uplift. But what many do not know is that our government routinely spends more on the military than all other discretionary spending combined. Clinton’s proposed 2000 discretionary spending continues that routine. Here’s the year 2000 breakdown (courtesy The Defense Monitor).
Military, $281 billion
Education, $35 billion
Health, $31 billion
Justice, $26 billion
Natural Resources & Environment, $24 billion
International Affairs, $21 billion
Housing Assistance, $19 billion
Science & Space, $19 billion
Veterans Benefits, $19 billion
Training, Employment & Social Services, $17 billion
Transportation, $14 billion
General Government, $13 billion
Other Income Security, $11 billion
Economic Development, $9 billion
Social Security and Medicare, $6 billion
Commerce, $5 billion
Agriculture, $4 billion
Energy, $3 billion
Military related spending, such as military aid to other countries, the needs of Veterans, and the military share of interest on the national debt, nearly doubles the amount.
During the course of the Twentieth Century, over 100 million people died in wars, and we’ve seen that bombs and guns are not very effective instruments of peace. The world hungers for alternatives to war, but few have taken the courageous stands needed for peace. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has made such a stand.
Representative Kucinich has brought a proposal for a Department of Peace to Congress. He deserves our full support. Many will oppose him, including the largest lobbying force in the country, the Pentagon, which has a full-time salaried lobbyist for every member of Congress. But those who oppose a Department of Peace face a tough battle, because this proposal is not some wooly idea concocted by dreamers. It is a precise legal framework for a lasting institution. Title 1 begins:
There shall be established a Cabinet-level Department of Peace, which shall be of the Executive Branch of the Government. The Department of Peace shall hold peace as an organizing principle, coordinating service to every level of American society...A Secretary of Peace shall be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate....
The Department of Peace would be financed based on a mere one percent of the total annual budget of the Department of Defense. John F. Kennedy said "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." When our tax dollars are so lavishly spent on war, why not spend such a small fraction on peace? Instead of paying salaries for pro-war lobbyists, our government can enable peaceful revolution.
We can follow the example of the EPA. Remember those who opposed the now established and successful Environmental Protection Agency? Vice President Gore rightly says, “For a quarter of a century now, the EPA has stood for the very best in America….By nearly every measure, our environment is cleaner and safer than before EPA got on the job.” Can you imagine the enormous commendations a Department of Peace would earn?
This is not about relinquishing our right to defend ourselves. The United Nations charter protects a nation’s right to defend itself. But our current war system has little to do with defense. In 1947 the War Department euphemistically changed its name to “The Defense Department.” Since that time, we’ve essentially engaged only in attacking. Let’s look at some of our “defense” over the century.
From 1899-1902 our government killed 250,000 Filipinos. In Korea, 3 million killed. Vietnam, 3 million killed, mostly civilian. In Panama, 14,000 became homeless from the neighborhoods we leveled, and estimates are as high as 4,000 dead. Is the world more peaceful as a result of these invasions? In Grenada, the medical students supposedly rescued testify they were safer before the US invasion. Iraq is in ruins as bombing intermittently continues; yet Saddam Hussein is still in power, and over a million Iraqi women and children are dead, so far. And what will be the effect of our involvement in Yugoslavia? An empowered Department of Peace will intelligently examine these questions and propose possible alternatives. Since we maintain our goals are peaceful, why not have a department designed specifically to help achieve these goals?
From 1954-1990, US military aid resulted in the death of 200,000 Guatemalans. President Clinton recently apologized. This is too little, too late. Under Reagan, Congress approved $82 million a year to the military junta in El Salvador that murdered 75,000 of its own people. Our actions in Nicaragua created the infamous Iran-Contra Scandal, and 40,000 Nicaraguans died for no reason. This is your tax dollars at work. The World Court has ruled that the United States owes Nicaragua $17 billion for the damage our operations caused. By scrutinizing these misuses of taxpayer money, a Department of Peace would easily pay for itself.
If you’re tempted dismiss Representative Kucinich as a peacenik, it might help to remember that Abraham Lincoln's bid for the presidency was almost thwarted by those who called him a peacenik. In the same way the institution of slavery was abolished, we too can reform our current system of war. Just remember those well intentioned but unrealistic dreamers who felt that under no circumstances should one human being enslave another. At the time it seemed impossible to remove such an entrenched institution, but now we see the decline of slavery was inevitable. Future generations will say the same of our system of war.
The time for a Department of Peace is now. The House of Representatives has passed a bill including $1.7 billion in military aid to Colombia, ostensibly to fight the drug war. Amnesty International has documented the diversion of our Drug War aid to counter-insurgency operations. There is very good reason to believe this money will continue to be used for violent suppression of legitimate political dissent. Why didn’t the House scrutinize this aid package more closely? Let’s hope the Senate stops this appalling misdirection of resources. Past military aid to South and Central America has failed miserably. There is no reason to believe this aid package is somehow different.
The UN is ready and able to mediate peace in Colombia, so why does Congress prefer a costly military solution? Could it be related to Textron and its employees, who donated $1 million to both Republicans and Democrats? Textron subsidiaries will receive $400 million of the aid package for 63 of their Helicopters. Could it be related to multinational corporations such as Occidental Petroleum, BP Amoco and Enron, who have lobbied congress for an expensive aid package that would serve their interest in Colombia? The UN office in Bogotá, Colombia has the resources to begin the peace process today. The alternative is our escalation of a blood bath.
Later in his Vietnam War speech, Martin Luther King Jr. said,
... I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. ...
Let’s rectify our priorities and build a Department of Peace. To find out more about the proposed Department of Peace, and how you can help make history, visit the following website: http://www.house.gov/kucinich/action/peace.htm. Or you may contact Representative Kucinich at the following.
Representative Dennis Kucinich
14400 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
Phone: (216) 228-8850
Fax: (216) 228-6465
|By ktgaudette on Friday, February 22, 2002 - 6:37 am: Edit Post|
CIA Futurist Report--even the most optimistic scenario assumes the FAILURE of the Peace Corps 3 Principles--in 3rd World and in USA!!!
In an unclassified National Intelligence Council study, Alternative Global Futures:2000-2015,
cosponsored by the US Department of
State and the CIA, several dozen government and nongovernment specialists in a wide range of fields developed the following scenarios for the future:
Scenario One: Inclusive Globalization:
A virtuous circle develops among technology, economic
growth, demographic factors, and effective governance,
which enables a majority of the world's people to
benefit from globalization...A minority of the world's people¡ªin Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the Andean region¡ªdo not benefit from these positive changes, and internal conflicts persist in and around those countries left behind.
Scenario Two: Pernicious Globalization
Global elites thrive, but the majority of the world's
population fails to benefit from globalization.
Technologies not only fail to address the problems of
developing countries but also are exploited by
negative and illicit networks and incorporated into
destabilizing weapons. The global economy splits into
three: growth continues in developed countries; many
developing countries experience low or negative per
capita growth, resulting in a growing gap with the
developed world; and the illicit economy grows
Scenario Three: Regional Competition
Regional identities sharpen in Europe, Asia, and the
Americas, driven by growing political resistance in
Europe and East Asia to US global preponderance and
US-driven globalization and each region's increasing
preoccupation with its own economic and political
priorities....Given the preoccupation of the three
major regions with their own concerns, countries
outside these regions in Sub-Saharan Africa, the
Middle East, and Central and South Asia have few
places to turn for resources or political support.
Military conflict among and within the three major
regions does not materialize, but internal conflicts
increase in and around other countries left behind.
Scenario Four: Post-Polar World
US domestic preoccupation increases as the US economy
slows, then stagnates. Economic and political tensions
with Europe grow...Over time, these
geostrategic shifts ignite longstanding national
rivalries among the Asian powers, triggering increased
military preparations and hitherto dormant or covert
WMD programs....Given the priorities of Asia, the Americas, and Europe, countries outside these regions are marginalized, with virtually no sources of political or financial support.