Thursday, September 27, 2012


OMNI NEWSLETTER #7 ON US “WAR ON TERRORISM,” September 27, 2012. Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace. (#4 Jan. 19, 2012; #5 May 29, 2012; #6 July 19, 2012).

Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters: Here is the link to the Index:

Related Newsletters: Afghanistan, Air War, Bases, Bush, CIA, Homeland Security, Imperialism, Indefinite Detention, Iraq, Lawlessness, Militarism, National Security State, 9-11, Obama, Pakistan, Pentagon, Secrecy, State Terrorism, Surveillance, Terrorism, Torture , War Crimes, Wars, and more.

My blog:

War Department/Peace Department

“Number of private U.S. citizens killed in terrorist attacks in 2010: 15. Number killed by falling televisions: 16.” (“Harper’s Index,” August 2012, p. 9). Our warrior leaders and their war-monger supporters have produced two wars (or is that four?) to defend “America” and “freedom” at the price of trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of innocent people.

Contents of #4 and #5 at end.

Contents of #6

Two Terrorists:

Shakir Hamoodi

Tarek Mahanna

Bacevitch, Obama’ Secret Ops

Fox News Misinformation

Two Books on Terrorism

Contents of #7

Chomsky, Liberties Destroyed

Hedges, NDAA Lawsuit

Bolen, NDAA Lawsuit

AFSC Defends Salah

Pal, “Islam” Means Peace

Chomsky, Bibliography

THE NEXT 3 ARTICLES DISCUSS Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

July 22, 2012

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, The Great Charter, Its Fate, and Ours

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Click here and scroll down to check out a recent Noam Chomsky interview at Media Matters with Bob McChesney in which he even briefly discusses the first article he ever wrote -- on fascism in Europe at age 10! He also praises and recommends Nick Turse’s recent TomDispatch piece, “Obama’s Scramble for Africa,” calling him “one of the best investigators” around. Makes us proud! Check out as well the new book Turse and I co-authored, Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050. Note that for a donation of $75 (or more), you can get a signed, personalized copy of that book (or of my recent book The United States of Fear). You'll find the offer at our donation page. And by the way, a couple of weeks down the line, Chomsky, today’s author, will sign a limited number of one of his books for the TD donation page as a gesture of support for this site. So keep your eyes peeled. Tom]

This week the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit against CIA Director David Petraeus, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and two top special operations forces commanders for “violating the Constitution and international law” in the drone assassination of three American citizens in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, and al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahman (though no one claims he had anything whatsoever to do with terror campaigns). The suit is based on the Constitution’s promise of “due process” (“[N]or shall any person... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”), which to the untutored eye of this non-lawyer clearly seems to involve “law.” Attorney General Eric Holder evidently thinks otherwise and has explained his reasoning when it comes to the right of the Obama administration to order such deaths: “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” If you’re not inside the National Security Complex, it may be just a tad hard to grasp how “due process” could mean a secret process of review in the White House presided over by a president with a “kill list” (whose legal justification, laid out by the Justice Department, cannot be made public). And yet that is, as far as we can tell, indeed the claim.

It will be a surprise if this case goes far. The government is almost certain to bring to bear the usual not-quite-state-secrets-act to squelch it, with its lawyers undoubtedly claiming that any such trial could reveal damaging secrets about our expanding drone wars. Of course, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and more rarely Somalia are regularly in the news, and have been proudly cited or even boasted about by officials from the president on down, yet they remain somehow “covert” and unmentionable when it suits the administration. And since just about anything the National Security Complex does evidently now qualifies for classified status, secrecy is increasingly the convenient excuse for just about anything.

In the case of our drone wars, “covert” clearly has little to do with secrecy in any normal sense and a lot to do with lack of accountability to anyone not involved in choosing those to be killed or launching the attacks. One thing is clear: whatever the ACLU and others do, we now live in a post-legal America, a world in which no act (other than whistleblowing), however illegal, within the national security state can be successfully prosecuted in court. This has clearly been part of a process by which, since 2001, American liberties have been turned in for “safety.” Something did change after 9/11 (when “everything” was supposed to have changed) and in a speech at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, reproduced below in full, Noam Chomsky backs up a few centuries to lay out a vivid history of just how this happened. (To catch Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which Chomsky discusses the recent shredding of the principles of the Magna Carta, click here or download it to your iPod here.) Tom

Destroying the Commons

How the Magna Carta Became a Minor Carta

By Noam Chomsky

Down the road only a few generations, the millennium of Magna Carta, one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights, will arrive. Whether it will be celebrated, mourned, or ignored is not at all clear.

That should be a matter of serious immediate concern. What we do right now, or fail to do, will determine what kind of world will greet that event. It is not an attractive prospect if present tendencies persist -- not least, because the Great Charter is being shredded before our eyes.

The first scholarly edition of Magna Carta was published by the eminent jurist William Blackstone. It was not an easy task. There was no good text available. As he wrote, “the body of the charter has been unfortunately gnawn by rats” -- a comment that carries grim symbolism today, as we take up the task the rats left unfinished.

Blackstone’s edition actually includes two charters. It was entitled The Great Charter and the Charter of the Forest. The first, the Charter of Liberties, is widely recognized to be the foundation of the fundamental rights of the English-speaking peoples -- or as Winston Churchill put it more expansively, “the charter of every self-respecting man at any time in any land.” Churchill was referring specifically to the reaffirmation of the Charter by Parliament in the Petition of Right, imploring King Charles to recognize that the law is sovereign, not the King. Charles agreed briefly, but soon violated his pledge, setting the stage for the murderous Civil War.

Click here to read more

Criminalizing Dissent

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig

13 August 12

was on the 15th floor of the Southern U.S. District Court in New York in the courtroom of Judge Katherine Forrest last Tuesday. It was the final hearing in the lawsuit I brought in January against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. I filed the suit, along with lawyers Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran, over Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We were late joined by six co-plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg.

This section of the NDAA, signed into law by Obama on Dec. 31, 2011, obliterates some of our most important constitutional protections. It authorizes the executive branch to order the military to seize U.S. citizens deemed to be terrorists or associated with terrorists. Those taken into custody by the military, which becomes under the NDAA a domestic law enforcement agency, can be denied due process and habeas corpus and held indefinitely in military facilities. Any activist or dissident, whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, can be threatened under this law with indefinite incarceration in military prisons, including our offshore penal colonies. The very name of the law itself - the Homeland Battlefield Bill - suggests the totalitarian credo of endless war waged against enemies within "the homeland" as well as those abroad.

"The essential thrust of the NDAA is to create a system of justice that violates the separation of powers," Mayer told the court. "[The Obama administration has] taken detention out of the judicial branch and put it under the executive branch."

In May, Judge Forrest issued a temporary injunction invalidating Section 1021 as a violation of the First and Fifth amendments. It was a courageous decision. Forrest will decide within a couple of weeks whether she will make the injunction permanent.

In last week's proceeding, the judge, who appeared from her sharp questioning of government attorneys likely to nullify the section, cited the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II as a precedent she did not want to follow. Forrest read to the courtroom a dissenting opinion by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson in Korematsu v. United States, a ruling that authorized the detention during the war of some 110,00 Japanese-Americans in government "relocation camps."

"[E]ven if they were permissible military procedures, I deny that it follows that they are constitutional," Jackson wrote in his 1944 dissent. "If, as the Court holds, it does follow, then we may as well say that any military order will be constitutional, and have done with it."

Barack Obama's administration has appealed Judge Forrest's temporary injunction and would certainly appeal a permanent injunction. It is a stunning admission by this president that he will do nothing to protect our constitutional rights. The administration's added failure to restore habeas corpus, its use of the Espionage Act six times to silence government whistle-blowers, its support of the FISA Amendment Act - which permits warrantless wiretapping, monitoring and eavesdropping on U.S. citizens - and its ordering of the assassination of U.S. citizens under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, is a signal that for all his rhetoric, Obama, like his Republican rivals, is determined to remove every impediment to the unchecked power of the security and surveillance state. I and the six other plaintiffs, who include reporters, professors and activists, will most likely have to continue this fight in an appellate court and perhaps the Supreme Court.

The language of the bill is terrifyingly vague. It defines a "covered person" - one subject to detention - as "a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces." The bill, however, does not define the terms "substantially supported," "directly supported" or "associated forces." In defiance of more than 200 earlier laws of domestic policing, this act holds that any member of a group deemed by the state to be a terrorist organization, whether it is a Palestinian charity or a Black Bloc anarchist unit, can be seized and held by the military. Mayer stressed this point in the court Wednesday when he cited the sedition convictions of peace activists during World War I who distributed leaflets calling to end the war by halting the manufacturing of munitions. Mayer quoted Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' dissenting 1919 opinion. We need to "be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe," the justice wrote.

The Justice Department's definition of a potential terrorism suspect under the Patriot Act is already extremely broad. It includes anyone with missing fingers, someone who has weatherproof ammunition and guns, and anyone who has hoarded more than seven days of food. This would make a few of my relatives in rural Maine and their friends, if the government so decided, prime terrorism suspects.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Torrance argued in court that the government already has the authority to strip citizens of their constitutional rights. He cited the execution of Nazi saboteur Richard Quirin during World War II, saying the case was "completely within the Constitution." He then drew a connection between that case and the AUMF, which the Obama White House argues permits the government to detain and assassinate U.S. citizens they deem to be terrorists. Torrance told the court that judicial interpretation of the AUMF made it identical to the NDAA, which led the judge to ask him why it was necessary for the government to defend the NDAA if that was indeed the case. Torrance, who fumbled for answers before the judge's questioning, added that the United States does not differentiate under which law it holds military detainees. Judge Forrest, looking incredulous, said that if this was actually true the government could be found in contempt of court for violating orders prohibiting any detention under the NDAA.

Forrest quoted to the court Alexander Hamilton, who argued that judges must place "the power of the people" over legislative will.

"Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power," Hamilton, writing under the pseudonym Publius, said in Federalist No. 78. "It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental."

Contrast this crucial debate in a federal court with the empty campaign rhetoric and chatter that saturate the airwaves. The cant of our political theater, the ridiculous obsessions over vice presidential picks or celebrity gossip that dominate the news industry, effectively masks the march toward corporate totalitarianism. The corporate state has convinced the masses, in essence, to clamor for their own enslavement. There is, in reality, no daylight between Mitt Romney and Obama about the inner workings of the corporate state. They each support this section within the NDAA and the widespread extinguishing of civil liberties. They each will continue to funnel hundreds of billions of wasted dollars to defense contractors, intelligence agencies and the military. They each intend to let Wall Street loot the U.S. Treasury with impunity. Neither will lift a finger to help the long-term unemployed and underemployed, those losing their homes to foreclosures or bank repossessions, those filing for bankruptcy because of medical bills or college students burdened by crippling debt. Listen to the anguished cries of partisans on either side of the election divide and you would think this was a battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. You would think voting in the rigged political theater of the corporate state actually makes a difference. The charade of junk politics is there not to offer a choice but to divert the crowd while our corporate masters move relentlessly forward, unimpeded by either party, to turn all dissent into a crime.

NDAA Lawsuit a Struggle to Save the Constitution

Tangerine Bolen, Guardian UK , August 10, 2012, RSN

Bolen writes: "We lost nearly 3,000 people on 9/11. Then we allowed the Bush administration to lie and force us into war with a country that had nothing to do with that terrible day. Presidents Bush and Obama, and the US Congress, appear more interested in enacting misguided 'war on terror' policies that distract citizens from investigating the truth about what we've done, and what we've become, since 9/11."


AFSC DEFENDS Muhammad A. Salah,

James, (September 12, 2012)

Over nine decades of working for peace, the American Friends Service Committee has seen what can happen when a government is allowed to use fear to justify denying basic rights to some vulnerable group—Japanese-Americans, Native Americans, Jews, civil rights advocates, or political dissidents. In 1942, who could defend someone of “foreign enemy ancestry?” In the 1950’s, who dared defend someone accused of being a “communist?” And today, who would speak up for someone labeled a “terrorist?”

AFSC has consistently resisted such attempts to isolate and scapegoat, and we continue to do so— this time, in a lawsuit against the U.S. government.

We are challenging the government’s power to impose arbitrary restrictions on our First Amendment rights to engage in “coordinated advocacy” with Muhammad A. Salah, a U.S. citizen living in Chicago.

He is the only U.S. citizen residing in the United States who is currently labeled a “Specially Designated Terrorist.” Once an individual is so labeled, any person or organization is prohibited from engaging in coordinated speech with him, even if only to raise important questions about the government’s conduct.

AFSC strongly objects to arbitrary limits on our right to raise public awareness about government actions we believe to be unjust.

We brought this case as a last resort, but one we are compelled to undertake, both as a matter of conscience and to protect the practice of speaking truth to power. As this case proceeds, please check for updates at

WWII, Cold War, Drug War, War on Terror, War Against Islam, Permanent War: Is It Justified?

"Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today by Amitabh Pal . Praeger, March 2011.

• Description

• Author Info

• Reviews/Endorsements

• Related Materials

This decisive account of the role of nonviolence in Islam and Muslim societies, both historically and in current times, chronicles an often-obscured but longstanding pacifist tradition.

From the Crusades to September 11th, the prevalent notion among non-Muslims is that Islam was largely spread by the sword and continues to be defined by violence. In fact, that belief is a distortion of the religion's tradition, of its history, and of the actions and beliefs of countless Muslims around the globe today.

"Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today provides a rebuttal to general misperceptions about the religion by documenting its rich tradition of nonviolence. To that end, the book examines the sources of Islam—the Qur'an, the main religious text of Islam, and the Hadith, the deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. It contests the prevalent notion that Islam is built on violence in part by illuminating the role of the tolerant, mystical tradition of Sufism in Islam, while at the same time examining the misunderstood place of jihad in the religion.

The book is not, however, a historical or theological treatise. Rather, it focuses on the tradition of nonviolence in modern Muslim societies. By spotlighting recent peaceful protest movements in Muslim communities, the book underscores the truly global and multicultural nature of the Islamic tradition of nonviolence. The findings here will be invaluable for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, revealing an alternative tradition both can embrace.


• Voices of leading nonviolence activists, such as Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi, Mubarak Awad, Gene Sharp, and rock star Salman Ahmad, that make the history of nonviolent activism immediate and up to date

• A bibliography listing a wide array of source materials


• Highlights the important role of nonviolence in Islam and the myriad sources of inspiration for nonviolence available in Muslim holy literature, countering the pervasive stereotype of Islam as a violent religion

• Emphasizes how intrinsic Sufism—the mystical, peaceful branch of Islam—is to the religion and reveals a different history of Islam where the religion was spread peacefully, often by Sufi mystic orders

• Presents an alternative, much less violent interpretation of jihad

• Discusses the war in Kosovo and the history of nonviolent action in Pakistan and Palestine/Israel, among others, in ways that will expand the understanding

Books recommended by Noam Chomsky in the book: 9-11: Was there an alternative? (Chomsky’s answer: Yes, it was a criminal, police matter.)

Chomsky, Noam. Culture of Terrorism.

Chomsky, Noam. Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, second edition. (South End press, 1988)

Chomsky, Noam. Necessary Illusions. (South End Press, 1989)

Chomsky, Noam. Pirates and Emperors, Old and New. (South End Press, 2003)

Chomsky, Noam. Power and Terror, expanded edition. (Paradigm, 2011)

Chomsky, Noam. Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order. (Seven Stories Press, 1998)

Chomsky, Noam. Hegemony or Survival. (Metropolitan, 2004)

Chomsky, Noam. Failed States. (Metropolitan, 2007)

Chomsky, Noam and Herman, Edward S. Political Economy of Human Rights. (South End Press, 1979)

Chomsky, Noam and Achcar, Gilbert. Edited by Shalomm Stephen R. Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy: Dialongues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice (Paradigm, 2007

Cooley, John. Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism. (Pluto, 1999, 2001)

George, Alex, ed. Western State Terrorism. (Polity-Blackwell, 1991)

Gerges, Fawaz A. The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global. (Cambridge, 2005, 2009)

Gerges, Fawaz. Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy. (Harcourt, 2006)

Herman. Real Terror Network (South End Press, 1982)

Herman and Chomsky, Noam. Manufacturing Consent. (Pantheon, 1998, 2001)

Herman and O’Sullivan, Gerry. The “Terrorism” Industry. (Pantheon, 1990)

Laqueur, Walter. Age of Terrorism (Little, Brown and Co, 1987)

McClintock, Michael. Instruments of Statecraft. (Pantheon, 1992)

Project Censored et all, Censored 2011. (Seven Stories Press, 2010

Rosen, Nit. Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World (Nation Books, 2010)

Wilkinson, Paul. Terrorism and the Liberal State. (NYU Press, 1986)

Contents of #4

Cole and Lobel, Less Safe, Less Free

Costs of Privatized War on Terror

Klare: Al Qaeda to China

Obama, Oil, China

Allende to Bin Laden

Mother Jones: FBI vs. Muslims, Continued Rendition

JPN: Islamophobia Around the World

Younge: Bigotry and Europe’s Terrorists

FAIR: Perceiving “Islamic Terror” in Norway

Contents of #5

Bacevitch, What Is It?

European Nations and US

Engelhardt and Bacevich, Special Operations

Who’s Winning?

FBI’s Manufactured Plots

Silverstein, “Terrorism Expert”

In Colombia

Dick Bennett reviews books of peace for video recorded Sept. 20, 2012, at Fayetteville Public Television

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


OMNI DEPARTMENT OF PEACE NEWSLETTER #1, September 26, 2012. Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace.

My blog: War Department/Peace Department



Peace, Justice, Ecology Birthdays

See INMOtion

Contents #1

Bill as Proposed by Cong. Dennis Kucinich

Notes on the Bill by Dick

Notes by Sara Milford

Misc. Information from Google

Congressman Kucinich is a strong advocate for peace, in the individual and social spheres, and in national and foreign policy. He believes that our government must develop a new broad-based approach to peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution, both domestically and abroad. He supports a government that will hold non-violence as an organizing principle in our society, and help to create the conditions for a more peaceful world.

Department of Peace Bill

Summary of Department of Peace a Legislation

Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act Introduced in the Senate

America: A New Spirit

Legislation Introduced to Create a Department of Peace

On February 3, 2009, Congressman Kucinich introduced H.R. 808 (first introduced July 11, 2001) a bill to create a Cabinet-level Department of Peace and Nonviolence which embodies a broad-based approach to peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution at both domestic and international levels. The Department of Peace and Nonviolence would serve to promote non-violence as an organizing principle in our society, and help to create the conditions for a more peaceful world.

H.R. 808 is essentially the same bill as it was when first introduced in 2001. Notable changes include the establishment of a “Peace Day,” in which all citizens will be encouraged to observe and celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace on that day. Additionally, in the 111th Congress the bill language has been updated to reflect the many advances in the study of conflict resolution and analysis since 2001. Congressman Kucinich has added a “Cultural Diplomacy for Peace Grant” program under which the Secretary shall make grants to schools, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations for the purpose of developing international cultural exchanges, including the arts and sports. Congressman Kucinich is hopeful that this grant program will promote diplomacy and cultural understanding between the United States and members of the international community.

Summary of Department of Peace Legislation

Legislation introduced by Congressman Dennis Kucinich to create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence includes the following:

• Establish a cabinet-level department in the executive branch of the Federal Government dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to both domestic and international peace.

• Headed by a Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

• The mission of the Department shall: hold peace as an organizing principle; endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking; promote the development of human potential; work to create peace, prevent violence, divert from armed conflict and develop new structures in nonviolent dispute resolution; and take a proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict and structured mediation of conflict.

• The Department will create and establish a Peace Academy, modeled after the military service academies, which will provide a 4 year concentration in peace education. Graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution.

• The principal officers of the Department, in addition to the Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence will include; the Under Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence; the Assistant Secretary for Peace Education and Training; the Assistant Secretary for Domestic Peace Activities, the Assistant Secretary for International Peace Activities; the Assistant Secretary for Technology for Peace; the Assistant Secretary for Arms Control and Disarmament; the Assistant Secretary for Peaceful Coexistence and Nonviolent Conflict Resolution; the Assistant Secretary for Human and Economic Rights; and a General Counsel.

• The first day of each year, January 1st will be designated as Peace Day in the United States and all citizens should be encouraged to observe and celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace in the coming year

Department of Peace Act Introduced in the Senate

On September 22, 2005, Senator Mark Dayton introduced a Senate companion bill to Rep. Kucinich’s Department of Peace and Nonviolence legislation, S. 1756. This is the first time that this bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Related Documents:

Press Release - Kucinich Releases His Remarks from September 11, 2001

Press Release - Kucinich: Peace is Inevitable

Press Release - On Proposal to Fund Military With Cuts to Food Stamps, Kucinich Asks “What Kind of Country Do We Want to Live In?”

Press Release - Instead of Nation-Building Abroad, We Should be Nation-Building at Home

Press Release - Kucinich: Symptoms of a War that Must End

More Documents...

Related Files:

Kucinich Resolution

HR 3760: Department of Peace and Nonviolence

Summary of Legislation To Create A Department Of Peace And Nonviolence

Kucinich Floor Statement On The Introduction Of The Department of Peace And Nonviolence

America: A New Spirit

More Files



According to the USIP, it is “in support of the nation’s commitment to the nonviolent management of international conflict.” Here are some advantages we have discussed but worth repeating, plus a major/minor classification.



Consolidates 8 federal areas(?). Peacemaking requires many disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and technology. Only by working together and sharing experience and knowledge will headway be possible




Saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, requires removing threats to peace, or taking away the occasions for war, by research, building trust, conflict resolution, mediation, advocacy, early warning, early intervention, encouraging healing and reconciliation, demobilization, reintegration of ex-combatants, championing human rights.

Example of reintegration:

Foreign: ex-combatants need extensive mental and physical medical treatment

Domestic: each prisoner costs $30,000 a year, so rehabilitation in prison and reintegration programs for ex-prisoners produce low recidivism rates

We know prediction is increasingly possible, but the discovery of what will reduce violence, crime, wars requires the kind of cooperative, well-funded research we give to the physical sciences and gave to building the atomic bomb.

Foreign: conflict resolution and exchange programs for high school and college students

Domestic: international cultures programs and anti-bullying/no exclusion programs in elementary schools


Peacemaking as the central national purpose, with war absolutely as a last resort, will create friendship for the US globally, and reduce the threat of violence.

Foreign:close friendship with and imitation of Canada, Sweden, Denmark

Domestic: ethnic/racial/religious harmony


Wars cost billions of dollars. Peaceful solutions cost fractions of wars in resources and lives.

Foreign: Marshall Plan

Domestic: Kindergartens and after-school programs.


Upgrading higher education for peacemaking.

Today few academic graduate programs prepare for world peacemaking.

Foreign: Iraq: soldiers are trying to do jobs of linguists, educators, doctors, city planners. Our foreign policy projects us throughout the world, but we have not prepared people to be there.

Domestic: Training police in nonviolent conflict resolution.

Relation to State Department

Partnerships with civil society as a high priority:

Augments State Dept. by developing relations not only with states and other governmental agencies (the domain of the SD), but with all-non-governmental individuals and groups for peace.

Foreign: Doctors Without Borders


From: "Sara Milford"

Subject: Dop questions

 Marvin and all,


> How about these for possible questions:


> 1. In a perfect world, we would all get along. This isn't a perfect

> world. We won't all get along. Will the DoP try to make everyone get

> along, and if so, why even try since it will never work?

 Humans possess a propensity for violence and wars, but it is not inevitable. Seville Statement.


> 2. Why does the Department of Peace have to be a cabinet-level position?

> Wouldn't it fit as a sub-committee somewhere?

 Example of the United States Institute of Peace, which strongly resembles DoP in values and programs, but has had only a research and educational function and therefore little resistance to violence and wars.


> 3. Are those seeking a DoP seeking to diminish the military, getting rid

> of all war weapons since they just perpetuate violence?

 Two issues here. 1) Yes diminish the arms proliferation, nuclear weapons, etc. 2) No not all because we will need armed peacekeepers, as does the UN.


> 4. Is peace possible? What does "peace" even mean?

 Many examples of successful international and domestic peacemaking have occurred.

Peace means not merely the absence of violence, but the positive actions of social and economic justice, human rights, and protection of the earth and species.


> 5. Will there be enough support and interest to sustain a DoP if it does

> come into existence?


1. The Peace Alliance
About the Campaign for a U.S. Department of ...

There is currently a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives to establish a United States Department of Peace. This historic measure will augment our ...

2. Department of Peace - Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich

On February 3, 2009, Congressman Kucinich introduced H.R. 808 (first introduced July 11, 2001) a bill to create a Cabinet-level Department of Peace and ...

3. Department of Peace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to: navigation, search. The Department of Peace is a proposed cabinet-level department of the executive branch of ...

The history of legislation to ... - Support - Provisions of the Kucinich Bill

4. News for Department of Peace

1. Envoys of peace‎ - 2 days ago

After a stint in the Peace Corps teaching English in Morocco, the ... He was “one of the best of his generation,” retired State Department official ...

5. Americans For Department Of Peace:: Welcome

A citizens' group advocating passage of the Bill to establish a cabinet level U.S. Department of Peace.

6. Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act -

H.R. 808 (110th): Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act.

7. 'US Department of Peace' may never get its chance - Washington Post

May 18, 2012 – With Rep. Dennis Kucinich's departure from the House, the prospects for a “U.S. Department of Peace” are looking even less likely than usual.

8. Peace Department Proposal Rattles Small Town : NPR › News › US

Mar 24, 2007 – When a Minnesota women's group joined a national campaign to establish a U.S. Department of Peace, they triggered fears in their small, rural ...

9. Welcome to the Maryland Campaign for a U.S. Department of Peace! seeks to inform, inspire, and impel Marylanders to lobby their Congresspersons and Senators to support Department of Peace legislation.


11th Anniversary of Department Of Peace - YouTube

► 2:44► 2:44 11, 2012 - 3 min - Uploaded by DJKucinich

"Eleven years ago today, I introduced legislation to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Peace and Non ...

11. More videos for Department of Peace »

12. Department of Peace Initiative

Welcome! The NM Department of Peace Initiative advocates PEACE as an organizing principle for all civic relationships. Founded in November 2002, DPI is an ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


OMNI VIETNAM WAR NEWSLETTER #3, September 25, 2012, Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace. (#1 July 24, 2011; #2 June 9, 2012).

My blog: War Department and Peace Department



See: Imperialism, Militarism, Pentagon, Recruiting, Suicides, Whistleblowing, and more.

Contents of #1 July 24, 2011


Jane Fonda, Peacemaker

Cluster Bombs, Special Section (small sample of sources)

Civilians Killed (small sample)

Casualties in Wars

Contents of #2

Chemical War Crimes: Agent Orange Action Group

Nick Turse, War Crimes, Kill Everything that Moves

Tirman, Civilians Killed


My Lai

Vietnam and Iraq

Returning Vets Spat Upon?

Contents $3

President Obama’s Memorial Day 2012 Call to Expunge the Vietnam Syndrome

Dick: US Empire, Pres. Obama’s Campaign to Rewrite VNW History, and Chris Burden’s The Other Vietnam Memorial

Topmiller, Buddhist Resistance

Topmiller, Ke Sanh Combat and Consequences

Topmiller, Mistreatment of Vets

Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:

1. Remarks by the President at the Commemoration Ceremony of the ...

May 28, 2012 – Today is Memorial Day, when we recall all those who gave everything in the ... And today begins the 50th commemoration of our war in Vietnam. ... It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened.


By Dick Bennett 1,383 words 9-3-12

Rise of US Imperialism Post-WWII

WWII under President Roosevelt released not only indescribable, immeasurable destructive energy, but also an enormous wave of idealism for the future: workers union rights, the Four Freedoms, the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But soon, by 1946 the reaction swept in just as following WWI against the League of Nations. Instead of the dream of ending wars by nations united for peace and cooperation, nations resumed their old us and them. The United States empire, already established in the Pacific, took flight as the Leader of the Free World—Taft-Hartley legislation, Truman Doctrine, Cold War.

Following Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the US began to developed new nuclear weapons, most of them over several decades, each matched by the Soviet Union (US/SU), which innovated once or twice itself in the world’s most dangerous arms race. In 1947 the foundation was laid for the US National Security State: the Armed Forces united under the Pentagon, the War Department euphemized into the Department of “Defense,” the CIA and the National Security Administration established.

Korean and Vietnam Wars

NATO was formed for the “Free World “ against the Soviets. The Soviets created their bloc against Western invasion—from Napoleon to Hitler and, they feared, to NATO. And the Cold War shifted into high gear. But Victorious WWII was not to be repeated by the US. The Korean War ended in stalemate. And then the Vietnam War torpedoed the US Imperial Ship of State. How measure victory and defeat? If your goal was body count, then the US won: between two and three million Vietnamese were killed; tens of thousands more if you count fetuses aborted. But by other measures the US lost, and retreated back to the mainland.

Vietnam War Syndrome

This defeat has rankled military leaders and the warrior patriots in government. It became important to them to regain the confidence commensurate to an Empire based upon armed force, invasion, and eventually occupation. Like football teams that play sure losers to start the season, the US began with victories in the 1950s—including overthrowing the elected Iranian and Guatemalan governments. But Vietnam surprised the imperial Pentagon, for how could an impoverished country withstand the firepower of the US of A?

The withdrawal was a humiliation for the gunslingers. They would not rest until the stain was erased. President Reagan invaded Nicaragua and Grenada. President Bush I invaded Panama and Iraq. President Clinton invaded Serbia. And President Bush II invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

President Obama

Thus President Obama’s policy statement May 2012 was no surprise as much as it was a culmination of long Pentagon and other warrior pressures. In May, 2012, President Obama signed a proclamation establishing the “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War” to begin this year, to last for thirteen years (to Veterans Day 2025), and to be conducted by the Pentagon. (2012 is the 50th if you mark the war’s beginning in January 1962, when open combat by US forces began.) Why this attention? It is certainly not to acknowledge the deaths of several million civilians, atrocities like the My Lai Massacre, war-crime chemical weapons (Agent Orange: dioxin), or the use of twice the explosive tonnage as employed by all sides in WWII and against a mainly peasant people who had fought to liberate themselves first from French colonialism and then from US neocolonialism. No, for Obama, campaigning for the presidency, the “national shame” was failure of the US to fully honor our killed and surviving troops, and the commemoration is meant to assuage guilt fully and finally by commemorating each battle of the war (Hue, Khe Sanh, Saigon, and on and on) and those US soldiers who fought in each, whether guilty of atrocities or not. Thus it is an attempt to delete from the national memory, according to one historian, the “basic facts about the most horrendous imperialist (North-South) war of the twentieth century, as well as the most unpopular war in U.S. history.” Erasing the Vietnam Syndrome forever, Obama asserted, would make the US “stronger than before.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Chris Burden’s The Other Vietnam Memorial.

Obama’s effort to efface responsibility for massive US criminal behavior and to blame the victim is inseparable from the history of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (and similar memorials around the country). For example, in 1977 President Carter, who authorized the establishment of the Memorial, denied any US obligations to Vietnam, because the destruction, he said, was mutual.

The eventual memorial as finally assembled offers mixed purposes and affects. The original Wall, designed by Maya Lin, does not heroize warriors; it is the antipode of the Marine Corps Memorial. It softens the divisiveness of the war by omitting opponents of the war, patriotic effusions, or signs of defeat and humiliation. Rather, by listing the names of the killed soldiers, the monument neutrally permits to each visitor their private reflection on personal loss. Ordinary people interpret the discourse of the dead without national intervention..

The Additions

Of course, such a monument for people, not nation, outraged many. One Pentagon officer wondered why “we” should build a memorial to losers. Like him, many saw Lin’s Wall as a counter-monument to national glory and soldiers’ heroism, some approvingly, others disapprovingly, some of those vehemently: they wanted a triumphal monument, like the Iwo Jima monument. The monument’s chronological, democratizing, equalizing (for Lin “the heart of the design”) differed from traditional hierarchical war monuments and the hierarchical orientation of officials. The conflict resulted in the present compromise: the addition of a sculpture of three combat soldiers and a US flag. Finally was added a sculpture of women, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, another arrangement of three figures. In the opinion of some commentators, these additions, even the women’s memorial, obscured the Wall’s inclusivity and equality with “patriarchal demands.”

Awareness of Incompleteness, the Need for Further Addition or Alternative

But these debates and these additions do not grasp the disquietude many of us feel morally when we contemplate the immense absence the Wall displays. The Wall of Names, in its original spare design and especially with its additions, expresses the assumption that the US is the sole injured party, because it deletes reference to the devastation of Vietnam and the slaughter of two to three million Vietnamese, not to mention those killed earlier by the French with our financing It is the Wall of US names. The Vietnamese youth killed for US anticommunism and Sovietphobia, the Vietnamese children lost and injured by bombs and dioxin for US nationalist and commercial expansion westward, deserved no remembrance, no pity. The arrogance of our leaders, their patriotic rhetoric and duplicitous justifications for mass killing made them incapable of perceiving the enemy’s children as victims.

Given all of these failures, Chris Burden’s sculpture, The Other Vietnam Memorial, takes its place as the great alternative to the Vietnam Memorial Wall and as the greatest memorial shaming of US nationalist barbarism. First shown in 1991 in the Museum of Modern Art, Burden’s art symbolically registers the estimated 3 million casualties by using a basic catalogue of nearly 4,000 Vietnamese names permutated by a computer. These names were then etched onto 3 by 6.5 foot copper plates sandwiched together in pairs and mounted into steel frames hinged to a 13-foot-high steel pole. Imagine a giant, Rolodex, symbolically listing the enemy‘s casualties—names that US Pentagon and president after president would expunge from US collective historical memory.

Even more significantly, Burden’s great monument to memory and empathy reminds us not only of US Vietnam War crimes but of the similar crimes in the several dozen US invasions of other countries since WWII. Instead of the glorification of chauvinism, killing, soldiers, military glory, and jingoistic nationalism, Burden, by offering an alternative, inclusive vision of species unity, calls into question the past 70 years of fear-and-hatred-mongering and its product, permanent war. It does not offer consolation and closure, as does Maya Lin’s Wall, at least to some. Rather, it calls for sympathy and justice for innocent “enemies,” for the abolition of jingoistic monuments, for resistance to present and future US wars of aggression, and once seen it will not let us sleep.


---Boime, Albert. The Unveiling of the National Icons: A Plea for Patriotic Iconoclasm in a Nationalist Era. Cambridge UP, 1998. Epilogue: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial..

---Foster, John Bellamy. “Notes from the Editors.”. Monthly Review (Sept. 2012).

---For a list of recent books on US imperialism and militarism see the 46 references for OMNI’s US Imperialism Book Forum (Sept. 21, 2012). Especially recommended: Blum’s Killing Hope and Rogue Nation, Nicholas Davies’ Blood on Our Hands, and Chalmers Johnson’s Blowback tetralogy.

The Lotus Unleashed: The Buddhist Peace Movement in South Vietnam, 1964-1966 - Robert J. Topmiller

The Lotus Unleashed: The Buddhist Peace Movement in South Vietnam, 1964-1966 - Robert J. Topmiller

During the Vietnam war, Vietnamese peace activists made extraordinary sacrifices, including self-immolation - to try to end the fighting. This is the first study in English of this vitally important mass movement.

Topmiller examines the Buddhist objections to the war that ultimately led to the Buddhist Crisis of 1966. In one of the first in-depth discussions of an indigenous South Vietnamese peace movement, Topmiller explores the Buddhist led agitation aimed at installing a civilian government through free elections as part of a larger effort to end the fighting in South Vietnam. Based on extensive research and interviews with many participants, the Lotus Unleashed highlights the intense importance of Buddhist efforts, making clear the impact of Vietnamese internal politics on U.S. decision making and the missed opportunities for peace caused by Washington's indifference toward South Vietnamese opinions on the war.

"Tells the story of how the Buddhist inspired Struggle Movement sought to challenge the legitimacy of the government of south Vietnam in the middle years of the 1960s." Contemporary Buddhism.

Rapidshare Posted 20th March 2009 by prajna

Red Clay On My Boots

A book by Robert J. Topmiller. Kirk House Publishers

Reviewed by Karen St. John, VietNow Contributing Editor

With his family steadfast against his plans to enlist in the Marines and go to Vietnam, 17-year old Robert J. “Doc” Topmiller did the next best thing – he joined the Navy in 1966, under the Kiddy Cruiser Program, which permitted those under the age of 18 to enlist, with an out date of one day before their 21st birthday.

At Great Lakes Naval Station, north of Chicago, he entered the training for “Hospital Corpsman” (medic). After completing his medical training stateside, Topmiller found himself in two months of intensive field training on Okinawa, and then arrived in Danang, Vietnam, in mid-January of 1968, and immediately continued onward to the Marine base at Khe Sanh. In between treating serious wounds and rat bites, Topmiller filled sand bags and dug bunkers.

Then, in the wee hours of January 21, the enemy began an assault of mortars, shells, and rockets that varied in intensity and damages for 77 days, until April, when the siege was finally ended. In June of 1968, General Westmoreland no longer needed the Khe Sanh base for defense, and approved its abandonment and demolition.

“Doc” wastes no time in describing the results of the Khe Sanh battle. He lists the casualties of Khe Sanh, and describes his troubling emotional reactions to the experience: “… a lifetime of profound alienation from the society around me.”

“Doc” doesn’t stop with the assault on Khe Sanh. He is critical of the current administration’s attitude toward war, and has nothing but disdain for the “neo-conservatives” who are always ready to attack the patriotism of Vietnam veterans.

Red Clay On My Boots is a busy book – bouncing from Khe Sanh in 1968, to any of “Doc’s” 11 trips back to Vietnam. We read of the religious persecution that now exists in that country, references to the military tragedy of My Lai, and, the devastating and long-lasting effects of Agent Orange.

Several interesting photos document “Doc’s” trips to Vietnam, and some will cause uneasy reactions: a U.S. helicopter on display as a trophy at the Tà Cón Airport Monument, bodies strewn along a water point, the author drinking beer and toasting with members of the Peoples Army of Vietnam, and the children who suffer the effects of Agent Orange.

“Doc” writes well, and with candor. He is articulate, logical, thoughtful, and insightful. Because of his educational rather than emotional approach, Red Clay On My Boots more often reads like a social studies lesson than a personal story. The reader might feel grateful to “Doc” for that, though. His slightly detached, intellectual style in presenting an account of one of the worst battles of the Vietnam War makes it easier to absorb the harsh statistics of that horrific assault.

Instead of assailing the senses with vivid descriptions of the sight and smell of blood, death, and tears, the facts are put gently upon the reader’s mind to absorb, calming a heart that starts to beat too fast over the account of the siege, or clearing a throat that starts to feel choked over the loss and destruction of so many lives.

Red Clay On My Boots is an excellent reference book for the historic events leading up to the Vietnam War, and our country’s misguided approach to the conflict. It’s hard not to make comparisons to the current conflicts in the Middle East, and feel apprehension.

You can learn a great deal about the Vietnam War from this book, and you will also learn a great deal more about “Doc” than he may have intended. Even he could not escape the very good job he does of placing himself upon each page of his narrative.

“Doc’s” inability to resist the pull of the Vietnam War is evident in the broken promise he made to his wife not to visit Khe Sanh in 1996, and the repeated visits to Vietnam. He takes the weight of the war upon his own shoulders, apologizing for the destruction to the innocents – even apologizing to the enemy. He seeks forgiveness for himself and for our country, in the hope of receiving the healing forgiveness in return.

The red clay of Khe Sanh isn’t just on “Doc’s” boots. It’s under his skin, in his air passages, and in his hair. He walks around in a psychic layer of red clay dust, like the sweet character on Charlie Brown, unable to shake the dust off or move out of its cloud. He breathes it in through his survivor’s guilt and flashbacks, through his multiple returns to “in country,” and even through his teaching.

May “Doc” and other veterans living with the red clay dust of Khe Sanh, find their breath of fresh air soon. Heaven knows they certainly deserve it.

Karen St. John is a freelance writer, living in Indianapolis. You can read more of her writing at

Binding Their Wounds: America's Assault on Its Veterans

• Robert J. Topmiller and T. Kerby Neill. Paradigm, 2011.


It is in the nature of our naïveté about war that we prepare for combat but rarely for its aftermath. Vietnam vet and historian Robert “Doc” Topmiller began Binding Their Wounds while he was still struggling with his own PTSD but died before he could finish the book. Completed by his friends, the book provides an engaging account of America’s attitudes and treatment of its veterans, from the revolutionary war forward. Major chapters focus on the failures of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs (and its predecessors) to address the needs of vets exposed to radiation in post–World War II military experiments, vets suffering from Gulf War illnesses, and vets exposed to Agent Orange during Vietnam. Particular attention is given to the persistent issues of trauma and suicide in soldiers and veterans. This volume documents strengths and shortcomings of military and VA responses to the needs of our servicemen and women and suggests ways that we can do better, including the avoidance of armed conflict. Rich in personal accounts of veterans, Doc’s own story is compellingly woven into the narrative

See detailed rev. in The Catholic Worker by Bill Griffin (June-July 2012).

Friday, September 21, 2012


OMNI NEWSLETTER #5 ON NONVIOLENCE, September 21, 2012 (UN International Day of Peace), Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace (#3 June 7, 2011, #4 September 30, 2011).

My blog: The War Department and Peace Heroes

Newsletters on Peace, Justice, and Ecology:


See: Imperialism, Militarism, Pentagon, Recruiting, Suicides, Whistleblowing, and more.

Contents of #3

Dalai Lama on Nonviolence

Nonviolence History: A Force More Powerful

Civilian Defense

Nonviolent Communication

Anger Positive?

Video from Metta Institute

Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance

Resources/Bibliography (see Newsletters #1 and #2)

Contents of #4

Books on Nonviolence

Books and Film on Nonviolence in Palestinian/Israeli Conflict

Chenoweth and Stephan on Civil Resistance/Nonviolence

Long on Christian Nonviolence

Pal on Islamic Nonviolence

Nonviolence at Liberty Plaza, Cairo

Contents of #5

The People’s Charter

Nonviolence Organizations

Nevada Desert

War Resisters League


Reviews of Books


Ram and Summy


Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:

Launch of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’

May 25, 2011 by robertjburrowes

The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World was launched simultaneously on 11 November 2011 at several locations around the world.

The aim of this Charter is to create a worldwide movement to end violence in all its forms. The People’s Charter will give voice to the millions of ordinary people around the world who want an end to war, oppression, environmental destruction and violence of all kinds. We hope that this Charter will support and unite the courageous nonviolent struggles of ordinary people all over the world.

As you will see, The People’s Charter describes very thoroughly the major forms of violence in the world. It also presents a strategy to end this violence.

We can each play a part in stopping violence and in creating a peaceful and just world. Some of us will focus on reducing our consumption, some of us will parent our children in a way that fosters children’s safety and empowerment, some of us will use nonviolent resistance in the face of military violence. Everyone’s contribution is important and needed. We hope this Charter will be a springboard for us all to take steps to create a peaceful and just world, however small and humble these steps may be. By listening to the deep truth of ourselves, each other and the Earth, each one of us can find our own unique way to help create this nonviolent world.

Why did we choose 11 November as the date to launch The People’s Charter?

‘When I was a boy … all the people of all the nations which fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was at that minute in nineteen-hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields at that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.’

(Kurt Vonnegut Jr., an atheist humanist, in his novel Breakfast of Champions.)


So far, the organising groups in various locations have organised launch events in their localities around the world. Some groups are organising follow-up events so that other people have the chance to become involved in local, personal networks.

See ‘Future Events’ for information about the next public event nearest you.

Signing the Charter

The People’s Charter can be read and signed online: click on ‘Read Charter’ or ‘Sign Charter’ in the sidebar.

‘A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.’ Mohandas K. Gandhi

The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World was posted on 25 May 2011.

Anahata Giri –

See below for the Charter text.



Launch date: 11 November 2011

Recognising that:

1. The United States government dominates world affairs and is engaged in a perpetual war (sometimes presented as a ‘war on terror’) to secure control of essential diminishing natural resources (including oil, water and strategic minerals) from what the 2010 United States Quadrennial Defense Review refers to as ‘the Global commons’ (which means, in effect, anywhere in the world, including the land of other peoples). The USA, with less than 5% of the world’s population, consumes 33% of the world’s resources

2. The United States government (sometimes together with pliant government allies in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, America and Australia) maintains occupation forces in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the Mariana Islands

3. The Chinese government occupies Tibet

4. The Israeli government occupies Palestine

5. The French government occupies Kanaky and French Polynesia

6. The Indonesian government occupies West Papua

7. The Chinese government violently suppresses the people of China, including practitioners of the gentle, meditative art of Falan Dafa, some of whose imprisoned members are subjected to forced organ removal

8. The populations of many countries including (but not limited to) Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe are violently suppressed by militarily-backed dictatorships

9. Indigenous peoples in many countries have been dispossessed of their land, culture, spirituality and human rights by settler populations from other countries

10. The use of nuclear materials to generate electricity and create weapons of mass destruction exposes humankind and other species to unnecessary and unacceptable risks of radioactive contamination

11. The burning of fossil fuels (producing carbon dioxide) and extensive animal agriculture (producing methane) is precipitating catastrophic alterations in climate patterns

12. The Earth’s natural processes are being degraded and destroyed by human violence including (but not limited to) the destruction of ecosystems such as forests, rivers, wetlands, grasslands and coral reefs; the over-exploitation and pollution of fresh water supplies; and the degradation and poisoning of industrial agricultural and fishing systems, all of which are precipitating an unnatural and accelerating rate of species extinctions

13. There is a massive and increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons caused by the use of military violence and climatically induced ‘natural’ disasters

14. Many people devote their energy to the design, manufacture and/or use of weapons and torture equipment in order to harm, mutilate or kill fellow human beings

15. The global economic system, maintained by Western military violence, results in the death through starvation-related diseases of one child in Africa, Asia or Central/South America every five seconds, often denies ordinary working men and women a fair return for their labour, forces many people in industrialised economies into poverty and/or homelessness, and ruthlessly exploits the natural environment and nonhuman species

16. Violent and/or discriminatory practices often deny many groups – including (but not limited to) children, aged people, women, working people, indigenous peoples, racial groups, ethnic groups, religious groups, cultural groups, people with particular sexual orientations, people with disabilities, military personnel, incarcerated people and nonhuman species – the opportunities to which they are entitled as living beings on Earth

17. The global slave trade denies 27,000,000 human beings the right to live the life of their choice, condemning many individuals – especially women and children – to lives of sexual slavery, forced labour or childhood military service

18. Terrorist organisations, criminal organisations, drug cartels and cults use terror and violence to exploit ordinary people

19. There is widespread violence in the family home, in schools, at the workplace and on the street

20. All of the violent behaviours described above have their origin in adult violence against children: this violence generates the warped emotional and behavioural patterns that later manifest as adult violence in its many forms. See Why Violence?

21. It is human violence – against ourselves, each other and the Earth – that threatens to cause human extinction

22. National governments, international government organisations and global institutions (such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation), all of which represent national elites, are not capable of addressing the above problems…

The Purpose of The People’s Charter:

This Charter identifies eight aims of a nonviolent strategy to mobilise ordinary people, local groups, communities, non-government organisations and international networks opposed to these and other manifestations of human violence to explicitly renounce the use of violence themselves and to take nonviolent action to strategically resist this violence in all of its forms for the sake of humankind, future generations, all other species on Earth and the Earth itself.

The aims of this nonviolent strategy are as follows:

1. To convince or, if necessary, nonviolently compel the United States government and United States corporations to no longer use military violence and economic coercion to control world affairs for the benefit of the United States elite and its allied national elites in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, America and Australia

2. To convince or, if necessary, nonviolently compel the United States government and its allied governments to completely dismantle their military (including nuclear) forces and overseas bases, to decolonise or end their occupation of all occupied territories, and to instead adopt a strategy of nonviolent defence

3. To encourage all individuals and organisations currently resisting the military and/or economic domination of the United States elite and its allied elites to recognise the shared nature of our struggle and, when appropriate, to coordinate at local, regional or global level our acts of nonviolent resistance to this domination

4. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies for the liberation of Afghanistan, Burma, China, French Polynesia, Iran, Iraq, Kanaky, the Mariana Islands, North Korea, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Tibet, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, West Papua, Zimbabwe and all other countries living under the yoke of occupation or dictatorship. (See Robert J. Burrowes, The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach, State University of New York Press, 1996.)

5. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies to end violence in the home, slavery, the sexual trafficking of women and children, the use of child soldiers, as well as the existence of terrorist and criminal organisations, drug cartels and cults

6. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies to end the marginalisation and exploitation of particular identity groups including (but not limited to) indigenous peoples; women; workers; racial, ethnic, religious and cultural groups; children; aged people; military personnel; incarcerated people; refugees and internally displaced peoples; those who are homeless and/or live in poverty; people with a particular sexual orientation; people with disabilities and nonhuman species

7. To encourage the people of the industrialised world (except those already living in poverty) to each accept personal responsibility for reducing their consumption of global resources to a level that is commensurate with genuine equity for all human beings on Earth and the ecological carrying capacity of the Earth itself, particularly given the needs of other species. See The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth

8. To encourage all adults to understand the violence they (unconsciously) inflict on children and to take responsibility for ending this.

The methods of this nonviolent strategy are as follows:

1. To listen deeply to ourselves, each other and the Earth

2. To engage in acts of nonviolent resistance and creation: acts of nonviolent protest and persuasion, acts of nonviolent noncooperation and acts of nonviolent intervention, including the creation of new organisations, communities, institutions and structures that genuinely meet the needs of all beings in a just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable manner. (For ideas about nonviolent actions, see Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973.)

The People’s Charter Pledge:

Having read and agreed with this Charter:

1. I pledge to listen to the deep truth of myself, others and the Earth

2. I pledge to make every effort to progressively eliminate the violence I inflict on myself, others and the Earth

3. I pledge to engage in acts of nonviolent resistance and/or creation to bring about a nonviolent future on Earth

Signing The People’s Charter:

If you are committed to acting on this Charter, please add your name and country to the list of Charter participants HERE.

For Ideas:

If you need ideas to fulfil your pledge, please consult the websites and books cited in The People’s Charter.

You are welcome to invite others to consider signing this Charter.

Robert J. Burrowes – Australia

Anita McKone – Australia

Anahata Giri – Australia


James Richard Bennett. Peace Movement Directory. 2001. See Index.


An action group based at Las Vegas, NV.

Publishes Desert Voices ; vol. 24, #4, Winter 2011 plans actions against drones, confront tourists visiting the Atomic Testing Museum, “Sacred Peace Walk” annually from Las Vegas to the Nevada National Security Site, frequent petitions to Pres. and Congress, and more.; (D)


 Contact Us

 Get Involved

 Local Chapters

 Donate to WRL


• Tear Gas Campaign

 Organizing for Peace

 Counter Recruitment

 War Tax Resistance

 GI Rights/Resistance

 Speakers/Training

 WIN Magazine

Search this site:


Brandywine Peace Community

Brandywine Peace Community, a long-time WRL affiliate, has been throwing their support behind the Occupy movement with "Welcome, Occupy Philly" signs and banners that made the connection between the corporate control of U.S. democracy and the corporate militarism of such war profiteers as Lockheed Martin, the world's #1 war profiteer and Pentagon weapons producer.



Karl Bissinger, 1914-2008

Beloved longtime WRL staff member Karl Bissinger succumbed to a stroke on November 19. Karl was an energetic and creative fund raiser, an enthusiastic civil disobedient, a generous host to countless meetings, and a loyal and supportive friend.

Ralph DiGia: 1914-2008

Ralph, a lifelong war resister and pacifist, died February 1 in New York City. Ralph had been the heart and soul of WRL since he came on staff shortly after the end of World War II.

Bill Sutherland, 1918-2010

Bill Sutherland, unofficial ambassador between the peoples of Africa and the Americas for over fifty years, died peacefully on January 2, 2010. He was 91.

Marv Davidov

Photo courtesy Tom Bottolene/

Long-time Minnesota peace activist Marv Davidov died on January 14 at age 80. Marv was well known for his role in starting the Honeywell Project, which he helped start in 1968 to oppose the anti-personnel weapons made by the Minneapolis company and used against civilians in Southeast Asia. Marv was one of the Freedom Riders, and was on the Quebec to Guantanamo Walk organized by the Committee for Nonviolent Action in the early '60's.

Read more


Nearly Twice as Many Prizes!

$3 per ticket, $25 for a sheet of 12

Your raffle contribution directly supports the campaigns and programs of War Resisters League in our efforts to end war and eliminate its causes. We try to choose prizes with some special meaning: unique, handcrafted items and/or those from people or companies who are members and friends in the struggle for justice and peace. We are eager for new suggestions and prize donations. Please let us hear from you!

Surprise a friend or two by sending in a few tickets with their names as well!


Have a quiet getaway on Cape Cod, MA. The three-room house, kindly offered by member Craig Simpson, is next to a nature preserve near Hyannis and Woods Hole and includes a wonderful screened-in porch! (Travel is not included.)

And 23 more prizes, including books, music, artwork and handcrafted jewelry!



TEAR GAS is lethal to people and lethal to movements

Facing Tear Gas is a story-telling project of War Resisters League by and for people that have experienced tear gas all over the world. By making the links between these stories we hope to bring those that profit off of tear gas further into the public consciousness and, along with that, the inspiring movements the gas is used to squelch. This is part of a broader campaign to end the US’s role in the business of tear gas in solidarity with global nonviolent uprisings and those facing US-backed repression everywhere, including within the US.

Get more info at




Slideshow from the WRL Archives: On the Centennial of the Life of Bayard Rustin

2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of civil rights icon Bayard Rustin, and many groups—from the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee and inter-faith Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) to the labor federation AFL-CIO to countless educational institutions—are engaged in celebrating this man of humble beginnings. Rustin, however, was more than simply a campaigner for individual liberties—be they for Black or gay folks. He was a revolutionary critic of the status quo, one whose commitment to radical pacifism and ability to bring together broad and often conflicting peoples made a mark still very relevant today.

This slideshow, put together by the War Resisters League (WRL, for whom Rustin served as Executive Secretary from 1953 till 1965—including the period when he was chief architect of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom), focuses on this radical bridge-building aspect of Rustin’s life.

View the slide show on Slideshare



New! WIN Magazine Summer 2012

Cover photo by Eric Drooker (

Our summer issue focuses on music, with articles on using rap music in a social justice curriculum, hip hop against homophobia and heavy metal songs you forgot were antiwar.

The issue also features an interview with Basra, Iraq labor activist Hashmeya Muhsin al-Saadawi, a speech by Bayard Rustin, conscientious objector and civil and gay rights pioneer (who would have turned 100 this year) , and reviews, news and reports from WRL organizers.

Check out the Summer 2012 issue of WIN

Subscribe to WIN!



You Can't Take What's All of Ours! Breaking Down NATO/G8 and Rising Up Against Austerity and Militarism

To mark the NATO summit to held in May 2012 in Chicago and the simultaneous G8 summit held in Camp David, Maryland, War Resisters League and the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance released a new popular education resource.

Download the curriculum here.

Download the supplement to the curriculum.



2012 Peace Calendar

Organize This! A 1955-2011 Retrospective

$ 5 each -- Order Online Now!

Organize This!

A 1955-2011 Retrospective

War Resisters League

2012 Peace Calendar

Edited by Liz Roberts

Foreword by Noam Chomsky

Afterword by Wendy Schwartz



WRL PIE CHART FLYERS - Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes


The War Resisters League's famous "pie chart" flyer analyzes the Federal Fiscal Year 2013 Budget (released in February 2012). Perfect for Tax Day!

Each year, War Resisters League analyzes federal funds outlays as presented in detailed tables in "Analytical Perspectives" of the Budget of the United States Government. Our analysis is based on federal funds, which do not include trust funds -- such as Social Security -- that are raised separately from income taxes for specific purposes. What you pay (or don't pay) by April 15, 2012 goes to the federal funds portion of the budget.




--Cousineau, Phil, ed. Beyond Forgiveness: Reflections on Atonement. Josey-Bass, 2011. Rev. Veterans for Peace (Fall 2011).

Kurlansky, Mark. Nonviolence. (review below)

Senthil Ram and Ralph Summy. Nonviolence.

--Schell, Jonathan. The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People. Metropolitan/Holt, 2003. (review below)

--Willson, S. Brian. Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson. PM, 2011. Rev. Veterans for Peace (Fall 2011).

--Zinn, Howard. The Power of Nonviolence.

Nonviolence: A History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky

Reviewed by Tim Wolcott

Non-violence seems like harmless idea, it being rooted in compassionate and peaceful interests. Why is it then that practitioners of non-violence are often seen as enemies of the state? Mark Kurlansky’s book illuminates that dark corner where commercial, religious and state power often collude to perpetuate violence and marginalize activists for peace. It also delivers context to our struggle and hope for our prevailing.

Violence between combatants is disturbing and wasteful enough, but when statistics show that civilians are increasingly the majority of the casualties of war (In World War I, 20% of the casualties were civilian. In WWII, 67% were civilian. In 21st century warfare, such as Iraq, the casualties may be as high as 90%), there is more impetus to eschew violence. Many believe that violence is inevitable, however, - hard wired into human behavior. Kurlansky posits that the source of violence is not human nature, but a lack of imagination. He asserts that, "War’s inevitability does not rest on natural law, but on individuals incapable of conceiving of another path."

The Nazis are often cited as an example of an enemy against whom non-violence would have been futile. This book contends that in fact, more Jews were saved by non-violence than by violence. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were saved by individuals who risked the lives of their entire family to hide a Jew or a Jewish family. Moreover, the governments of Denmark and Bulgaria, a German ally, saved thousands by refusing to cooperate in anti- Semitic measures.

Etienne de la Boetie asked in a 1548 essay on dictators, "What could the dictator do to you if you did not connive with them who plunders you?" Gandhi said, "No government can exist for a single moment without the cooperation of the people, willing or forced, and if people withdraw their cooperation in every detail, the government will come to a standstill". History shows that this became the successful strategy of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia in their resistance to Soviet Union dictatorship.

The presumption that political conflicts must necessarily be resolved through warfare wasn’t always the case. Confucius (551-479 B.C.) was known to have said, "If the distant peoples do not submit, then build up culture and character and so win them." In his The Analects was the idea that the military is essential to government, but less important than other functions. The current US Department of Defense including the VA requires 57% of the federal budget. How did we arrive at the point where endless war dominates our lives, where national treasure is squandered while civilian support systems wither away? Non-violence traces the history of this evolution.

The ideology of warfare that has been repeatedly invoked for the past thousand years of Western history grew out of Bishop Augustine of Hippo’s thesis of "just war" in the fifth century. He believed that if a pious man believed in a just cause and truly loved his enemies, it was permissible to go to war and to kill the enemies he loved because he was doing it in a high-minded way. Pope Urban II developed a propaganda campaign to launch the first Crusade at the end of the eleventh century based on this ideology. Pope Urban’s speech became a textbook model for rallying the troops. It contained all the traditional lies by which people are convinced to kill and be killed. The enemy is evil, and we have God on our side. Those who did not support the war should be and would be singled out as immoral. President Obama invoked the concept of "just war" to rationalize his "surge" in Afghanistan.

Neither Kurlansky nor I believe that religions necessarily promote war. Most religions shun warfare and hold non-violence as the only moral route toward political change. However, religion and its language have often been co-opted by the violent people who have been governing societies. Once a state takes over a religion, the religion loses its non-violent teachings. The state imagines it is impotent without a military, because it cannot conceive of power without force.

Peter Chelcicky in fifteenth century Prague was one of the first to see that the cause of perpetual war lies not in the nature of man, but in the nature of power. He believed that to establish a world living in peace would require the abandonment of power politics. He saw war as a conspiracy in which the poor were duped into fighting to defend the privileges of the rich. He was even opposed to universities promoting a militaristic, wealth-hoarding society. His thoughts still resonate today.

America’s Founding Fathers were greatly influenced by the 17th century Oxford scholar Thomas Hobbes who believed that man had a selfish nature and that continued warfare was his natural state. He also believed in man’s acquisitive nature and that until contracts to the contrary were established, he had the right to take what he wanted (and that we did in earnest - starting with Indian lands, continuing with Spanish, Mexican, Philippine, Iraqi, etc.).

William Penn and his Quaker allies who controlled the Pennsylvania Assembly denied the state its Hobbesian rights to war, colonial expansion and slavery. Quaker control of the colony lasted only 74 years, until 1756, when they were voted out of office. The central problem was that the pacifist state was part of a larger colonial system that vehemently rejected non-violence.

According to Kurlansky, it is always easier to promote war than peace, easier to end the peace than end the war, because peace is fragile and war is durable. Once the shots are fired, those who oppose the war are simply branded as traitors.

While it is perfectly feasible to convince a people faced with brutal repression to rise up in a suicidal attack on their oppressor, it is almost impossible to convince them to meet deadly violence with non-violent resistance. Alexander McKeown, VP Amer. Fed. of Hosiery Workers, in 1937 is quoted, "The fact of the matter is that non-violence is a tactic that requires perhaps a higher type of courage and devotion than is called for in ordinary physical combat." Only if the non-violent side has the discipline to avoid slipping into violence does it win.

Tim Wolcott, posted 2-2010,

Resource Library

Nonviolence: An Alternative for Defeating Global Terror(ism)

Senthil Ram and Ralph Summy (editors). New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2007)



The so-called 'war on terror' has gone badly for the West, playing directly into the strategy of al-Qa'ida and the rest of the terrorist network. Why did this happen? Were there other approaches that might have been implemented with better prospects of success? This edited collection of perspectives on the non-violent counter to terrorism opens the topic to serious consideration. The development of a non-violent paradigm brings into sharp focus the deficiencies of present thinking, and paves the way for comprehending how non-violence might overcome those deficiencies and introduce viable alternatives. Since there is a general ignorance about the history, theory and operational dynamics of non-violence, these aspects are featured throughout the book, and related to the special case of terrorism.To understand empathetically the background and mind-set of the opponent (without condoning his actions), to study his culture, to avoid the strategic trap he has set, to examine the different gender reactions of a Muslim Society, to differentiate between non-violent Islam and Islamic Terrorism, to jettison the misinformed baggage we carry about violence, to appreciate the positive role education and aesthetics can play, and to investigate ways in which a non-violent counter to terrorism might be staged, including a Gandhian response. These are just some of the tasks that the contributors have collectively pursued. Their ideas excitingly open up a whole new set of possibilities for a more peaceful world.


Preface by Luc Reycher

Foreword by the Dalai Lama


Introduction: Nonviolent Counter to Global Terror(ism) and Paradigms of Counter-Terrorism

by Senthil Ram and Ralph Summy

1. The Origins of Violence: New Ideas and New Explanations Affecting Terrorism

by Piero P. Giorgi


2. Searching for an Exit in the Corridor of Fear: Revisiting Gandhi and King in Times of Terror[ism]

by Anna Alomes

3. The Mahatma and the Muhiadeen: Gandhi’s Answer to Terrorism

by Michael Nagler

4. Terrorism as a Backfire Process

by Brian Martin

5. Understanding the Indirect Strategy of Terrorism: Insights from Nonviolent Action Research

by Senthil Ram


6. Understanding Islamic Terrorism: Humiliation Awareness and the Role for Nonviolence

by Victoria Fontan

7. Terrorism, Gender and Nonviolent Islam: The Case of Eritrea

by Christine Mason

8. The Jahiliyya Factor?: Fighting Muslims’ Cultural Resistance to Nonviolence

by Chaiwat Satha-Anand


9. A Nonviolent Response to Terrorism: What Can Peace Education Do?

by Don McInnis

10. Art Against Terror: Nonviolent Alternatives Through Emotional Insight

by Roland Bleiker

11. The Role of UN Police in Nonviolently Countering Terroris

by Timothy A. McElwee


12: Nonviolent Response to Terrorism: Acting Locally

by Tom H. Hastings

13: Dissolving Terrorism at Its Roots

by Hardy Merriman and Jack DuVall

14: Terrorism: Violent and Nonviolent Responses

by Kevin P. Clements

15. Defeating Terrorism Nonviolently: An Enquiry into an Alternative Strategy

by Ralph Summy

“Marching on together”

Martin Jacques takes heart from Jonathan Schell's sobering yet optimistic analysis of modern warfare, The Unconquerable World. The Guardian, Friday 23 April 2004.

The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence and the Will of the People by Jonathan Schell 435pp, Allen Lane, £20

This is an admirably ambitious and intelligent book. It seeks to trace the changing nature of war over time: a somewhat specialist subject, you might think, but this is no narrow military history. On the contrary, it places war and force in its proper context, the evolution of society.

Jonathan Schell starts, as have so many before, with Carl von Clausewitz, and his discussion of the conflict between the desirable aim of pursuing war to its ultimate end and the necessary political constraints that should always prevent this happening. Clausewitz, a Prussian military philosopher, was trying to make sense of the profound impact that the French revolution, and the rise and fall of Napoleon, had had upon warfare.

During the course of the 19th century, Schell contends, four parallel developments were to transform the nature of warfare: the democratic revolutions that brought the masses into politics for the first time; the scientific revolutions that introduced new military technologies; the industrial revolution, which allowed these to be applied; and imperialism, which ensured that the new European war system became a global one, bringing the whole world into its vortex. "This system," Schell writes, "implacable and merciless, compelled all 'backward' nations to reform on pain of death, in short, to adapt to the modern western system or die as independent countries."

The rise of democracy fed the new war system, as the whole body politic could, in the guise of modern nationalism, be mobilised for war in a new way. In this context, Schell makes an excellent observation later in the book. Historically speaking, when it came to nation-building, western European countries such as Britain and France enjoyed a great advantage in that when they became modern nations, the question of who was French or British within their territory was largely taken for granted.

In contrast, the situation was far messier in central Europe, and even messier and more difficult in Africa and the Middle East. But the cost for others was to be enormous: these ethnically homogeneous countries exported their sense of unproblematic racial superiority overseas in global conquest and plunder. Between 1870 and 1900, European nations seized control of some 10 million square miles of territory on which 150 million people lived.

The new war system reached its terrifying apogee in the first and second world wars when, for the last time, total war was fought to the bitter end. In the very death throes of the second world war, there was born the weapon that would profoundly change the nature of warfare. "The [nuclear] bomb revealed that total war was not an everlasting but a historical phenomenon," Schell writes. The invention of atomic weapons rendered the old global war system unworkable. The bitter end would in future mean nothing less than the destruction of humanity.

The consequence was the freezing of the global system by the policy of deterrence, together with the "sweeping displacement of military conflicts from theatres of actual combat to a theatre of appearances". In a fascinating discussion of the Cuban missile crisis, the most dangerous moment of the bipolar nuclear conflict, Schell shows how Kennedy and Khrushchev reached one agreement in public and a quite different one in private (the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from Turkey), whose terms were to remain secret until well after the end of the cold war.

On a more optimistic note, Schell traces the rise of a second, concurrent development that was also to have a profound impact on the nature of war: the rise of "people's war", whose origins he traces back to the Peninsular War of 1807-14, in which the Spanish mounted fierce resistance to Napoleonic conquest. Schell is - unlike all too many writers - unerringly excellent on imperialism, displaying a rare knowledge, awareness and feel for its all-encompassing nature, multifarious ramifications and colossal impact on the traditional world.

"The confrontation between the modern imperial west and the world's traditional societies," he writes, "presents one of the most extreme disparities in the power of civilisations that has ever existed - a disparity wider by far, for instance, than that between ancient Rome and the peoples she subjugated."

Take Iraq and the United States today, for example, or the historical template of such conflict, that between Vietnam and the United States. People's war was the means by which less developed societies could overcome this yawning disparity and fight to defeat the world's most powerful. The crucial laboratory for people's war was the Chinese communist guerrilla struggle against the Japanese in the late 30s. The Vietnamese war was to bring together the two great new military innovations that transformed the war system in the latter half of the 20th century, as the world's foremost nuclear power fought its most sophisticated exponent of people's war, the Vietnamese communists.

Notwithstanding the profoundly discouraging portents of the world's current predicament, Schell points to the underlying democratic trends of the last 100 years or less. He draws encouragement from the success of the national self-determination movement, representing the assertion of people and politics in the face of overwhelming force. He points to the manner in which, when societal conflict has been at its most dangerous and acute, namely during the course of revolutions, they have for the most part been surprisingly non-violent. He cites the glorious revolution in England of 1689, the American revolution, the French revolution and indeed the Russian revolution (it is reckoned that more people died in Eisenstein's filming of the storming of the Winter Palace than in the actual event): only in their aftermath did they become such bloody events.

From this he argues that when the mass of the people is in support, violence is marginalised. Similarly, he rightly takes solace in the fact that the fall of the Soviet Union and the east European regimes proved to be remarkably peaceful events. Likewise, he points to the extraordinary recent spread of democracy: 30 democratic states in 1971, 121 in 2002.

For Schell, these developments represent the possibility of a non-violent rather than ever more violent future. But he is not a dreamer. He is starkly aware of the dark clouds that now threaten the planet. In ridiculing Fukuyama's "End of History" thesis, he coins a far better notion of the significance of 1989: "a grand settlement along liberal lines of what might be called the western civil war of the 20th century". But, he asks, was this but the setting of the stage for a new confrontation, that between the west and the Islamic "east"? Or perhaps, I would add, a little further down the historical road, between the west and China, another very different kind of civilisation?

It is the rise of a very different United States, of course, that lies at the root of these fears and forebodings. Schell is excellent at laying bare the emergence of the new America and describing the character of its new imperial policy: the insistence, following 9/11, on describing the fight against terrorism as "war", thereby enabling the full deployment of the supreme military machine of our time; the assault on proliferation with the invocation of the axis of evil, combined with the endorsement of pre-emptive action, giving the United States the right to intervene anywhere at any time; the rejection of multilateral treaties; and the hubristic assumption that the American economic and political system is the only valid one. We have entered a profoundly dangerous era with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Schell's book is an important contribution in our quest to make sense of this new era. Although at times it gets becalmed in too much detail, Schell writes well, and the overall argument and reach are impressive. He is also to be commended for seeking to find a positive way of thinking about the present - although, alas, his optimistic prescription for the future is far less convincing than the sobering realities of the present. He can hardly be blamed for that.

• Martin Jacques is a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics Asian Research Centre

Some of our films are now available to watch instantly on Amazon.


Award winning documentaries tracing the history of nonviolent conflicts around the world. Click for more...


As a leader of a popular movement you fight against tough adversaries. The only weapon in your hand is your strategic skill and ingenuity. Click for more...


A comprehensive history exploring more than a dozen stories of nonviolent movements in the 20th century. Click for more...


People Power strategy game, films and book.

Click for more...

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)