To Abolish War as a Tool of National Policy
“I first heard that the atom bomb had wiped out Hiroshima. I said to myself, ‘unless now the world adopts non-violence, it will spell certain suicide for mankind.’” Gandhi
War does not begin with the first battle. It begins when arrogance, greed, and dominance divide people by causing mistrust, fear, and hate to destroy the good will between us.
War does not end with the last battle. Because war plants the seeds of hate, ending a war without building a peace just postpones the next war, which because of those seeds of hate, will be worse.
To become a more peaceful people we must recognize the weapons and strategies of the war before combat begins, we need to identify the strategies of mind-war.
Strategies of Hate
To wage combat we need an enemy. The strategy of hate transforms fear into hate which is then used to turn other people into enemies. The first wedge occurs when a situation of conflict of interest is exploited by imagining harmful possibilities and generating suspicions of the other. This wedge creates insecurity and divides people. The second wedge is to blame the other side for that conflict.
The word-war begins with the third wedge, which separates people by distain for the inferior other side verses prideful arrogance for ours. To vilify the other side, religion is exploited to demonize them or science is exploited to diagnose mental disorder or genetic inferiority. The underlying strategy is to divert blame from the conflict situation between people, which can be fixed, to inherent defects of the other side, which must be overcome.
The other side of the third wedge transforms patriotism into prideful arrogance. Thus subverted, patriotism which is the faith in a nation, turns the questioning of authority into treason which is the dark side of this hijacked patriotism. Thus the mind-war battle within a nation begins with a word-war attack on peace. Those who believe in war, will make word-war on those who standup for peace. To counter this weapon of subverted patriotism, to speak truth to power, a person must have the courage to overcome the stigma of treason and the retribution of the word-warriors. Thus, to be an effective weapon against peace, arrogant patriotism requires its citizens to be cowards; that we not object but rather rally around the war flag. We join the military to become combat warriors. United we march to war; united we fight the enemy. But in this nuclear age, we all will be united in annihilation.
It is illogical to defend peace by fighting for it. Those who are trapped in the war mentality, because of a fear and anger bias, see all who oppose them as enemies. We seek to free the mind-warriors of this bias. The antidote to fear is courage. The kind of courage that requires the willingness to self-sacrifice. In mind-war it is the courage to trust in our shared humanity, even at the risk of being considered an enemy sympathizer. In word-war it is the courage to speak about the humanity of the other side, even at the risk of being labeled as a provocateur. In combat it is the courage to stop killing, even at the risk of being jailed as a traitor.
As veterans we were willing to self-sacrifice, we were willing to be courageous in opposing an enemy. But in service to war our self-sacrifice, our courage was misdirected. To redirect this kind of courage in defense of peace, we must recognize that we too suffered from the bias of the war mentality. And along with fear, the emotions of hate and anger fed that biased mentality. To cleanse that bias we must apply the antidote of tolerance to counter hate and the antidote of patience to counter anger. It is illogical to hate those who hate because hate itself is the problem. It is illogical to be angry with those who are angry because anger itself is the problem. Although we need to be patient and tolerant to other people, we do need to neutralize the mindset of hate and anger first within ourselves then help others to do the same.
Guardians of Peace
Violence arises from fear and moral weakness, not from strength. To insure peace, to advance tolerance, we must be willing to suffer for its sake. This is the courage of peace founded on unconditional good will.
Having turned to support peace, we, Veterans for Peace, have changed our mission. Where once we trained in the conflict of hate; now we turn to the good will of cooperation. Where once we directed anger at our enemy; now we maintain patience during conflictive situations. Where once we provoked fear in our enemies; now we sacrifice to inspire their trust. Where once we inflicted suffering; now we suffer pain without complaint. Where once we were willing to kill for war; now we are willing to die for peace.
I shall maintain equanimity and not hold any below myself. I shall see myself in others and recognize that they are a precious part of me. I shall consider all viewpoints without bias. I shall overcome fear with good will towards everyone. I shall speak truth to power with consideration for all. I shall peacefully resist injustice, liberating both oppressed and oppressor. When called to sacrifice I will do so with good will and without complaint. In this way an opponent’s safety is assured. In this way their fear is abated. For without mutual fear, there can be no war.
Morality and War - Quotes
“But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.” Martin Luther King
“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” Gandhi
“One cannot abolish only a single weapon, but only war as a whole. … Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” Einstein
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” Gandhi
“The Satyagrahi rests in the supreme faith that his suffering alone will cure the opponent of his ignorance, selfishness, and cruelty.” Gandhi
“To destroy the evil without injuring the evildoer is the great task that the Satyagrahi sets for himself. By suffering himself, and by assuring his opponent of his physical safety, he causes his opponent to think about the wrong he has committed. His attack is on the opponent’s mind, and he aims at curing evil at its source.” Gandhi
1. War is a way to settle differences. Actually it destroys differences.
2. Somebody wins a war. Actually everyone loses in war. The winners generally loose the least.
3. War is a way to attain peace. Actually “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.” Gandhi
4. This war must be the war to end all wars. “In this world hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate.” Buddha
5. Soldiers maintain the peace and therefore must be supported at all costs. Actually enforced peace is a pause in war. If you had peace, then you would not need soldiers.
6. Sometimes a lesser evil is needed to vanquish a greater evil. Actually two wrongs don’t make a right. Trying to end suffering by creating a different type of suffering adds to immorality. Adapted from Deepak Chopra
Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize:
Martin Luther King Jr., The Quakers, Albert Schweitzer, The Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Linus Pauling, David Hume, Kofi Annan, George C Marshall
Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Pugwash, "Human Aggressiveness and War" , United Nations