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How to abolish unjust wars - After this one is over

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  • Vyrle Owens
    25 March 2003 Dear ujeni folks, This came across my screen late last week. I think it is worthy of forwarding. Feel free to read or delete as you will. My
    Message 1 of 12 , Mar 25, 2003
      25 March 2003

      Dear "ujeni" folks,

      This came across my screen late last week. I think it is worthy of
      forwarding. Feel free to read or delete as you will.

      My best to all of you,

      Vyrle



      HOW TO ABOLISH UNJUST WARS-AFTER THIS ONE IS OVER
      The Elements of World Peace Are Present on Both Sides of the Global
      Debate
      by Byron Belitsos
      Editor, ikosmos.com
      Publisher, Origin Press
      March 19, 2003

      In times of great crisis, opposites often arise together in
      pristine purity. Unleash a great evil in one place, and its nemesis
      arises somewhere else. Knock a dying paradigm off the world stage, and a
      new one kicks up out of the blue.
      But there's one other requirement: On its way out, the old model
      leaves behind an isolated but crucial truth, one that the new paradigm
      must incorporate if it is to be a genuine advance. The Bush
      administration, representing the last gasp of imperialist unilateralism
      in an interdependent world, is perversely teaching us one such isolated
      truth: that firm enforcement of international law is needed in a
      dangerous world.
      In his ultimatum speech on Monday night, Bush's Orwellian
      speechwriters dubbed our invasion of Iraq as "enforcement of the just
      demands of the world." Of course, most of us know better about Bush's
      brazen international antics, but the President is teaching us a cruel
      and bitter lesson about how to achieve a world without war and
      terrorism. The emerging new model, he is showing us, must incorporate
      the concept of decisive enforcement of global law. But in the new model,
      law enforcement will be embedded in the context of a genuine global
      democracy-a global governing structure that represents the will and
      reflects the sovereignty of the world's people.(1)
      Let me put it another way. Right now in our face, Bush's
      horrifying abuse of the high principle of international law enforcement
      is calling forth it's pristine opposite: The need for a genuine global
      legislature that can pass enforceable global laws, binding legislation
      that can be applied by a global executive branch and interpreted by duly
      appointed world courts-supported by a world constitution that jealously
      guards individual and national rights. And the first planks of this
      global constitution will be the abolition of war between nations and the
      binding adjudication of international disputes and criminal acts by
      legitimate world courts.
      The first imperative of world civilization is to outlaw murder
      of all kinds across national boundaries, and to use legitimate force to
      hold individual lawbreakers--and not entire nations like
      Iraq--accountable before legitimate standards of world justice.
      As I see it, the choice is stark: The force of law applied
      against individuals in a governed world, or the law of force applied
      against whole countries in a world of lawless anarchy-take your pick.(2)

      I witnessed a case in point, which I want to share with you as
      we embark on our catastrophe in Iraq. By all accounts, the Bush
      administration had descended last week into an unprecedented diplomatic
      chaos. One typical commentator, presidential candidate Senator John
      Kerry, called it "some of the weakest diplomacy in the history of the
      nation." The New York Times called it "a terrible diplomatic failure."
      But at the height of Bush's diplomatic delirium, what is arguably the
      very best moment in global diplomatic history occurred-the seating of
      the 18 justices at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
      This happy development is the mirror opposite of what Bush is now
      foisting on the world. It was fascinating to me how it presented itself
      at the lowest point of Bush's chaotic diplomatic frenzy in and around
      the UN Security Council.
      Although opposed with a vengeance at all points by the Bush
      administration, the ICC is as of March 11, 2003 officially inaugurated.
      It is now an operational reality. These 18 justices were elected by the
      90 or so signatories of the historic 1998 Rome Treaty. Remember that
      particular embarrassment? That's the statue creating the ICC that
      President Clinton signed in the final hours of his administration, which
      Bush "unsigned" last May, not long before he announced his intention to
      unilaterally attack Iraq without UN sanction.
      Here it was, the one institution that could deploy the existing
      (albeit weak) instruments of international law to bring the likes of
      Saddam Hussein before the bar of world justice, and Bush was trying to
      derail it. Russia and China balked at signing this treaty, now known as
      the Rome Statute, but the US actively tried to block the court's
      creation up until the moment last April when the treaty was ratified by
      the required number of signatories. No way, the American's said! We were
      going to enforce our own idea of world law, on our own selfish terms,
      and with that manly Texas mettle that knows best.
      Meanwhile, Bush set his Undersecretary of State John Bolton to
      work strong-arming countries into agreeing to exempt US citizens from
      the ICC's purview. The Republicans in Congress followed suit by pushing
      through the stupid (there is no other word for it) American
      Servicemember's Protection Act. But in the end the Bush administration's
      varied attempts to stop the launch of the ICC did not work. And last
      week they were morally upstaged by the event at the Hague, where 11 men
      and seven women--selected from a list of the world's finest
      jurists--were honored at a gala presided over by Queen Beatrix of the
      Netherlands. The inaugural ceremony was attended by foreign ministers
      and international diplomats from 100 countries-and of course was totally
      absent of representatives from the U.S.
      There is much to adjudicate: There are already plenty of cases
      on the docket for the ICC to begin reviewing and investigating. And to
      my Republican and libertarian friends who fear that the ICC is based on
      legal principles inferior to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights,
      have a look at this point-by-point comparison put together by Washington
      Working Group on the International Criminal Court:

      http://www.wfa.org/issues/wicc/factsheets/usconst.html

      Other elements of the emerging global governance paradigm are
      showing up too, again, seemingly out of the blue and just in time to
      refute the doomsdayers and cynics among us. The pristine beginnings of
      world democracy--the innocent and fresh voice of the sovereignty of the
      world's people--a voice that can become one part of the legitimate
      underpinnings of a global democratic federal government, has been
      showing up in the massive peace demonstrations around the world. I would
      suggest that it is on that basis that one can elevate a vision of a
      radical expansion of the goals of the peace movement. This nascent peace
      and justice movement, which first showed its strength and diversity at
      the Seattle demonstrations against the WTO in 1999, should go beyond its
      mere antiwar or anti-imperialist sentiments; it should move toward the
      advocacy of a true global democracy under enforceable global law. There
      is no other sane or realistic way to global peace and justice.
      Today's misguided peace movement is largely marked by a naive
      utopianism that confuses human nature with angelic nature. Angels can
      live in peace without law and government-humans can't. Yes, of course,
      "world peace" is a wonderful ideal, and war is a great calamity. But we
      can't stop or abolish war without the force of law. Peace without
      justice under law is an illusion-a sort of truce until the next war
      comes along (e.g., the intractable Israeli-Palestinian stalemate). And
      justice, too, is unachievable without the just establishment of law by
      elected legislatures along with juridical institutions to apply the law.
      And juridical institutions are almost useless without enforcement
      mechanisms-the impotence of the UN is a case in point of course. On the
      international level, all this means, again, enforceable global law.
      Peace requires justice, and justice rests on legitimate and
      enforceable law. Only when the peace movement understands this crucial
      syllogism, and only when international businessmen learn that global
      commerce is impossible without enforceable global law based on true
      planetary democracy, we will have an end to unjust wars like the one we
      are now fighting. Only then will there be an end to the evil adventurism
      of the American imperium and a genuine solution to terrorism. Only then
      can we really tackle the daunting problems of global pollution and
      grinding poverty.
      A day will come, I have faith, when we will no longer need the
      George Bushes and the Saddam Husseins of the world to teach us their
      increasingly bloody and increasingly obvious lessons about how justice
      and peace are achieved on an all-too-human planet. To do it we will need
      enforceable global law-the crystallization of brotherly love on a
      planetary scale.

      [Read down for sources of more
      information]


      FOOTNOTES

      (1) The people of the world are the true sovereign of the planet,
      inherently; and each world citizen born on this planet possesses
      God-given inalienable rights inhering in their very personhood. The
      question for the 21st century becomes: Who represents that sovereignty?
      Who can legitimately protect human rights at the global level? And who
      is the true upholder and enforcer of global peace and justice?

      (2) The final stage of the insane logic of the latter strategy is Bush's
      plan for the weaponization of space.

      RESOURCES FOR A GOVERNED WORLD

      1. Some years ago, just before the fall of the USSR, I wrote, directed,
      and coproduced a 28 minute educational video about the concepts
      discussed in this essay. It is entitled "Toward a Governed World".
      Norman Cousins said, "the film is done with high professionalism and is
      as rewarding as it is important." I have dusted this off and am making
      copies available tonight for the first time in ten years for $15,
      including shipping cost and tax. (Sliding scale pricing for students or
      people on limited budgets.) Just email me your address and I will send
      you a copy with a bill.

      2. My website, ikosmos.com has a section on global governance, with
      essays and numerous links:

      http://www.ikosmos.com/content/globalgov/globalgov.htm


      I'll be emailing again soon with other information, contacts, and links.
      Any and all comments on this essay are most welcome. Permission to
      forward or copy this essay is granted. --Byron Belitsos
    • Holland, Mark
      Vyrle and ujeni, much as I respect your opinion I don t agree at all. I think the central reason a majority of people in this country support this war is that
      Message 2 of 12 , Mar 26, 2003
         
        Vyrle and ujeni, much as I respect your opinion I don't agree at all.  I think the central reason a majority of people in this country support this war is that they've been feed oversimplifications about the threat, and that such representations don't cause people to think but rather cause "anti-thinking", a hardening of opinion to fact.  If I'm going to criticize the administration for its manipulation of the public opinion in presenting the case for war, I have to do the same when the article in question takes the other side.
         
        Mark
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Vyrle Owens [mailto:vyrle@...]
        Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 12:47 AM
        To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [ujeni] FW: War on Iraq Test

        I appreciate what you said.  I do not worry so much about the details, recognizing that many are wrong, out of context, and in some cases representing a liberal dose of poetic license.  I think what is most important is not what something says, but that something said causes the recipient to "think," to become engaged in the issues.

         

        I found the piece useful, if not exactly factual.

      • Vyrle Owens
        26 March 2003 Dear Mark, Thanks for your reply. I do agree we must be consistent and I appreciate the reminder. As to thinking, non-thinking, and
        Message 3 of 12 , Mar 26, 2003

          26 March 2003

           

          Dear Mark,

           

          Thanks for your reply.  I do agree we must be consistent and I appreciate the reminder.  As to thinking, non-thinking, and anti-thinking oversimplification may I ask for a more studied elaboration as to why the “majority” of people in this country support this war? 

           

          By the way, I also appreciate your willingness to continue to engage the conversation.  Among those with whom I associate, the anti-war people are too angry to listen, the pro-war people are too engaged in dreaming about victory to listen, a certain number of others are relieved that some action is finally taking place but don’t know what to say and do not appear to have ever been listening, a certain number are afraid to get involved trusting the leaders to know best, a few continue to be un-decided, and it seems that several are just waiting to see which way the fortunes and tragedies of war turn.

           

          It feels a little like the early 60’s when I myself was mostly clueless.

           

          Stay well,

           

          Vyrle

           

           

           

           

        • Eric Bone
          Vyrle s observation that it is difficult to have a worthwhile discussion of the war rings true with me. I find what I consider much noise and distraction, and
          Message 4 of 12 , Mar 27, 2003
            Vyrle's observation that it is difficult to have a worthwhile discussion of
            the war rings true with me. I find what I consider much noise and
            distraction, and little consideration of basic principles and the decisions
            that should come out of them. It is my inclination, as an apprentice
            mathematician, to break down my reasoning into the most basic and most
            clear pieces I can. Usually when I look at the discussion in the war, the
            statements made do not stand up to scrutiny. This is true both for several
            statements in the "War on Iraq Test" and in the list Paul fowarded. Mark
            has already pointed out examples of these.

            Here is the heart of my reasoning.

            1. Assumption: There are circumstances where going to war is a better
            alternative than not going to war.

            a. One such situation is when the lack of
            war would prevent large numbers of civilian deaths. Rwanda stands out as a
            case when going to war would have been better. I believe Bosnia and Kosovo
            also fall in this category.

            b. Another situation is when a country or organization has
            attacked you, or is soon going to attack you and you have no other way of
            preventing this.

            These are the only circumstances that I can think of as legitimate
            justification for war. I have heard other categories of reasons, but I do
            not accept them, and therefore I do not include them in my assumptions.

            2. Question: Do either of these assumptions apply to the relationship
            between the US and Iraq?
            I don't believe situation (a) can be seriously considered.
            That leaves situation (b). Has Iraq attacked us? Will Iraq
            attack us soon?

            3. The Threat:
            Officials of the Bush
            administration have claimed Iraq cooperates with Al-Qaeda, who attacked us.
            The evidence they have presented for that has not been convincing to me.
            That has not been the main claim. The main argument has been that Iraq
            posesses chemical and biological weapons, and that they will use them soon
            against us, whether on their own or in cooperation with a terrorist
            organization. It seems plausible to me that Iraq posesses these weapons.
            I have not heard any evidence that war is the only means by which we can
            prevent Iraq from attacking us with these weapons.

            4. Trust of the Administration:
            I also know that the Bush administration has much more
            information than I do. They are in a better position to decide whether war
            is the only way to prevent an attack. If they have convincing information,
            they have chosen not to make it public.

            5. Conclusion:
            The Bush administration has done nothing to win my trust concerning their
            decisions in foreign policy and security. In fact, most of their decisions
            since they came to power have led me to distrust them. Since I am not
            convinced of their judgment, I do not trust them to make this decision
            about going to war based on information that they do not share. I believe
            that we should not engage in a war unless and until our enemy is an
            immediate threat. I don't believe that is the case here. I believe that
            Michael Moore is correct to say that we are at war for "fictitious
            reasons."

            There is plenty more to talk about, but I've spent too much time thinking
            about this already.

            -Eric
          • Bell, Elizabeth
            Thank you, Eric, for your eloquence. What you ve laid out falls more/most in line with my thinking at this time. I ve worked in countries with horrible regimes
            Message 5 of 12 , Mar 27, 2003
              Thank you, Eric, for your eloquence.

              What you've laid out falls more/most in line with my thinking at this time.


              I've worked in countries with horrible regimes and in countries after
              horrible wars. I am not a knee jerk peacenik (although in my idealistic
              youth I was). Two quotes come to mind:

              I believe in peace, but not peace at any costs.
              -Bishop Desmond Tutu.

              War is sometimes necessary, but it is always evil.
              -Jimmy Carter

              The two examples you cite are situations where we knew genocide was
              happening and I was always horrified that the world community did not step
              in. I still believe that Rwanda and Bosnia are almost unbearable
              humanitarian failures, it gives me nightmares to think about it too much.

              I guess the bottom line at this point is that I do not trust this
              administration, nor its stated reasons for starting this war. I do not
              support this kind of unilateral action and think we will pay the diplomatic
              price for years to come. I believe in the UN and wish we had given
              diplomacy and the inspectors more time, but I also can not stand Saddam
              Hussein and what he and his regime have done to the people of Iraq for so
              long.

              I just want this to be over quickly.

              Liz

              Elizabeth Bell, MPH
              STOP Activity Unit
              Polio Eradication Branch
              Global Immunization Division
              Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


              -----Original Message-----
              From: Eric Bone [mailto:bone@...]
              Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2003 11:36 AM
              To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [ujeni] FW: War on Iraq Test

              Vyrle's observation that it is difficult to have a worthwhile discussion of
              the war rings true with me. I find what I consider much noise and
              distraction, and little consideration of basic principles and the decisions
              that should come out of them. It is my inclination, as an apprentice
              mathematician, to break down my reasoning into the most basic and most
              clear pieces I can. Usually when I look at the discussion in the war, the
              statements made do not stand up to scrutiny. This is true both for several
              statements in the "War on Iraq Test" and in the list Paul fowarded. Mark
              has already pointed out examples of these.

              Here is the heart of my reasoning.

              1. Assumption: There are circumstances where going to war is a better
              alternative than not going to war.

              a. One such situation is when the lack of
              war would prevent large numbers of civilian deaths. Rwanda stands out as a
              case when going to war would have been better. I believe Bosnia and Kosovo
              also fall in this category.

              b. Another situation is when a country or organization has
              attacked you, or is soon going to attack you and you have no other way of
              preventing this.

              These are the only circumstances that I can think of as legitimate
              justification for war. I have heard other categories of reasons, but I do
              not accept them, and therefore I do not include them in my assumptions.

              2. Question: Do either of these assumptions apply to the relationship
              between the US and Iraq?
              I don't believe situation (a) can be seriously considered.
              That leaves situation (b). Has Iraq attacked us? Will Iraq
              attack us soon?

              3. The Threat:
              Officials of the Bush
              administration have claimed Iraq cooperates with Al-Qaeda, who attacked us.

              The evidence they have presented for that has not been convincing to me.
              That has not been the main claim. The main argument has been that Iraq
              posesses chemical and biological weapons, and that they will use them soon
              against us, whether on their own or in cooperation with a terrorist
              organization. It seems plausible to me that Iraq posesses these weapons.
              I have not heard any evidence that war is the only means by which we can
              prevent Iraq from attacking us with these weapons.

              4. Trust of the Administration:
              I also know that the Bush administration has much more
              information than I do. They are in a better position to decide whether war
              is the only way to prevent an attack. If they have convincing information,
              they have chosen not to make it public.

              5. Conclusion:
              The Bush administration has done nothing to win my trust concerning their
              decisions in foreign policy and security. In fact, most of their decisions
              since they came to power have led me to distrust them. Since I am not
              convinced of their judgment, I do not trust them to make this decision
              about going to war based on information that they do not share. I believe
              that we should not engage in a war unless and until our enemy is an
              immediate threat. I don't believe that is the case here. I believe that
              Michael Moore is correct to say that we are at war for "fictitious
              reasons."

              There is plenty more to talk about, but I've spent too much time thinking
              about this already.

              -Eric









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            • Vyrle Owens
              27 March 2003 Dear all, Not to change the subject or anything but just in case you may be interested in something of more permanent relevance than war, I just
              Message 6 of 12 , Mar 27, 2003
                27 March 2003

                Dear all,

                Not to change the subject or anything but just in case you may be
                interested in something of more permanent relevance than war, I just
                finished an outstanding book about soil and other things. Should be of
                particular interest to the natural resource and agriculture folks but
                also relevant to other interests as well.

                Hillel, Daniel J., "Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the
                Soil", 1991, The Free Press, New York


                Part 1 is "For Soil Thou Art"

                The final part is: "Unto Soil Shalt Thou Return"

                The Author is a professor at University of Massachusetts.

                Enjoy,

                Vyrle
              • Vyrle Owens
                27 April 2003 Dear everyone, We are planning a get-together, (picnic, potluck, barbecue/braii) for everyone who can come on Saturday, 21 June. Mid-morning to
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 27 9:26 PM
                  27 April 2003

                  Dear everyone,

                  We are planning a get-together, (picnic, potluck, barbecue/braii) for
                  everyone who can come on Saturday, 21 June. Mid-morning to late
                  afternoon.

                  Let us know if you will be in the neighborhood (Dayton, Oregon, not too
                  far from Portland) and come on by. More details and directions to
                  follow.

                  Vyrle and Dolly
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