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DEPARTMENT OF PEACE August 10, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Peace, Social Environment, Terrorism Issues.
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The notion of a Department of Peace proposed by, for example Dennis Kucinich, struck me as one of those ideas with which I could not come to terms so conditioned am to war and defence as the norm for governments. The war in Syria has changed my mind.

No doubt this war, as others, has long been planned and game played. Seumas Milne describes some of the what is taking place in The Guardian:

The destruction of Syria is now in full flow. What began as a popular uprising 17 months ago is now an all-out civil war fuelled by regional and global powers that threatens to engulf the entire Middle East. As the battle for the ancient city of Aleppo grinds on and atrocities on both sides multiply, the danger of the conflict spilling over Syria’s borders is growing.

The defection by Syria’s prime minister is the most high-profile coup yet in a well-funded programme, though unlikely to signal any imminent regime collapse. But the capture of 48 Iranian pilgrims – or undercover Revolutionary Guards, depending who you believe – along with the increasing risk of a Turkish attack on Kurdish areas in Syria and an influx of jihadist fighters gives a taste of what is now at stake.

Driving the escalation of the conflict has been western and regional intervention. This isn’t Iraq, of course, with hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground, or Libya, with a devastating bombardment from the air. But the sharp increase in arms supplies, funding and technical support from the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and others in recent months has dramatically boosted the rebels’ fortunes, as well as the death toll.

Barack Obama has so far resisted the demands of liberal hawks and neoconservatives for a direct military assault. Instead he’s authorised more traditional forms of CIA covert military backing, Nicaragua-style, for the Syrian rebels.

The US, which backed its first Syrian coup in 1949, has long funded opposition groups. But earlier this year Obama gave a secret order authorising covert (as well as overt financial and diplomatic) support to the armed opposition. That includes CIA paramilitaries on the ground, “command and control” and communications assistance, and the funnelling of Gulf arms supplies to favoured Syrian groups across the Turkish border. After Russia and China blocked its last attempt to win UN backing for forced regime change last month, the US administration let it be known it would now step up support for the rebels and co-ordinate “transition” plans for Syria with Israel and Turkey.

“You’ll notice in the last couple of months, the opposition has been strengthened,” a senior US official told the New York Times last Friday. “Now we’re ready to accelerate that.” Not to be outdone, William Hague boasted that Britain was also increasing “non-lethal” support for the rebels. Autocratic Saudi Arabia and Qatar are providing the cash and weapons, as the western-backed Syrian National Council acknowledged this week, while Nato member Turkey has set up a logistics and training base for the Free Syrian Army in or near the Incirlik US air base.

Libya was the first run of this type of regime change, which is not to suggest that Syria is following the Libyan script and the intervention is not as overt. What such military calculations do as always is that they ignore the tragedy and suffering of the ordinary people. Such military violence and war crimes are as always unconscionable and beyond the reach of the rule of law, especially when perpetrated by permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.The Secretary-General and his special envoy have been reduced to irrelevant spectators to whom nobody listens.

So rather than having the constant feed of the recipes and schemes for war, with all the potential for profits for the competing arms industries, it would be expedient in terms of humanitarian outcomes to have a voice in government as an advocate of the methods of conflict resolution. It seems the war industries in the US are now shedding jobs while increasing profits. Such methods are somewhat cheaper than the artifacts of murder and death, more enduring and more effective. The policy options appear somewhat limited.

Eleven years later, and now cast out of Congress, due to the malign electoral gerrymandering of redistricting, Dennis Kucinich describes his original proposal:

To avoid the shadow of Geogre Orwell and 1984, the proposal has to be designated as a Ministry for Peace to distinguish it from the Minipax coinage. One imagines the war makers will stay, and while they would continue to consume the greatest part of the national budgets, alternative advice might be placed before political decision makers. Intelligence and humanity might then be given a fighting chance over the mirage of industrial violence. The truly revolutionary development would be the realization of the value that human life (and other life) was more important than money or ego, but since that is not likely a makeshift advance is the best that could be hoped for. What good could any human being accomplish without a steady reinforcement of the the Limbic System?

Peace may begin with individuals. Zen teacher, Angel Kyodo Williams, predictably emphasizes awareness(the interview lasts 55 minutes):

Postscript:

The Syrian Government, as I have understood the situation, was autocratic not allowing its’ citizens human rights, yet the leaders of other such governments have fallen, Egypt comes to mind, by nonviolent protest. Was violent resistance absolutely necessary? Sending in armaments by the Gulf dictatorships and others, was pouring oil on the fire without any regard to the suffering of the people and the destruction of the country.

As Glenn Greenwald observes the problem solving used abroad reinforces the approach, adopted by some at home:

And whatever else is true, it’s impossible to evade the fact that Endless War will inevitably degrade the citizenry of the country that engages in it. A country which venerates its military above all other institutions, which demands that its soldiers be spoken of only with religious-like worship, and which continuously indoctrinates its population to believe that endless violence against numerous countries is necessary and just — all by instilling intense fear of the minorities who are the target of that endless violence — will be a country filled with citizens convinced of the virtues and nobility of aggression.

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