Five Ways to Stop
by David Krieger*, February 28, 2003
The way things stand war is too easy. It is too
easy to send someone else’s children to fight and die. It
is too easy to dehumanize the enemy, making people believe, for
example, that all children of Iraq wear the face of Saddam Hussein.
It is too easy for leaders to commit egregious crimes under international
law, including the crime of aggression, and not pay the price
as did the Axis leaders at Nuremberg.
It’s time to change the rules so that those
who wage war, particularly illegal war, will have appropriate
consequences. It’s time to end the double standards, and
to replace might makes right with the rule of law. It’s
time to demand that our leaders find peaceful ways to resolve
conflicts. Here are five simple ways in which war could be stopped
in its tracks.
1. Require the leaders who promote and support
war to personally participate in the hostilities. This would provide
a critical threshold of personal commitment to war by requiring
some actual personal sacrifice of leaders.
2. Show the faces and tell the stories of the children
of the “enemy” until we can feel the pain of their
deaths as though they were the deaths of our own children. It
is much more difficult to slaughter an enemy who one recognizes
as being part of the human family.
3. Give full support to the establishment of an
International Criminal Court so that national leaders can be tried
for all egregious war crimes at the end of any hostilities. All
leaders who commit egregious crimes must be held to account under
international law as they were at Nuremberg, and they must be
aware of this from the outset.
4. Impeach any elected leaders who promote or support
illegal, preventive war, what was described at the Nuremberg Trials
as an “aggressive” war. It is the responsibility of
citizens in a democracy to exercise control over their leaders
who threaten to commit crimes under international law, and impeachment
provides an important tool to achieve this control.
5. Rise up as a people and demand that one’s
government follow its Constitution, cut off funding for war and
find a way to peace. US citizens must demand that Congress not
give away or allow the president to usurp its sole authority under
the Constitution to make the decision to go to war. Citizens should
also demand that Congress exercise its power of the purse to prevent
war, including not giving financial support to a president attempting
to bribe other countries to participate in an illegal war.
*David Krieger is the president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
He is the editor of Hope in a Dark Time, Reflections on Humanity’s
Future (Capra Press, 2003).
What a wonderful set of rules that could begin
our move from pre-cultural to cultural existence. (I explain this
in my book.) I especially think the second and last rule are so
important. If we had anyone in office with any integrity and character
they would have taken away the money long ago, given the state
of our (non-exsitent) health and welfare policies. I don't know
why it's so hard to see that sending butter not bombs and medicine
not missiles could turn our foreign policy around. Combine that
with allowing countries to be what they want to be in religion,
politics, etc., and it wouldn't be too long that we would be respected
and trusted and terrorists would have no place to hide because
friends don't injure friends. What I can't understand is why no
one hasn't unearthed the president's "military gap,"
his investment shadows and his academic skills so that the world
could see really what we have in the White House. Maybe he would
turn out to be very impressive and maybe not, I just wish the
American people were given the choice to decide for themselves.
Where's Mike Moore when you need him? Keep up your wonderful words
Another way to stop war is to join an organized
boycott of particular U.S. companies. For more information see
General Electric (Hotpoint and other appliances),
Oil Exxon Mobil/Esso, ChevronTexacom, Symbols of US Imperialism
Altria (Philip Morris, Kraft) Pepsico (Pepsi, Starbucks), Coca-Cola,
For Mother Earth
International Campaign for Disarmament, Ecology and Human Rights
Establish 500 Sister Cities exchanges with the potential adversary.
Exchange representatives from business, sports, education, health
care, agriculture, city administration, religions, etc. Guests
would stay at no cost with congregations of the various "peace
churches." Obvious purpose of these visits, but also seriously
converse of the problems between us. Who would prevent this?
David: I especially like your first point - Require the leaders
who promote war to personally participate in the hostilities.
Alexander the Great was not lolling in some safe bunker with central
heat and air - he was in the forefront of the battle. I would
also require bush the "leader" to personally meet with
Saddam Hussein before hostilities start. Before Gulf WarI I wrote
to George Sr. that he and Saddam should meet in the desert, draw
a line in the sand, and do hand-to-hand combat until only one
was left alive. This would certainly cut down on the casualties!
Another point. It is far too easy to just ship
several thousand troops to a staging area to start a war. I realize
in the military it is necessary to maintain discipline, meaning
"do as you are told", but when our country has not been
directly threatened, personnel should have an opportunity to opt
out of participating wihout fear of reprisal. What if they gave
a war and nobody showed up? I know that's not an easy thing to
accomplish, but it certainly would be worth a try.
Grandmothers for Peace