Levellers

Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

The Practices of Just Peacemaking

In preparing for an extended defense of gospel nonviolence, I first reminded readers of basic principles of Just War Theory, the major ethic of Western civilization on war and peace issues for the last 16 centuries. I then pointed to internal weaknesses of JWT as noticed by proponents of the tradition themselves. Those weaknesses were noticed by several church groups during the 1980s and 1990s who called for a “positive ethic of peace.” We need an ethic, many voices said, that not only tells when it is permissable to go to war and under what conditions wars may be fought justly, but tells us how to make peace without appeasement, how to pursue peace justly. Pacifists agreed. So, with my mentor, Glen Stassen, taking the lead, a group of theologians, biblical scholars, international relations experts, and people with much experience in peacemaking, developed a new ethic, “just peacemaking,” whose practices are catching on because they combine moral seriousness with pragmatic realism. The new tradition is spreading despite the setbacks of global terrorism and preemptive war doctrines in the 21st C.

One note: Although Just Peacemaking has been uniting pacifists and those in the just war tradition in active work for peace, it cannot replace either of those older ethics. The best efforts of peacemakers sometimes fail and wars break out. When that happens, the pacifist will refuse to fight or support the war and the just war theorist will evaluate the particular war before deciding to support or not. Both can, of course, continue to work on peacemaking efforts during the war. Just Peacemaking, then, should be seen as a complimentary ethic, rather than a replacement for either pacifism or Just War Theory.

The 10 Practices of Just Peacemaking:

 

  1. Support nonviolent direct action. First coming to global attention in the campaigns of Gandhi and King, this practice has spread globally in many contexts. Nonviolent direct action is a strategy that lances the festering boil of violence and injustifce and often produces healing without the resort to war. Boycotts, strikes, citizen embargoes, marches, mass civil disobedience, shunnings or (by contrast), actively fraternizing with enemy soldiers, accompaniment, are just some of the nearly 200 methods so far catalogued in the menu of interventions and defensive strategies being developed by nonviolent direct action campaigns. Support for such campaigns, studying when they work and when they fail and finding ways to make them stronger naturally reduces the numbers of wars and violent revolutions.
  2. Take independent initiatives to reduce threats. In situations of conflict, an arms buildup or any form of escalation can lead to or expand a war. But so can unilateral disarmaments or appeasements. What is needed is a series of surprising, independent initiatives that reduce threat levels and act as “confidence building measures” that often open up new possibilities of peacemaking. It is important that such actions are public, visible, happen at the times announced, and invite reciprocation.
  3. Talk with the adversary using proven methods of cooperative conflict resolution. Some politicians have refused to negotiate, claiming that speaking with party x should be a reward for good behavior. This is ridiculous. Strong leaders are not afraid to talk. One has to talk to make peace. Conflict resolution methods have developed which enable smart negotiators to be tough on the problem, rather than tough on the people involved. In every field, from business to foreign policy, principled negotiation techniques are making proven headway. Ignoring these practices for ultimatums or, by contrast, appeasements, is foolish.
  4. Acknowledge responsibility for conflict and injustice and seek repentance and forgiveness. Seldom is all the blame for a war or conflict only on one side. Acknowledge the wrongs your side has done and repent and seek forgiveness. This invites reciprocation and healing. It used to be believed that only individuals can repent or forgive; groups and nations could not, nor ever acknowledge any wrongdoing without appearing weak. To the contrary, such repentance has often led to healing and failure to do so has led to resentments and future wars. The experience of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee greatly strengthened this practice and many nations are using it as a model.
  5. Advance Democracy, Human Rights, and Religious Liberty. It should go without saying, but recent years have proven otherwise: One cannot and should not try to “advance democracy” by means of military invasion or coercion. Democratic movements must arise indigenously. Established democracies seldom go to war with other democracies and, not needing to fear uprisings from repressed peoples, can spend much less on military budgets. (The U.S. is a glaring exception here, but is thereby becoming less democratic; more a plutocratic oligarchy.) As Roger Williams, Richard Overton and others knew long ago, the lack of human rights and religious liberty is a major cause of war. Protecting and spreading these norms works for just and lasting peace.
  6. Foster Just and Sustainable Economic Development. Patterns of economic hardship and exploitation can lead to “resource wars,” and poor people become desperate and are thus vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist fanatics (or power-mad government demagogues) offering cheap and easy solutions through violence. Fair trade, development that works with rather than against healthy eco-systems, these things are not only just in themselves, but win “hearts and minds” that can otherwise be seduced into violence.
  7. Work with emerging cooperative forces in the international system. Everything which works to connect nations makes wars more difficult. Actions which weaken international institutions and cooperative forces make wars more frequent and more likely.
  8. Strengthen the United Nations and International Efforts for Cooperation and Human Rights. Goes with # 7. The UN is far from perfect. It needs internal reform. But its efforts to promote global health, end poverty, spread human rights norms, and make peace have, despite all this often proven successful in its 50 year existence. Those efforts, and similar developments such as the International Criminal Court, need to be strengthened. “Lone wolf” foreign policies which undermine the UN and the international system are perceived by others as imperial and sow the seeds for future wars.
  9. Reduce offensive weapons and the weapons trade. Okay, to a pacifist like myself, all weapons are “offensive,” but this refers to weapons whose nature makes them more useful for attack than defense. Work to eliminate “weapons of mass destruction,” (chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons) are vital–and no nation can simultaneously work to prevent the spread of these weapons, and insist on its own right to possess them and develop more. Further, some “conventional” weapons are, by nature, more offensive, such as cluster bombs which do much more damage to civilians than combat troops and landmines which, long after wars are over, continue to kill and maim civilian populations. Efforts to ban these weapons, often supported by prominent military figures, must be supported. The same goes for the weapons trade. The more people one sells weapons to, the more likely one is fomenting war. The U.S. is the largest dealer of arms–leading to its troops often facing weapons “made in the U.S.A.”
  10. Encourage Grassroots Peacemaking Groups and Voluntary Associations. Many of the above practices must become common among diplomats and policy elites, but some, such as nonviolent direct action, can be done by anyone. Also, peacemaking cannot be left to elites and experts. Grassroots groups can often take independent actions for peace before governments and they can and must pressure governments to make their own efforts for peace.

People often ask me as a pacifist, “If you are against war, what are you for?” It’s a fair question and the above practices are a large part of my answer. They also help Just War folk. After all, if war is to be a “last resort,” then one needs concrete ideas of what “resorts” can and must be tried first. One can explore these practices specifically regarding struggles against terrorism here.

August 25, 2006 - Posted by | just peacemaking

25 Comments

  1. Excellent summary, Michael. I’ll be sending people this way. One would hope that Just Peacemaking are efforts that we could all gladly come together to support.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | August 25, 2006

  2. Hey Michael, great post.

    I do like what you said about Just Peacemaking being complementary to Just War or pacifism. I think your previous posts on Just War was great as well, but didn’t feel like I had much to contribute to those.

    I do agree that in order to spread democracy, it must be motivated by within. You cannot enforce democracy on anyone. I suppose in the U.S.’s situation, now that there has been an invasion, I suppose democracy is about the best we can do, rather than rising up some other form of gov’t, but that’s a whole other debate there.

    King was a good example of non-violence, especially when looking in relation to his counterpart Malcolm X (or at least my perception of X, I honestly don’t know much about him).

    I’m always suspicious of international coalitions, and I am not sure why. It may be the end-times theology of a oppressive one-world gov’t that I was raised with. If anything, such a coalition should be limited to international relations, or a situation where there is a very oppressive gov’t. Not one that micromanages nations, but I know you are not necessarily saying that should be the case.

    Interestingly enough, it is part of that end-times theology that gives me reservations about international trade, but I do think economic relations can help diffuse tensions that lead to war, and that we help the poorer nations by giving them a position in the international marketplace.

    BTW, I know there are different interpretations of end times, but the feelings and cautions one is raised with tend to stick around.

    Comment by Chance | August 25, 2006

  3. I wonder why you don’t get more responses to essays such as this from those who tend to support war-as-solution…?

    One hears all the time those who support war-as-solution saying that War is necessary because peacemakers don’t offer any alternatives, and I will all the time refer them to places such as this…and later hear them repeat that peacemakers don’t offer any alternatives.

    Makes one suspect that some will deliberately NOT read something that may undermine their case, that they’re more interested in keeping their position than truth.

    I’d hope that’s not the case.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | August 26, 2006

  4. Perhaps I will devote one post to each practice in the next week or so.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | August 26, 2006

  5. First off Michael, let me say that you come accross as a very intelligent individual, much more intellectual than emotional. Also, after reading this post and others you linked to, as well as many things written by my friend (I hope) Dan Trabue, I have come to the conclusion that we really don’t understand each other. By “we” I don’t necessarily mean you and me, but our two groups as a whole. Of course there is actually many more groups than two, but for the sake of discussion I will simplify.

    Now let me offer my two cents worth to this excellent, well thought out post.

    Support nonviolent direct action- The examples of King and Ghandi are good ones as far as making the case goes. I think the key here though is to recognize the enemy. Whereas peaceful protest might work against the Americans or the British, Che Guevara would have laughed at these actions and slaughtered everyone involved. The same can be said of Mao or even Saddam.

    Take independent initiatives to reduce threats- After reading your first sentence, I immediately thought about Ronald Reagan and the statements made during the 80’s arms buildup by people like Ted Kennedy. Arms buildups can lead to war, sure. But they can also lead to disarmament and the de-facto surrender of your enemy. That is, if the enemy is sane and opposes mutual destruction. In the case of Iran, I don’t think they would mind mutual destruction too much. Unilateral disarmaments almost always lead to war. Again, I think the points you make here are completely contingent on who the enemy is. No confidence building measure will matter to an enemy like Iran or any radical Islamist.

    Talk with the adversary using proven methods of cooperative conflict resolution- I don’t think we should ever speak with a terrorist organization. It legitamizes their behavior. We should talk with governments though. But we should always be realistic. “Trust but verify”. The piece of paper that Madellene Albright brought back from North Korea was just as worthless as the piece of paper Chamberlain held up in his hand. It is always better to negotiate from a position of strength, “peace through strenght”.

    Acknowledge responsibility for conflict and injustice and seek repentance and forgiveness- I think it is always good to acknowledge wrongs. Certainly nothing bad can come from this.

    Advance Democracy, Human Rights, and Religious Liberty- This statement, “Established democracies seldom go to war with other democracies”, sounds like it came right of of Natan Sharansky’s book. I guess the difference is that you believe the United States is trying to force democracy in a region that doesn’t want it. It is certainly a valid argument, and one that is most often made by paleo-conservatives. I have to admit though; it is strange how Iraq has put the paleos on the same side as the anti-war left. Personally, I think it is impossible to “force democracy”. I believe though, that most people have the desire to be free and to vote. As for Iraq, the war is over. We are presently occupying. One can argue whether or not we should have gone there, but I don’t see any validity in arguing that we leave the country in anarchy. To do so, would in my view, be a huge human rights violation. I do think that at the present time, we should be getting ready to leave. Also, the current state of America, with practically unlimited suffrage, is much more democratic than it was in the beginning when only white land owners voted. The Supreme Court has much more power now, which isn’t good. But as far as legislation is concerned, the populace is to blame.

    Foster Just and Sustainable Economic Development- You make good points. I think we should most definitely promote fair and free trade. The third world needs capitalism, not Live 8. Teach a man to fish….

    Work with emerging cooperative forces in the international system- Reading what you wrote here makes me think of free trade and globalism. As a follower of Milton Friedman, I firmly believe that free trade leads to peace.

    Strengthen the United Nations and International Efforts for Cooperation and Human Rights- I think the UN is effective in handing out relief for natural disasters and helping feed people. However, I shiver when I see those blue helmets. The UN should never, in my opinion, be fighting wars. The WTO and NAFTA are good though, but the World Court is a joke.

    Reduce offensive weapons and the weapons trade- This is more idealistic than realistic. Still though, we should all do our best.

    Encourage Grassroots Peacemaking Groups and Voluntary Associations- All I have to say is , peace is not the absence of war.

    Michael, I apologize for the length of my response.Thanks.

    Comment by Glen Deanhttp://glendean.typepad.com/christianlibertarian | August 27, 2006

  6. Peace is, by definition, the absence of war. It is also harmonious relations, freedom from quarrels, calmness and serenity. Peace is not present where there is war. Peace is our ideal and therefore we should make it real. I can’t understand why if something is ideal it is consequently unrealistic. That to me is pessimistic and makes life utterly pointless.

    Comment by steph | August 27, 2006

  7. Glen, no need to apologize. Since I will be working on each of these points in turn, I will respond to your concerns there, one at a time.
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | August 27, 2006

  8. Steph, let me quote the Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza who said, “Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice”.

    Steph, the existence of tyranny is not peace.

    Comment by Glen Dean | August 27, 2006

  9. Glen Dean said:
    “the existence of tyranny is not peace.”

    I agree. We haven’t had peace since the Supreme Court illegally installed the current tyrant in the White House.

    See, Glen, I’m not always unemotional.ūüôā

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | August 27, 2006

  10. Interesting. Poor Spinoza – such a miserable man. Seventeenth century dutch blues.

    Comment by steph | August 27, 2006

  11. “Whereas peaceful protest might work against the Americans or the British, Che Guevara would have laughed at these actions and slaughtered everyone involved.”

    Friend Glen, I’d just like to point out that

    1. This assumes that somehow some groups of people (Americans or British) are more reasonable, more humane, less irrational than other groups (Mexicans, Iraqis). While it is entirely true that from individual to individual you may have some more or less rational, it is a bit elitist to suggest that a whole people are less reasonable than another people.

    2. NVDA doesn’t depend upon the peaceable-ness of the “target” but rather upon them realizing their own self-interest, which is common to all peoples. It’s why peacemakers could stop the Contras, even when they weren’t interested in peacemaking necessarily. They realized their own self-interest was vested in stopping the violence they were engaged in.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | August 28, 2006

  12. “The WTO and NAFTA are good though, but the World Court is a joke.”

    And I find myself with the exact opposite impression. The WTO, whose offices I have been to and whose people I’ve talked with, are doubtlessly a group trying to do the right thing. But their methods are hampered by many factors, not the least of which would be US interventionism.

    I visited their offices following a trip to Nicaragua, to talk about the unjust trade practices that have no hope of making things better for the people of Nicaragua (so the people there told me, and convinced me).

    The fella at the WTO defended their policies for a while but eventually sighed and said, “Look. Basically, you’re right. These particular policies are only going to make things worse for Nicaraguans. But our hands are tied. We’re following directives given to us by the US. You want to change these policies, you’ll have to convince your representatives to change our directives.”

    Similarly for NAFTA, the people there (and many here) hate it for good reason. It’s not a plan designed for the benefit of the people, it’s designed for the benefit of (and largely written by) corporations.

    World Courts will be flawed institutions, as are our own courts and political systems. But we need systems in place to help ensure oppression and genocide are not allowed. Peacemakers recognize this and embrace international laws (within reason) and international courts.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | August 28, 2006

  13. Dan, notice I said “Che Guevara”. I didn’t say “Cubans” or “South Americans”. I do not believe Che was irrational and unreasonable because of his race. I think you know me well enough to know that.

    If everybody in the United States was like Bull Conner, King would not have been successful here either. But Kennedy and the northerners were not like Bull Conner. The 20th Century British leadership was also quite rational and very liberal. Do you really think that Ghandi’s tactics would have worked against Stalin? I don’t. That’s just being realistic.

    Comment by Glen Dean | August 28, 2006

  14. Well, Glen, fortunately we don’t have to wonder if Gandhian tactics only work against “civilized oppressors.” We have direct evidence: 1) In 1989 the Warsaw Pact nations experienced revolutions–14 of them. Only 1, Romania, turned bloody. The rest were nonviolent revolutions against very repressive Communist regimes. In what was then East Germany, the dictator, Honnecker, had been widely compared to Hitler and Stalin in his cruelty. Yet the East German “revolution of the Candles” was successful without a single drop of blood. I have talked at length to people who were part of the “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia and they were facing a tyrant who had repeatedly massacred thousands in previous attempts at reform–including the Soviet backed crushing of the 1968 Prague Spring. Yet the Velvet Revolution lost a total of 5 lives.

    2) Surely you would consider Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic to be the equal of Stalin in cruelty? He survived the breakup of Yugoslavia and even the NATO-backed bombing of Kosovo. But in the year 2000, a student group named Otpol (“struggle”) organized a textbook nonviolent campaign that succeeded completely in bringing down Milosevic and ushering in Serbian democracy. Serbia still has problems, but Milosevic is in the Hague in the dock, not ruling in Serbia, and it wasn’t violence which did him in. They even made a PBS special movie about this called _Bringing Down a Dictator_ which you can probably borrow from your local library.

    I’m not saying that every nonviolent direct action campaign works. In 1989 the Chinese brutally repressed the reform movement with the Tienneman Square Massacre. More study needs to be done on why some movements succeed and others fail, but it clearly doesn’t have to do with how brutal the opponents are.

    Here’s the thing, too, Glen. Nations spend millions of dollars training militaries and billions equipping them. We invest in war colleges and think tanks to enable us to wage war better, more effectively. But still, at best, war has only a 50% success rate.

    By contrast, most nonviolent direct action campaigns have been cobbled together spontaneously–or, at least, begin that way. Each new group seems to have to re-learn the tactics of Gandhi and King, relearn the disciplines, etc. How many times would nonviolent campaigns be effective if we invested in them even 1% of what we invest in military preparedness?

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | August 28, 2006

  15. You measure your tactics against your target. Gandhi’s tactics he used with the British may not have been the right ones if they were a Russian colony. He may have had to use other tactics. But there ARE other tactics.

    Just as the Contra terrorists weren’t especially interested in peacemaking, we had to find the pressure points to apply to get them to see it was in their best interests to change policies.

    And by the way, I’m sure you’re not racist. But when you claim that something won’t work with one peoples and not with another set of peoples, you sound elitist. Just as all US citizens weren’t Bull Connor, all Cubans aren’t Castro.

    I’ll admit it’s different when you’re dealing with a dictatorship instead of some sort of representational gov’t, but dictators have been peaceably addressed before as well. They, perhaps MORE than the leaders of democracy, have great reason to fear the people’s opinion, whether they show it or not.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | August 28, 2006

  16. Michael, these peaceful revolutions that happened in 1989 were the end result of the breakup of the Soviet Union, which was caused by the Reagan arms buildup. These Warsaw Pact nations that you speak of, were also called the Soviet bloc. Their leaders had no chance of governing after the breakup of the Soviet Union. They had no funding.

    Also, you have to give some credit to the NATO bombing, as far as Milosovich is concerned.

    With all due respect Michael, those are bad examples.

    Comment by Glen Dean | August 28, 2006

  17. Glen,
    Reagan’s arms buildup several times brought us close to nuclear war, but was not much of a factor in the breakup of the Soviet Union, rightwing bleatings to the contrary. The nonviolent revolutions were modeled after the Polish struggle of Solidarity, which began long before the Reagan arms buildup.

    And, although the Eastern bloc dictators could no longer count on Soviet reinforcements, they could have wrecked much havoc on their own populations–except that they were out organized by the nonviolent movements which had been organizing for decades.

    The NATO campaign in Kosovo actually DELAYED the nonviolent overthrow of Milosevic because people who were getting sick of him suddenly rallied to his side in the face of foreign aggression. Further, there had been a nonviolent movement in Kosovo which was succeeding in breaking free from Serbia. NATO chose not to back it, but to back the armed KLA instead and caused thousands of innocent deaths and set back both the Kosovo movement for democracy and the Serbian nonviolent revolution.

    But even suppose I buy your arguments, Glen. What about the scattered nonviolent campaigns against the Nazis during WWII? They were scattered and far too few to defeat the German army, but they did succeed in local campaigns: The Danish campaign to protect the Jews–losing only a handful to the Holocaust because the Danes refused to cooperate. The Norwegian civilian campaign against Nazification–a complete success.
    Bulgaria, which WELCOMED the Nazis in, rebelled when the Holocaust started. Led by the Bulgarian Orthodox bishop, they refused to turn over their Jews to the Nazis and lay down their bodies in front of the trains to the death camps. Bulgaria saved its Jews.
    Or, in the middle of Germany itself there was the White Rose campaign. This was a campaign of German women married to Jewish men. They succeeded in nonviolently freeing their husbands, unharmed, from the SS itself.

    The first Russian Revolution (1905 against the Czar, not the 1917 Communist revolution) was nonviolent and was one of the campaigns Gandhi studied while he was in South Africa. Was the Czar a nice oppressor? Was it aided by a Reagan arms buildup or the breakup of an empire?

    In Latin America, during the 20th C. over 20 dictators were overthrown–although several came back later.

    Again, the point is not that NVDA is a cure all or magic pill. It’s not. There are 10 practices to JPT, not one, and they work best together, over time.

    But you said that the only reason Gandhi and King’s campaigns won was because how nice Americans and British were. I can show many cases in which brutal dictators were overthrown. There may be extenuating circumstances, but the brutality of the opponent is not one of them.

    Again, I am not calling for immediate, unilateral disarmament. I am calling for investment in research and training to support NVDA campaigns and make them stronger.

    War-as-only-way people think that those of us who propose alternatives live in some fairy tale land. In fact, we are close students of history and many of us, including myself, have been involved in these campaigns. When I was a soldier, I never saw combat. But in 1983, I spent $2000 of my own money to go with Witness for Peace to Nicaragua and stand unarmed with many others as protection to villagers against the Reagan-armed terrorists called “Contras.” One Witness for Peace team was kidnapped, although none died. Many were threatened. The campaign was only a partial success, but when the Americans were there the Contras raped no convents, burned no hospitals, tortured no villagers. And the planned U.S. invasion of Nicaragua never happened and Congress shut off the funds to these terrorists.

    I have made the study of nonviolent campaigns a priority ever since. Why do some succeed and others fail? What can make them stronger? Why can some succeed in even subverting the armies sent to crush them (Philippines, 1986; USSR, 1991) and others end up crushed by military repression (China 1989; Burma, so far, 1987)? The biggest gap we have in research to date is how and when nonviolent intervention by third parties is successful.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | August 28, 2006

  18. “these peaceful revolutions that happened in 1989 were the end result of the breakup of the Soviet Union, which was caused by the Reagan arms buildup.”

    As Wendell Berry has said:

    “Surely not many nations before us have espoused bankruptcy and suicide as forms of self-defense.”

    Or, as I like to say, just because two fellas play Russian Roulette and only one dies, doesn’t make the other fella a genius.

    I think one of Michael’s ultimate points is, again as Wendell Berry has stated, “We have an inescapable duty to notice also that war is profitable, whereas the means of peaceableness, being cheap or free, make no money.”

    War – even if it worked flawlessly – cannot hope to possibly be a solution to the many troubled spots around the world. If we truly hope to stand up to the genocides occurring in the Sudan, the Congo and other places, the oppression happening in China, Cuba and many other places, the crimes against humanity occurring in Lebanon, Colombia, and many other places, the saber-rattling (including nuclear saber-rattling) of questionably rational dictators around the world, we can either look at increasing our military budget from the current half a trillion plus annually to tens of trillions of dollars, or we can look into peacemaking ideals.

    We really don’t have a choice, even if we thought war was sometimes an acceptable answer.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | August 28, 2006

  19. I am glad that you brought up Poland and Lech Walesa. Here is what he thought about Reagan in his own words, “When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can’t be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.”

    Guys, I am not in this group that you call war-as-only-way. I don’t know anybody who is, so I would suspect that only a small percentage of Americans are. If you or anybody else is able to prevent war, I applaud you. So I am all for what you are trying to do. However, it is better to die on the battlefield than to live without liberty. Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot. Lech Walsa thinks so and so does Helmut Kohl, who was Chancellor of Germany when the wall fell. Reagan is a revered figure in Eastern Europe and he should be.

    Comment by Glen Dean | August 28, 2006

  20. I don’t know that we’ve spoken of any group that believes in war-as-the-only-way. I know I tend to talk about those who believe in war-as-solution, but I also usually affirm that no one sane WANTS things to come to war. I try to make no bones about it that I understand that those on the right aren’t desiring war usually (although I wonder about the leadership on the right sometimes).

    But when you begin with the notion that war as a possible tool in the toolbelt to stop oppression, genocide, terrorism, etc AND you dismiss peacemaking ideals, then that sort of leaves you only with war-as-solution. What I believe is that our leaders tend to limit their tools (and stubbornly refuse to investigate other tools) to just the hammer.

    I’m not saying you, necessarily, Glen, just those who support war-as-solution in general.

    “However, it is better to die on the battlefield than to live without liberty.”

    I’d probably agree with this (with the assumption that I’m not ON the battlefield to kill others – but on the frontlines of confronting oppression non-violently) BUT I’d rather die or live without liberty than I would to kill innocent people.

    With pacifists and peacemakers, it’s not that we’re not willing to die, it’s that we’re not wanting to kill and especially not kill innocent bystanders, which is a given in modern warfare.

    RE: reagan won the Cold War, I’ll just have to repeat that if two fools are playing russian roulette, the winner is still a fool.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | August 28, 2006

  21. No doubt. I certainly have a lot of respect for the MLK’s and everyone who courageously faced off against fire hoses and were beaten.

    I guess my position is that peaceful measures work sometimes, maybe even most of the time. But depending on the enemy and his goals, sometimes you have to fight to defend your family and your country. If someone is coming to harm my son or my wife, there is no way that I would ever dream of nonviolent resistance.

    Comment by Glen Dean | August 29, 2006

  22. […] like al-Qaeda are to be rendered ineffective.¬† I have noted before that the practices ¬†of Just Peacemaking provide such an alternative way to oppose […]

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  23. […] I still have a temper. I’m still a very aggressive personality.¬† I am not by nature very peaceful and have to work on that with spiritual disciplines.¬† I raise my voice too often and am too impatient with others and myself.¬† But I am a pacifist:¬† I no longer believe that any killin, for any reason, is morally justified.¬† I refuse to own handguns or allow war toys in my home.¬† I have resisted the current war and I have tried to spread the practices of Just Peacemaking. […]

    Pingback by How I Became a Conscientious Objector « Levellers | October 23, 2007

  24. […] Index of Posts on the Practices of Just Peacemaking 10 Practices of Just Peacemaking […]

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  25. It is important that a Christian be defined by what they confess, not what they refuse.

    Comment by Steven Kippel | July 17, 2008


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