Archive for the ‘War’ Category

War Crime Info

April 13, 2014

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via actionnetwork.org 

Have you always wanted solid proof that only idiots want more wars? Here it is !

Need the facts to correct lies about the bombing of Yugoslavia 15 years ago? Here you go !

Want to correct myths about Rwanda as that tragedy marks 20 years? Now you can .

Want to always be able to find out where events are planned for peace? No problem .

Want free access to all the great shows on Talk Nation Radio? You got it .

Need to catch up on what’s happening in Ukraine? We all should .

Or check out how the movment against weaponized and surveillance drones is progressing .

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Peace to all. Even dummies .

David Swanson

Stop Wars, Crimes against Humanity with all beings!

March 24, 2014
It takes two sides, each blaming the other entirely, and each refusing to recognize its own actions, to start a war. If NATO expansion, U.S. State Department interference, Western financial pressures and weapons basing plans are erased from recent history, trouble in the Ukraine can more easily all be blamed on Russia. We must face facts and hold accountable the government over which we have some control. We stopped missiles into Syria. We stopped a push for war on Iran. We can and must stop this too.

We demand a moratorium on all NATO wargames in Europe, cancellation of the “missile defense” program along with plans for missiles in the Ukraine, and compliance with the U.N. Charter’s ban on threats of war.

Sign the petition.

Then please share this link with others: http://bit.ly/1iUqDjy

 

 

 

The Only Solution

March 3, 2014
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In the final analysis, there are three reasons why people go to war; self-defense, greed, and religion.   Of the three, self-defense is the only morally justified reason for engaging in war because, obviously, if you are defending yourself against a foreign aggressor you did not start the hostilities and are only fighting to save yourself and your fellow citizens from the wrongful actions of an attacking nation. War truly is a curse upon mankind not only because innocent people are killed, but also because of the senseless destruction and the needless squandering of natural resources which inevitably occurs.   In today’s world this last consequence is especially poignant because population levels have put a strain on our natural resources and environment.   Clearly, any nation which wages war out of greed or religion is a pox on mankind and its leaders are war criminals who should be treated accordingly.

The United States of America was the greatest nation in all of history and the reasons for this are no accident.   We were a nation conceived in liberty and born of revolution in keeping with the governing principles subscribe to by our Founding Fathers.   It was adherence to these principles which forged the nation we once had.   The past tense is appropriate to describe our situation because the nation we used to have no longer exists.   It has gone the way of the dodo bird because not one governing principle subscribed to and considered inviolate by our Founding Fathers is functional or operative.   And this conclusion can be reached with conviction and absolute certainty.   We are a nation who has lost its way and the best illustration of this is that we use war as tool of diplomacy and a means to spread a non-existent democracy throughout the world.   How has all this come to pass?

The founding fathers feared the uneducated and ignorant masses. Because of this fear they gave us a republic instead of a democracy.   In a democracy, the masses rule and mob psychology prevails.   In a republic established by a written constitution, the rule of law is paramount and the rights of individuals trump the predilections and wiles of the majority.   A republic is the government given to us by the Founders and it is this kind of government which we have lost.   And this came to pass because somewhere along the line because our leaders stopped believing we should be governed according to the ideals and principles embodied within our constitution and instead, be governed for their personal benefit while keeping us ignorant of what is really going on.   This is where we are today.   Our leaders lie to us all the time and no longer fear the uneducated and ignorant masses because they can control and manipulate our perceptions of the world through the media.   What our Founding Fathers feared most is now a valued tool used by those who rule us.   How has all this come to pass?

Capitalism is the goose that laid the golden egg for Americans.   It provided us with a bounty envied by the rest of the world and all of us take great pride in being American primarily because of our economic success.   However, while capitalism is an ideal economic system for a nation to have to provide for the distribution of goods and services, it is the worst possible system to have when capitalists control government.   The purpose of government is to level the playing field for all concerned.   The goal of a capitalist is to seek advantage in the market place.   These two goals are at cross purposes to each other and when capitalist get the upper hand over government it becomes corrupt and serves the needs of corporations instead of the needs of society. This is exactly what happened in the United States and this is why everything that could possible go wrong with America has come to pass.   Our government is now so corrupt that we are no longer citizens but instead, subjects where we have no rights and corporate interests rule the day.   How did all of this come to pass?

In 1913, while no one was paying attention, Congress created the Federal Reserve System and gave it the responsibility of printing money and regulating our economy.     At first glance, this sounds well and good, but nothing could be further from the truth because the Federal Reserve System is controlled by the Federal Reserve Bank; a private corporation whose owners and principles are a mystery to us.   In other words, by creating the Federal Reserve System, Congress turned over our economic well-being to a group of unknown insiders and because these people were empowered to loan us our own money at interest, they became so rich and powerful that they now dominate and control our government.   Therefore, upon passage of the Federal Reserve Act, our republic died and our government became an oligarchy run by behind the scenes power brokers who have the final say in everything.   The Republic died, democracy died, freedom died and Americans would never again have a say in how we are governed even though we are still allowed to vote for either one of the two puppets who we wrongfully think of as being our President.

In conclusion, the only solution to our problem is to rid ourselves of the Federal Reserve Bank and this can be accomplished by repealing the Federal Reserve Act.   Repealing this despicable and ignoble act is simply a matter of getting enough members of Congress to support this action.   However, in consideration of how corrupt and self-serving Congress has become, our present situation is such that it is far easier for an elephant to go through the eye of a needle than it is to get a Congressman to vote for something of which would be so beneficial to us.   This is especially true when you consider that such a vote constitutes a vote against the people who rule and control the world.

 

 

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Al Adaschik was raised in Brooklyn, New York and studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan in its Naval NROTC program. Upon graduating, Al qualified for navy flight training and received his wings as a Jet Fighter Pilot in June of (more…)

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The Stupidest Idea in the History of the World

February 26, 2014
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This article is really better as a video.

If you search on the internet for “the stupidest idea in the history of the world” you’ll come away thinking that maybe a top contestant is the invention of Youtube. Who knew so many idiots could do so much damage to themselves with so many motorbikes and diving boards and flame throwers?

If you survey the span of human history a little more seriously, some big ideas jump out, beginning with the creation of history itself. Maybe if we’d stayed unhistoric, hunted, gathered, and existed eternally as part of nature we wouldn’t have gotten into such a mess. But that’s too easy an answer, and way too much for people who ride surf boards off their roofs — and film it — to think about.

Other ideas are in the running, I think, from industrial farming, to religion, to racism, to fossil fuels, to science at any cost, to the creation of the United States Senate.  And yet, one idea stands out for its wild improbability, creativity, long-lasting destruction on an enormous scale, and insidious ability to turn even people who don’t own video cameras and catapults into champion unwitting masochists.

The idea I’m talking about, and my nominee for Stupidest Idea in the History of the World, is the idea that any ordinary person should ever support a war.

While it’s undoubtedly true that the war propagandist is the world’s second-oldest, and least respectable, profession, he or she is a product of history who wasn’t needed in prehistoric times.  Nobody needed to be sold on the idea of hunters fighting off lions and bears.  It’s when they ran out of lions and bears and decided to keep their jobs by starting fights with other tribes of humans that persuasion became necessary.

Why in the world would people want to support fighting and killing other people and having those other people fight and kill you?  What’s to be gained? A thrill?  If you want a serious and useful and communal thrill these days you can do nonviolent resistance to fascist governments. Or you can join a fire department. If you want a useless and pointless thrill, you can jump off a 100-foot bridge with a 100-foot (but all too stretchable) bungee cord and a video camera. Back then, you could go hunting or exploring, or try to discover gravity or surgery.  Never was the only thrill available war.

And yet, down through the ages, war has popped up again and again, here and there, around the globe.  And where it takes hold in a culture it carries with it the false belief that it’s always around in every culture.  Thus people manage to find that they support the stupidest idea ever for the stupidest reason ever, because supposedly they have no choice.  Yet, choosing to support war because you have no choice in the matter remains a feat which people with developed brains find challenging.


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(image by http://warisacrime.org)

The stupidest idea ever is a marvel of simplicity, and in its simplicity answers every challenge.  Why should people of tribe A be willing to go to war with the people of tribe B just because the tribe A chiefs want to steal some stuff from tribe B? The answer is easy if you’re a certified idiot who juggles flaming torches on Youtube: Anyone in tribe A who opposes waging war on tribe B is, by magical definition, in favor of tribe B winning a war against tribe A.  Or, as modern sophisticates like to put it: Either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.

OK, so that’s a nifty trick, but the stupidest idea ever must be more comprehensive. It must surprise us in its ability to destroy in new areas, to pass unseen behind the backs of its moronic supporters, and to gain partial support from the partially informed, limiting its actual opponents to the barest minority of freaks and misfits.  I offer for your consideration, once again, the idea of supporting war.

Observe: the nations that wage the most war claim that they are under attack for no good reason and are forced to wage war to defend themselves, even as their wars make them more and more hated and less and less safe.  While the nations that wage the least war have the fewest enemies threatening them in the world.  But people who’ve begun supporting war will readily believe that sending killer robot planes over the homes of poor people thousands of miles away is defensive, and that when it creates hatred and hostility the answer must be yet more weapons.

In fact, the same people support manufacturing tons of weapons and selling them to other countries against whom theirs will later fight wars, and they support this as a jobs program even though it actually sucks jobs out of their society rather than creating them.  That is to say, war-related jobs cost more per job than do jobs created by spending on just about anything else, even tax cuts.  So, people support weapons-making because they have been misled into supporting war, and they support war because they have been misled into supporting the weapons industries, and then they just support both out of sheer stupid habit — which is, of course, the single most powerful force in the universe.

But the stupidity of war doesn’t end there.  People who support wars can be brought to believe that wars are good for their victims.  They think of each war as building better nations where it’s fought, even though that’s never actually happened.  They talk of humanitarian wars even though humanity suffers.  They imagine war is a solution to genocide, even though war kills more people and those people are just as disproportionately helpless innocents from one group in a war as in a genocide.

A recent U.S.-led war on Iraq destroyed that nation and killed some million people there, leaving behind chaos, violence, and environmental ruin; and war supporters think of Iraq as having benefitted.  Someone explain to me how that’s not stupider than cleaning your loaded gun on Youtube or praying for god to make the other football team lose.  And it gets even stupider when you hear how Iraqis supposedly benefitted. They benefitted by being given freedom, because wars bring freedom, even though — during the course of any war its supporters end up with fewer and fewer actual rights, due to restrictions justified by the war, even thought the war is justified by the cry of “freedom!”

How stupid can you get? War gets even stupider.  It is the leading destroyer of the natural environment, but environmental groups will hardly touch it because they wouldn’t want their concern for the earth to interfere with their blind stupid loyalty to a tribe.  And human rights groups and civil liberties groups are the same way.  They want to have war without murder, torture, rape, or imprisonment — but opposing war would be unacceptable.  Never mind that the atrocities increase in direct proportion to the war spending, they want to oppose only the atrocities.  The war spending that generates the wars is viewed almost universally as an insurance against wars.

In the U.S. there are those who will object to murdering a U.S. citizen with a missile from a drone — and some will object even if the president does have a secret memo he won’t show us but which he claims re-writes the law and makes murder legal.  Some will even object to murdering non-U.S. citizens with drones if they’re civilians.  Some even extend their concern to militants suspected of fighting on the side in some local war opposed by the far-off and unthreatened United States.  And some, the true radicals, will object to all killing of human beings outside of a proper war zone.

But try pointing out to them that murdering people remains cruel and evil, immoral, impractical and counter-productive, and in violation of laws like the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact regardless of where you declare there to be a “war zone,” and you’ll run head-first into the brick wall of the Stupidest Idea in the History of the World.

That’s a powerful force to challenge, but it can be challenged, and it can be brought down, brick by brick.

You can get involved at WarIsACrime.org

http://davidswanson.org

David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more…)Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Top Six Reasons to Stop Fighting Wars

February 19, 2014
February 17, 2014

 

By David Swanson

1. War is immoral.

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1. War is immoral.

Murder is the one crime that we’re taught to excuse if it’s done on a large enough scale. Morality demands that we not so excuse it. War is nothing other than murder on a large scale.

Over the centuries and decades, death counts in wars have grown dramatically, shifted heavily onto civilians rather than combatants, and been overtaken by injury counts as even greater numbers have been injured but medicine has allowed them to survive.

Deaths are now due primarily to violence rather than to disease, formerly the biggest killer in wars.

Death and injury counts have also shifted very heavily toward one side in each war, rather than being evenly divided between two parties. Those traumatized, rendered homeless, and otherwise damaged far outnumber the injured and the dead.

The idea of a “good war” or a “just war” sounds obscene when one looks honestly at independent reporting on wars.

When we say that war goes back 10,000 years it’s not clear that we’re talking about a single thing, as opposed to two or more different things going by the same name. Picture a family in Yemen or Pakistan living under a constant buzz produced by a drone overhead. One day their home and everyone in it is shattered by a missile. Were they at war? Where was the battlefield? Where were their weapons? Who declared the war? What was contested in the war? How would it end?

Is it not perhaps the case that we have already ended war and now must end something else as well (a name for it might be: the hunting of humans)?

If we can change our manner of killing foreigners to render it almost unrecognizable, who’s to say we can’t eliminate the practice altogether?

Read more.

2. War endangers us.

There are more effective tools than war for protection.

tankWar planning leads to wars.

In arming, many factors must be considered: weapon-related accidents, malicious testing on human beings, theft, sales to allies who become enemies, and the distraction from efforts to reduce the causes of terrorism and war must all be taken into account. So, of course, must the tendency to use weapons once you have them.  And a nation’s stockpiling of weapons for war puts pressure on other nations to do the same. Even a nation that intends to fight only in defense, may understand “defense” to be the ability to retaliate against other nations. This makes it necessary to create the weaponry and strategies for aggressive war. When you put a lot of people to work planning something, when that project is in fact your largest public investment and proudest cause, it can be difficult to keep those people from finding opportunities to execute their plans. Read more.

War making provokes danger.

While the best defense in many sports may be a good offense, an offense in war is not defensive, not when it generates hatred, resentment, and blowback, not when the alternative is no war at all. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise. This was predictable and predicted. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion.  Read More.

War’s weapons risk intentional or accidental apocalypse.

We can either eliminate all nuclear weapons or we can watch them proliferate. There’s no middle way. We can either have no nuclear weapons states, or we can have many. As long as some states have nuclear weapons others will desire them, and the more that have them the more easily they will spread to others still. If nuclear weapons continue to exist, there will very likely be a nuclear catastrophe, and the more the weapons have proliferated, the sooner it will come. Hundreds of incidents have nearly destroyed our world through accident, confusion, misunderstanding, and extremely irrational machismo. And possessing nuclear weapons does absolutely nothing to keep us safe, so that there is really no trade-off involved in eliminating them. They do not deter terrorist attacks by non-state actors in any way. Nor do they add an iota to a military’s ability to deter nations from attacking, given the United States’ ability to destroy anything anywhere at any time with non-nuclear weapons. The United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China have all lost wars against non-nuclear powers while possessing nukes.

Read more.


3. War threatens our environment.

oiljetsA major motivation behind some wars is the desire to control resources that poison the earth, especially oil and gas.

Oil can be leaked or burned off, as in the Gulf War, but primarily it is put to use in all kinds of machines polluting the earth’s atmosphere, placing us all at risk. Some associate the consumption of oil with the supposed glory and heroism of war, so that renewable energies that do not risk global catastrophe are viewed as cowardly and unpatriotic ways to fuel our machines.

The interplay of war with oil goes beyond that, however. The wars themselves, whether or not fought for oil, consume huge quantities of it. The world’s top consumer of oil, in fact, is the U.S. military. Not only do we fight wars in areas of the globe that happen to be rich in oil; we also burn more oil fighting those wars than we do in any other activity. Author Ted Rall writes:

“The U.S. Department of [War] is the world’s worst polluter, belching, dumping, and spilling more pesticides, defoliants, solvents, petroleum, lead, mercury, and depleted uranium than the five biggest American chemical corporations combined. According to Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, 60 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions between 2003 and 2007 originated in U.S.-occupied Iraq, due to the enormous amount of oil and gas required to maintain hundreds of thousands of American military forces and private contractors, not to mention the toxins released by fighter jets, drone planes, and the missiles and other ordnance they fire at Iraqis.”

The U.S. military burns through about 340,000 barrels of oil each day. If the Pentagon were a country, it would rank 38th out of 196 in oil consumption.

The environment as we know it will not survive nuclear war. It also may not survive “conventional” war, understood to mean the sorts of wars now waged. Intense damage has already been done by wars and by the research, testing, and production done in preparation for wars.

Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. War “rivals infectious disease as a global cause of morbidity and mortality,” according to Jennifer Leaning of Harvard Medical School.

Perhaps the most deadly weapons left behind by wars are land mines and cluster bombs. Tens of millions of them are estimated to be lying around on the earth, oblivious to any announcements that peace has been declared. Most of their victims are civilians, a large percentage of them children.

The Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan have destroyed or damaged thousands of villages and sources of water. The Taliban has illegally traded timber to Pakistan, resulting in significant deforestation. U.S. bombs and refugees in need of firewood have added to the damage. Afghanistan’s forests are almost gone. Most of the migratory birds that used to pass through Afghanistan no longer do so. Its air and water have been poisoned with explosives and rocket propellants.

If militaries were made green in terms of their operations, they would lose one of their main reasons for war.  (Nobody can own the sun or the wind.)  And we would still have a long list of … More reasons to end war.

Read more.

4. War erodes our liberties.

policeWe’re often told that wars are fought for “freedom.” But when a wealthy nation fights a war against a poor (if often resource-rich) nation halfway around the globe, among the goals is not actually to prevent that poor nation from taking over the wealthy one, after which it might restrict people’s rights and liberties. The fears used to build support for the wars don’t involve such an incredible scenario at all; rather the threat is depicted as one to safety, not liberty.

In close proportion to levels of military spending, liberties are restricted in the name of war — even while wars may simultaneously be waged in the name of liberty.  We try to resist the erosion of liberties, the warrantless surveillance, the drones in the skies, the lawless imprisonment, the torture, the assassinations, the denial of a lawyer, the denial of access to information on the government, etc.  But these are symptoms.  The disease is war and the preparation for war.

It is the idea of the enemy that allows government secrecy.

The nature of war, as fought between valued and devalued people, facilitates the erosion of liberties in another way, in addition to the fear for safety.  That is, it allows liberties to first be taken away from devalued people.  But the programs developed to accomplish that are later predictably expanded to include valued people as well.

Militarism erodes not just particular rights but the very basis of self-governance. It privatizes public goods, it corrupts public servants, it creates momentum for war by making people’s careers dependent on it.

One way in which war erodes public trust and morals is by its predictable generation of public lies.

Also eroded, of course, is the very idea of the rule of law — replaced with the practice of might-makes-right.

Read more.

5. War impoverishes us.

sadDirect Expenses:

War has a huge direct financial cost, the vast majority of which is in funds spent on the preparation for war — or what’s thought of as ordinary, non-war military spending. Very roughly, the world spends $2 trillion every year on militarism, of which the United States spends about half, or $1 trillion. This U.S. spending also accounts for roughly half of the U.S. government’s discretionary budget each year and is distributed through several departments and agencies. Much of the rest of world spending is by members of NATO and other allies of the United States, although China ranks second in the world.

Indirect Expenses:

Wars can cost even an aggressor nation that fights wars far from its shores twise as much in indirect expenses as in direct expenditures.

The costs to the aggressor, enormous as they are, can be small in comparison to those of the nation attacked.

War Spending Drains an Economy:

It is common to think that, because many people have jobs in the war industry, spending on war and preparations for war benefits an economy. In reality, spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better paying jobs — with enough savings to help everyone make the transition from war work to peace work.

War Spending Increases Inequality:

Military spending diverts public funds into increasingly privatized industries through the least accountable public enterprise and one that is hugely profitable for the owners and directors of the corporations involved.

War Spending Is Unsustainable, As Is Exploitation it Facilitates:

While war impoverishes the war making nation, can it nonetheless enrich that nation more substantially by facilitating the exploitation of other nations? Not in a manner that can be sustained.

Green energy and infrastructure would surpass their advocates’ wildest fantasies if the funds now invested in war were transferred there.

Read more.

6. We need $2 trillion/year for other things.

aidIt would cost about $30 billion per year to end starvation and hunger around the world.  That sounds like a lot of money to you or me.  But if we had $2 trillion it wouldn’t.  And we do.

It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water.  Again, that sounds like a lot. Let’s round up to $50 billion per year to provide the world with both food and water. Who has that kind of money? We do.

Of course, we in the wealthier parts of the world don’t share the money, even among ourselves. Those in need of aid are right here as well as far away.

But imagine if one of the wealthy nations, the United States for example, were to put $500 billion into its own education (meaning “college debt” can begin the process of coming to sound as backward as “human sacrifice”), housing (meaning no more people without homes), infrastructure, and sustainable green energy and agricultural practices.  What if, instead of leading the destruction of the natural environment, this country were catching up and helping to lead in the other direction?

The potential of green energy would suddenly skyrocket with that sort of unimaginable investment, and the same investment again, year after year. But where would the money come from? $500 billion? Well, if $1 trillion fell from the sky on an annual basis, half of it would still be left. After $50 billion to provide the world with food and water, what if another $450 billion went into providing the world with green energy and infrastructure, topsoil preservation, environmental protection, schools, medicine, programs of cultural exchange, and the study of peace and of nonviolent action?

U.S. foreign aid right now is about $23 billion a year.  Taking it up to $100 billion — never mind $523 billion! — would have a number of interesting impacts, including the saving of a great many lives and the prevention of a tremendous amount of suffering.  It would also, if one other factor were added, make the nation that did it the most beloved nation on earth.  A recent poll of 65 nations found that the United States is far and away the most feared country, the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world.  Were the United States responsible for providing schools and medicine and solar panels, the idea of anti-American terrorist groups would be as laughable as anti-Switzerland or anti-Canada terrorist groups, but only if one other factor were added — only if the $1 trillion came from where it really ought to come from.

Some U.S. states are setting up commissions to work on the transition from war to peace insustries.

Read more.

Submitters Website: http://davidswanson.org

Submitters Bio:

David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org

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Comment: Wars are the worst!!!

Work with “World beyond War” : WorldBeyondWar.org

A People’s Movement to End All War

February 11, 2014
February 11, 2014

 

By David Swanson

When people sign the declaration of peace at WorldBeyondWar.org they have the opportunity to type in a brief statement in their own words. Thousands have done so, including those pasted below.

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When people sign the declaration of peace at WorldBeyondWar.org they have the opportunity to type in a brief statement in their own words. Thousands have done so, including those pasted below. (And a few great quotes from the past have been added here in graphic form.)

“I support this proposal and agree with this great and important initiative to abolish militarism and war.  I will continue to speak out for an end to the institution of militarism and war and for institutions built on international law and human rights and nonviolent conflict resolution.” — Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

“As a 29 year veteran of the US Army/Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel and having served as a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and resigning in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war, I firmly believe war does not resolve political issues.  We must work diligently to force the governments of our nations to use diplomacy, not weapons.” –Ann Wright

“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” — Noam Chomsky

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“It is so inspiring to see a new group coming together not to focus on a particular war or weapons system, but on all war–everywhere. And it’s great to have such beautifully crafted arguments about why war is not inevitable and how war contributes to so many other global ills. This coalition is worthy of Martin Luther King’s call to end violence and instead put our energies and resources into “life-affirming activities.’ Bravo!” –Medea Benjamin

“We must work to end all war because: 1. In war there are no winners, only losers. 2. To thrive, humans need peace, which cannot be created by war. 3. We need all our ingenuity, creativity, technology and will to find a solution to runaway climate change. We cannot afford the military-industrial complex.” — Sally Reynolds, Abingdon Peace Group

“The abolition of war is an idea whose time has come. We are at a transformative moment in history. Our Mother Earth is under siege from destructive global warming and industrialization. It is essential that we mobilize to save our planet. War is a cruel and untenable distraction, draining trillions of dollars and incalculable losses of intellectual firepower away from the essential work that needs to be done to create a livable future for humanity.” — Alice Slater, Global Council of Abolition 2000

“War is a crime against humanity. When 90% of the casualties of war are civilians including children, its time to End ALL WARS! The world badly needs the resources to meet human and environmental needs. Wars are not making us more secure, but creating more enemies. There are more effective means of achieving security than war and killing other people’s children. As former President Eisenhower said, “I like to believe that the people of the world will want peace so much that governments will have to get out of the way and let them have it.’ When the people of the world decide to end war, we can end it. At least 99% of the world’s people do not benefit at all from all the wars our governments are waging. The time is NOW. Please join us.” –David Hartsough

“If anything can halt climate change it’s redirecting the unfathomable pile of money and energy now wasted on a war machine that kills for fossil fuels and consumes a good share of them in the process.  The symptoms of militarism addressed by human rights and civil liberties groups would end if the disease were treated.  Our culture of violence, our government of secrecy, our provocation of animosity around the world: these would end if we stopped slaughtering people under the banner of war.  If a fraction of those damaged by war work to end war, it will quickly become a thing of the past — seen then as the unmitigated barbarism that many find it hard to recognize as long as war is accepted by those in positions of power.” — David Swanson, author of War No More: The Case for Abolition

“History has shown us that the institution of war created by humans is not only morally reprehensible, but utterly ineffective in resolving any kind of disputes. The human, social, environmental and economic costs of war are too high. We now know more about the reality of a global peace system built upon global collaboration, social change and constructive conflict transformation. It is time for a re-energized effort to build a world beyond war by challenging the war system and supporting the infrastructure of peace.” — Patrick Hiller, Peace Scientist and Director of War Prevention Initiative by the Jubitz Family Foundation

“War is a great destroyer. And human history has arrived at a pivotal moment. We can choose a path built on cooperation, where our caring and sharing side uplifts us, or we can continue to embrace a worldview where domination using violence imprisons us in cycles of killing and destruction. I’m a biologist, and war is not genetically fixed. War is a cultural invention. It’s time to end this abomination, and this World Beyond War movement is uniquely focused on unifying the human community to create one of the biggest revolutions in history. I’m in. Join us!” — Judith Hand, Founder: A Future Without War.org

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“Change will not come from a President Gandhi.  Rather, the initiate for change will come from the bottom up as citizens force politicians to act.  We just need to put our voices together and get sufficiently organized.  Ultimately change will come from the ingenuity, compassion and ability of the American people to self-correct and chart a more secure and sustainable course for the future.” — Russell Faure-Brac, author of Transition to Peace

“Our greatest enemy today is not a particular group of people in a far-off country. Our greatest enemy is war itself.” — Paul Chappell, author of The Art of Waging Peace

“We must work to end all war because the health, welfare, and safety of the children is the most important element of a society. The children can be the focus for mobilizing, conflict resolution, and uniting for the future of humanity. The children allow the people of the world to show kindness, generosity, and compassion.” — Andre Sheldon, Director of Global Strategy of Nonviolence

“We must end war because war is an abrogation of the inviolable bonds of connection between all people, all living things and the planet. To participate in it is a denial of the trust in continuity deeded to us by our forebears and expected of us by future generations. Every act of war and aggression diminishes the humanity of the individuals involved, destabilizes communities and nations; and scars the entire human family. We are committed not to ending wars but to ending war itself, and to addressing the fear, greed, misunderstanding and drive for power that lead to violent conflict and war.” — Rena Guay, Executive Director, Center for Conscience in Action

“Richard Wendell Fogg, Center for the Study of Conflict, years ago said rather than saying we need to abolish war, we should talk of REPLACING war. In the field of conflict analysis and transformation, there are creative strategies we can apply to solutions that can solve problems and make war unnecessary. With increasing lethality of weapons, evolving technology and communications, war is obsolete. It is a solution worse than any problem it presumes to  solve. We can address conflicts constructively. Beyond diplomacy, we can use mediation, negotiation and problem-solving strategies to transcend war.” –Diane Perlman

“Humanity can no longer afford war for two reasons. 1) We need all our resources to deal with the consequences of climate change and peak oil, and 2) War is too wasteful of both human and physical resources to be further utilized or tolerated by the human species. Indeed, nuclear war, which remains a major threat to the world as we know it, would likely make our planet uninhabitable for our own species and many others.” –Peter Bergel

“War is at the heart of all global problems, impeding humanity from a full realization of just, equitable and sustainable communities.” –Kent D. Shifferd

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“There is enough for everyone to have what they need without exploitation. Adequate distribution of resources, including education, without violence can lead to a sustainable system that doesn’t stress the ecosphere. Alternately, continued violence feeds population surges and hoarding the products of exploitative extraction, which endanger the survival of our species. In short, if we want a future with humans on Earth, we’ve got to stop war.” –Vernon Huffman

“Life on earth is not sustainable continuing down this path. War destroys people, the air, the ground, the water. It destroys history. It inhales money/resources literally taking food out of the mouths of the people. It takes generations to recover if that is even possible. Enough.” –Barbara Cummings

“War is the worst act of terrorism and among the greatest causes of human suffering and death and ecological degradation. Wars are declared by the rich and fought by the poor. There will be no real justice and protection of human rights and the rights of nature until a sustainable global peace has been achieved.” –Brian J. Trautman

“I know from my lengthy experience as a journalist, researcher, and human being working in various war-torn or recently war-battered countries that all wars inflict terrible, long-lasting damage on all the residents of the war-zone– with the weakest members of society always suffering the most. There is no such thing as a “humanitarian’ war. In cases of conflict or bitter oppression, the very best way to mend broken relationships while building a solid basis for a better situation going forward is to use all nonviolent means possible to de-escalate tensions and work for a better life going forward on the basis of the equality and equal worth of all human persons.” –Helena Cobban

“War murders our children and sickens the survivors. “Peace or Perish: Abolish War on Planet and Poor’ (Theme of the 2014 Veterans For Peace National Convention, Asheville, NC, July 2–27).” –John Heuer

“The main obstacle to disarmament is the general/common belief that it is impossible. And it is — just as impossible as ending slavery, apartheid, the Cold War, and tearing the Iron Curtain. Humanity suffers under poverty, unhealth, pollution, depletion of resources, climate change. Instead of being an extremely expensive and deadly risk on top of all those threats militarism is clearly the best option/chance/opportunity to do something substantial — if all countries would join in abolition of military force and forces (the idea that Nobel in his will for “the champions of peace’ called “creating the brotherhood of nations’).” –Fredrik S. Heffermehl

“Militarism is the world’s biggest problem”morally, socially, economically, and environmentally.” –Ward Reilly

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“Creating a world beyond war may be the noblest endeavor we can work on. Can you imagine what future generations will think if we succeed? We will leave them a world where trillions of dollars are not wasted annually on weapons and war, where tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands are no longer slaughtered in unnecessary wars. Surely we can imagine solving conflicts between nations in a more mature way; we can imagine the human race evolving to a higher consciousness that no longer requires war. We can imagine a world without war, now we have to work toward such a world. It will be a global challenge, uniting the world to accomplish this great new reality.” –Kevin Zeese, PopularResistance.org

“War is a lie. War is a racket. War is hell. War is waste. War is a crime. War is terrorism. War is not the answer.” –Coleen Rowley

“War destroys. War obliterates. War is ruination. And war begets more war. After thousands of years of experience proving this, and reams of literature and countless works of art exposing it, when are people going to learn?” –Lisa Simeone

“War is a barbaric tool of the war profiteers and Empires who employ them. War pits young people from the working class against other similarly poor, or disadvantaged humans, for nothing but the greed of the few. Only we the people can make war obsolete by not participating in the profound crimes of the profiteers and other war mongers.” –Cindy Sheehan

“War causes pain, suffering, and gross violations to human needs and rights. War causes a violent domino effect for years to come. Humans have no business being involved in war. We are an evolved species that needs to focus on peace and justice in our world. We must honor and show respect for our planet and all living and nonliving entities. We need to shift away from violence and focus on the beauty of nonviolence. War and destructive violence are not solutions to any problem. War must be ended. When that happens we will lift the pain and suffering of our world and allow humanity to begin to heal. It is time we wake up and raise our thoughts to a higher consciousness. If we do not end war now, it will end us. Call on me. I am ready to help end all war!” –Joy Henry

“We need a movement if we are going to stop wars and this may be it. So many of us are working in small groups and we need to come together as one.” –JoAnne Lingle

“The future existence of our planet depends upon ending war. War and violence are not a solution to conflict. They contribute to more violence, more death, more poverty, more suffering physically and psychologically, more patriotism, more borders, more ignorance, and more stupidity. How tragic is all of that. The ecology of our planet is in jeopardy and the pollution of the war machine world wide is a huge contributor to climate change.” –Ann Tiffany

“As professor of global peace studies at the International Islamic University of Malaysia I am committed to the ending of war also through criminalization of war, an approach that has not been sufficiently used in spite of the UN Charter outlawing war — with too many loopholes used buy aggressive countries.” –Johan Galtung, Founder of TRANSCEND International

“I applaud the establishment of a global movement to end all war, but note that citizens of the United States have a special responsibility to make this happen. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has bombed more than 25 countries. In those 68 years, no other nation has killed and injured more people living outside of its borders. Most Americans remain silent while we spend more on war, and have more soldiers in other countries, than all other nations combined. War and soldiers are glorified in the U.S. Please recognize and honor those who have had the courage to take a public stand against one or more U.S. warswww.uspeacememorial.org/Registry.htm. We celebrate these role models in hopes of inspiring other Americans to speak out against war and for peace.” –Michael D. Knox, US Peace Memorial Foundation

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“War is about nothing but violence. War is terrible! I have a first-hand war experience and I know what war is all about! I dream of peace!” –Fidaa Abuassi

“War, and preparation for war is draining resources that are life giving from countries, statesnd cities. The world we help create is the world we leave for those who come after us. I am committed to living non-violently in response to the violence in my neighborhood, my city, my state, my country, my hemisphere and my world because non-violent love in action is the most powerful force for change that exists.” –Joyce Ellwanger

“As Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead”‘” –Christopher Flynn

“The biosphere can no longer tolerate the toxic affects of modern warfare, which threaten the continued existence of all humanity and many animals and plants on which we are dependent.” –Richard Ochs

“War benefits no one, with the exception of military contractors and their shareholders. It makes our communities poor, our nation less safe, and ourselves less fully human. We must commit to diplomacy, peacemaking and development!” –Diane Farsetta

“This atavistic practice has always been horrible, but technology makes it even more destructive and savage. it is time for humanity to become civilized.” –Sally-Alice Thompson

“We need to solve some of the world’s problems like climate change, world hunger, homelessness, income disparity, the influence of money ine lections, destruction of the environment, etc. and stop wasting our resources on killing people and destroying the environment.” –Jean Gordon

“The U.S. has become the most egregious war-monger and terrorist nation in the world, as well as the long-time leading purveyor of weapons of war throughout the world, and because here at home, we have 50 million of our citizens living in poverty, one in four children surviving on Food Stamps, a collapsing education system, poor health care, and many other disasters, none of which can be addressed as long as the country keeps pouring trillions of dollars into war and militarism. This madness and criminality must end!” –Dave Lindorff

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“It’s obvious: war is a waste of human and earth resources that results only in suffering. There are other ways to disagree.” –Karen Malpede

“As John F. Kennedy said, it will end us instead. “If mankind does not put an end to war, then war will put an end to mankind.’ Modern war is ecocide, genocide and ethnocide and is not sustainable. The costs of war are enormous, not just financial but social, ecological and global. War must become obsolete if the world is to survive.” –John Judge

“We’re destroying life on earth in all its forms. By supporting war we are creating poverty that includes fear and anxiety about the future which leads to depression, poor health, food insecurity, and homelessnes. People all over the world are experiencing the destructive effects of investing most of our country’s resources in war resulting in the failure to create a healthy, well-educated and secure environment for humanity around the world.” –Nancy Schoerke

“We must shift from “war is a necessary evil’ to “peace is a necessary good.’” –Swami Beyondananda, Steve Bhaerman

“The myth that war creates justice, solves problems, improves security and enables peace is absurd. If we weren’t so bombarded with propaganda to the contrary, everyone would know that. We need to insist on a new story, the true story. We must forbid the few to profit from war so that we may all begin to profit from peace.” –Robert Shetterly

“We have seen enough of war to know that it doesn’t work to resolve conflicts. It only exacerbates them. It is time we find other solutions and dedicate ourselves to life–not death.” –Peter Kuznick

“To the extent that today’s world is civilized at all, it’s largely thanks to yesterday’s opponents of war and misery: the soldiers who refused to fight, the civilians who refused to accept war and occupation, and all those who worked for a global order based on peace and equity. Yet the institutions and forces that produce war have not been eradicated. Today we must build an international movement that will not only prevent future wars but transform the very structures on which war, militarism, and imperial domination are based. This struggle will not be won quickly, but in the process even small acts and partial victories can help save numerous lives.” –Kevin Young

“It is clear to me that war creates violence and does not solve problems. I have lived and worked in Iran. Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and have seen first hard the broken bodies of children and the anger at our impact as a nation on people’s lives. Thank you for putting this opportunity together. Peace” –Ann Huntwork

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“I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “just war’. Murder is murder, whether sanctioned by a government or not. All people should have the right to life and liberty, so long as they do no harm to others, and war extinguishes both.” –Ethan Bell

“War promotes rascism all around the globe.” –Muhammad Ali Khan

“The greatest threat to humanity today is climate change. Militarism exacerbates that threat, and is in no way useful for addressing that threat. The resources invested in militarism must be redirected to combat climate change and global warming.” –Larry A. Unruh

“As a very young man I signed a declaration — “I renounce war and will never support another’. That was in 1939 and I have maintained this stand throughout the whole period, including WW2, as a Conscientious Objector.Worked to achieve Peace since. It is necessary for individuals to take this stand and maintain it. War never solves anything — it accentuates any problem, whatever it is, and makes matters worse. There is no moral or humanitarian justification for it.” –Donald Saunders

“Having survived WWII as a child I am TOTALLY against ALL wars, there is not excuse for killing and injuring humans, all innocent, for life. I am still traumatized from the war and the bombing and starvation.” –Ingrid Kepler-May

“We still carry ancient beliefs from thousands and thousands of years ago when war was the only thing known. We have options now. This organization will help shift the collective consciousness toward greater humanity and peace. War has indoctrinated the U.S. government as well as other countries. There is no integral intention that exists behind war. It is a contradiction and therefor useless. Its time to evolve greatly. “Love precious humanity’” –Leslie Naugle

“I want a world without war. War never works it just kills. I want my children to never have to have a close contact with war. I want my children and future generations to grow up free and in a peaceful world. War is not freedom it is a malignant force imposed by men in power. We must change the views of people in power now and let them know that in a diplomatic and peaceful way issues can be solved.” –Ana Martins

“I am working with the higher education system in Afghanistan. My work in this world is teaching and serving as a role model for peace, particularly in this environment that has been devastated by the ravages of 30+ years of horrific conflict. I have a number of close Afghan friends and they, probably more than any people I have ever met, want peace for themselves, their families and their country. I am privileged to know them and am inspired by their endurance and resilience. Endless war serves only to enrich those who champion it and it is long past time that it be stopped.” –James Stapp

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“We know, deep down inside, it’s wrong! There’s nothing you can say to ever make it right! Killing is killing, no matter how you slice it! And the ones doing all the killing should be locked up, and be forced to watch the world transform from, This evil place they’ve created, To the wonderful place we should be creating!” –Ronald Richter

“Why must we work to end all war? War keeps us from progressing as a race. We can’t reach a point of sustainability with war taking up so much of our time. It attributes to the division of wealth providing greater conflict between classes and it hands over authority to the wealthy class. It makes them richer while the working class is left to die. War need to end because it’s a tool used to control the masses with fear. It distracts us from the problems within the social hierarchical systems that have been established. We must end all war because we’ll never have peace without it. War is expensive and destroys makes the economy unstable. War is a tool of capital gain, it’s marketable and from youth we are encouraged to take and defend our ruling authority without question. There are other ways to solve conflicts. Civilians are the ones who suffer the most damage. War and violence is terrible for you Psyche due to the traumatizing events. And Finally the main reason we should end all war is because it will kill us if we don’t.” –Jessica Gartner

“While I was always aware that there was a sickness that pervades every social institution I just could not make the connection to myself and this “sickness’ until my beautiful child was murdered in the “theater’ of “War’. This experience was eviscerating. I was disgorged of this “sickness’. I could see that “war’ is just goddamn MEAN. It bears no resemblance to what lives in my heart and mind so why was I able to accept it as a way of life? Why was I able to accept my son being part of a force for death”for entropy? I see it all clearly now, though. There is a deep sickness that pervades all social institutions and these sicknesses have made us mentally “disturbed’ — working out of balance with the gift of life. My granddaughter, Eva, is now four and has no father. She has no protector in this mean world where men prey upon life with a sense of entitlement that desires are to be quenched at all costs. Who will protect my granddaughter now? Through the physical death of my beloved son I have learned that misogyny is the root of warring behavior — and this thought process, this behavior is just goddamn mean.” –Jamie Santos

“Every person who dies is someone’s son, dad, mom, brother or sister.” –Gaston Locklear

“Nelson Mandela said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.’  Peace is possible.” –John Bonifaz

“Every modern war has had its root in exploitation. The Civil War was fought to decide whether the slaveholders of the South or the capitalists of the North should exploit the West. The Spanish-American War decided that the United States should exploit Cuba.” –Larry Egly, Veterans For Peace Chapter 961 Codirector

“Another war will likely lead to the end of the human race.” –Lewis Patrie, WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility

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“LAW opposes the illegal use of force supports the use of national and international law to settle disputes, prosecute offenders and protect rights.” –Gail Davidson, Lawyers against the War

“As a 70 year old woman, I have seen just what the destruction of war has done to my home country and also those we have invaded in the name of democracy! None of this has been done with my consent, so for the rest of my life I want to promote peace.” –Katherine Schock

“War takes people’s lives and destroys property, but it does not resolve the world’s problems. If anything is achieved through war, it is to plant the seeds for the next violent conflict as the vanquished and their children will usually not accept the outcome.” –Bruce Van Voorhis

“War is an irrational, counter-productive way to handle conflicts.” –Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History emeritus, SUNY/Albany

“Because we are being used as pawns in an endless game of bloodletting. One generation has to stop this. Please let it be ours.” –Lynne Thomas

“War traumatizes soldier and civilian alike; warfare is a profit-making racket; warfare resolves nothing that negotiations can’t resolve better; the weapons we have now make non-violence the only option to planetary annihilation.” –Madeline Taylor, Topanga Peace Alliance

“Those who exploit our susceptibility to the us-them fallacy to enlarge themselves are today no worse than those who have done the same down through the ages. But the world is different.” –Roger Arnold

“I know war. I was in one in 1991 in Bosnia. It is something that has to stop now. Noone should experience something like that ever again.” –Hatidza Isic

“War is the worst thing that human beings can do to each other, and the worst form of exploitation by the rich and the powerful.” –Nicolas J Sandy Davies

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“As a geologist I have travelled the world and lived and worked amongst wonderful but disadvantaged peoples. I am emotionally moved to welcome this campaign.” –Kenneth Buckland

“It is time for the thinking man to realise that what we do to other living things and our environment we do to ourselves. As previous civilisations have learnt, the only way is to create harmony in our world and move beyond hypocrisy.” –Nozar Mossadeghi

“War must become obsolete in the 21st Century. Modern War is genocide, ecocide and ethnocide. Wars profit the few and destroy the many. “The hour is getting late,’ sang Bob Dylan. War is destroying the future of humanity.” –John Judge

“We owe it to our children and their children. The end of war is an end to poverty. War is a crime against humanity.” –Jean Andrew

“It’s time, at this 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I, for us all to join together to fight only war itself.” –Marie Reinsdorf

“War ain’t good for sh*t!” –Bryant White

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Submitters Website: http://davidswanson.org

Submitters Bio:

David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org

World War II: After the War

January 31, 2014

 

OCT 30, 2011 |
 
 


At the end of World War II, huge swaths of Europe and Asia had been reduced to ruins. Borders were redrawn and homecomings, expulsions, and burials were under way. But the massive efforts to rebuild had just begun. When the war began in the late 1930s, the world’s population was approximately 2 billion. In less than a decade, the war between the Axis the Allied powers had resulted in 80 million deaths — killing off about 4 percent of the whole world. Allied forces now became occupiers, taking control of Germany, Japan, and much of the territory they had formerly ruled. Efforts were made to permanently dismantle the war-making abilities of those nations, as factories were destroyed and former leadership was removed or prosecuted. War crimes trials took place in Europe and Asia, leading to many executions and prison sentences. Millions of Germans and Japanese were forcibly expelled from territories they called home. Allied occupations and United Nations decisions led to many long-lasting problems in the future, including the tensions that created East and West Germany, and divergent plans on the Korean Peninsula that led to the creation of North and South Korea and — the Korean War in 1950. The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine paved the way for Israel to declare its independence in 1948 and marked the start of the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict. The growing tensions between Western powers and the Soviet Eastern Bloc developed into the Cold War, and the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons raised the very real specter of an unimaginable World War III if common ground could not be found. World War II was the biggest story of the 20th Century, and its aftermath continues to affect the world profoundly more than 65 years later. (This entry is Part 20 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II) [45 photos]

 
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German Wehrmacht General Anton Dostler is tied to a stake before his execution by a firing squad in a stockade in Aversa, Italy, on December 1, 1945. The General, Commander of the 75th Army Corps, was sentenced to death by an United States Military Commission in Rome for having ordered the shooting of 15 unarmed American prisoners of war, in La Spezia, Italy, on March 26, 1944. (AP Photo) 
 
Soviet soldiers with lowered standards of the defeated Nazi forces during the Victory Day parade in Moscow, on June 24, 1945. (Yevgeny Khaldei/Waralbum.ru# 
 
Gaunt and emaciated, but happy at their release from Japanese captivity, two Allied prisoners pack their meager belongings, after being freed near Yokohama, Japan, on September 11, 1945, by men of an American mercy squadron of the U.S. Navy. (AP Photo) # 
 
The return of victorious Soviet soldiers at a railway station in Moscow in 1945.(Arkady Shaikhet/Waralbum.ru# 
 
Aerial view of Hiroshima, Japan, one year after the atomic bomb blast shows some small amount of reconstruction amid much ruin on July 20, 1946. The slow pace of rebuilding is attributed to a shortage of building equipment and materials. (AP Photo/Charles P. Gorry) # 
 
A Japanese man amid the scorched wreckage and rubble that was once his home in Yokohama, Japan.(NARA) # 
 
Red Army photographer Yevgeny Khaldei (center) in Berlin with Soviet forces, near the Brandenburg Gate in May of 1945. (Waralbum.ru# 
 
A P-47 Thunderbolt of the U.S. Army 12th Air Force flies low over the crumbled ruins of what once was Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgaden, Germany, on May 26, 1945. Small and large bomb craters dot the grounds around the wreckage. (AP Photo) # 
 
Hermann Goering, once the leader of the formidable Luftwaffe and second in command of the German Reich under Hitler, appears in a mugshot on file with the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects in Paris, France, on November 5, 1945. Goering surrendered to U.S. soldiers in Bavaria, on May 9, 1945, and was eventually taken to Nuremburg to face trial for War Crimes. (AP Photo) # 
 
The interior of the courtroom of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946 during the Trial of the Major War Criminals, prosecuting 24 government and civilian leaders of Nazi Germany. Visible here is Hermann Goering, former leader of the Luftwaffe, seated in the box at center right, wearing a gray jacket, headphones, and dark glasses. Next to him sits Rudolf Hess, former Deputy Fuhrer of Germany, then Joachim von Ribbentrop, former Nazi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilhelm Keitel, former leader of Germany’s Supreme Command (blurry face), and Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the highest ranking surviving SS-leader. Goering, von Ribbentrop, Keitel, and Kaltenbrunner were sentenced to death by hanging along with 8 others — Goering committed suicide the night before the execution. Hess was sentenced to life imprisonment, which he served at Spandau Prison, Berlin, where he died in 1987. (AP Photo/STF) # 
 
Many of Germany’s captured new and experimental aircraft were displayed in an exhibition as part of London’s Thanksgiving week on September 14, 1945. Among the aircraft are a number of jet and rocket propelled planes. Here, a side view of the Heinkel He-162 “Volksjaeger”, propelled by a turbo-jet unit mounted above the fuselage, in Hyde park, in London. (AP Photo) # 
 
One year after the D-Day landings in Normandy, German prisoners landscape the first U.S. cemetery at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, France, near “Omaha” Beach, on May 28, 1945. (AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll) # 
 
Sudeten Germans make their way to the railway station in Liberec, in former Czechoslovakia, to be transferred to Germany in this July, 1946 photo. After the end of the war, millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans were forcibly expelled from both territory Germany had annexed, and formerly German lands that were transferred to Poland and the Soviet Union. The estimated numbers of Germans involved ranges from 12 to 14 million, with a further estimate of between 500,000 and 2 million dying during the expulsion. (AP Photo/CTK) # 
 
A survivor of the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare, Jinpe Teravama retains scars after the healing of burns from the bomb explosion, in Hiroshima, in June of 1947. (AP Photo) # 
 
Disabled buses that have littered the streets of Tokyo are used to help relieve the acute housing shortage in the Japanese capital on October 2, 1946. Homeless Japanese who hauled the buses into a vacant lot are converting them into homes for their families. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry) # 
 
An American G.I. places his arm around a Japanese girl as they view the surroundings of Hibiya Park, near the Tokyo palace of the emperor, on January 21, 1946. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry) # 
 
This is an aerial view of the city of London around St. Paul’s Cathedral showing bomb-damaged areas in April of 1945. (AP Photo) # 
 
General Charles de Gaulle (center) shaking hands with children, two months after the German capitulation in Lorient, France, in July of 1945. Lorient was the location of a German U-boat (submarine) base during World War II. Between January 14 and February 17, 1943, as many as 500 high-explosive aerial bombs and more than 60,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on Lorient. The city was almost completely destroyed, with nearly 90% of the city flattened. (AFP/Getty Images) # 
 
The super transport ship, General W.P. Richardson, docked in New York, with veterans of the European war cheering on June 7, 1945. Many soldiers were veterans of the African campaign, Salerno, Anzio, Cassino and the winter warfare in Italy’s mountains. (AP Photo/Tony Camerano) # 
 
This aerial file photo shows a portion of Levittown, New York, in 1948 shortly after the mass-produced suburb was completed on Long Island farmland in New York. This prototypical suburban community was the first of many mass-produced housing developments that went up for soldiers coming home from World War II. It also became a symbol of postwar suburbia in the U.S.(AP Photo/Levittown Public Library, File) # 
 
This television set, retailing for $100, is reportedly the first moderately priced receiver manufactured in quantity. Rose Clare Leonard watches the screen, which reproduces a 5×7 image, as she tunes in at the first public post-war showing at a New York department store, on August 24, 1945. Although television was invented prior to World War II, the war prevented mass production. Soon after the war, sales and production picked up, and by 1948, regular commercial network programming had begun.(AP Photo/Ed Ford) # 
 
A U.S. soldier examines a solid gold statue, part of Hermann Goering’s private loot, found by the 7th U.S. Army in a mountainside cave near Schonau am Konigssee, Germany, on May 25, 1945. The secret cave, the second found to date, also contained stolen priceless paintings from all over Europe.(AP Photo/Jim Pringle) # 
 
In Europe, some churches have been completely ruined, but others still stand amid utter devastation. Munchengladbach Cathedral stands here in the rubble, though still in need of repairs, seen in Germany, on November 20, 1945. (AP Photo) # 
 
On May 21, Colonel Bird, Commandant of Belsen Camp, gave the order for the last hut at Belsen Concentration Camp to be burned. A rifle salute was fired in honor of the dead, the British flag was run up at the same moment as a flame-thrower set fire to the last hut. A German flag and portrait of Hitler went up in flames inside the hut in June of 1945. (AP Photo/British Official Photo) # 
 
German mothers walk their children to school through the streets of Aachen, Germany, on June 6, 1945, for registration at the first public school to be opened by the U.S. military government after the war.(AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll) # 
 
A general view of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East meeting in Tokyo in April, 1947. On May 3, 1946, the Allies began the trial of 28 Japanese civilian and military leaders for war crimes. Seven were hanged and others were sentenced to prison terms. (AP Photo) # 
 
Soviet soldiers on the march in northern Korea in October of 1945. Japan had ruled the Korean peninsula for 35 years, until the end of World War II. At that time, Allied leaders decided to temporarily occupy the country until elections could be held and a government established. Soviet forces occupied the north, while U.S. forces occupied the south. The planned elections did not take place, as the Soviet Union established a communist state in North Korea, and the U.S. set up a pro-western state in South Korea – each state claiming to be sovereign over the entire peninsula. This standoff led to the Korean War in 1950, which ended in 1953 with the signing of an armistice — but, to this day, the two countries are still technically at war with each other. (Waralbum.ru# 
 
In this October 1945 photo from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, communist leader Kim Il Sung chats with a farmer from Qingshanli, Kangso County, South Pyongyang in North Korea.(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) # 
 
Soldiers of the Chinese communist Eighth Route Army on the drill field at Yanan, capital of a huge area in North China which is governed by the Chinese Communist Party, seen on March 26, 1946. These soldiers are members of the “Night Tiger” battalion. The Chinese Communist Party (CPC) had waged war against the ruling Kuomintang (KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party) since 1927, vying for control of China. Japanese invasions during World War II forced the two sides to put most of their struggles aside to fight a common foreign foe — though they did still fight each other from time to time. After World War II ended, and the Soviet Union pulled out of Manchuria, full scale civil war erupted in China in June of 1946. The KMT eventually was defeated, with millions retreating to Taiwan, as CPC leader Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China in 1949. (AP Photo) # 
 
This 1946 photograph shows ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), the first general purpose electronic computer – a 30-ton machine housed at the University of Pennsylvania. Developed in secret starting in 1943, ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory. The completed machine was announced to the public on February 14, 1946. The inventors of ENIAC promoted the spread of the new technologies through a series of influential lectures on the construction of electronic digital computers at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, known as the Moore School Lectures. (AP Photo) # 
 
A test nuclear explosion codenamed “Baker”, part of Operation Crossroads, at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, on July 25, 1946. The 40 kiloton atomic bomb was detonated by the U.S. at a depth of 27 meters below the ocean surface, 3.5 miles from the atoll. The purpose of the tests was to study the effects of nuclear explosions on ships. 73 ships were gathered to the spot — both obsolete American and captured ships, including the Japanese battleship “Nagato”. (NARA) # 
 
Northrop’s Flying Wing Bomber known as the XB-35 in flight in 1946. The XB-35 was an experimental heavy bomber developed for the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. The project was terminated shortly after the war, due to its technical difficulties. (AP Photo) # 
 
Japanese ammunition being dumped into the sea on September 21, 1945. During the U.S. occupation, almost all of the Japanese war industry and existing armament was dismantled. (U.S. Army) # 
 
These unidentified German workers in Decontamination clothing destroy toxic bombs on June 28, 1946, at the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service Depot, at St. Georgen, Germany. The destruction and disposal of 65,000 dead weight tons of German toxics, including mustard gas, was accomplished in one of two ways: Burning or dumping the empty shells and bombs into the North Sea. (AP Photo) # 
 
U.S. military authorities prepare to hang Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling, 74, at Landsberg, Germany, on May 28, 1946. In a Dachau war crimes trial he was convicted of using 1,200 concentration camp prisoners for malaria experimentation. Thirty died directly from the inoculations and 300 to 400 died later from complications of the disease. His experiments, all with unwilling subjects, began in 1942.(AP Photo/Robert Clover) # 
 
The new cemetery at Belsen, Germany on March 28, 1946, where 13,000 people who died after Belsen Concentration Camp was liberated are buried. (AP Photo) # 
 
Jewish survivors of the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp, some still in their camp clothing, stand on the deck of the refugee immigration ship Mataroa, on July 15, 1945 at Haifa port, during the British Mandate of Palestine, in what would later become the State of Israel. During World War II, millions of Jews were fleeing Germany and its occupied territories, many attempting to enter the British Mandate of Palestine, despite tight restrictions on Jewish immigration established by the British in 1939. Many of these would-be immigrants were caught and rounded up into detention camps. In 1947, Britain announced plans to withdraw from the territory, and the United Nations approved the Partition Plan for Palestine, establishing a Jewish and a Palestinian state in the country. On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence and was immediately attacked by neighboring Arab states, beginning the Arab-Israeli conflict which continues to this day. (Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images) # 
 
Some of Poland’s thousands of war orphans at the Catholic Orphanage in Lublin, on September 11, 1946, where they are being cared for by the Polish Red Cross. Most of the clothing, as well as vitamins and medicines, are provided by the American Red Cross. (AP Photo) # 
 
The Empress of Japan visits a Catholic Orphanage staffed by Japanese Nuns for children who have lost their parents in the war and air raids over Tokyo. The Empress inspected the grounds and paid a visit to the chapel. Children wave Japanese flags to greet the Empress during her visit in Fujisawa in Tokyo, on April 13, 1946. (AP Photo) # 
 
New buildings (right) rise out of the ruins of Hiroshima, Japan, on March 11, 1946. These single story homes built along a hard-surfaced highway are part of the program by the Japanese government to rebuild devastated sections of the country. At left background are damaged buildings whose masonry withstood the effects of the first atomic bomb ever detonated as a weapon.(AP Photo/Charles P. Gorry) # 
 
Clocks are being readied for export to Allied countries, shown as collateral for imported goods needed by Japan. Thirty-four Japanese factories produced 123,000 clocks during April of 1946. Photo taken on June 25, 1946. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry) # 
 
U.S. General George S. Patton acknowledges the cheers of thousands during a parade through downtown Los Angeles, California, on June 9, 1945. Shortly thereafter, Patton returned to Germany and controversy, as he advocated the employment of ex-Nazis in administrative positions in Bavaria; he was relieved of command of the 3rd Army and died of injuries from a traffic accident in December, after his return home. Joe Rosenthal’s famous Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph is visible on the war bonds billboard.(AP Photo) # 
 
This 1945 photo shows German women clearing up the debris on Berlin’s Tauentzienstrasse, with the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Church in the background. The absence of able bodied men meant that the responsibility for clearing the wreckage fell mainly to civilian women, which were called “Truemmerfrauen,” or rubble ladies. The signs on the left mark the border between the British-occupied sector and the U.S. sector of the city. (AP Photo) # 
 
The scene in Berlin’s Republic Square, before the ruined Reichstag Building, on September 9, 1948, as Anti-Communists, estimated at a quarter of a million, scream their opposition to Communism. At the time, the Soviet Union was enforcing the Berlin Blockade, blocking Allied access to the parts of Berlin under Allied control. In response, Allies began the Berlin Airlift until the Soviets lifted the blockade in 1949, and East Germany and West Germany were established. When the meeting pictured here broke up, a series of incidents between Anti-Red Germans and Soviet troops brought tension to a fever pitch as shootings took place, resulting in the deaths of two Germans. (AP-Photo) # 
 
In March of 1974, some 29 years after the official end of World War II, Hiroo Onoda, a former Japanese Army intelligence officer, walks out of the jungle of Lubang Island in the Philippines, where he was finally relieved of duty. He handed over his sword (hanging from his hip in photo), his rifle, ammunition and several hand grenades. Onoda had been sent to Lubang Island in December of 1944 to join an existing group of soldiers and hamper any enemy attacks. Allied forces overtook the island just a few months later, capturing or killing all but Onoda and three other Japanese soldiers. The four ran into the hills and began a decades-long insurgency extending well past the end of the war. Several times they found or were handed leaflets notifying them that the war had ended, but they refused to believe it. In 1950, one of the soldiers turned himself in to Philippine authorities. By 1972, Onoda’s two other compatriots were dead, killed during guerrilla activities, leaving Onoda alone. In 1974, Onoda met a Japanese college dropout, Norio Suzuki, who was traveling the world, and through their friendship, Onoda’s former commanding officer was located and flew to Lubang Island to formally relieve Onoda of duty, and bring him home to Japan. Over the years, the small group had killed some 30 Filipinos in various attacks, but Onoda ended up going free, after he received a pardon from President Ferdinand Marcos. (AP Photo) # 
 

RELATED LINKS AND INFORMATION

World War II in Photos - A 20-part series from In Focus
Nuremberg Trials - Wikipedia entry
Japanese holdouts - Wikipedia entry
 
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Comment: All lost! Only disasters!! Simple and stupid!!!

Building a Global Movement to End All War

January 13, 2014

January 12, 2014

 

By David Swanson

I’ve been involved in starting enough activist campaigns and coalitions to know when one has more potential than any other I’ve seen.

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I’ve been involved in starting enough activist campaigns and coalitions to know when one has more potential than any other I’ve seen.  When hundreds of people and organizations are signing up on the websitebefore you’ve announced it anywhere, and nine months before you plan to officially launch, and when a large percentage of the people signing on ask how they can donate funding, and when people from other countries volunteer to translate your declaration into other languages, and when committees form of volunteer women and men to work on a dozen different aspects of the planning — and they actually get to work in a serious way, and when none of this is due to anything in the news or any statement from anyone in government or any contrast between one political party and another, then it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to help build as a movement.

In this case I’m talking about a movement to end, not this war or that war, but the institution of war as an acceptable enterprise for the human species. The declaration of peace that people and groups are signing reads, in its entirety:

“I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.”

This can be signed at http://WorldBeyondWar.org – and we fully expect a million people to sign it in short order. There’s a great weariness in resisting militarism piecemeal, in reforming or refining war, in banning a weapon or exposing a tactic. All of that is a necessary part of the work. This will be a campaign of numerous partial victories, and we’ll be directing our efforts toward various strategic weaknesses in the military-industrial complex. But there is enthusiasm right now for stopping not just missile strikes into Syria, not just deadly sanctions and threats to Iran, but stopping also — as part of these actions — the thinking that assumes war must always be with us, the casual discussions of how “the next war” will be fought.

So, we’ve set up an online center for addressing the concerns of the anyone who thinks we might need to keep war around or who thinks war will stay around regardless of what we do. We address a number ofmyths, including the myths that war is inevitable, and war is necessary, and war is beneficial.  Then we provide a number of reasons for ending war, including these:

War is immoral.

War endangers us.

War threatens our environment.

War erodes our liberties.

War impoverishes us.

We need $2 trillion/year for other things.

We’ve also provided an explanation of how nonviolent tools are more effective in resisting tyranny and oppression and resolving conflicts and achieving security than violence is, in other words how we can be more secure without war and without preparations for war.

This movement to abolish war, will be a movement to create a better world in which we are better able to address real crises, such as those in the earth’s natural environment, rather than manufactured crises, such as the urgent need to drop missiles on Syria — which vanishes the moment we block that proposal.

Our plan is to announce on the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2014, a broader, wider, more mainstream and more international movement for peace and nonviolence than we’ve seen in a while, and a coalition capable of better uniting those doing good work toward that end in various corners of the globe and of our societies.

But we’ve only just begun to work out our plans, and we’d like everyone’s input. If you go to http://WorldBeyondWar.org and sign the declaration, it will ask you to indicate how you might like to be involved beyond that. You can check any of a number of ways or invent your own.  You can get involved in shaping our thinking and our plans and activities.  You can also enter a brief statement of your own.  Here are a few of the many entered already:

“I support this proposal and agree with this great and important initiative to abolish militarism and war.  I will continue to speak out for an end to the institution of militarism and war and for institutions built on international law and human rights and nonviolent conflict resolution.” — Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

“As a 29 year veteran of the US Army/Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel and having served as a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and resigning in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war, I firmly believe war does not resolve political issues.  We must work diligently to force the governments of our nations to use diplomacy, not weapons.” –Ann Wright

“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” — Noam Chomsky

“It is so inspiring to see a new group coming together not to focus on a particular war or weapons system, but on all war–everywhere. And it’s great to have such beautifully crafted arguments about why war is not inevitable and how war contributes to so many other global ills. This coalition is worthy of Martin Luther King’s call to end violence and instead put our energies and resources into ‘life-affirming activities.’ Bravo!” –Medea Benjamin

“We must work to end all war because: 1. In war there are no winners, only losers. 2. To thrive, humans need peace, which cannot be created by war. 3. We need all our ingenuity, creativity, technology and will to find a solution to runaway climate change. We cannot afford the military-industrial complex.” — Sally Reynolds, Abingdon Peace Group

“The abolition of war is an idea whose time has come. We are at a transformative moment in history. Our Mother Earth is under siege from destructive global warming and industrialization. It is essential that we mobilize to save our planet. War is a cruel and untenable distraction, draining trillions of dollars and incalculable losses of intellectual firepower away from the essential work that needs to be done to create a livable future for humanity.” — Alice Slater, Global Council of Abolition 2000

“War is a crime against humanity. When 90% of the casualties of war are civilians including children, its time to End ALL WARS! The world badly needs the resources to meet human and environmental needs. Wars are not making us more secure, but creating more enemies. There are more effective means of achieving security than war and killing other people’s children. As former President Eisenhower said, ‘I like to believe that the people of the world will want peace so much that governments will have to get out of the way and let them have it.’ When the people of the world decide to end war, we can end it. At least 99% of the world’s people do not benefit at all from all the wars our governments are waging. The time is NOW. Please join us.” –David Hartsough

http://WorldBeyondWar.org

Submitters Website: http://davidswanson.org

Submitters Bio:

David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org

Suicide Rate Among Young Veterans Has Tripled, Report Finds

January 12, 2014

Published: Sunday 12 January 2014
At least 22 veterans commit suicide every day and young male veterans under the age of 30 are three times more likely to commit suicide when compared to civilian males in the same age bracket, according to a new briefing released Thursday by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
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At least 22 veterans commit suicide every day and young male veterans under the age of 30 are three times more likely to commit suicide when compared to civilian males in the same age bracket, according to a new briefing released Thursday by the Department of Veteran Affairs. The number of veteran suicides largely remained unchanged between 2009 to 2011, but the number of male veteran between the ages of 18 to 24 who committed suicide increased by a rate of 33 per 100,000 over the three year period.

 

Young veterans in the high risk age category had a suicide rate of 79.1 per 1,000, while other American males had a suicide rate of 25 per 1,000, as NBC News pointed out. The study found that overall, male veterans between the age of 18 to 24 and female veterans were most likely to commit suicide. About 70 percent of male veterans who committed suicide took their lives with firearms, while nearly 80 percent of female veterans died as a result of poison or firearms. What’s more, veteran suicides among those enrolled in the Veteran Health Administration (VHA) decreased by about 30 percent, but suicides among veteran non-enrollees soared by 60 percent. 

Lead study author Dr. Janet Kemp, the VA’s National Mental Health Director for Suicide Prevention, suggested to the military paper Stars and Stripes that while the reasons for veteran suicides are unclear, soldiers have to deal with factors like readjusting to civilian life and dealing with both physical and mental combat injuries.

The study notes that the VHA has made significant strides to address mental health concerns and has decreased the rate of suicide among older veteran health care enrollees and those with mental health issues. But, those enrollees do not always receive adequate treatment. In some cases, patients with mental issues commit suicide while waiting for months to access help. And limited access to a mental health specialist is an issue that will likely still be a burden for future veterans: returning troops, 15 percent of whom suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, would still have to wait to see a specialist only after the VHA deals with its current backlog of 900,000 unprocessed medical claims.

Author pic
ABOUT ESTHER YU-HSI LEE

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee is an Immigration Reporter/Blogger for ThinkProgress. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Middle East Studies and a M.A. in Psychology from New York University. A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary, Esther is passionate about immigration issues from all sides of the debate. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA.

Afghan Street Children Beg for Change

January 1, 2014

Kathy Kelly. (photo: Tyler Davis)
Kathy Kelly. (photo: Tyler Davis)

go to original article

By Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

31 December 13

 

abul, Afghanistan is “home” to hundreds of thousands of children who have no home. Many of them live in squalid refugee camps with families that have been displaced by violence and war. Bereft of any income in a city already burdened by high rates of unemployment, families struggle to survive without adequate shelter, clothing, food or fuel. Winter is especially hard for refugee families. Survival sometimes means sending their children to work on the streets, as vendors, where they often become vulnerable to well organized gangs that lure them into drug and other criminal rings.

Last year, the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV), a group of young Afghans who host me and other internationals when we visit their home in Kabul, began a program to help street children enroll in schools. They befriend small groups of children, get to know the children’s families and circumstances, and then reach agreements with the families that if the children are allowed to attend school and reduce their working hours on the streets, the APVs will compensate the families, supplying them with oil and rice. Next, the APVs buy warm clothes for each child and invite them to attend regular classes at the APV home to learn the alphabet and math.

Yesterday, Abdulhai and Hakim met a young boy, Safar, age 13, who was working as a boot polisher on a street near the APV home. Abdulhai asked to shake Safar’s hand, but the child refused. Understandably, Safar may have feared Abdulhai. But when Abdulhai and Hakim told Safar there were foreigners at the APV office who were keen to help, he followed them into our yard.

Sitting next to me, indoors, Safar continued shaking from the cold. We noticed that he had an angry red welt across his right cheek. Safar said that the previous day he had tried to warm his hands over an outdoor bar-b-que grill, and the cook hit him across the face with a red hot skewer to shoo him away. Safar clutched a half-filled small plastic Coca-Cola bottle in his hands. Asked why he was drinking cold soda on such a cold day, he said that he had a headache.

He was wearing a hoodie, light pants, and plastic slippers. He had no socks or gloves- hardly adequate attire for working outside in the bitter cold all day. On a “good” day, Safar can earn 150 Afghanis, a sum that amounts to $3.00 and could purchase enough bread for a family of seven and perhaps have some left over to purchase clothes.

Abdulhai and Hakim asked Safar to come back the next day with some of his friends. One hour later, he arrived with five friends, two Pashto boys and three Tajiks, ranging in age from 13 to 5. The children promised to return the next day with more youngsters. And so this morning seven street children filed into the APV home. None of them wore socks and all were shivering. Their eyes were gleaming as they nodded their heads, assuring us that they want to join APV’s street kids program.

Here in Kabul, a city relatively better off than most places in Afghanistan, we have electricity every other day. When the pipes freeze and there’s no electricity, we have no water. Imagine the hardships endured by people living with far less. Even in the United States, thousands of children’s basic needs aren’t met. The New York Times recently reported that there are 22,000 homeless children living in New York City.

Thinking of how the U.S. has used its resources here in Afghanistan, where more than a trillion has been spent on maintaining war and occupation, I feel deep shame. In 2014, the U.S. will spend 2.1 million dollars for every U.S. soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Convoys travel constantly between US military bases, transporting large amounts of fuel, food and clean water – luxury items to people living in refugee camps along their routes – often paying transportation tolls to corrupt officials, some of whom are known to head up criminal gangs.

While the U.S. lacks funds to guarantee basic human rights for hundreds of thousands of U.S. children, and while U.S. wars displace and destroy families in Afghanistan, the U.S. consistently meets the needs of weapon makers and war profiteers.

Even so, the inspiring activities of my young Afghan friends fuel a persistent hope. Heavy coverlets, called duvets, are bulging out of several storage rooms in the APV home. Talented young women have coordinated “the duvet project,” now in its second year, involving 60 women who produce a total of 600 duvets every two weeks for distribution to impoverished families. The seamstresses are paid for each duvet they make. In a society where women have few if any economic opportunities, this money can help women put food on the table and shoes on their children’s feet. The women equally represent three of the main ethnic divisions here in Kabul, -Hazara, Pashto, and Tajik – an example that people can work together toward common goals. The young people work hard to develop similarly equal distribution amongst the neediest of families. Today they delivered 200 duvets to a school for blind children. Later in the day they will hike up the mountainside to visit widows who have no income.

This afternoon, 2 dozen young girls will be compensated for embroidering 144 blue scarves that proclaim “Borderfree” in Dari and English. The blue scarves, which are now being distributed in various parts of the world, symbolize the reality that there’s one blue sky above us. Activists in numerous peace and justice campaigns have been wearing the blue scarves.

Here in Kabul, our young friends gathered together on the evening of the winter solstice for music and celebration. At one point, they sat quietly, their faces illuminated by candle light, as each person in the circle said what they hoped would change, in the coming year, to help bring the world closer to peace. The visions danced – I hope children will be fed… I hope we won’t buy or sell weapons… I hope for forgiveness.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The collective yearning and longing of children who deserve a better world may yet affect hearts and minds all over the world, prompting people to ask why do we make wars? Why should people who already have so much amass weapons that protect their ability to gain more?

I hope we will join Afghanistan’s children in begging for change.

 


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