Monday, October 16, 2006


Stopping the War Problem

First, an anecdote from Michael Nagler, department chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at UC Berkeley:

A woman was in Washington, DC, doing work for an upcoming Anti-War action near the capitol. She happened to wind up in an elevator standing among four men in colorful military outfits.
Feeling a little uncomfortable, she made polite smalltalk: "What are you gentlemen doing?" One of them proudly responded to the effect of, "We are lobbying for funds to be allocated for a new missle defense system. And what are you doing?"
"Protesting the actions of the united states military."
Uncomfortable silence followed. Then, as the men filed out of the elevator, one of them turned to her and said quietly, "Hurry up!"

In Nagler's words: This story is indicative of the current state of the United States population. Out of five:
One is probably sold that war is the right way to handle today's conflicts.
Two are probably unsure of what to do and are going along, perhaps because they haven't thought it through all the way.
One is probably actively doing something to stop the proliferation of unjust/illegal war.
...And at least one knows that the war is wrong, but is depending on others to pave the way.

The message: It does take a little courage to start speaking out against actions that have been proclaimed to be matters of national security. But if you find yourself among those who agree with the pundits claiming that, in addition to the tragic deaths of many thousands of United States, Afghani and Iraqi citizens, in addition to the deception that is given credit for the US ever gaining support for this war, the current war and war plans pose severe threats to U.S. security, then by engaging in some dialog, we might all find ourselves in the company of others who agree but who haven't yet known who to talk to about it.

And if you have talked much on this topic, then you may have been placed in the difficult position of not knowing how to answer the question, "You say the U.S. should pull out of Iraq, how do you think that should be done?" The current issue of Harper's Magazine, includes a very well conceived overview of a plan, complete with cost estimates and a very realistic outlook.

This issue of Harper's also includes some very good food for thought regarding the U.S. military plans regarding Iran.

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