Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Evidence that the US May Be Losing the Global War on Terror

"The Bush administration is attempting to suppress key data showing that its Global War on Terrorism (or GWOT as government bureaucrats have dubbed it) likely has been counterproductive" The question is will they or 'we' learn the lesson; means affect ends, ends are inherant in the means. You can't make real peace with the weapons of war: where that has apparently happened it's because after war peaceful means have been applied for reconstruction.

Evidence that the US May Be Losing the Global War on Terror:

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Let a Thousand Militias Bloom

I can't help feeling that this whole thing in Iraq illustrates that the ends and means are inseperably linked, that those who live by the sword die by it -or at least have to live in fear of it. "One U.S. general recently noted that it takes on average nine years to defeat an insurgency. Additionally, it's the violence of the U.S. occupation that gives the insurgency such force. Even if the rebellion is contained to 'manageable' levels for the Pentagon, meaning a low rate of combat deaths, that does not mean the resistance will end. U.S. forces long ago lost the battle for hearts and minds."
Let a Thousand Militias Bloom:

The Normalization of War

Sometimes it's useful to get indications of scale, even if those figures are hard to imagine, the comparisons can be helpful, this is one such:"the present-day Pentagon budget, adjusted for inflation, is 12 percent larger than the average defense budget of the Cold War era. In 2002, American defense spending exceeded by a factor of twenty-five the combined defense budgets of the seven 'rogue states' then comprising the roster of U.S. enemies.16 Indeed, by some calculations, the United States spends more on defense than all other nations in the world together. This is a circumstance without historical precedent."
It seems tragic that this kind of money cannot be spent on peacemaking and conflict resolution. Ironically it would probably be cheaper to bribe people individually and collectively to live more peacefully than putting this money into military hardware.
The Normalization of War:

The Coming War with Iran?

An all-in-one place summary of the reasons that the USA might think that Iran is next. What it doesn't mention is that the way that troops are tied up in Iraq and the attitudes to them being there might make it very hard to 'do an Iraq'. However, I rather suspect that lots of aid is being directed both to armed resistance to the current Tehran regime using the MEK as proxies, and to the intellectual dissident factions.
I commend Iran to your thoughts and prayers, some good friends of mine have been Farsi.
Oil, Geopolitics, and the Coming War with Iran

Friday, April 22, 2005

New Pope A Strong Critic of War

Though I have apprehensions about the man I am glad at least that there is a Pope willing to say things like this, in the past. "'There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war'.'"
Next Page - New Pope A Strong Critic of War:

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Nonviolence.org: a Peace Antiwar Homepage

This looks like a useful link too. comentary on news from a non-violence perspective. It looks USA based and it has an RSS feed so you can get notifications of updates if your browser suuports RSS or if you subscribe to something like Bloglines. I've added it to my list of blogs regularly checked.
Nonviolence.org: a Peace Antiwar Homepage

The Roots of Christian Pacifism and Anarchy

Just for your reference: "A collection of Bible verses and Church quotes on the Christian mission of non-violence and denial of the world"
The Roots of Christian Pacifism and Anarchy

Monday, April 18, 2005

India and Pakistan say peace 'irreversible'

IT's good to see this and even more interesting to note the basis for the optimism. "... there had been a change of attitude in Pakistan. 'Domestically there is a realisation that the military option is not the option any more,' he said at a breakfast meeting with Indian journalists. 'The strategy of a coercive diplomacy is no more an option.' G Parthasarthy, a former Indian ambassador to Pakistan said the talks and the joint statement show 'a readiness by Pakistan to acknowledge that enhanced trade and economic cooperation will promote prosperity. Certainly, there does appear to be a recognition by Pakistan that complex issues are best resolved when there is a climate of cooperation and trust'."
Perhaps worth noting and adding to the files of evidence for the importance and efficacy of peaceful methods to build peace?

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | India and Pakistan say peace 'irreversible':

U.S. Military's Elite Hacker Crew

I'm trying to make up my mind whether the possibilities of cyberwar bring any new things to bear in principle on debates about peacemaking -or is it simply yet another dimension that we need to be aware of but doesn't make a heap of difference.
It's interesting to note how this article majors on the military-military capabilities: the potential to disrupt an enemies electronic command and control systems. Thre's only one mention of the much more sinister possibility of disrupting something like a national electricity grid. Once that happens then you're into targetting civilians and that is an eventuality clearly covered by international law in spirit though whether it covers it in the letter, I don't know.
The attraction to governments is that war can be waged with less face-to-face commitment and plays to the strengths of the rich technologically savvy nations -an 'advantage' which will be quickly eroded. In any case the weapons used could be quite tricky. A specially engineered computer virus is potentially something that, like a real virus, could come back at you, perhpas in a modified form.
Some of what the article talks about represents a kind of merging of warfare and propaganda where the ethics of pacifism do, it seems to me, seem less clear; no-one is being harmed, it's just ideas and disemination of ideas. There are issues about free speech and how we conduct global debate but that's a bigger theme than pacifism.
I'd be interested to hear thought from others abut peacemaking in a cyberwar world.
Wired News: U.S. Military's Elite Hacker Crew

Don't mention the war -publically

Perhaps it's because the two major parties didn't really and don't really differ ..."The Tories are not an option because, his daughter said, 'they would have done the same' as Labour." but clearly there is a low-level resentment around that is still significant. It may not be enough to supplant other issues but it's clearly there. And it looks like Tony Blair is the personal lightening rod for the discontent. However, it is impossible to begin to guess with any certainty as to how it'll affect voters: stay away? Protest vote [probably Lib Dem]? Grin and bear it?

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | War: the great unknown among election issues:

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Peace campaigner faces Asbo over protest at US base

The range of law that the UK government has at its disposal to stifle dissent is concerning. Here's one.
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Peace campaigner faces Asbo over protest at US base

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Iraq situation and army desertions

There are a number of factors mooted as being responsible for the doubling of awol's since the Iraq conflict; the conflict is likely to be the biggest but it is also interesting to look at the others. One of them appears to be that the kind of upbringing and expectations that recruits enter with are not very compatible. Bullying is also cited and seems likely given the kind of culture an armed force has to try to build to overcome 'natural' objections to killing people you don't have any particular personal grudge against. Reading between the lines, though, it seems that moral/political objections to this particular conflict are foremost. Perhaps the moral education aboutillegal orders and the like is having its effect? Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Big rise in deserters 'fuelled by Iraq war'

Link:

Monday, April 11, 2005

i took another step toward pacifism

This is definitely worth a look at by Christian Pacifists, just don't worry about the language, the exploration is very interesting.
a badchristian blog... - i took another step toward pacifism

Saturday, April 09, 2005

A God of violence?

One of the issues that Christian Pacifists have to face is how to deal with the parts of the OT that portray genocide and other acts of lethal violence apparntly in God's cause. This article on Open Theology raises the question and gets a few interesting responses. It's hte kind of thing that blessed Peacemakers should perhaps consider contributing to.
A God of violence? | open source theology

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Peace deal ends Ivory Coast war

This is good news by anyone's standards, surely. I can't sya that I know a lot about the situation but I did find this bit of the article very revealing.
"'Above all ... this was an agreement between Ivorians ... we really worked and identified the problems and sought to resolve them,' Mr Gbagbo said after signing the accord. The two sides have agreed several times to end the war, but their previous undertakings were handicapped by mutual distrust, because neither was willing to compromise on key demands."
Peacemaking in this situation has involved making sure that the people who are directly involved and affected are involved in confidence- and trust-building paths of negotiation which enabled the the problems to be properly identified -presumably getting beyond rhetoric and posturing- and addressed. I couldn't work out what the key demands that couldn't be compromised were but clearly they found ways through or round those.

Trust building is clearly key for any peace making. Without it we are left with mutual derogatory stereotyping and an inability to comprehend the other and so an inability to address their genuine needs.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Peace deal ends Ivory Coast war: