War & The Rejection of Peace
By Chris Rossini
Try to think of a time in your life when the U.S. government was not militarily involved somewhere in the world. It's a sad fact that a vast majority of us can't recall such a time. Check out this chronological list U.S. military interventions throughout the years.
That's a very disturbing list, don't you think? You just scroll, and scroll, and scroll down the page until you reach Syria and the modern day.
When war is all that a population knows to exist, the idea of peace becomes an anomaly. We all know that people are habitual. We cling to our habits (good and bad) and resist the unknown where change can occur.
Well, in America the unknown has become peace! How sad to think that the idea of peace actually terrifies so many people both in and out of government.
One can at least understand why governments would want to avoid peace. As Randolph Bourne famously pointed: "War is the health of the state." During times of war, government capitalizes on the fear that it generates and concomitantly seizes unbelievable powers for itself.
We can at least see the benefit to government and those with a lust for power and the ability to dominate others. But what's in it for the people?
Here we can quote Samuel B. Pettengill who said:
War -- after all, what is it that the people get?
Why -- widows, taxes, wooden legs and debt.
Sounds like a raw deal for the people. And yet, Americans have sat idly by, and have turned a blind eye to an incredible list of military interventions over the years.
More war, less liberty .... More war, less liberty .... If it happens over an administration or two, it can be spun as government losing its way to a few bad apples.
But 100+ years of more war, less liberty?
That's a system!
If you have a fixation or desire to dominate others (and lots of people do), such a system seems almost too good to be true.
You'd climb any mountain to clutch the reins of such a system. It's like taking candy (or in this case, liberty) from a baby.
Let's look at how the lust for power behaves when it's presented with the mere option of peace. Here are a few lessons of history:
1774 - Prior To The American War of Independence
England's Lord North proposed to King George III the idea of sending a commission to the American colonies to negotiate and possibly resolve the disputes.
However George III, in a memo dated Dec. 15, 1774 squashed the idea, by saying:
“I am not so fond of sending Commissioners to examine into the disputes…I do not want to drive [the colonies] to despair, but to submission, which nothing but feeling inconvenience of their situation can bring their pride to submit to.” (emphasis added)
1861 - Prior To The War for Southern Independence
Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed three commissioners to negotiate with the Union. They would reach Washington on Mar. 5, 1861, the day after Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.
Davis had stated that the South simply wanted to be left alone and constituted no threat to the existing government in Washington: “We seek no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind…all we ask is to be let alone.”
Lincoln refused to see the commissioners, refused to negotiate any peace terms, and furthermore, refused to recognize the Confederate government.
1941 - Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor
The Japanese, in an unprecedented diplomatic move, offered to send Prince Fumimaro Konoye, the Prime Minister, and a member of the royal family to the U.S. to negotiate personally with FDR in a desperate effort to preserve peace. FDR flatly refused such a meeting.
2003 - Prior to the the invasion of Iraq
Reported by McClatchy: Intermediaries for ousted dictator Saddam Hussein made numerous attempts to open secret contacts with the Bush administration to head off a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but the administration rebuffed or ignored the efforts...
Saddam wanted to avert a war and was ready to discuss allowing U.S. inspectors and U.S. troops into Iraq to verify his contentions that Iraq was not secretly stockpiling weapons of mass destruction...
2011 - Prior to the the invasion of Libya
From Breitbart: A report based on recently released Hillary Clinton emails indicate that, as Secretary of State, Clinton refused to take a Skype call from Moammar Qaddafi’s son Saif, in which he was allegedly looking to broker a peace deal...The email suggested that “a peaceful resolution is still possible that keeps Saif on our side without bloodshed in Benghazi.”
There is a tremendous amount of upside to war for those who are in power. It provides them with an opportunity to swipe away liberties at an exponential pace. The populace will give up virtually everything.
Is it any wonder that those in power run away from even the prospect of peace?
We're soon about to have a new president, and he's coming into office with a lot of expectations. The outgoing president had high expectations as well. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but ended up invading 7 countries. He also became the very first U.S. President to be at continuous war during his entire 8 years in office.
Will this new president keep the boots of war firmly pressed against American throats? Will he continue the asphyxiation of the American Dream?
So far, when it comes to the insane idea of confronting a nuclear Russia, he has shown admirable qualities of restraint and cordial behavior. Will that continue through his presidential term? Or will he keep the century old American tradition of military adventurism overseas?
The world is much bigger than Russia. There are plenty of other places that America can mire itself. There are other nuclear powers (like China) where trouble can be fomented. The president-elect has already shown that he has a bone to pick with the Chinese.
Are we merely exchanging trouble with one nuclear power for another?
Let's hope that Donald Trump doesn't repeat the mistakes of history. Let's hope that he doesn't become just another bad example for future generations to study.
Wouldn't it be nice for Americans to someday be born into a life of liberty and peace?
That was the original idea in the 'land of the free'.
A return to a foreign policy of non-interventionism and peace is desperately needed.
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