Monday, January 10, 2011

What do you see as the most important priorities for the American peace movement at this time?

The peace movement, in general, is largely ineffective. Part of the problem is that is not a centralized movement. It is comprised of individuals and indepenent activist groups that have anti-war tendencies. The top priority needs to be why, despite all their efforts, they really do very little to effect the type of change they want to see. Not being to be too overly metaphysical here, but I am not sure angry people can bring peace. You need to have a peaceful heart first.

The “movement” generally does not divert us from war in the long term nor does it shorten the wartime experience. I am not even certain we can call it a “peace” movement. Rather it is more a general tendency to be anti-war. The anti-war movement worked hard to keep the United States out of World War II and they were somewhat successful in frustrating FDR’s efforts to get us involved. Then Pearl Harbor occurred and the national zeitgeist changed.

Vietnam didn’t end because of the efforts of the peace movement. It only ended when it was no longer viable for us to be there. It isn’t like Nixon woke up in April 1973 and looked at his wife and said, “You know Pat, those goddamn hippies are right.” I suspect we will see much of the same thing in Iraq and in Afghanistan When you invade a country you create a humanitarian crisis, but when you withdraw you do so well. Ending these conflicts is not going to be harrowing and problematic to say the least.

That isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be a peace or anti-war movement. I believe this work is important and there is a need to raise an anti-war consciousness and a push to find more diplomatic ways of preventing war and ensuring peace. But, unless those involved are willing to scrutinize themselves closely instead of pointing the blame externally to others they will remain impotent to effect any real change. This should be their principal priority.

For a kiss I will answer all your questions.

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