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Wars Will Cease When We Refuse to Fight

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Posted on Oct 20, 2010
AP / Cheryl Gerber

Stephen Funk, former U.S. Marine Corps landing support specialist, pictured in August 2003, was the first GI to refuse military service in the Iraq War. He was jailed and dishonorably discharged. As Funk stated before his conviction by a military jury, “I believe that homosexuals should be able to serve if they choose, and that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is an awful policy that only helps the military perpetuate anti-gay sentiment among its ranks. However, I am not an advocate for gay inclusion in the military because I personally do not support military action.”

By Scott Tucker

Author’s introduction: Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in California decided in the case of Log Cabin Republicans v. United States that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) military policy was unconstitutional and should cease being enforced. A few days later, the Obama administration appealed the judge’s order, claiming more time and study are needed to retire the policy. The Log Cabin Club is, of course, a group of gay Republicans who are hawking many of their party’s most conservative positions, including conventional militarism.

Open Letter is the name of a political e-mail list whose members get a collection of excerpts, Web links and my own commentary from time to time. I decided to forward to Truthdig this Open Letter. Generally, I am reluctant to use the personal pronoun in political writing, but I used it here, sparingly, because I want to register my moral and personal discontent with the way this issue has played out in public life.

*    *    *

WARS WILL CEASE WHEN WE REFUSE TO FIGHT:
Log Cabin Republicans v. United States—How do socialists make the case for peace?

Readers of Open Letter,

The first political group I ever joined was the War Resisters League. I was also drawn early to the tradition of anti-militarism among socialists.

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So I believe the issue of anti-gay discrimination within the military is not ideal for people who may share my political views. We could take a purely pacifist position and say no one should ever take up weapons, much less serve in uniform at the command of any state. Or we could take the position that armed struggle is legitimate only in the cause of revolutionary socialism. Either one of those positions rules out serving in the armed forces under a capitalist ruling class. The pacifist position goes further and would rule out taking military commands from any socialist regime as well.

On both moral and political grounds, I incline toward a pragmatic form of pacifism. Under direct assault, many people (myself included) might fight back by any means necessary. But in that case the resort to violence would be truly defensive.

I do not regard gay and lesbian soldiers seeking elementary legal equality as political heroes. It takes much greater courage for soldiers and veterans of all sexual persuasions to renounce war and imperial adventures.

I would hope that this issue of legal equality in military ranks can be resolved with due speed, so we can remove it from the public agenda. Like it or not, equality within the military has pushed forward other forms of civic equality in this country. This was certainly the case when the military became one institutional model of desegregation, by no means perfect.

If politics is simply a version of team sports, then rabid cheering for “the lesser of two evils” rules out defending open and fair elections. As the mid-term elections approach, many Democratic Party loyalists will view the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States in purely partisan terms. And surely the Log Cabin Republican members themselves hoped to score decisive political points by making this case in court.

The fact remains that the Log Cabin Republicans have made the better case for speedy abolition of “don’t ask, don’t tell” than the triangulating apparatchiks within the Democratic Party. Ugly, but there it is. I see no advantage in obscuring the history of this issue, or the real actions of groups seeking to gain or hold power by playing gay people as pawns. In this case, gay people in uniform.

The Democratic Party now owns these wars as much as the Republican Party. Anyone who claims I am seeking an opportunist coalition with gay Republicans is simply refusing to face brutal facts. One of those facts is that Obama raised hopes for change, including repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Another brutal fact is that DADT was signed into federal law by a previous Democrat in the White House, namely, Bill Clinton.

The class struggle must be waged beyond election days, which are presently organized to keep capitalist politicians in power. But that does not mean we should not bother to contest elections. On the contrary, vote for the Green Party of the United States. And for any socialist party truly committed to democracy, including the Socialist Party of the United States.

To fight the corporate state we must also fight the bipartisan lockdown of the electoral system. At present, imperial wars are conducted under the general justification of national security, spreading democracy and fighting terrorism. Terrorist networks are of course a real threat. But they can only be fought with old-fashioned detective work, good communications technology, and limited police actions under international law.

If we are socialists, we also say openly that the roots of terrorism dry and wither only when the seeds of workplace democracy and justice have been sown. Certainly religious fundamentalism has its own drive and momentum, but it would have more competition for hearts and minds if a humane class struggle was waged across borders.

Not one vote and not one cent for the parties of war and empire.

For peace, democracy and socialism,
                               —Scott Tucker

Scott Tucker is a democratic socialist living in Los Angeles.

 


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LocalHero's avatar

By LocalHero, December 5, 2010 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

Arouete, there is absolutely nothing “noble” about picking up a weapon and goose-stepping half way around the world to kill someone you don’t know and have no grievance against. Sane members of humanity call that exactly what it is; murder. Putting on a ridiculous-looking uniform while performing this vile act doesn’t negate the moral implications of murdering another human being. Not yesterday, not today and not a million years from now.

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

mdgr:  We need some time to get together and talk things over.  It is plain the misunderstandings are mutual.  Sad that we have to stop here.  I’m not the prissy delusional person you saw in my words. I am angry about the state of affairs here and now. I see the possibility of civil breakdown and I don’t “like condiions as they are”. I don’t think it’s all “out there” by any means, but still don’t know what I said that is so reprehensible. I seem not to have made anything clear,(and wonder if it was the subject itself—the ideas and changes required by nonviolent resistance). I hope to God that I’m not that much misunderstood everywhere.  That really scares me and makes me think twice about even trying.But then who will?  Apparently nobody.

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By mdgr, October 24, 2010 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

If you say so. If you like conditions as they are, you’ll love what’s coming our way even more.

I’m reminded of some later Leonard Cohen songs. You and the rest of the progressive community—of which I count myself a part, though not without the kind of ambivalence expressed by Mr. Hedges—needn’t look inward at all.

The problem’s all “out there.”

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By gerard, October 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  “The difference is only in outward manifestation,” you say.  I’ll gladly settle for that.  Nobody gets killed.  Sleep tight.

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By mdgr, October 24, 2010 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

Ingratiating? I don’t think you heard me either on the matter at hand or in the much broader sense.

In making my remark, I referred as much to myself as to anyone else. But you didn’t pick that up because, well, you are unconsciously programmed to be as adversarial in spirit (as violent, in a word) as those whom you criticize. The difference is only in outward manifestation.

That’s very unfortunate because the progressive movement is going down in flames partly because many people on the left treat aggression almost like the Victorians treated sexuality. They repress it and then, as in Harry Reid’s case, it manifests outwardly in passive-aggressive behavior.

I am not suggesting you’re passive-aggressive or like Mr. Reid (he’s as contemptible as Ben Nelson in his own way), but I am suggesting that this tendency to first repress and then project one’s own aggression onto others forms the basis for a lot of the failure on the part of the left.

Hence, their collaborative spirit. Hence Vichy. Hence the metaphor of “Dorothy” along with her prissy conceits about footwear.

Althoguh I don’t think you heard me in the slightest, but I do appreciate your civility of tone, as did you.

Note too that I think you’re right. The conversation, such as one might call it, is pretty much finished. Good luck and, allowing for the difference in sidereal time zones, good night.

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By gerard, October 24, 2010 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Postscript:  Two thirds of Benin is underwater and Haiti has cholera.  Guns can’t do a bit of good there, but the money spent on guns ...

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By gerard, October 24, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  Right now I need to get harsh again—a kind of nonviolent violence:  I’m all for midwiving the future, which implies assisting at the birth of something new—and that new thing could be a variety of nonviolent strategies and actions born in spite of unforeseen circumstances. But those strategies and actions are not going to get born if people don’t see the possibilities, foreclose on the possibilities as “prissy”, insist that wars are inevitable, etc. etc.
  As to “onnecting the dots at every possible level” good luck with that, and the more the better.
Connecting is essential. Thanks for connecting.
  As to the rather ingratiating remark about the peasants with their full bowls of rice and vegetables, I have lived with people who, at the end of WWII, had to eat grass and boiled tree bark and other such stuffs, so I’m touchy about the subject of near-starvation at present enjoyed by about 2/3 of the world’s over-population. Connect the dots.
  And as I said before, thank you for the conversation. I wish all conversations on this site were half as important and sincere.

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By mdgr, October 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Just a needed clarification, Gerard.

By “enjoy the show,” I did not mean to suggest that we go to the Coliseum or seek cheap thrills.

I meant that ours is a time when an old cycle is dying, and a new one is struggling against all odds to be born.

We are simultaneously those who must see to the burial as well s/he as who must act as the midwifes.

We hear the 500 foot tsunami coming toward us, though we can’t really see the wave clearly at this time.

Rather than reach for “coping strategies” (these include acts of violence as well as acts of civil disobedience) with which the wave of history is going to be averted this time around, one might take in the full scope of things and try connecting the dots at every level possible.

The wave will crash over our times whether or not we connect those dots, but if we can do this, we might actually see it and discover that the inevitabilities thus portended do not necessarily suggest that the glass is only half empty.

Through an awareness of that wave, we might find that we can indeed climb up on it and balance on it with our metaphoric surfboard.

We can make certain choices from that vantage place, but only a few. The ride will be terminal, but then all rides are. With luck, we can enjoy it while it lasts.

Again, I don’t mean that in a hedonistic way but, rather, in the way of a mere peasant who, half-starved, has eaten a full-bowl of rice and vegetables—nothing fancy, but therein who has find something of great value.

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By gerard, October 24, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

glider:  On bases, suggest you read up on the (painful) history of Okinawa.

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By gerard, October 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  Well, that just about does it. Thanks for the conversation.

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By felicity, October 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

I made the mistake of looking at this post AGAIN. 
For the school of war-will-can-never-end, there was a
time in some places where dueling was thought to be
the only way to ‘solve’ a problem between two people. 
And, in other times and places throwing beautiful
young people off of cliffs was thought to be the only
way to make it rain, or stop raining, tomorrow. Seems
ludicrous today, but it wasn’t always so.

On another subject, it should be noted that the
countries where we have bases have been able to count
on us to establish and maintain a defense system in
their countries which have, across the board, made it
unnecessary for them to invest their own money on
defense.  In other words, we’re being used - thank
you very much.

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By glider, October 24, 2010 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Rico, I honestly do not know the economics of these bases and am assuming it is costing US taxpayers a bundle.  But if it is such a good deal for the countries of placement then they should be willing to pay the full cost of the deployment.  If they do not care to pay then that tells us it is only such a good deal if they are able to mooch off the American taxpayer.  I say screw that if that is the real definition of “it works” is that it is profitable for the hosts and the American MIC Socialist Entity.  Why is it Republicans want to throw out the “free market” in such a case?

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By bonito, October 24, 2010 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

Rico,  You have some sort of uniform on with four
stripes, it could be that you are or have been a
captain in the Navy, Coast Guard or an airline pilot.
Just maybe you have first-hand knowledge of War at
it’s Ugly best.  Should that now place you in the
category of those that advocate eternal wars in order
to protect our perceived Freedom, then We, the
citizens of these United States have already lost
that precious commodity.  All of the Wars that have
been fought since the Good War (WWII) were not only
Illegal, (not declared by Congress) but entirely
unnecessary.

Some of our former Enemies are now our best friends,
Germany, Japan, China, We as a country cannot do
enough for them, we buy anything and everything they
make, and at the same time accept their buying as
little as possible from the U.S. as the cost of so
called friendship.

This country can no longer afford to spend Trillions
of dollars on War and/or so called Defense, as most
of that money is used to enforce a failed Foreign
Policy. We could very easily defend this country with
half of what we spend against any potential enemy
with the capability of invading this nation. I am not
suggesting that you are a War-monger, but on the
other hand I have a suggestion for those that
advocate eternal Wars.  We should re-institute the
draft, and subscript only the Sons and Daughters of
those making more then 200,000 dollars a year to
fight this Noble Conflict, after all they and theirs
have the most to gain from this mis-adventure.

I also believe that the useless War in Vietnam was
brought to an end not only by the G.I.‘s whom refused
to go on with this unjustified killing of people in
their own country, and in their own cities, and own
homes,  just because the Idiots in Washington did not
like the form of Government they embraced.  Guess
What, still the same Government today. And also, the
so called representatives of the people finally got
the message from the people in the streets, and cut
off the funding.

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By mdgr, October 24, 2010 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

Gerard,

Not sure I understand your question about citing examples. Perhaps you were asking about examples of the sorts of actions that might be contemplated so as to break out of the “knitting circle.”

For starters, I’d encourage Mr. Scheer to post a section on Truthdig that (1) Acknowledges this issue; (2) Acknowledges that being constantly told that Vichy is better than Berlin (or vice versa) isn’t the kind of action that is needed since both sides are morally bankrupt and worse; (3) Opens the floor to suggestions from readers and respondents and, at the end of the day, endeavors to summarize the input to see whether any plan (strategic or tactical, whether good, bad or ugly) can actually be put in the oven.

On your bullet points (inadvertent pun, sorry):

-Yes, there is a lot of flaming in blogs, including progressive blogs.

-I referred to Germans based on my own endless metaphors of Vichy and Berlin. They do not seem abstract. All I suggested was to put yourself in that situation, and then I asked what you’d do—with no suggestions whatsoever that there was a right or wrong answer. For reasons that might be self-evident, North Korea seemed impossibly far from Vichy.

-I don’t think it’s necessarily testosterone that is responsible for unmannerly (and often unconsciously violent) communicative behaviors nor do I think study and the kind of intellectual understandings that can be had from study will do much to mitigate it. They could make for much more effective demonstrations and civil disobedience, to be sure. I doubt, however, that America will ever again have another Vietnam March or year of student protests. Sorry not to be more upbeat for those with more delicate sensibilities, but we’re Rome just before its wheels come off. May as well enjoy the show.

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By rico, suave, October 24, 2010 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

mdgr:

You may be right. I don’t know enough about how TD decides what’s going to stay on the front page. Only my opinion on the matter.

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By gerard, October 24, 2010 at 12:55 am Link to this comment

mdgr:  And one other important thing I forgot:
  Your mention of the “dark side” that everybody has, being violence-prone, manifestations of covert violence even among people professing nonviolence, etc. and the Yeats reference.  How well I know!
  That’s why civil disobedience and nonviolent action of any kind require study to gain understanding at deeper levels than mere words, and how to “do” it requires training, extreme commitment, persistence, patience, compassion, empathy, love, understanding—you name it.And experience helps, too, after while. 
  That’s why, since it doesn’t come natural, we have to make the effort to reorient our psyches—as many as can, as quickly as possible.

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By gerard, October 24, 2010 at 12:28 am Link to this comment

mdgr: Basis for “you guys”—most of the more or less belligerent (and I don’t mean you especially) males who “man up” on this site and regard nonviolenet resistence (which Chris Hedges has also advocated in the abstract but not spelled out) as a Yellow Brick Road, etc.
.  And things like your “The Germans have just captured France and you can choose (or not choose) to join the Resistance. You can become a Partisan, but if you did that, you know that you’ll may very well be killed—or worse—-and that you’ll be killing other people.” It’s just one more assumption that “bad guys” attack “good guys”.  Actually, in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, unfortubnately , the “big bad guys” attacked the “little bad guys”,
  Germans?  Why Germans? And North Koreans, for Pete’s sake!
  Of course there is no proof that WWII or Vietnam or any other war could have been prevented because nobody seriously tried.  War has been taken for granted for centuries. “War is a Thing that Gives Life Meaning” according to somebody. It’s only now that weapons are so heinous and communication, travel, so easy and nations so close and human beings so similar, that nonviolent solutions to international problems are imaginable.
  Still, the crucial issue is that nobody knows what the heck it is, how you “do” it, and why it might succed and how you prepare for it. It’s a very well-okept secret, for obvious reasons because—guess what—it would do away with the profits made off of munitions, transportation of vast quantities of materiel, the money to be made from exploiting other people’s resources, and of course, the care and feeding of tens of thousands of troops before and after.
  When one thinks of what tht vast expenditure would
buy in terms of food,clothing and shelter, health care and education—and the results of fifty years of that method of doing business. peace studies begins to look prety good. If you look.
  And war begins to look maddeningly outrageous and unnecessary.  If you look.

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By gerard, October 23, 2010 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

ndgr”  Any specific examples?

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By mdgr, October 23, 2010 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

Rico,

I know things drop off in due time. But not three days and not when people are busy responding.

I am not calling this a conspiracy. I am suggesting that Mr. Hedges may have crossed certain lines in his piece, at least from Mr. Scheer’s perspective.

What happened seems unprecedented and that’s pretty much the only explanation I could find for it.

Then again, I’m also calling Mr. Scheer out.

As a moralist, he’s right up there with Arianna. But as a quintessential “liberal” in his own right, he himself was an implicit target of Mr. Scheer’s critique.

Taking an important piece like that down was, I believe, more self-referential than conspiratorial. It was also very disappointing, but somehow Truthdig and the progressive community has to get beyond this incessant clicking of its moralistic tongue and ask what people want to **DO** about things other than constantly kvetch.

I think its way past time to move beyond the Truthdig Knitting Circle.

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By mdgr, October 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

“We” guys who hold out for fighting?? To whom exactly are you referring??

What I find most disturbing is that many of the very people who most loudly espouse an attitude of “non-violence” in their personal lives do things that inherently very violent.

I’m not talking about AK_47s, but here I am referring to a whole gamut of behaviors ranging from unwarranted and invidious assumptions to outright intolerance and hostility.

I am not accusing you of these things, but I just attended a “progressive dinner” a few weeks back where this sort of communicative violence was the rule rather than the exception.

In your case, with all due respect, you know little of my views. All you know is that I suggested that I had a penchant for pragmatism and that I didn’t think that marches (or granola-inspired litanies on the virtue of non-violence) were going to fundamentally change the trajectory of things, as seen through Chris Hedges’ crystal ball and also my own.

My point is that we all have a Shadow, and that that applies to you, no less than to Gandhi. My point too is that most liberals/progressives are good with their talk in terms of this subject but, when push comes to shove, almost as bad as Sarah Palin with our walk (note that I am including myself as well).

We tend to be sanctimonious and almost prissy in some ways, but we are usually very violent people, albeit not physically. In that regard, I’m reminded of Yeats’ phrase that it is frequently the worst who full of passionate intensity.

How easy it is to project our Shadows onto other people. How easy it is for us to forget why wars gain traction in the first place.

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By rico, suave, October 23, 2010 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

glider:

The thing is, the US is, de facto, Japan’s and Korea’s Defense Department. I think that’s a bad state of affairs as far as the drain on our tax dollars is concerned, but it’s a fact and a necessary evil nonetheless. China does not want to see Japan rearm for the same reason Europe doesn’t want Germany to rearm. The fears may be outdated but they’re real. China doesn’t want South Korea to rearm because it doesn’t want paranoid North Korea to do something stupid in response. So the US is in Japan and South Korea for stability and it’s worked for over sixty years. The Japanese and South Koreans are enjoying a pretty good life, so the status quo must be working ok.

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By gerard, October 23, 2010 at 11:18 pm Link to this comment

Regarding North Korea and the U.S., a very interesting questiong has been asked by a previous commenter:  “which system is more successful and providing freedom and material wellbeing to its “clients”.
  Sad to say, if things proceed in their present direction for the U.S., within the foreseeable future it may be hard to tell the difference—except for size, I mean.
  Our military establishment is already breaking us up and making us hated around the world, and we are far more dangerous than North Korea because of our size, power and ability to rape the world of resources and eliminate entire populations with one or two a-bombs.
  Even the “material well being” of our ordinary citizens is getting more irregular and insufficient. We are not down to eating grass yet, but it could happen if we do nothing to prevent it.
  Judging from the constant increase in the amount of extraordinary surveiellance going on here, and the growth of the prison/industrial complex, everybody is “under the evil eye” and fearful of being arrested for no good reason and hauled off to a court where “justice for all” has shrunk to the size of a pinhead where no angels dance!
  I sincerely hope not, but it could happen that a self-inflated dictator will appear out of the red, white, and blue and start calling the shots.  Lots of shots.

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By glider, October 23, 2010 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

Rico,

“If the US left Korea (and Japan), Korea (and Japan) would nuke up in a heartbeat”

That is what I assumed you were speculating. As I said we can have a well broadcast treaty and let the Koreans and Japanese use their own resources and troops in place of our bases.  Last time I checked our ICBMs can reach North Korea.  I see no reason why leaving would change the odds of a nuclear strike.  Even you are adding that “China would stop them”, so where is there any additional concern?

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, October 23, 2010 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:

You’re right, I missed the “and”.

And truthdig never takes articles down, they just fall off the front page. No conspiracies.

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By gerard, October 23, 2010 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  As we are still on the speculation track, for whatever that’s worth (which is probably not much, as to the Partisan question:  I’d probably help the Partisans in any nonviolent ways, but I would die rather than kill—at least I hope I’d have that much courage.
  You guys who hold out for fighting always set up contexts where “we” are being attacked by “villains” and then insist on the “moral superiority” of fighting.  My stand is based on the premise of avoiding the causes of war and working tirelessly to prevent wars from getting started.  Why? Because it’s much easier, of course. (Of course that means we have to get rid of making money, prestige and glory out of wars.
  But—speculating along with you—even if the “Germans” are at my front door, I would still try everything I could think of to deal with the situation nonviolently, and if I could not, then I’d “let” them kill me.  If I had a gun in my hand, I hope I would not fire it.  Why?  Because I have decided that it is nobler to die than to kill. (Nobler, meaning requires more courage, and perhaps, in ways I would never live to understand, would work toward a better, less cruel, more understanding world.  All speculation.
  But mainly, I am interested in nonviolence not because it is “noble” but because wars are so “morally inferior” (and weapons so ghastly) that there is no hope for the human race unless we can get rid of them.
  As to Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, each did/does what he thought/thinks is best under the given circumstances. They each hoped/hope to help to lead human beings out of darkness into light, 10 years, 150 years; “I may not get there with you, but I have seen the Promised Land.”
  Mdgr, I absolutely agree with you on the balance point, particularly in the case of war, which is so outlandishly cruel and corrupt that it has “solidified” into a charicature of itself.  Therefore the end is near.
All the more reason to figure out what comes next.

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By mdgr, October 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Rico,

a rereading of my post is respectfully recommended. No, I did not say what you suggest I said. I merely asked someone else a question. That’s all, but in the context of my post, no conclusion of the kind you inferred could have reasonably been drawn.

On Gerard’s comment,

Yep. They probably about reading to archive this thread.

I still think that Mr. Scheer may have taken down Chris Hedges’ latest feature on the demise of the liberal class—after three days and ongoing active responses—because it was just too lucid and clear-headed for Truthdig.

Truthdig is better than the Huff—at least it hasn’t become a total scandal sheet—but its editors are, it seems, very much in the same head-place. They’re Democrats posing as progressives.

They draw in their horns at anything that gets too radical, which is to say anything that gets too close to the root of the issues at hand. What’s ironic, however, is that Mr. Scheer had himself commissioned Chris Hedges.

Deleting one of the most provocative speeches & Q&A sessions ever featured on Truthdig after only three days has to constitute one of the bigger obscenities in Truthdig’s history as a website.

Maybe in Mr. Scheer’s career as well.

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By Arouete, October 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

Sgt. First Class Lance Vogeler, a 29-year-old was killed a few weeks ago while serving in the Army in his 12th combat tour. That’s right, his 12th — four in Iraq and eight in Afghanistan. Sergeant Vogeler was married and the father of two children, and his wife was expecting their third. Stressed-out, depressed and despondent soldiers are seeking help for their mental difficulties at a rate that is overwhelming the capacity of available professionals. And you can bet that there are even higher numbers of troubled service members who are not seeking help. (See Bob Herbert, “The Way We Treat Our Troops”) Oh yes, DO tell us all about courage!

To even suggest that gay and lesbian soldiers are not political heroes when they seek elementary legal equality that will allow them to also put themselves in harms way is vulgar, disrespectful and disgusting. To even suggest that it takes much greater courage to simply renounce war and imperial adventures is shallow, vapid and despicable. You trash the best of your own!

I hate this and all wars but to denigrate and disrespect members of our community who are willing to risk everything to secure the equal right to be cannon fodder is both shameful and disgusting. But, alas, you have no decency sir.  That Truthdig prints such thoughtless, shallow, vapid rubbish is more than a disappointment.

This is a writer with absolutely nothing to say and says is quite badly as he trashes some of the most noble members of his community and disgraces himself by denigrating their selfless contribution.

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By felicity, October 23, 2010 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

gerard - you are correct.  At least in past wars -
there have been so many in my life time - it was more
common than not that our soldiers, engaged in their
first battle, did not fire even when met face to face
with someone they had been taught to kill.

Now, it may be a different story.  We are training
our ‘sacrificial lambs’ to have personality disorders
- the results of which will be roaming our streets,
more lost souls to join the Nam vets, at least those
who have not committed suicide yet.

Interestingly, my husband at the time of the Korean
War went through boot camp and then leadership school
and then was shipped out to protect America against
the North Koreans - a hard sell to say the least. 
BUT, he found out that no commissioned officer who
had trained him to kill would ever lead his unit in
battle BECAUSE the officer would ultimately be killed
by his own men.  (They may have a hard time killing
the ‘enemy’ but apparently had no compunction about
killing their commanding officer?)

Men who have led men into battle, fought multiple
wars all say the same thing, “War is Hell.”  We, the
spared should begin to listen.

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By Arouete, October 23, 2010 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

“I do not regard gay and lesbian soldiers seeking elementary legal equality as political heroes. It takes much greater courage for soldiers and veterans of all sexual persuasions to renounce war and imperial adventures.” Give us a break!

What absolute, vapid, brain-dead rubbish. Who is this guy? A high school sophomore? Leave no cliche unturned and follow no idea farther than a civic center pigeon can fly.

EXACTLY what would this writer know about “courage”? DO tell us. What are his credentials to speak on the subject of courage or deny heroic status to those to stick their personal necks out and risk everything to seek elementary political equality as this smug writer passes judgment on them from the safety of his keyboard?

First my heart goes out to those who are outed unwillingly, those who enlist and stay in the closet so they can serve their country. I salute them one and all. To risk yourself to protect others - that is the very definition of heroism. To denigrate them is disgusting cowardice.

The problem I have with the soldiers who come out after enlisting and then getting thrown out is this: Frankly I have little respect for the ones (especially the tough Marines!) who KNEW the rules and agreed to them when they signed up, who took the good paying jobs to get off the unemployment rolls, who took the tax-paid training, who took the benefits, who got the superb training and education, and who took all the other fringe benefits, but when it came to keeping their part of their Faustian bargain, they reneged. When it came to picking up the gun to actually do battle, when it came to being shipped out to some god-forsaken place to actually FIGHT the wars they signed up for, when it came to keeping their agreements, then, suddenly, THEY are the victim, they, as a matter of conscience must come out. Pulease! Give us a break.

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By rico, suave, October 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

gerard:

“[North korea is] forced to support a huge military partly because there are not enough other jobs.” You’re making excuses for North Korea’s huge army???Well let’s see- since it’s a command economy, Kim could have them do anything he wanted, like planting crops, or building schools and hospitals and roads. It’s idiot statements like that from you that made me swear I’d never respond to you again, but you’re such an easy target, I just couldn’t help myself.

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By gerard, October 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

mdgr: I’ll get back to you one way or the other, probably on a different string if they take this one down. It is about due. But I have to take a brief time out and do some family stuff and your questions require thought and time.  More later. Thanks.

jUST ONE COMENT to Rico at this time.  He quoted you and remarked:  “So if you were squared off against a German soldier, rifles aimed at each other, you’d let him kill you rather than shoot him in self defense?? Amazing.”

Apparently he isn’t aware that many, many times history has shown that soldiers do NOT fire their ammunition, but the circumstances are clouded by lack of knowledge of exact timing. It is suspected, however, that they (automatically or otherwise) do not fire.  I forget where I saw this amazing fact, but it was in some recent book, maybe ON KILLING, by an Army captain whose name I have forgotten at he moment.  A startling book.  Look it up if your interested.

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By rico, suave, October 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

felicity:

Are you saying we can never leave South Korea because we could never repeat leaving? What does that mean? That’s like saying we should never ask what if Israel were to leave the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Gaza, because if they did, we could never ask the question again.

glider:

You’re right, they should be paying for their own defense. But how am I rationalizing the status quo?  What ridiculous statement did I make? I merely asked anyone out there what they thought the fate of the South would be if the US left? Nor did I say, “If the US left tomorrow.” Is that a ridiculous question? I can tell you one thing though- If the US left Korea (and Japan), Korea (and Japan) would nuke up in a heartbeat, that is if China didn’t stop them, which they would.

mdgr:

“You can become a Partisan, but if you did that, you know that you’ll may very well be killed—or worse—-and that you’ll be killing other people.”

So if you were squared off against a German soldier, rifles aimed at each other, you’d let him kill you rather than shoot him in self defense?? Amazing.

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By mdgr, October 23, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

Let me ask another question.

The Germans have just captured France and you can choose (or not choose) to join the Resistance. You can become a Partisan, but if you did that, you know that you’ll may very well be killed—or worse—-and that you’ll be killing other people.

What do you do?

And could you really call a choice to fight “morally inferior” to what Ghandi did or the Dalai Lama (50 years hence, the Chinese have only solidified their hold on Tibet)?

While I agree with the notion of being true to one’s principles, one of my core personal principles has to do with the concept of balance.

Too much of one thing generally turns into a caricature of itself. To each thing, it is said, there is a season.


Finally, on the subject of prayer:

I, for one, absolutely do not pray for “peace.” That’s way too “granola” a concept for me, especially when no social justice is explicitly attached to it. Nor would I pray for the effacement of reality, for what would amount to moral and perceptual unconsciousness.

I might very well pray for the swift destruction of the United States as an economic and military hegemony (ironically, both Bush and Obama have inadvertently helped fulfill that prayer as no one had before them).

I would pray that the world’s population be reduced very soon by what amounts to an order of magnitude (1/10th of what it currently is) or thereabouts. 7 billion people, like it or not, have made the planet unsustainable.

I would pray that the deaths (no Rapture for me, thank you very much) are quick and merciful rather than slow and lingering.

I would pray that Hubris be followed by Nemesis wherever it occurred. It would be radical, meaning that it would reach into the very roots of things.

And—in the aftermath of all of that—I would pray that our species itself underwent a mutation. That was discussed in full, however, in a previous post attached to this thread.

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By gerard, October 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Re:  the Koreas, etc.
  If anti-Commie hysteria can be avoided and anti-capitalism fervor minimized—if—then it may be possible for the two Koreas to work out a deal to get together as a family again.  That would mean the US and China (and Japan)(and Russia) staying out of the issue and keeping their mouths shut.  Maybe that could be arranged in the interests of “business as usual” if not in terms of plain common sense. Or a combination of both, given the hope that everybody is not completely insane.??
  North Korea strikes me as quite pathetic—half starved, artificially put together, at odds with its neighbors all around, scorned, made fun of, and forced to support a huge military partly because there are not enough other jobs. (We face that problem, too, only we haven’t recognized it yet.) At the same time, trying desperately to do something that is very important in the Far East—save face.  (Though we don’t want to admit it, that’s precisely what we are trying to do now in Iraq and Afghanistan, only for different reasons.)
  Pride cometh before ....
  Anyway, the answer is quite probably not force but, again, that mealy-mouthed Dorothy word “negotiations” better known in some intelligent circles as “interest-based bargaining.”

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By gerard, October 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  A good qestion and the hardest one!  Plan B:
Die trying.  Don’t know whether I’ll have the guts or not but I doubt if I could kill anybody even if my life depended on it.  Don’t think I could harm a child.  Don’t think I could set a bulding on fire.Could probably get through time in prison.  Torture?  Doubtful that I could do anything but scream and pass out. 
  Speculation is idle, though, isn’t it?  All I can do is hope and pray, though I don’t know who or what I’m praying to. 
  Plan C is to try to survive and work to “promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity,” as they say. Words, words, words!

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By glider, October 23, 2010 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

Rico,
You don’t execute leaving South Korea by jumping on a plane the next day.  You organize a gradual transfer of defense responsibilities to the South Koreans.  Novel idea to try and find a way to make something good happen rather than rationalizing the status-quo with ridiculous statements, isn’t it?  They are not a poor country.  We can do what we can to make it a smooth transaction and we can even make treaty obligations but ultimately they should be paying for their own defense.

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By felicity, October 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

rico - engaging in ‘what-ifs’ is an exercise going
nowhere.  Unlike a scientific experiment where various
‘tests’ can be run on the exact same ‘event,’ what-ifs
can never be tested.

Simply, the various scenarios in regard to Korea you
suggest can never be tested because the ‘event’ can
never be replicated.

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By rico, suave, October 23, 2010 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

bodhi:

“...proclaiming anyone else that wants one as evil. Unless of course it’s Israel, which we have apparently become a client state of.”

Show me when and where I “proclaimed” that! You can’t just make shit up like that out of thin air, bodhi!

And you avoided my question: What do you think would happen if US troops were pulled out of South Korea? The North has the fourth largest standing army in the world! Why? Nobody, not even Kim Jong Il, worries about an invasion from the South. Did the North build its nukes and LONG RANGE missiles to deter the South?

And if South Korea is a client state of capitalist US and North Korea is a client state of communist China, that tells me all I need to know about “exploitation” and which system is more successful and providing freedom and material wellbeing to its “clients”.

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By bodhidharma, October 23, 2010 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

South Korea doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program because it doesn’t have to worry about being invaded and turned into a client state to be exploited. It already has been.  WE certainly still have a nuclear weapons program, though. A larger and more sophisticated one than the rest of the world combined.  But Rico obviously doesn’t see the hypocrisy of this and proclaiming anyone else that wants one as evil. Unless of course it’s Israel, which we have apparently become a client state of.

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By tedmurphy41, October 23, 2010 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

A point that was highlighted at the Nuremberg trials intimated that one could not hide behind the excuse, put forward by so many defendants, that they were only obeying orders.
It is a good, principled, and profound statement that everyone, within all Military establishments, would be well advised to pay special heed to in any conflict situation.

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By mdgr, October 23, 2010 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

Gerard,

Not knocking the value of civil disobedience or the import of non-violent approaches to social change.

Just allow me my differing opinion that while they may have worked in the past, they are not likely to this time around—for all the reasons I’ve given.

Now you may well prove me wrong, and I hope you do. But if you are wrong, what is your Plan B?

And at what point (after how many years or decades) are you prepared to conclude that your tactics have or have not worked? And what will be your measure of success/failure?

And again, if you are wrong—the possibility of error arguably exists unless one has become a religious zealot—what is your Plan B?

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By gerard, October 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  I want to call to your attention that people who have engaged in “civil disobedience” or “nonviolent political action” often observe that, whether or not they succeed in changing anyting in the outer situaton, significant change is perceived inwardly. That is, they feel invigorated, encouraged by having done what they did—and not done what they felt was counterproductive. The change occurred primarily in themselves together and not in the outer society—though more often than not, those changes, too, were sometimes apparent as steps in a better direction. My experiences in working to get the original Nuclear Test Ban Treaty furnished examples.
  Further, as time passed, the changes nonviolent activists achieved, inner and outer, were (Here I’m thinking of the Civil Rights Movement.)  Not surprisingly, their courage influenced others’ courage; their knowledge influence others’ knowledge. Reciprocation was often unacknowledged but became evident later on in other circumstances.
  That is, of course, the way movements grow. Actions for peace, justice and understanding are also contagious, fortunately. I have felt this many times in various “peacemaking” efforts—conferences, demonstrations, teach-ins, writing, teaching.  My awareness of such reverberations is why I continue to rap on in these columns.  Call it synchronicity—something is happening, and even if Mr. Jones and I don’t know what it is, I trust that it is on the side of life.

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By mdgr, October 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, something about your presentation suggested to me (and I am probably wrong) that you might be familiar with “Starhawk” and her groups.

I saw her about 15-20 years ago in Seattle and was duly impressed. I saw her recently, however, and was thoroughly underwhelmed.

To each his/her own, but I couldn’t but think that it would be very nice if at some point, she got beyond the pompoms and those silly urban murals.

And, speaking of Starhawk, while I’ll give a nod to the witch belonging to any of the four directions of space, in deference to you, I’ll refrain from making any reference to Dorothy.

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By mdgr, October 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

Apologies accepted. I certainly did not/do not mean to offend. And sorry about the Dorothy crack.

Someone once characterized me as simultaneously the most pessimistic and optimistic person they had ever met, and they’d been around the block. That description was probably pretty valid.

For what it is worth, I do not believe we are “masters” of our fates.  I also believe—as most of the world does except for the West—that history unfolds cyclically. 

What can also be said is that it is not ideologies that cause wars, nor can ideology (or marches/demonstrations) fundamentally fix things. Oh, they can change things, but usually only superficially.

Rather, it is our perceptions (phenomenology) that determines history, and vice versa. What we see is what we get, in other words.

Now, you may be a big fan of “free will” (maybe not, but just in case), but that’s a very relative concept. Me, I think that concept needs to be tempered with humility.

You may also see the species of homo sapiens as glorious and good. I see it more as the “Missing Link” to something that has yet to really be born. I would tie it once again to perception—or, rather, to the doors of perception which, for pretty much our entire species—East and West alike—are closed.

Most of the physical universe—which is nearly all we can see—is, for example, regarded as non-sentient and dead even by the Buddhists.

And then we wonder why we rape one another and the planet that we live on.

Oh, we have belief systems that speak of “glorious Gaia,” but for the most part, these are just other belief-system, hardly a percept like the color “red” would be to a person with vision.

Just about everything about us is belief-drive or sociologically acculturated/learned. We have severed the root of instinct, dammed-up the waters of life and dehumanize nearly everything around us. 

I think that is true not just America, but that’s the evolutionary thrust of the entire species of sapiens. If left to our own devices, we would kill the planet and ourselves—and we are killing it.

Now you might call this view of things “negative,” but I do not agree. Sapiens has come up with some nice things, to be sure, but the wolf and the dolphin would be far better stewards of the Earth. To make an obvious pun, they would certainly be far more wise.

It may surprise you that while I offer this damning assessment, I do NOT really blame sapiens. I think too has been set-up. Even though I am harsh in my judgment, I do feel compassion for it.

The universe is, after all, a pretty catastrophic place. Even as we speak, stars are going nova. I don’t look at that as “doom” anymore than I look at death as doom. It’s only bad news from OUR point of view that the reign of sapiens may be ending and, whether we like it or not, probably very violently.

Let’s also remember that there’s the population issue. Is it really that “negative” to say that it must be reduced by an order of magnitude to make for a sustainable planet?

Finally, I think that Chris Hedges’ analysis of history is, in an ultimate sense, rather two dimensional. I think he correctly sees the trajectory of things, yes.

But the one thing he has left out of his equation is something that has been called synchronicity. Jung talked about it. Recently Richard Tarnas wrote about it and got stunning reviews from everyone from Stanislav Grof to Joseph Campbell.

The question that has yet to be asked is: Then what? What is it to really be human?

Perhaps it’s to be able to respect personal boundaries yet simultaneously see everything as sentient, alive and connected to one another—including the stones. Here, I am not talking about belief anymore, but perception that’s as direct and immediate as seeing the sun and feeling its warmth.

In 50-100 years, we may come to recognize the light coming toward us in the tunnel was not just an oncoming train . . . but was in fact also the sun.

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By glider, October 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

While I agree with equality for all sexual orientations I am happy to read this article and feel much the same. In many ways the issue framed by the media and gay activists is perverse. For me the right to participate in an out of control killing machine is the least of causes.  As an extreme example would you promote the rights of Gays to join the Gestapo or the SS and have equal opportunity to commit atrocities?  I would rather the focus issue be on stopping everyone from participating in these obscene wars.

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By gerard, October 22, 2010 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  I’m very sorry indeed if my question offended you, as it apparently did.  Neverheless, the point I thought important to raise was to challenge the fatalistic, future-closing mood which often dominates this site and militates against thinking seriously about what to do to make the future possible.
  Nothing kills creative and adventurous thought and experiment like constantly hammering on the fact that we are doomed.  Further, it replicates itself like a contagious disease.
  I do hope you can come to see that as unfair to
younger people who have their lives ahead of them and want to live in a viable world—hopefully a world where “peace is a thing that gives life meaning.”
  Obviously, the world was created, though we have no idea how or why.  The very least we can do is to keep it living so that those we have brought into it
can have the same chance we have had.  This means, because of the vast injustices present, that we have all we can do to address such needs, and hold out the hope that it is possible to stop crimes against humanity, the most urgent of which, in my view are war, poverty and exploitation.
  A huge mental shift is required, I admit, but to give up is to stop trying. Sorry, but it’s more than a moral challenge.

Incidentally, the Dorothy crack was fairly insulting, but I won’t address it as it is another whole can of worms.

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By mdgr, October 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

At the risk of siding with Rico, you’re really over-reaching.

I can express my opinion, you yours. If you don’t like hearing what I say, we can agree to disagree. If you wish to mis-characterize what I say and cast it is moralistic and self-righteous terms, you can kindly go to hell.

That should take us a long way down your path of namaste and rapproachement, right?

Good luck with Dorothy.

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By gerard, October 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  Come to think of it, what gives you, or anyone else, the right to foreclose the future on the world’s children?  As a woman, that’s one of the things that baffles me most. How is that different from banks kicking people out of their homes because they can’t pay their mortgage payments because they lost their jobs—through no fault of their own?  How is “capitalism of the soul” any different when it refuses to “keep the banks of the future” open for the next generations and stop the pillaging of the future’s resources.  Isn’t it all part of the same picture?

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By gerard, October 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

mdge:  “Country of the damned”?  How fatalistic is that?  How many people will agree to that simply because it doesn’t require them to do anything? To think any new thoughts?  To work to hold the forces of human life together so their children can grow up?
To consider exploring other ways and escape from the trap of violence/counter violence?
  Consider all the great things humans have done in the past.  What kind of craven ingratitiude is willing to consign all that to the ash heap when so much potential remains, unknown, as yet undisvocered, latent, waiting to be born?
  Don’t you hear the children’s voices on the wind?

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By mdgr, October 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

While I cannot help but give a nod to the moral core in those who espouse the merit of civil disobedience, it is doubtful that anything enduring would have been achieved for civil rights without the counterweight of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers.

Here we are dealing with real politik along with the force of the Roman army, the Coliseum (TV and the MSM) and the egocentricity and narcissism that, like the North Star, are the two guiding lights of the American psyche. Ours is a nation of sheep (masquerading as individualists), and we also also deathly afraid. If you’re expecting civil disobedience from Americans of the kind you’re currently getting in France, you’ll be waiting a long, long time.

We can agree to disagree about alternate options, of course. The disagreement can be friendly even if radical in nature.

On another subject, the Guardian’s earlier prognostication of Wikileak’s future was, apparently, at least partially wrong, thank goodness.

The 400,000 documents signaling “round-two” are, in some cases, already being reported as having just been received, More should follow tomorrow as a news conference has already been called.

I predict that most of the world will register “shock” at this, and this certainly is on a par with the release of the Pentagon Papers in terms of civil disobedience.

Americans will mostly shrug it off and click their tongues. So much for the efficacy of Gandhi methods in the country of the damned.

http://english.aljazeera.net/

http://www.google.com/search?q=wikileaks&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

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By gerard, October 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

Cool off, Rico.  It is time to think about the future—if any—not the past.  Wars start because the future is never taken into consideration soon enough, but the past is allowed to take over, emotions are swept into fear, hatred and misunderstanding, old patterns of response feed each other until sooner or later war explodes as the “only alternatie.”
  While there is still time—if there is still time—other solutions can be explored and old knee-jerk responses may be directed into a smarter and more compassionate way of responding to international problems.
  Nobody pretends it will be easy.  It will require much more civilian involvement. It will require more willingness to think ahead, to consider and understand all sides of all questions. It will require wisdom, compassion and creativity.  It will demand courage,planning, cooperation, willingness to change. 
  It will not be a matter of a few guys from West Point telling tens of thousands of young people, “Now we are going to ruin your lives. You have to go over there and kill those people as fast as possible.  If you don’t, you go to jail.  If you get injured or die, tough luck. There’s more where you came from.
  That period of history is trying to leave the stage.  Weapons are simply too vile and too destructive.  Even the hardest hearts are beginning to sicken.  It’s time, Rico.  It’s time.

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By rico, suave, October 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

felicity:

Can you venture a guess as to why South Korea doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program, what with the Dear Leader having some just a few miles away?

Can you venture a guess as to what would happen to the South if all our troops came home?

This is an article about wars in general, and you people sound as if the US is the only country in the world which has ever been in one, indeed, which has been responsible for every war ever fought.

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By rico, suave, October 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

felicity:

Are you saying South Korea would have been better off if we hadn’t fought? And are you really using Norman Mailer as an expert source on war and peace?

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By rico, suave, October 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

felicity:

Yeah, and South Korea, compared to the Paradise on earth to the North, so sucks as a place to live because we did.

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By felicity, October 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

gerard - great post.  We’ve marched, stood vigils,
celebrated Mass at the Nevada Test Site with our local
Catholic Worker and if nothing else, it does make one
feel and understand, somehow (and it’s strange) that
there are alternatives to war. 

We’ve heard more than once that “it doesn’t do any
good” - but at least it doesn’t cause the horrendous
pain and suffering to the millions of people that war
does.

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By gerard, October 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

People who talk about “kumbaya” haven’t got the faintest.

People honing for a fight will usually get a fight.

There are better possibilities, but we as a nation may just be too stupid to learn.

Chris Hedges never says:  ‘Here’s where you go to find out what civil disobedience might mean in today’s case.  Here’s where you go to learn about past experiences with civil disobedience and what is required to make it work. Here’s why it might work. Here’s where you can find out more about it. Here’s why it’s better than armed conflict.  Here’s what you need to know.”

Look up War Resisters League, Iraq Veterans against the War, Quakers, Peace Studies, Alternatives to Violence Programs, History of Civil Disobedience, Life of Martin Luther King, the Berrigan Brothers, The Catholic Worker, Thomas Merton, etc. etc.

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By felicity, October 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

rico, suave - I didn’t think I’ve have to repeat it,
but alas I do.  “Fighting a war to fix something
works about as well as going to a whorehouse to get
rid of the clap,” Norman Mailer.  (Not that I imagine
that you would go to a whorehouse should you come
down with a case of the clap. Or would you?)

And, even though I did go to high school in the
Haight-Ashbury, the Nam war wasn’t even on the
horizon, besides we were too busy trying to keep our-
tyrant-of-choice, dictator S. Rhee, safe from
marauders from the north.  Lost a lot of American
lives keeping that little asshole in power.

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By Notorious Nuno, October 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

I believe Humanity will meet the same fate as the dinossaurs. You’re not in control down here, never have been, never will be, and your demise will prove that!!! Take it from a being just passing through, I will be there when God’s wrath comes down on you!!! As far as militarism, and wars go…anyone who isn’t brave enough, or smart enough to stand up to their superiors & refuse to go to war on behalf of capitalist terrorists, or political terrorists is WEAK & A COWARD, and will eventually lose their Souls!!! Many go out and train to be killers, go abroad killing others, and expect to get away with it, or come back alive??? Your lives are to be spent helping your families, your communities, creating families, and making life better for yourselves/others…not fighting, killing, or carrying out terrorists’ agendas!!! It’s the reason why so many commit suicide…because their Souls can’t take the torture!!! I keep hearing BS about American interests abroad…since when can a country claim national interests in another country??? I’d love to hear Iraqis & Iranians say that they have a national interest in America!!! Stop invading other people’s countries like cowards armed with guns because the real “HEROES” are those defending their own countries when being invaded!!! You want less terrorism around the world, remove your military bases from almost 200 countries, employ those soldiers here at home rebuilding our country’s infrastructure, and make our country a better place, instead of the World’s joke!!! You need to face the fact that you will never rule the World, and so far, have been lucky that the rest of the World hasn’t united against your global interference!!! The Souls of all those people you kill, or help kill, are assembling around you on a daily basis, and will eventually bring about your demise!!! You can FK with each other, but you don’t FK with God!!! Your existence will be short-lived, so make the best of it, and try to make ammends for all the EVIL you’ve cast into the World!!!

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By mdgr, October 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Rico:

<Low curtsy, click click>

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By rico, suave, October 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:
You’re so right. All this talk of kumbaya is pure luxury. When the shit hits the fan, you either fight, literally, with blood and pain, for what you believe in, or you die.

Nation-against-nation or religion-against-religion wars are nothing more more than playground fist fight on a gruesome scale.

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By mdgr, October 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Hi Gerard,

The business about “non-violent political action” may need to be rethought. Gandhi’s tactics may have worked in India, yes, but I doubt it will change multinationals. Just because both pitchforks and pocket combs have teeth doesn’t mean you should comb your hair with the former. Every level is discrete and needs to be treated differently. As Malcolm X said,  MLK’s “I have a dream” speech can be said to go only so far.

I admire the courage and integrity of Chris Hedges, including his stating that violent confrontation is almost certainly going to backfire. But what Mr. Hedges’ is not saying out loud may be even more significant as what he is saying.

For more on that, you might find his Q&A answers of interest http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_on_the_death_of_the_liberal_class_20101018/.

I find it equally telling that Mr. Scheer took that article down from Truthdig’s Home Page just three days after it was posted.

I see it as one of the most incisive offerings on Truthdig—ever—and Mr. Scheer most recent article suggested that he just had an epiphany about the two party system (Vichy/Berlin). But maybe not.

Maybe Mr. Scheer’s premature removal of this video/post actually suggests that he too is a collaborator—which is exactly what David Sirota also suggested when he pointed to many so-called progressive groups are really just shills for Vichy.

In both the short and long term, Mr. Hedges is talking about Resistance and, in the end, a violent collapsing of the State, though rather down the road.

He is emphatically not talking about peace marches from the 60’s where we sang “We shall overcome.”

He is also talking about how at some point—his words, with appropriate understatement—we may need to break the law.

Whether that involves mere civil disobedience or something out of Derrick Jensen’s “Endgame” is yet to be elucidated.

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By sallysense, October 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

for iraq veterans against war…

truth lives among our soldiers who refuse to let it die!...
the kind whose inborn conscience fights to stop these wars of lies!...
each serviceman who knows how fatal blows won’t end those means…
that keep men’s deadly reasons from seeing life in real scenes!...

they watch a world of leaders still pretend to play false gods…
wearing know-it-all mentalities that have yet to learn they’re not!...
for pockets stuffed with body counts will never feel like gold…
around a sense of touch that bears aliveness by its hold!...

they see dying victims lying on these floors of walls of war!...
welcome mats in neighborhoods smell horror’s putrid core!...
pouring over auras under shrouds of human waste…
in rigor mortis cobblestone kicked farther out of place!...

they hear abducted landscapes being swept from civil tongues…
booming demolition moving in where towns belong!...
root-based shoots upheaving in between tight cracks of clay…
catastrophically erode outside the groundwork words might lay!...

they tuck those aftershocks in every space their minds may find!...
blocking out bright light that fades sharp contrast over time…
for until the dark exposes these stark negatives in full…
it hinders mankind’s sunrise to develop better rules!...

soldiers dare to face the consequence it takes to turn this tide!...
as it’s from their brave positions waves of change begin to try!...
and once first steps are followed by successive ones in line…
remember it’s these few who knew what most didn’t realize!...

iraq veterans against war… http://www.ivaw.org

courage to resist… http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/

(things need to change to get better… lotsa stuff to do!... keep telling the lawmakers to wake up this government to care about the basics and stop misleading and end all the war and don’t waste anymore!...

and here’s one of many links to do that and get congressional info etc too)... http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials

also… basic schooling needs to teach students about illusion so they can learn to understand how everyone’s standard human perception (including their own) uses illusion in its natural thinking-patterned thought processes…

it’s important for children that through simple child-geared teaching they learn how illusion can distort something from being seen “as it actually is”... into something else when thoughts (already in the mind) substitute their own ‘pictures’ (or connotations etc) instead…

in learning this then other mental pictures that resurface as ignorant social or racial or extremist bias etc are less apt to make big impacts as they’ll have awareness of many alternatives too… and with various mindsets behind triggers and control buttons these days they need this info now more than ever!...

hopefully they learn how everyone’s perceptions use illusion and how it ends up behind so many ideas… and they’ll have advantages of being more prone to use added consideration as they live with themselves and others in our world here!...

(this isn’t a cure or a fix… but at least it’s a beginning)...

(and there’s lotsa other stuff to do too!)...

the best of wishes’n'ways’n'todays to all!... smile

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By rollzone, October 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

hello. there is too much to answer in a commentary,
but you weaklings are the ones we have to fight for.
rewriting history to suit your argument is easy, but
having lived through the communist threat, i remember
how much they gloat when they win your hearts and
minds without firing a shot. pretending that if we
refuse to fight because the political environment is
so democratically friendly, is a naive notion that
our enemies (whom will always exist) are of the same
pacifist submission. they are not, and will
immediately overwhelm your control with theirs, as
soon as they see their opportunity; which you are
arguing to provide. my point which i previously
obfuscated so well, is that even though fighting can
benefit everyone, the outcome is not necessarily
murder. it does not have to be human slaughter.
conquering and enslaving does not need to include
murder. wars over socialism, communism, capitalism,
republicanism, every ‘ism’- are just tough guy on the
block fights over money. it would benefit us more to
attack banks. you get more from money than dead
people body counts. with money you can isolate
yourself from all ‘isms’. if everybody had wealth,
could we all get along?

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By gerard, October 22, 2010 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

“....magical thinking without the rigors of strategic depth and planning won’t make war go away.

“,,,,Nor will effete and wishful thinking get progressives into strong positions of power.”

Thanks, mdgr.  My point exactly when I cite places to go for more detailed information on the foudation, philosophy, practice, training and hard work required when and if undertaking nonviolent political action.  It’s a whole different ball game, and there’s little or nothing in ordinary competitive business life to prepare anyone to use it effectively.  Most people are so habituated to violnece that they reject the possibilities of non-violence out of hand, without even beginning to understand it.  That’s the sad “crime of omission” that may ruin the chances for meaningful change.

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By mdgr, October 22, 2010 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Agree with most of JDmysticDJ’s post, which is a first and hopefully may suggest some serious miscommunications in the past.

The one part of his post I don’t agree with is comparing Obama to Johnson. The latter was deeply committed to Main Street, civil rights, etc. The former is not committed and he has systematically undermined it at almost every step of the way. Nor has it been by accident, but that is not the point of this post.

While I couldn’t disagree more with Rico, his analogy between “liberals” and “Dorothy,” while sexist, is actually not bad. Chris Hedges has said pretty much the same. And magical thinking without the rigors of strategic depth and planning won’t make war go away.

Nor will effete and wishful thinking get progressives into strong positions of power (e.g., Russ Feingold is losing in the RCP poll by 6 points).

I’m not sure that most people have seen through the charade, but many have seen that the two party system is irredeemable and is no longer working.

“The lesser of two evils” is no longer a compelling reason for voting for either party (Vichy or Berlin), thank goodness.

Quite the contrary.

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By mdgr, October 22, 2010 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

Rico,suave:

http://www.techeye.net/business/us-government-trying-to-kill-our-funding


http://www.google.com/search?q=wikileaks+moneybookers&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#q=wikileaks+moneybookers&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=FqD&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=ivn&ei=3EzBTPfOKYrAsAOlyrSNDA&start=10&sa=N&fp=b2222bc37d210369

The Guardian is, of course, one of those commie-run rags that is probably on your rico-like radar screen.

With all due respect, while I readily respond to polite questions regarding sourcing, I’ve decided to take a pass to inflammatory statements that don’t merit a response.

There’s enough to despise Obama for that’s totally merited without resorting to Rush Limbaud’s sound byte that the man (and Geithner too, presumably) is a socialist. Sheesh.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Criticizing Obama bears some similarities to criticizing the policies of Lyndon Johnson. On the recommendation of his military advisors, and in the hope that doing so would end the war in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson escalated the war. At the same time he pushed civil rights, and war on poverty legislation through the Congress. After Johnson effectively resigned from the Presidency because of the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon and six more years of horrific war followed.

Support for initiating war requires a kind of tragic mass hysteria, that support is fueled by propaganda and patriotic fervor. As the realities of war become evident, support for war diminishes from all but the most zealous. Those who truly seek an end to war must be able to identify the most zealous political faction, and support the least zealous political faction. Condemning war is easy, ending war is more difficult. Those who advocate the destruction of the least zealous in order to end war, effectively serve the interests of the most zealous, who will prolong the war. It’s happened before, hopefully it won’t happen again.

Tucker’s solution for ending war should be the avowed goal of all who recognize the futility and horror of war, the likelihood of that solution actually coming to fruition must also be considered. Ending war requires, first, ending current war. Using the example of Vietnam, early opposition to the war came from young people, students, intellectuals, academics, old left politicos, main stream America humanitarians, some religious leaders, traditionally pacifist organizations, radicals, and later from low ranking members of the military, and still later from the main stream media, these factions contributed to ending the war, but they did not end the war. The Pentagon Papers did not end the war. Revelations regarding atrocities did not end the war. The war ended when the most zealous were removed from political power, and the least zealous ended funding for the war.

Criticizing the political strategy of people like Chris Hedges, Scott Tucker, and others is a little like criticizing the political strategy of the Yippies and radicals who effectively destroyed the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, enabling the “Law and Order” Candidate Richard Nixon to win a narrow victory in the 1968 Presidential election. Did I mention that the war continued with extreme prejudice for another six years after that election? After the least zealous were defeated, the most zealous assumed power, and maintained power. Some argue that the data shows majority opposition to the Vietnam War after the Tet Offensive, but the data doesn’t show majority support for those who actively opposed the war. This phenomenon along with disingenuous “Peace with Honor” campaigning from Republicans resulted in Richard Nixon being re-elected in 1972. Eugene McCarthy the Democratic “Peace Candidate” suffered the worst presidential campaign defeat in the history of the U.S. in 1972. The least zealous were resoundingly defeated by the most zealous.

Voting for the Green Party could end our current wars, voting for a Socialist Party could end the wars, but there is a big “if” necessitated for these votes to end the wars, that “if” being, the Green Party or other third Party winning the Presidency and a majority support in Congress. Forgive me for being flippant, but I have to say, good luck with that.

Snap your fingers to end the wars, wriggle your nose to end the wars, bang your head on the wall to end the wars, again, good luck with that.

I’m all for political action to end the wars, I’m all for political protest to end the wars. I’ll argue that the least zealous will be more inclined to tolerate and be influenced by political action and grass roots protest, but lacking such actions, only events will end the wars, and I’ll also argue that the least zealous will be most influenced by events.

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By bodhidharma, October 21, 2010 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Yes, freedom must be fought for, but one should make sure who the real enemy is. You talk, rico, suave, like freedom is something that we already have. What a joke! Our real enemies are the multinationals, and The Best Government Money Can Buy.

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By gerard, October 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Oh yeah!  Grrr! Grrr! Grrr! That always gets us where we want to go. There’s no other way. Fight! Fight!  Win! Win! Kill! Kill! Look at how heroic we are!  Bigger!  Tougher!  Meaner! Rah! Rah! Grrrrrr!

Argh!

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By rico, suave, October 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:

What is Wikileaks’ “funding source”? I can tell you this much- if it were a true free enterprise capitalist company, it would be immuned from being shut down by government fiat.

And you want to turn your life over to Obama-style socialism!? Keep me posted on how that works out for you, if you’re allowed to speak at all. And if you are told to shut up, like you claim Wikileaks has been, I don’t expect to hear about you fighting about it. I won’t expected to hear from you ever again: There is no wifi or cell service in the gulag.

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By rico, suave, October 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

felicity:

“I’ve read that what actually led to the ending of the Vietnam War was the refusal of numbers of the
American military to fight in it.”

You read that in one of those free “newspapers” you got from a street corner box in Haight-Ashbury.

No responsible history anywhere, right, left or loony left, attributes the end of the Vietnam War to a soldiers’ strike.

You people are a bunch of Dorothys, clicking your red-shod heals, just wanting to go home.

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By robert puglia, October 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

right you are- to this day no one thinks of or quotes
aristophanes.

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By rico, suave, October 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

No, you will lose your freedom when you refuse to fight. Many of you progressives are willing to do just that, and live in the all-encompassing, suffocating, morale-sapping daycare center of socialism. But most understand that real freedom must ALWAYS be fought for, often with blood.

Aristophanes was the Steven Colbert of his day. A smart-ass patrician with nothing better to do than make fun of the over-earnest powermongers of Athens. His call to “just say no” fell on deaf ears then and has been continuously ignored for 2400 years.

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By mdgr, October 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

Wars will cease only when we stop being so deathly afraid and when we begin to realize that the enemy is us.

Bastille aside, Americans would never act like the French have recently done, not in a thousand years.
Americans are too afraid to see what’s right in front of their nose, much less break the law. Fear flows in our veins. Meanwhile, two more prisons are built right in our home towns.

Meanwhile, the games at the Coliseum are held every night on television. We attend and, for the most part, we applaud. Neither socialism nor the Greens address that issue. Chris Hedges’ analysis comes closest, I think, but many of us are still clinging to “hope.”

Do you know that Wikileaks has all but closed due to the crushing of its funding-source, presumably under the orders of Obama? That’s not being well-reported in America—quite the contrary, actually, through a disinformation campaign—but it is elsewhere in the world.

So let’s at least not be naive. It’s time to opt-out of fear and opt-in for awareness and resistance at every level possible. It’s not about pacifism or political ideologies. It’s about courage and not drinking any more of the Kool Aid.

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By gerard, October 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Regarding several statements here to the effect that “there will never be peace until ........”

That’s precisely the core of the problem—the notion that something else has to “happen” first.
And usually what is propossed as the necessary pre-condition is widely regarded as unlikely or impossible.

The secret is that peace comes first, and that, contrariwise, there was never a war until peace was scorned, defiled, overlooked, buried alive under heaps of lies and propaganda—whatever it takes to make people crazy enough to agree to march off and kill each other and their women and children.

Peace comes first.  Until that simple statement is understood by a majority of people who decide they have suffered enough wars, and are willing to learn how to make peace, wars will continue to be promoted and will suck in people who think peace is impossible and war is inevitable.

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By samosamo, October 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

****************


This country will never cease to initiate
preemptive wars or on a whim exert more
american hegemony by invading sovereign
nations for their natural resources until the
mainstream media is broken up and reality is
reported to the people. Part of that would be to
treat lobbying for the criminal bribery and
influence peddling that it is which would require
law enforcement and the justice system to get
back to doing what they are supposed to do.

When you know the real reasons as to why we go
to war, it becomes easier to refuse to fight for
other’s selfish and greedy reasons.

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By felicity, October 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

I’m reminded of why the storming of the Bastille by
the French people in 1789 was successful. 

At the first signs of unrest among the populace of
Paris, Louis XVI called in 30,000 troops from the
provinces to ‘defend’ the city - namely, himself and
his reign. It would have worked if the ‘troops’
hadn’t defected en masse joining the people.  The
Bastille fell; the revolution was up and running.

I’ve read that what actually led to the ending of the
Vietnam War was the refusal of numbers of the
American military to fight in it.

“Open Letter” has some historical evidence to back it
up.

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By DavidByron, October 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Sensible statement and one I have often made myself.  What’s next?  Equal right for gays to bite the heads of babies?

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By Ruth C Uppena, October 21, 2010 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There will be peace when there is justice.

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By James Hipps, October 21, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I couldn’t agree more.  War will NEVER stop terrorism, but perhaps invoke it.

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By Abby P., October 21, 2010 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

I am a graduate student of military history so I understand the notion of ending wars….although I don’t believe that will ever end. But what I wonder is why Scott Tucker joined the military if he was a pacifist? It’s not as if the draft was re-instituted and he was forced to join.

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By balkas, October 21, 2010 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

A structure of governance that wld be very timocratic and as much as possible
pantisocratic wld be successful in not waging wars of aggression. Such a structure
wld ensure that all people share about equally in what a nation produces.

Alas, US is not a nation. It is a mass of ethnicities, cults; thus much dysfunctional
in the endeavors to bring justice in US.
Of course, US rulers knew that more folks and cults in US, the easier is to rule
such a disunited and hateful of one another peoples.

And they also knew about those funni uncles: pedro, peter, petra, hans, pierre,
malcolm, moshe, vladimir, ivan, ali, hussain, giovanni, costas, tom, volodomir,
radek, walter, horatio. tnx

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By Sofie-Alice, October 21, 2010 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Wars will stop when we will have a majority of population educated toward creation, improvement and not the violent cult promoted today. Added to that we will need good leaders. Unfortunately until then there is much to do.
Cazare Apartamente Bucuresti

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By morristhewise, October 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Republican senators will never anger their base by voting to end DADT.  The
statement by Obama that he supports its repeal only after a careful review by the
new Republican congress is rhetoric. An executive order ending DADT is all that is
needed, but he will not defy millions of homophobes and their Republican
representatives. The president has the gay votes in his pocket, his only concern is
his return to power in 2012.

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By Arabian Sinbad, October 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Not only wars will end when we refuse to fight, but also when a majority number of the population refuse to be brainwashed and indoctrinated into the culture of violence and warmongering.

But also, wars will end or its prospects are reduced when we get a little help from the times of reckoning; when those who live by the swords of war are forced, by the logic of reckoning hard times, to cut on their military spending, as the latest case of Britain forced to cut its military budget demonstrate.

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By Tim Kelly, October 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The pioneers of a warless world are the youth who refuse military service.” —Albert Einstein

(I heard he was a really smart fellow.)

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By JDmysticDJ, October 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Somewhere between Scott Tuckers perfectly logical, but rollzone trumped, solution to diminishing the proliferation of war (And his counter productive political strategy,) and rollzone’s blood and snot psychopathy lies rational thought, and the “Art of the possible.”

Scott Tucker and others must see that rollzone and his ilk will never be restrained, except by the ballot box, and the rule of law enforced by democracy, and those committed to defending it.

Push comes to shove, my money’s on Tucker, or his defenders.

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By erichwwk, October 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Well said Gerad:

I have a plaque from my mother I cherish:

Wenn der eine nicht will, können ywei miteinander streiten- Spanisch

(Graphic shows two dogs, sizing each other up)

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By gerard, October 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

Hello!  Challenging someone online to “warring with you in a fight just short of death” shows just how far some people will go to create a fight. And what is such a fight about?  “The premise of not fighting wars”—presumably wars of survival.
  Most wars are not wars of survival, they are wars to prevent other people from surviving—“enemies”—who got to be “enemies” because we are mad at them or they are mad at us and nobody bothered to find out why and take care of the situation early on, when it would probably have been more manageable and less bloody.
  Wars we have going now are for oil, for domination, for preventing people from doing other things, for forcing one-sided agreements, for revenge, for money, or for no good reason at all except that somebody started it.
  Survival is what occurs when people agree to get along together and help each other cope with their problems. Those who are “fittest to survive” are those who know how to make peace.

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By erichwwk, October 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

different strokes for different folks:

Gandhi:

  “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.”

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

  “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”

“Whatever you may suffer, speak the truth. Be worthy of the entire confidence of your associates. Consider what is right as to what must be done. It is not necessary that you should keep your property, or even your life, but it is necessary that you should hold fast your integrity.” ——  William Channing, to his son, a soldier in the Civil War

Norman Cousins: “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live”

Albert Einstein:

“This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.”

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.-Mark Twain


The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see their near and dear bathed in tears, to ride their horses and sleep on the white bellies of their wives and daughters.  – Genghis Khan

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By Kath Cantarella, October 20, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Getting more women and gay and lesbian soldiers into the military will help to reduce war, which is generated and reinforced and recycled by notions of hyper-masculinity that are part of the current military ethos. Read the book ‘War and Gender’ by Joshua Goldstein.

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By gerard, October 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

It isn’t just refusing to fight - though that’s the first step.  Beyond that, it’s finding out how to influence the sources of military and political power to stop fighting.
  Of course they can’t continue fighting if their “armed forces” refuse.  But some steps are needed to get from here to there.  Refuse one by one, yes—and tell why.  Expose the horrors and the expense and the uselessness.  Tell personal stories. (See: Veterans Against the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan)
  Beyond that, get in touch with organizations like that which will give you additional support—organizations that teach non-violent resistance and advise “refusniks” legally on the basis of past experience.  Center for Conscientious Objection comes to mind. Work with pacifist organizations who “teach peace” consistently, and study the details of successful methods of nonviolent resistance and political action. There is experience-based information but you have to look for it.  Look at Columbia, U. of Colorado, Peace Studies Department. Search Quakers (Society of Friends) and other “historic peace churches.” Read Gandhi, Thomas Merton, the Berrigan brothers, Catholic Worker, Nelson Mandela.  Look up Alternatives to Violence Program, AVP.
It’s a whole different way of thinking and being—not business as usual. Far from it. Politics is an important part of it, but it goes beyond politics into a way of thinking, a way of living.

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By erichwwk, October 20, 2010 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Wars are also driven by those able to privatize benefits and socialize costs.  I believe it was Dalton Trumbo who said “Wars occur when rich old men are able to con poor young boys into stealing from them”.

Aristophanes got in right centuries ago.

“The truth is, they want you, you see, to be poor,” Aristophanes wrote in his play “The Wasps.” “If you don’t know the reason, I’ll tell you.

It’s to train you to know who your tamer is. Then, whenever he gives you a whistle and sets you against an opponent of his, you jump out and tear them to pieces.”—Aristophanes via Chris Hedges

sound familiar?  How about:

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”  – Frederic Bastiat

or let’s not leave out out congressperson’s (invariably male):

“But for every organization willing to challenge aspects of the defense budgets, there are five or six making the case for still more spending. And for every congressman willing to ask “What’s in it for the U.S.?” there are dozens asking simply. “What’s in it for us—my constituents and me?”
— Christopher Prebles in “The Power Problem”, p. 8

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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By rollzone, October 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

hello. i completely disagree with your rules of
engagement. the premise of not fighting wars is
preposterous. i would rather kill myself than live
amongst a nation of peoples unwilling or unable to
survive. that a survival gene exists does not define
its sole mission is murder. all conflicts (while
healthy to participate in) never need to end by death
of the opposition. the battles we must fight to win
encompass all interactions. today the Republicans are
surrounding the White House, but the press secretary
in warring fashion must state ‘there is not a strong
Republican amongst them’. the Wall Street fraudsters
need to destroy the American dollar, while usurping
our Constitution. even though we regret not being
able to challenge such unscrupulous individuals to an
honest duel, the battle will rage, with no deaths,
and only an outcome of banking errors. with today’s
weaponry, murder is no longer prerequisite to
control, yet it still provides the best video. you
want to battle over trained murderers, by labeling
and dividing Americans amongst ourselves. i challenge
you, silly author, to a blood and snot fisticuffs.
not because you think unions of democracy are what
our Republic is about- but instead, so i may learn
how far your convictions go, beyond the money you are
paid; and the pleasure i will find, warring with you
in a fight just short of death.

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