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A deadly monster. Part 3: How the war making triumvirate might be "pacified"

By       Message Gary Brumback     Permalink
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2a. Petitions. Petitioning requires little effort and accomplishes little unless there is a mountain of signatures that can't be ignored and that compel an acknowledgment, a rationalized justification, or, unlikely, a commitment to comply with the petitioned request. There are many subjects and targets for petitions. Here are just a few examples of the possibilities: a)100,000 signatures petitioning the president to stop the drone strikes could be delivered to him and he would be required to respond; b) the U.S. Attorney General could be petitioned to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue criminal proceedings, c) local prosecutors could be petitioned to prosecute war criminals if agents of the criminal act reside in the prosecutors' jurisdictions; and d) local officials could be petitioned to follow the example of Brattleboro and Marlboro.    

2b. Protests. Protesting in the streets, not on paper requires more effort and, depending on the nature of the protest, risks law enforcement and legal retaliation. The last noteworthy protest helped end the Vietnam War, but then the war makers got smart and eliminated the draft and began hiring their help and adding inanimate operators.

I recently received an e-mail from Debra Sweet, director of the NGO, The World Can't Wait, announcing a protest at Obama's Inauguration Parade that will include displaying scaled replicas of "at least 6 drones---brought from around the country." [14]. While I wish it well, I wonder if it will get any farther than the replicas can fly, and I would not be surprised if there were a confrontation between law enforcement officials and the protestors at the parade site.

2c. Proxy initiatives. These initiatives include letting informal courts of justice do what we won't or are afraid to do through formal, legal channels. About the best that can be said about them is that they tell international war criminals what august bodies of critics think about them and their conduct. The Russell Tribunal on international war criminals responsible for the Vietnam War is a famous example, and it has since spawned three successive Russell Tribunals on alleged war criminals and crimes against the people of Chile, Iraq, and Palestine. Another example is the unanimous conviction in absentia of George W. Bush and five of his key aides of torture and war crimes by a tribunal held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[15]

The United Nations and the International Criminal Court could hear charges of international war crimes by U.S. officials but have not done so and have not responded positively to requests to do so. They are feckless entities that can only muster up the courage to prosecute officials in weak countries.     

2d. More aggressive initiatives: Impeachment. There has been impeachment fever ever since Obama was first elected president. Reasons given for impeachment range from crackpot contentions by the "birthers" that he is not an American citizen to more serious ones about his violating the Constitution on a number of grounds, including waging war without approval of the Congress.

Congress alone has the Constitutional authority to impeach a U.S. president and I would think that political body, being part of the war making triumvirate would be highly unlikely to vote for his impeachment. Yes, there was a Congressional hearing in 2008 in which a few prominent Democrats clamored for impeachment of Bush. But then Congress went back to its business as usual, with dulcet, political careerist Nancy Pelosi reportedly saying (probably sweetly) that "impeachment is off the table."

While there are websites and articles where impeachment of President Obama is implored, I see no signs of it happening in Congress, and David Swanson, author and online activist, asks rather rhetorically in one of his articles if "impeachment is gone for good?" [16] His answer in the article's opening: "'I'll grant you; it looks pretty grim." He ends the article with another question and answer: "---can a president or a secret office or a corrupted Congress legalize what is unconstitutional? Clearly the answer is yes, if we let them." I will return to the implications of that answer momentarily.


2d. More aggressive initiatives: Go to jail or worse. Most certainly a more aggressive initiative would be to officially prosecute, convict, and punish within the jurisdiction of the United States those 30 top officials and those in the Bush/Cheney administration for committing international war crimes. Petitioning the Department of Justice to appoint a Special Prosecutor to pursue the matter amounts to asking the monster to prosecute itself. At best perhaps, an avalanche of petitions might worry those targeted officials enough to start making amends.

There is another approach I call a form of "grass roots justice" that is sometimes mentioned and even suggested. It is that "ordinary" citizens can arrest war criminals, but the circumstances and conditions for doing so seem absolutely prohibitive and I know of no instances of them ever happening.

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2d. More aggressive initiatives: Civil revolution. The 27% of us could all decide not to "let a secret office or a corrupted Congress legalize what is unconstitutional" to paraphrase Swanson. Would it take a civil revolution by 6 million some truly patriotic Americans to stop the monster from practicing its lethal trade?  

I have not come to the point of advocating any revolution, including any civil, nonviolent revolution, but I do want to tell you what I wrote in my book's third chapter, "Where's Today's Opposition?" I noted that Thomas Jefferson was one of the first calling for a revolution every so often and then I went on to say: "If there were ever to be a massive civil revolution let us hope it is a peaceful one like that of Vaclav Havel's "Velvet" revolution---. Mr. Havel called for a peaceful uprising in the former Czechoslovakia---whose citizens were oppressed by a totalitarian Communist regime. Peaceful demonstrations by small groups of students, artists, and scientists were followed by massive demonstrations, a general strike, the major media's decision to join the general strike, and negotiations with the Communist-controlled government that subsequently acceded to a new government led by Mr. Havel."[17]

I ended that section of the book by quoting history professor and author Barbara Epstein who wrote that an approach like Vaclav's should be a part of radical politics but it is not a substitute for strategy and planning.[18] She is absolutely right, and the rest of my book is full of strategy and planning.

2e. Other initiatives involving Congress. Both of its chambers are loaded with committees and subcommittees setting military budgets, overseeing military spending, making and unmaking laws and regulations favorable and unfavorable to the war-national security industry, and influencing the Departments of War/Defense, Homeland Security, and Energy to hand out large contracts in the right places. Members of those committees need to be among the prime targets for pressurized reform. Lesser but still prime targets need to be all the rest of Congress, starting with those Congressional districts ranking the highest in "dollar value of total defense contracts" (in 2006 the top five were 1. Virginia's 8th district: $11.789 billion to 985 defense contractors; 2. Virginia's 10th district: $6.096 billion to 664 defense contractors; 3. California's 53rd district: $3.034 billion to 325 defense contractors; 4. Virginia's 11th district: $2.931 billion to 514 defense contractors; 5. Alabama's 1st district: $2.585 billion to 335 defense contractors). [19]

Ralph Nader, in his new book, Seventeen Solutions, proposes a watchdog group in each of the more than 400 Congressional districts.[20] I would prefer instead a local chamber of democracy in each of those districts having not only the responsibility of monitoring their representatives but also of pressuring them until the pressure becomes intolerable. These local chambers need also to make life miserable for defense contractors in those districts.

3. Disengagement militarily from the Greater Middle East. America is entangled there because of Israel, oil, and just plain imperialism in general. In his book that heavily influenced the writing of my book, Professor Charles Derber noted that Israel was on Amnesty International's list of state terrorists. The U.S. was not on the list but he went on to say that "the United States could best end terrorism abroad by ceasing its own support of it." [21] Since my first reading of his book I can't begin to count the number of book and article authors I've read expressing similar views.

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In the Afterword of my book I wrote that "The road to peace for America will have to go through the Middle East." I then went on to say "An editorial in The New York Times raised the question of "where do we go from here" in that region? My answer was published as "an all editors' selection" for being among the "most interesting and thoughtful comments that represent a range of views." Here was my answer: "The question needs to be broadened and five answers courageously debated. How can the U.S. stop alienating the Middle East and thereby provoking unnecessary threats not only to us but also to that region? This question should constantly be on the table for serious diplomatic discussion. The first answer, persuade Israel through incentives and appeals to international harmony to return the land acquired in the 1967 war. Second, tell the Palestinians we will help them build their new state if they ask us. Three, renounce our dependence on oil and feverishly develop alternative sources of energy. Four, stop subsidizing our defense industry. Five, stop acting aggressively and unilaterally and start acting peacefully, diplomatically, and multilaterally through a strengthened UN and a reoriented and revitalized State Department wholeheartedly supported by the president and Congress. Ever happen? Let's hope so. Future generations blameless for our inactions and bad actions today deserve a world we ought to be rebuilding for their arrival into whatever faith, culture, and nationality they may be born. Peace, Shalom, Salam."[22]

Implementing the reform plan        

Any plan is nothing but paper or online document until people start implementing it. I look to the present-day 27 percenters and future local and national chambers of democracy to do just that.

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Retired organizational psychologist. Author of The Devil's Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch; and America's Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying.

Originally joined Opednews July, 2011. 

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