BOAVENTURA DE SOUSA SANTOS – When armed conflicts take place in Africa or in the Middle East, Europe’s leaders are the first to call for a cessation of hostilities and to declare the urgent need for peace negotiations. Why is it then that when a war occurs in Europe, the drums of war beat incessantly, and not a single leader calls for them to be silenced and for the voice of peace to be heard?
CHRIS DE PLOEG – International aggression has major consequences and can lead to massive loss of human life: 2.4 million dead in Iraq, 1.2 million dead in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the U.S. war against the Taliban. Senior American defense officials claim that Russia is still holding back and that its bombers are primarily focused on military targets. These same officials also warn that civilian casualties could massively spike if Russia does decide to enact an Iraq- or Chechnya-style bombing campaign. Can that kind of fate still be prevented in Ukraine? That is the primary question that should concern all commentators. That and the prevention of further escalation, nuclear war. Where do we go from here?
BOAVENTURA DE SOUSA SANTOS – More than 100 years after World War I, Europe’s leaders are sleepwalking toward a new all-out war. In 1914, the European governments believed that the war would last three weeks; it lasted four years and resulted in more than 20 million deaths. The same nonchalance is visible with the war in Ukraine.
BRIAN GARVEY – Cohesive opposition that demands an end to the violence and bloodshed in Ukraine must be the top priority of advocates for peace.
NOLAN HIGDON – The context and details of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as its historic roots, are being pushed aside in favor of a kind of binary knee-jerk activism that is far too common in American political culture.
RALPH NADER – Corporate fraud against the U.S. governmentâ€”which occurs no matter which party is in powerâ€”costs taxpayers billions of dollars per year. Neither Congress nor the White House has met this challenge of titanic corruption which should become a major campaign subject in the coming elections.
FRIDA BERRIGAN – If anything good can come out of the horrific war in Ukraine, it might be a renewed movement to abolish nuclear weapons once and for all.
NETA C. CRAWFORD – The war in Afghanistan, like many other wars before it, began with optimistic assessments of a quick victory and the promise to rebuild at warâ€™s end. Despite Bushâ€™s warning of a lengthy campaign, few thought then that would mean decades. But 20 years later, the U.S is still counting the costs.
RAY MCGOVERN – There must be accountability for Afghanistan. The more so since generals and admirals, active duty and retired, are going off half-cocked. Some of them, like Admiral Charles Richards, head of US Strategic Command, are saying nuclear war is possible. Earlier this year Richards wrote that the US must shift from a principal assumption that nuclear weaponsâ€™ use is nearly impossible to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility.” And retired Adm. James Stavridis, former commander of NATO, is already talking about war with China “perhaps ten years from now.” Accountability and effective civilian control of such general officers can prevent the next March of Folly.
NICK MOTTERN – On July 2, fleeing questions from reporters about U.S. plans in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden sought refuge behind the July 4th Independence Day holiday, yet obliquely acknowledged that the U.S. will use some level of â€œover the horizonâ€ air attacks to prevent the Taliban from taking power, attacks that will include drones and manned aircraft, possibly even B-52s.
LIAM MCCOLLUM – The Montana state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan and unprecedented resolution Tuesday calling on the federal government to end endless wars. The resolution passed 95-3 in the House and 47-2 in the Senate. The resolution specifically urges President Joe Biden and the United States Congress to â€œend the endless war in Afghanistan,â€ repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, resist sending U.S. troops into combat without a declaration of war from Congress or specific authorization to do so, and to â€œexecute a prudent foreign policy.â€
ANDREW BACEVICH – As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trumpâ€™s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.
MEL GURTOV – Commentators evidently desperate for good news are touting the Israel-United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreement as a welcome path to Middle East peace. The agreement trades Israelâ€™s promise not to annex portions of the West Bank for the UAEâ€™s recognition of Israel. One conservative writer for the Washington Post actually thinks Trumpâ€™s role in helping bring the agreement about makes him a Nobel Prize candidate. But hold on.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Deferred for far too long, Judgment Day may at long last have arrived for the national security state.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – When the mainstream media writes about war, even critically, the image that often comes to mind for me is an infant wrapped in plastic. That infant is naked reality, a.k.a., the present moment, suffocating and screaming for its life; the plastics smothering it are the journalistic euphemisms by which murder and terrorism turn into abstract acts of national necessity.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Veterans For Peace, an organization that speaks truth to war like nobody else, is attempting to reclaim Armistice Day, the Nov. 11 holiday that was flipped on its head 65 years ago when it was renamed Veterans Day â€” and became a celebration not of the end of war but of its perpetuity.
MEL GURTOV – Donald Trump and his minions are the chief threats to Americaâ€™sâ€”and for that matter, the worldâ€™sâ€”real security.
KEN BUTIGAN – Itâ€™s synchronistic that, the same week Pope Francis brought his message of peace, people and the planet to the United States, thousands of activists were dramatizing many of these same themes by taking to the streets in hundreds of cities for a culture of peace and nonviolence. It was a coincidence that Campaign Nonviolenceâ€™s second annual week of nonviolent actions took place during the popeâ€™s visit. But the fact that both happened at the same time underscores the importance of two critical elements of nonviolent change: vision and action.
PAT KENNELLY – 2014 marks the deadliest year in Afghanistan for civilians, fighters, and foreigners. The situation has reached a new low as the myth of the Afghan state continues. Thirteen years into Americaâ€™s longest war, the international community argues that Afghanistan is growing stronger, despite nearly all indicators suggesting otherwise. Yet, there is another possibility, that the old way has not worked, and it is time for change; that nonviolence may resolve some of the challenges facing the country.
JOHN FEFFER – The countries of the former Warsaw Pact are not knuckling under to pressure from Russia. They’re trying to avoid a new cold war.
WORLD BEYOND WAR ISIS STATEMENT – The following is an assessment of the current ISIS crisis. The statement examines: (1) the social context of the destructive violence in Syria and Iraq — where we are; (2) viable nonviolent alternatives — what should be done; and (3) opportunities for civil society to advocate and push for those alternatives — how we can make it happen. The alternatives and pathways toward achieving those are not only preferable from a perspective of humanity, but proven to be more effective.
STEPHEN KINZER – Todayâ€™s conflicts illustrate the declining value of conventional military power. For many decades, the United States dominated the world mainly because we had the most potent military. We still do â€” but that no longer brings the dominance it once assured. For much of history, power has been won on the battlefield. Victory depended on your army. If it was bigger, stronger, and better led than the enemy, you would probably win. That charmingly simple equation is now evaporating
DAVID SWANSON – The relationship of women to war has changed dramatically in recent decades, even while remaining the same. But make no mistake, waging war at the behest of female politicians is no different than waging war at the command of male politicians.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Is the human race determined to snuff itself out through mass violence? There are many signs that it is.
NORMAN SOLOMON – A simple twist of fate has set President Obamaâ€™s second Inaugural Address for January 21, the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.
Obama made no mention of King during the Inauguration four years ago — but since then, in word and deed, the president has done much to distinguish himself from the man who said â€œI have a dream.â€
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – In the midst of a nationwide election campaign in which many politicians trumpet their support for the buildup and employment of U.S. military power around the world, the American publicâ€™s disagreement with such measures is quite remarkable. Indeed, many signs point to the fact that most Americans want to avoid new wars, reduce military spending, and support international cooperation.
RITIKA SINGH and BENJAMIN WITTES – Political parties in the United States, like a spatting couple in a bad marriage, have been fighting over the law of counterterrorism for more than a decade. And like the spatting couple, they have developed an almost rote script for their fight. The script has a logic of its own. It is a comfortable one for both spousesâ€”and the fight is soothing in its own way. Republicans and Democrats alike wrap up some portion of their partyâ€™s identity and self-image in the conflict over national-security policy. The fight gives each side the impressionâ€”and the confidenceâ€”that the other endangers America. And it gives each side something to tell voters about why they should vote one way rather than another.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The Republican Party has stood up with remarkable consistency for the post-9/11 U.S. government policies of widespread surveillance, indefinite detention without trial, torture, and extraordinary rendition. It has also supported government subsidies for religious institutions, government restrictions on immigration and free passage across international boundaries, government denial of collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, government attacks on public use of public space (for example, the violent police assaults on the Occupy movement), and government interference with womenâ€™s right to abortion and doctorsâ€™ right to perform it.
JANE DUGDALE – Philadelphia City Council, by a vote of 15-2, passed – on June 21 – a resolution “calling on the U.S. Congress to bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, to take the funds saved by that action and by significantly cutting the Pentagon budget, and to use that money to fund education, public and private sector family-sustaining job creation, special protections for military sector workers, environmental and infrastructure restoration, care for veterans and their families, and human services that our cities and states so desperately need.”
DAVID SWANSON – A magazine asked me this morning for my thoughts on Iraq and the peace movement. What did this war produce?
DR. JOSEPH GERSON -Beyond this hysteria, peace, labor and immigrant rights activists and scholars are gathering in Chicago for the May 18-19 Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice, to present the case against NATO-driven militarism.
ERIN E NIEMELA – As the NATO summit approaches in May, throngs of peace protestors are expected to descend on Chicago to pressure the U.S.-led, 28-nation military alliance for an end to the war in Afghanistan. But for some activists, it will be too late to protest the greatest threat to a peaceful Afghanistan: the signing of the U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement.
REBECCA GRIFFIN – Tell your representative and senators to oppose bills that bring us closer to war with Iran, and to support diplomacy.
BY DAVID SWANSON – We’ve done something worse than get our priorities wrong when we’ve moved resources to harming people rather than helping people.
DAVID SWANSON – 1. Iran has threatened to fight back if attacked, and that’s a war crime. War crimes must be punished.
BETSY CRITES – What do Durham and Afghanistan have in common? We are worlds apart, but we both have people who need jobs, health care, schools, transportation and sewers, and help for our homeless, elderly and hungry. Neither of us is getting our critical needs met in part because a war neither of us really wants is draining our economies, killing and injuring our young people, and depleting our spirits.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH – Libyan rebels have entered Tripoli. As gun battles break out across the city, it is timely to enter into a discussion as to how the rebels arrived there. It is time to review the curious role of NATO and the future of U.S. interventionism.
TIM MAK – The final bill for U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could be as high as $4.4 trillion, according to a comprehensive new report.
REBECCA GRIFFIN & TOM HAYDEN – Rebecca Griffin and Tom Hayden are both strong peace advocates who have worked long and hard to end the wars in the Middle East. Their views on President Obamaâ€™s speech about his Afghan war plans are quite divergent, yet both make valid and important points.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY – In the aftermath of September 11th, our nation went to war in Afghanistan. We had three goals: to dislodge the Taliban government, destroy al Qaeda training camps, and to bring to justice those who masterminded the attacks.
NORMAN SOLOMON – In times of war, U.S. presidents have often talked about yearning for peace. But the last decade has brought a gradual shift in the rhetorical zeitgeist while a tacit assumption has taken hold — war must go on, one way or another.
DAN HANDELMAN – We were very troubled by your announcement Sunday night about the death of Osama Bin Laden. You described his assassination at the hands of a secret U.S. operation as “justice,” an “achievement” that “should be welcomed by all people who believe in peace and humanity.”
DAVID SWANSON – I may soon have an opportunity to meet with nonviolent activists in Afghanistan, an area of the world we falsely imagine has earned the name “graveyard of empires” purely through violent resistance. I was educated in the United States and learned in some detail about the lives of several morally repulsive halfwits who happened to have “served” in various U.S. wars, assaults, and genocides. But I was never even taught the name Badshah Khan. Were you?
BETTY A. REARDON AND TONY JENKINS – The New York Times recently featured significant articles highlighting the important role of non-formal civilian education and training contributing to the nonviolent toppling of dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt (Feb 13: A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History; Feb 16: Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution). In our peacebuilding work, we have found that such significant nonviolent political transformations are not likely to occur without the essential education and training of everyday citizens in the knowledge and skills of peacemaking, mediation and negotiation, conflict transformation, and nonviolent resistance. This is why we believe the February 18 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of amendment 100 to HR 1 (246 to 182 â€“ largely along partisan lines) that will eliminate all federal funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is a tremendous mistake.
JOHN LAFORGE – U.S. attacks on Pakistan using missiles fired from remote-controlled â€œdroneâ€ warplanes have been increasing under President Obama. These covert bombings often kill civilians in violation of the law of war. Even when the missiles somehow blow up targeted individuals, they kill mere suspects. The U.S. denies that its Green Berets, Navy Seals and CIA assassination squads are waging war in Pakistan from bases in neighboring Afghanistan, but the Pentagon has long wanted to expand its regional war there to attack suspected militants — much like President Richard Nixon secretly bombed and then sent thousands of soldiers into Cambodia.
MICHAEL TRUE – â€œThe same war continues,â€ Denise Levertov wrote, in â€œLife at War.â€ Her lament is even more appropriate for 2011 than as it was when she wrote the poem forty-five years ago. Columnists and academics, including International Relations professor Andrew Bacevich, Boston University, are finally acknowledging facts familiar to anyone â€œawakeâ€ regarding failed U.S. policies, wasted lives and resources during this period, Willfully ignoring such facts, as Professor Bacevich wrote, â€œis to become complicit in the destruction of what most Americans profess to hold dear.â€
NORMAN SOLOMON – On December 5th, in a column about economic policy, Paul Krugman focused on â€œmoral collapseâ€ at the White House — â€œa complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.â€ Meanwhile, President Obama flew to Afghanistan, where he put on a leather bomber jacket and told U.S. troops: â€œYouâ€™re achieving your objectives. You will succeed in your mission.â€ For the Obama presidency, moral collapse has taken on the appearance of craven clockwork, establishing a concentric pattern — doing immense damage to economic security at home while ratcheting up warfare overseas.
KATHY KELLY – Kabul– Khamad Jan, age 22, remembers that, as a youngster, he was a good student who enjoyed studying. â€œNow, I canâ€™t seem to think,â€ he said sadly, looking at the ground. There was a long pause. â€œWar does this to your mind.â€
MARTI HIKEN AND LUKE HIKEN – A funny thing happened on the way to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The U.S. military became privatized. Private contractors, i.e. mercenaries, are now the predominant military force comprising the armamentarium of the United States. In effect, private contractors supplanted the U.S. military as the primary decision-makers and fighting force of the U.S. government.
DAVID SMITH-FERRI – Bamiyan Province in Afghanistan, a stunningly beautiful mountainous region, is located in the center of the country, roughly 100 miles from Kabul. Most people here live in small, autonomous villages tucked into high mountain valleys, and work dawn to dusk just to scratch out a meager living as subsistence farmers, shepherds, or goatherds. The central government in Kabul and the regional government in Bamiyan City exercise little or no control over their lives. They govern themselves, and live for the most part in isolation.
Given this, who would imagine that Afghan youth from small villages across Bamiyan Province would come together to form a tight-knit, resilient, and effective group of peace activists, with a growing network of contacts and support that includes youth in other parts of the country and peace activists in the U.S. and in Palestine?