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Announcement :: Human Rights
Stand up for your Rights!
20 Aug 2005
The people united will never be defeated!!
On September 26, 2005 a nation wide strike is being called for all students... To protest the influence of the Military and Weapons Industries on Education, and the resulting wars that feed our kids as fodder to a system of profits created from intentionally created conflict. This is now entrenching, even in our high schools, with the "No Child Left Behind Act" forcing school systems to share personal data on students with the armed services. A fourth year graduate student in Peace studies at the University of Oregon, Brian Bogart, has written an analysis that calls for action. Immediate and concentrated action, because the base of our constitution has been mined and is being mined, to a hollow shell of paper.. a foundation of Parchement upon which our liberties will crumble. It is time to make a stand for our children, ourselves and future generations.
Brian Bogart's call for strike has been supported so far by over 100 professors across the nation. Mr. Bogart himself worked in the defense industry for 15 years before leaving it, and returning to graduate studies to examine the War and Peace process...
I first heard of the strike in this mornings newsletter from the Crawford Peace House, who is sending out reports from Camp Casey... Brian Bogart's article was first published on:
The Information Clearing House :
Brian Bogart can be reached at : bbogart (at) uoregon.edu for more information on the Student Strike.
Here is Brian Bogart's nnalysis in it's entirety:
America Programmed for War: Cause and Solution
“What one generation perceives as repression, the next accepts as a necessary part of a complex daily life.”
By Brian Bogart
08/18/05 "ICH" -- -- Cold War warriors and their policies have been hijacked for today’s permanent war on terror. This story contains within it the cause and solution: the weakest point in United States foreign policy, and a legal basis for the strongest push toward a peaceful change of priorities by the most dedicated people in America—you.
In the counsels of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
—President Dwight Eisenhower, upon leaving office; January 1961
1) The Long War: From NSC-68 to 2005
As the University of Oregon’s first graduate student in the transdisciplinary field of Peace Studies, it is my responsibility to explore the role of the military in society and those conditions that most promote peace and human welfare. Unfortunately, this task puts me in direct conflict with school administrators, including President Dave Frohnmayer, whose signature appears on my Bachelor’s degree.
There is nothing personal about this conflict, and President Frohnmayer has done nothing out of the ordinary. Like the presidents of more than 300 other universities that help develop weapons for the Department of Defense (DoD), he is simply leading my school into an evermore intimate partnership with America’s military industrial complex.
Federal programs that once served low-income people nationwide have been shut down, and states have had to cut funding for education to make up the difference. (Our servants in the White House are still trying to abolish the food stamp program.) Schools turned elsewhere for money, and—bing—here’s DoD handing out major bucks for weapons research; outsourced projects that will in one way or another lead to the death of humans and other life systems.
In the old days, universities solicited funds from their states (and states would provide a slice of their budgets). Today our schools increasingly beg for funds from DoD, the Department of Energy, and other firms directly connected to the industry of war. As I will explain in this essay, soliciting funds from the world’s greatest war machine creates not just a partnership that contradicts the inherent purpose of enlightenment (a.k.a. higher education for a better future), but also a point of unity for those of us who see the big picture—our 300-plus schools are 300-plus communities ready to network for change.
Before I expand on the costs to our society and the active participation of our schools, it is worth noting that in my 50 years I wrote pen-pal letters asking President Kennedy to take down the Berlin Wall, marched with Martin Luther King, worshipped John Lennon, worked for companies building Trident, MX, and Stinger missiles simultaneous to my involvement with Carl Sagan’s anti-Cold War Space Bridge project, and helped build the B-1 bomber and parts for the Aegis Weapons System (capable of directing 20 missiles at once) on the Ticonderoga-class battle cruiser—much of this while attempting to deconstruct the obvious conflict between what I wanted (peace) and what I needed (a paycheck).
So, I know a thing or two about conscience. But only after three-and-a-half years of intensive research (some 14 years after leaving the defense industry) did I come to appreciate the simple nature of the dilemma confronting a world dominated by a war-driven America, and to identify the opportunity presented today.
A single policy decision made in secluded chambers of the White House shortly after World War II explains why our financial and intellectual creativity focuses on lethal technologies, why 51% of our taxes go to defense and less than 5% to education, why there are 6000 military bases in the United States and 1000 US bases overseas, why comprehensive agendas support warfighting and weak agendas address human services and the environment, and why our top industry since 1950 remains the manufacture and sale of weapons.
Assessing key indicators in 1947 and ’48, President Truman’s advisors acutely feared an economic collapse back into the Depression, and, as Noam Chomsky points out, there was scant debate among them: “It wasn’t really a debate because it was settled before it started, but the issue was at least raised—should the government pursue military spending or social spending?”
Our dilemma stems from the postwar adoption of a military-based rather than a people-based economy. This policy, authored by Wall Street’s Paul Nitze, is embodied in NSC-68, a document signed by President Truman in 1950. Along with then Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and without any expertise in Russian history or Soviet affairs, Nitze convinced—some say coerced—Truman into recognizing the Soviet Union as an evil and imminent threat, and into signing NSC-68 and launching the Cold War.
After NSC-68 was signed, it needed the approval of Congress. Post-Cold War documents reveal that the Korean War was triggered by Americans and South Koreans for this purpose (Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao and the Korean War, by Sergei N. Goncharov, John W. Lewis, and Xue Litai; Stanford University Press). According to Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution, starting any war against the US is treason if there is evidence that a US citizen took part.
All US military actions from 1950 to 2005 flow from this decision, made without the consent of the American people. There is no fundamental difference between the Cold War and today’s so-called permanent war on terror; perfect fuel for our military-based economy. For 55 years, America has been waging a crime against humanity, a crime for profiteers. I call it the Long War because “permanent” is defeatist.
As satellite photos and extensive post-Cold War interviews have revealed (including interviews with Acheson, Nitze, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz), no Soviet threat existed in 1950. Whether or not it was a ploy, NSC-68 changed America’s priority from human prosperity to conflict-dependent industry profit, and elevated corporations (which rarely have a conscience) to a status above that of the people (who are, in the Founding vision, the conscience of government).
Paul Wolfowitz cites Nitze and Acheson among his role models: “Paul Nitze has had a huge mark on my career over many, many years, starting with 1969, when I was still a very much wet-behind-the-ears graduate student who came to Washington to work with three great men: Paul Nitze, Dean Acheson, and Albert Wohlstetter.”
When the Cold War ended, longtime admirers and associates of Paul Nitze, led by Paul Wolfowitz—mentor to Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Richard Perle—immediately began searching for another means to justify America’s permanent war economy.
Plans for today’s war on terror surfaced in 1992 as President George H.W. Bush pulled out of Iraq. Realizing that the follow-up to the Cold War was not playing out according to their expectations, blueprints for re-invasion and global expansion were drawn up by Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Lewis Libby, Cheney’s current chief of staff.
When not promoting fear (“Today we face an even greater threat, an enemy that not only hates freedom; it hates life itself and worships death”), Paul Wolfowitz provides our rationale for the Long War: “This is not about America imposing its values on other people. It’s about America enabling other people to enjoy the values from which we benefit so enormously.”
In other words, our permanent war policy is about imposing our values on others—and at great cost—and therefore thoroughly contradicts the objectives of the Constitution to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
A war-dependent economy requires conflict, so there have been more than 200 wars since NSC-68. But those in power today have also retooled our corporate industry (through the weakening of safeguards), our national intelligence agencies (through top-down coercion, firings, and policy changes), and the public mindset (through consolidation of media) to optimize war profits and popularize the notion of the need for permanent war.
The war-driven economy is justified by a “necessary” war on terror. But which came first—America’s global military-economic outreach, or international terrorism? Despite protestations from the current administration, terrorism is and has been a blowback of our policy, and as Chomsky says, the way to stop terrorism is to stop participating in it.
In the pathological pursuit of profit and power, government and corporations (and university executives) march hand in hand, realizing President Abraham Lincoln’s worst fears:
I see in the near future, a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic destroyed.
The cause of our problems—the adoption and maintenance of the Long War for profit—is well defined and its proponents are self-identified. We know what the future holds (and doesn’t hold) as long as we have leaders who sustain this policy as the engine of our nation. Yet, with the problem identified, the people can implement a solution.
To motivate ourselves, we should consider at stake the control and meaning of creativity, for in today’s America, heroes are made of dark insights. In 2004 Paul Nitze was honored for his creativity in the interest of serving peace by having a ship christened in his name. About that celebration, Paul Wolfowitz declared: “to name a destroyer after a living American is an honor bestowed on very, very few people.”
Before he died in 2004, Paul Nitze denounced the war on terror, but Wolfowitz doesn’t talk about that statement—because the warriors on terror co-opted Nitze’s Cold War policy to perpetuate America’s war industry. All the better to neocontrol the world and keep “lesser” Americans from power.
Today the Pentagon is pressuring Japan to rescind Article 9 of its Constitution as part of our National Defense Strategy (drafted by guess who). The irony is crushing. Here we have the first nation on Earth to use weapons of mass destruction (the United States) urging the only nation to suffer nuclear attacks (Japan) to re-establish a military and arm itself with nuclear weapons. Why? War is our business, so we make it everyone else’s too. On Wall Street, war is damn good for business. Some 310,000 companies worldwide depend on war because we have made them dependent on war.
America’s business should be its people’s prosperity. That’s where the Constitution should come into play. The highest office in the land may be the presidency, but according to the Declaration of Independence, the greatest power rests with the people. People is a title above that of President or Secretary of Defense or Attorney General or Doctor or Professor. And I think we can sell this point to a war-torn world and a frustrated American populace.
Peace bears no arms, erects no barriers, and plays not upon the fears of people. Call our foreign policies offensive, contentious, and coercive, but they do not serve peace. In the words of the Roman historian Tacitus, Rome creates a desert and calls it “peace.”
We the people serve neither Rome nor any empire, and in serving peace, we shall neither create conflict nor consent to sell ourselves and exchange our rights so leaders may profit. Rather—as written—we are obliged to exchange our leaders so humankind may prosper.
Foreign policy is what a few men make it, and that is terribly wrong. NSC-68 is where America, officially, took the wrong road. During its conception while developing the hydrogen bomb, Secretary of State Dean Acheson instructed subordinates to ignore any moral implications and focus on technological and budgetary challenges. This opened the door for a future of technical justifications by the Pentagon, and closed the door on all discussions of morality. The machine was born.
Our rights, as guaranteed in America’s Founding documents, rest beneath the deliberate manufacture of war for profit. 55 years of the Long War is long enough. It is time to rise and organize for a peaceful world in the name of the people for whom America was born. If this means modifying the Constitution—to ensure the common people are included in decision-making, and to protect the future as life’s sacred common ground—so be it.
For the sake of all life, America must change its priority from industry profit to human prosperity. Every problem you can name has been caused, exploited, or exacerbated by this condition. Pass the word, gather, unite, organize nationwide, and strike simultaneously on this single issue.
2) Our Schools and Ourselves: Cogs in the Machine
The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both congresses and courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. —Abraham Lincoln
Nothing better illustrates America’s Long War and its non peace-loving policies and priorities than the consistent wealth of funding provided to the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) relative to the poorly funded and withering Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Education. And there is no greater hypocrisy than using our institutions of higher education to feed the war machine.
The so-called “war on terror” serves to justify increased outsourcing of DoD projects to our schools, conveniently reducing budget obstacles faced by the Pentagon and our schools. War provides longevity for those adept at projecting fear and power. War or even one attack prevents poll numbers from slipping too low, and keeps weapons deals on the table when buyers such as India, Pakistan, or Indonesia display reluctance.
War keeps America running, but only because war was adopted as our way of life. That can and must change—and with a united sense of urgency.
At the heart of the Pentagon’s strategy for the next 30 years is something called reachback, or killing by remote control. A good example of reachback appeared in a recent mainstream newspaper article (4-21-05; Online Killing), which described an online-hunting website.
Like the Panopticon—a prison of brightly lit cells surrounding a dark central guardhouse (read Pentagon), designed with good intentions by Jeremy Bentham in 1790—reachback is also the ability to project power and fear by forcing subjects to assume they are being watched, or by compelling subjects to conform to perceived standards. Reachback turns good-natured people into cogs in a war machine whether they know it or not. Reachback is a paycheck mentality that makes workers feel proud to accept promotions from manufacturing ordinary radio tubes to ones that knock out electrical grids of entire cities. Reachback keeps otherwise progressive-minded professors so occupied with one discipline that they fail to interact with the transdisciplinary nature of the human dilemma.
Reachback is the war machine on autopilot.
But the best examples of reachback are the battlefields of tomorrow unfolding in our school laboratories today. More than 300 universities are developing weapons for the Pentagon’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, many involving nanotechnology. MIT received an entire installation on campus, the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, and USC boasts the Institute for Creative Technologies. Both are among the leaders in developing the FCS Objective Force Warrior.
DoD literature speaks glowingly of the program’s accomplishments: “Arnold Schwarzennegger as The Terminator has nothing over the Objective Force Warrior.” It promises to “develop a high-tech soldier with 20 times the capability of today’s warrior by about 2010,” by integrating 18 systems into human soldiers. These systems include: graphic displays equaling “two 17-inch computer monitors in front of the soldier’s eyes”; thermal sensors; day-night video cameras; chemical and biological warning sensors; auditory enhancement; stealth and self-healing-wound technology; super sneakers that allow soldiers to jump over walls and buildings (Nike incorporated nanotechnology into its shoes in 2001); and microclimate conditioning.
Most of these systems already exist. The next and most gruesome “advances” in the FCS program are the ones in development on our campuses: offshoots of DARPA’s Persistence in Combat (deep-wound disregard), Continuous Assisted Performance (seven-day stimulant), and Brain Machine Interface (remote-controlled human soldiers) projects.
With reachback, not only will soldiers fire their weapons in nearly any direction and have the ammunition guided to their target (perhaps by someone with a joystick in the basement of the White House), but the soldiers themselves will be remote controlled, and not by mere suggestion.
Google “brain interface” to see hundreds of pages spun from DARPA’s pilot project that was outsourced to the University of Oregon and other schools. Google as many subjects in this essay as time permits. (This is your country, and these are your tax dollars at work. DARPA created the Internet, so use it.)
And while you’re online, click on http://www.bme.jhu.edu/labs/nthakor/hongbo/main.htm for a graphic study of “wetware”: in this case controlling rats via brain “hardpacks” (i.e. torture) at Johns Hopkins University, where Paul Wolfowitz is (or was) dean of the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. (Assembling the jigsaw pieces of America’s permanent war policy is not rocket science; the connections are clear.)
Also click on http://oga.uoregon.edu/ to see University of Oregon’s Federal Priorities and how closely they fit with our national priority. Note page 12 (Brain Biology and Machine Initiative, Defense Applications), where this document—signed by President Frohnmayer and esteemed subordinates—solicits funds for “optimizing the training and performance of military personnel, such as their ability to function in stressful and complex environments and to improve the integration of human and machine. Examples include developing the ability to ‘lock out’ undesirable battle responses, or to assess a soldier’s suitability to particular military tasks involving aspects such as attention, decision making, emotion, memory, and communication.”
And I am sincere when I say “esteemed.” These highly educated executives are paid to deceive the public with phrases like Green Science. They, like us, are merely cogs in the machine. We’re all familiar with oxymoronic programs like Clear Skies and No Child Left Behind. Green Science slaps yet another happy mask on the face of deadly profiteering.
As a general University of Oregon policy, classified research is not allowed at campus facilities. However, weapons projects are allowed, and any that are classified secret can be (conveniently) shuttled across the street to Riverfront Research Park.
This is reachback. This is America, warrior nation. This is not a peace-loving country, and this is not an enlightened, promising, hopeful use of our schools.
In addition to the intended deadly consequences of defense research, some campus research involves unintended hazards. Nanotechnology, an industry with no standard for safeguards, is called the deadliest industry ever created. Traditional laws of physics cease to apply with particles less than 50 nanometers in size (a human hair is 200,000 nanometers thick): metals become transparent, normally hard substances dissolve, colors change ( http://rachel.org/bulletin/index.cfm?issue_ID=2498 )
A study released in June 2005 concludes that chemicals long considered safe, such as the widely used wine-industry fungicide Vinclozolin (and Methoxychlor, which replaced DDT), when ingested cause severe damage to all four generations down the line. You may never show symptoms, but bad luck for the grandkids ( http://rachel.org/bulletin/index.cfm?St=3 ).
These same chemicals when manufactured using nanotechnology kill on contact. Such “breakthroughs” have opened up fascinating new battlefield possibilities for DARPA, which (with taxpayer dollars) has successfully fashioned small bombs containing billions of flesh-and-bone eating “nanobots” that can target specific human genotypes—a “politically useful tool,” according to the Project for the New American Century’s 2000 report, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century, most of whose 27 signatories, including Paul Wolfowitz, now hold top posts in the Bush administration or at major universities around the country.
Unintended consequences of technology are always a problem, but when a nation’s prime motive is world domination and profits through military superiority, all life is at risk, and our national motive never sleeps (this is a race against time). As long as the engine of our nation runs on conflict and our top industry is weaponry, we will devote more time and money to killing—and helping other nations to kill—than to the enhancement of life on this planet, and otherwise intelligent people will continue to justify doing so with phrases like Green Science.
But the real tragedy of Lincoln’s fears coming true is the disempowerment of the people (…and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people…).
Look at us flailing to keep head above water, drowning in symptoms of the unfeeling war machine: school funding, campaign finance reform, military recruitment on campuses, election reform, the environment, religious extremism, corporate personhood, stagnant education programs, economically challenged people in battle, unjust veteran’s benefits, inadequate soldier protection, defense contractor overruns, media manipulation (add your chosen “cause” here, but remember it’s a symptom), and on and on—all of them indicative of a war-for-profit-only society, all of them demanding our time and distracting us from seeing and correcting the root cause.
In fiscal year 1999, the Department of Defense, the largest agency in the United States, reported unaccountable adjustments of $2.3 trillion to balance its books. In fiscal year 2000, it reported unaccountable adjustments of $1.1 trillion to balance its books. For fiscal year 2001, and since, DoD has (again conveniently) declined to report ( http://www.whereisthemoney.org ).
With the most secretive administration in history, under which millions of public documents have vanished or been reclassified, let’s be generous and say they misplace a mere $1 trillion a year. 3.4 plus 1 trillion times four—leaving out 2005—means 7.4 trillion-plus Pentagon dollars are up to no good somewhere. (See Steven Aftergood’s The Age of Missing Information, http://slate.msn.com/id/2114963 )
To find a few trillion of these dollars at work, spend a day or three browsing DARPA’s massive website (darpa.mil). Keep in mind that DARPA (whom we can thank for the Active Denial System—the new microwave crowd-control weapon the Pentagon hopes to deploy to a police station near you by summer 2008) is just the daddy of DoD contractors: there are 310,000 companies around the world working for America’s war industry. That’s what we’re up against.
Deceptions such as the Cold War, the war on drugs, and the war on terror do not make our communities and our lives any safer. Their aim is to facilitate war profiteering. Since the 1950 adoption of the Cold War policy, NSC-68, without the people’s consent, we have been building a military-first, people-last America—and this theft of our country should outrage and unite all Americans who wonder about prices at gas stations today.
Under our corporate-owned federal government, America controls the world and its own people through fear. It is up to us to reject the power of fear and give birth to a superpower of public opinion. Only by peacefully asserting ourselves around the central issue will peace and justice prevail. Think about, write about, shout about—nationwide strike about our permanent war policy. All it takes is an organized commitment; not just to the wealth of symptoms, but to the root cause.
3) Strike! A Match for Cindy Sheehan
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government—lest it come to dominate our lives and interests. —Patrick Henry
To address our deadly dilemma, we must understand what drives America and how its people remain disempowered. Money is the fuel for the permanent-war engine, and those at the wheel are investors in warfighting. America was built for a people-based engine, with people at the wheel investing in people. The concept of “power to the people” comes from the Constitution—not from the radical minds of the 1960’s, but the radical principles that founded America.
How did the people lose this country? It was lost through the adoption of NSC-68, the secret 1950 policy instituting war as the basis of our economy. How can the people take back America? By diligently spreading word of, and uniting around, this single cause of our problems, and—with continued devotion to the symptoms and a sense of urgency—reclaiming America for the people in whose name it was created. It is that simple, but we must start now—and the best place to begin is on our campuses.
Why urgency? In Welcome to the Machine, Derrick Jensen offers indispensable advice for contemporary cogs: “What one generation perceives as repression, the next accepts as a necessary part of a complex daily life.” DARPA, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is less than a generation away from robot warriors. Jensen suggests we are already robotized in our thinking—submissive, removed, remote controlled (remember reachback, the Pentagon’s strategy for the future?).
According to GradSchools.com, there are 54 graduate programs under the category of Peace Studies at various universities nationwide. Some have interesting titles: Special Ministry at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Accounting at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Aerospace Engineering at University of Cincinnati, and Strategic Intelligence at the Joint Military Intelligence College in Washington, DC.
The Pentagon is making strides in the field of peace education, and is being sued by Judicial Watch for dispensing propaganda through a website targeting schoolchildren, known as Empower Peace. The National Defense Education Act, a Cold War program created in 1958, was recently revived by the Association of American Universities (which solicits research funds from DoD) to recruit the next generation of national security workers from our schools. And the United States Institute of Peace routinely sends invitations to college students through school email servers. Past and current board members of USIP include such ultraconservatives as DoD’s Peter Rodman of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC; see Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century), and Daniel Pipes, now on DoD’s Special Task Force for Terrorism and Technology, and also a PNAC member.
In our time-pressured lives we rarely grasp the big picture and tend to view things separately: DARPA is an agency, universities are where we send our kids, elections are how we (think we) choose our presidents, and wars simply exist. But those in power see a single advancing policy—a military policy to derive profits from fear—and they have set our course in Pentagon plans that will not change with administrations.
What is our plan as the people? We will find inspiration from our revolutionary past. There are no laws against carrying out a change of government. Quite the contrary:
We hold these truths to be self evident—that all are created equal, endowed with inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted deriving their powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, to throw off such government and provide new guards for their future security.
America was born a people-first country, and that concept spread rapidly throughout the world without military force. The vision of our Founders was to advance the notion of people living in peace everywhere, using the freedom that nature provides upon birth. But only by practicing these principles will the American people extinguish the obscenity of a “war to spread freedom” and realize this Founding vision.
Today there is no graver sin at work in the world than America’s military-based economy, adopted without the people’s consent. In honoring our Founding principles, we must acknowledge that to exploit fears and prejudices to maintain the flow of profits from conflict—to perpetuate a state of war in the name of peace—is treasonous to our creed.
Though militarism in America predates the adoption of NSC-68, militarism as our way of life became official on that day in 1950. Only by correcting our priority can we restore hope for a people-based society. Take back this country by popular demand and we not only right a terrible wrong, we open the door to a world free from enslavement to war profiteers.
This option is what Noam Chomsky calls the second superpower of public opinion, a force good people in government are waiting for. Our constitutional framework is intact, but we need to clean house, repair the root flaw, heal its symptoms, and live by cooperation instead of co-option—and we can only do this with a transdisciplinary, transcendent solution; united by determination to overcome. Addressing the symptoms won’t work, bloody revolution won’t work—organized nonviolent popular demand will work.
Many things are in development or in place for transition to peaceful living, such as people-based economic structures, a bill in Congress for a cabinet-level Department of Peace, a self-financed political party that publicly measures the character of candidates, plans for education and healthcare reforms, a resource-sharing international vision, and much more. But all of these require an American change of priority.
Our survival requires that we continue to bail out the water pouring into the boat. But our prosperity depends on fixing the hole—the policy that tells industry to think “profits first-people last” while more than 300 American universities make weapons for a world on the verge of resource depletion.
To begin change, spread word among organizations—then unite and demand the adoption of a people-based national economic policy. Campus communities—parents, students, faculty—farm communities, physicians groups, environmental organizations, interfaith alliances, labor unions, all who seek domestic prosperity—working together—can by popular demand change America’s priority, and in so doing change a nation and world. Nationwide strikes can produce nonviolent revolutionary change.
We the people have a duty to our Founding principles, to restore the role of America as a peaceful beacon of liberty, hope, and justice. Our reputation as killers will only be redeemed by our duty as caretakers. There will never be a better time to rally to this cause; there will never be clearer examples of rampant corruption in our politics or a time when this government is riper for reinvention.
Can you think of a time in US history more deliberately saturated with violence and corruption than the years spanning the birth of the Cold War to the never-end of the war on terror? Can you think of a better solution to provide for our future security and stave off collapse than that of change by popular demand, handed down to us in writing? What could motivate peace-loving Americans more than the need to abolish a war-dependent system and establish a world free from American tyranny? What was the purpose of the Declaration of Independence—to break from one land of tyranny to build another?
Every action and reaction in the war on terror fuels the engine by which we live, and optimizes the performance of war profiteering. The symptoms of this policy cover the world. The American people have the right to implement a peaceful revolution, the duty to transform an offensive posture into a universal rescue operation, and the opportunity to release the world from the grip of a tragic mistake and inspire the triumph of humankind.
I have long admired Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi, but Chomsky is correct in saying that neither were agents of change by themselves; their views were realized by the actions of large groups of determined people. While it may appear that we lack such leaders now, the truth is we are the leaders we are waiting for, and we hold the key to free the world. We are ready for change, and we are ready to strike peacefully to achieve it.
There is no better place to begin rejecting America’s industry of war than in our network of schools—and what a great match for honoring the efforts of Cindy Sheehan. The Pentagon has its National Security Strategy, National Military Strategy, and National Defense Strategy. Now we have our National Community Strategy: I will strike at my school, and you can stand in support at your schools, and together we will inform and transform America.
One cause, one voice, one message. One planet, one future, one people.
Specialist, Military and Defense in Society
Multicultural Studies Certificate, US-Japan Relations, Lewis and Clark College, Portland 1995
International Studies Certificate, Waseda University, Tokyo 1996
B.A. Japanese History, University of Oregon 1997
M.A. Candidate, Peace Studies, University of Oregon
Brian Bogart worked in the defense industry for 15 years, turning down security clearance opportunities three times before leaving Silicon Valley. He is now in his fourth year as University of Oregon’s first graduate student in Peace Studies and will begin his campus strike on September 26. To help with this effort, contact Brian at bbogart (at) uoregon.edu
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