Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:43:41 +0000



By Donald  Chanda

Some historical account tells us that on 12th June, 1982, there was a big political demonstration that took place in Central Park, New York city. People gathered to express their determination to bring an end to the arms race.

The account further says scientists who had worked on the atomic bomb added their voices to the growing movement. That one of them, George Kistiakowsky, a Harvard University chemistry professor, who had worked on the first atomic bomb and later was science advisor to President Eisenhaver, became a spokesman for the disarmament movement. His last public remarks before his death from cancer at the age of eighty-two were in an editorial for the bulleting of atomic scientists in 1982. He stated, “I tell you as my parting words, forget the channels. There is simply not enough time left before the world explodes. Concentrate instead of organizing with so many others of like mind, a mass movement for peace such as there has not been before”.

When President Jimmy Carter, responding to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan called for the registration of young men for a military draft, more than 800, 000 men (10percent) failed to register. Anti-militarist feelings expressed themselves in many ways.

One of the young men who refused to register wrote in an open letter to President Carter, “Dear Mr. President, on July 23rd 1980, I am expected to report to my local post office for the purpose of registering with the selective service system. I hereby inform you, Mr. President that I will not register on July 23rd or at any time thereafter… we have tried militarism and it has failed the human race in every way imaginable”.

The young man who refused to register was not the only one. A mother wrote to the New York Time, “I survived the great guns and with every smile of my son, they grow smaller. It is not for me, sir to offer my sons blood as lubricant for the next generation of guns. I remove myself and my own from the cycle of death”.

The cold war era is over, when the military buildup in the USA and the Soviet Union posed the greatest threat to mankind. However, what is clearly not over is military violence by various states, the USA, among them. Violence begets violence, history of the world has shown us. Durable peace therefore cannot be built on or by the wheels of violence, either at home or abroad. The arms race may have subsided but military buildup continues, this time with even more lethal technologies. National budgets by various Governments seem to be disproportionately in favour of the Nation Defense Systems.

The kind of national systems we have today have declared democracy, yet practice tyranny, emancipation and justice on paper and yet in reality, in defense of the controllers of state systems. It is emancipation without freedom or at best, prescribed freedom. It is democracy to those who have while the have nots harvest only admirations. It is justice to those who can command it, and injustice to those who are commanded.

Mr. President, take a look at the various historical points and actions in society and where the USA went wrong, you have a chance to correct the position and do the right thing. In his book in 1984, George Orwell (Eric Blair) wrote that the Ministry of Defense was also responsible for war while the Ministry of Justice was also responsible or injustice by violating the rights of the very people they were supposed to protect. The voices of the various Americans and other nations of the world are calling for peace, calling for human needs of food, shelter, education and health, not military hardware and guns. You have a duty, Mr. President, stop the militaristic psychosis that has characterized the American ruling system. Turn to wealth creation for all, as the greatest security for all. Development for wil ultimately be the best security for all.

When the then, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Medline Albright (1996) was asked about the report that, “a half million children have died as a result of sanctions against Iraq. That is more children than those that died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it? Albright replies, “I think this is a very hard choice but the price we think the price is worth it.”

The US punitive, militaristic foreign policy which has led to military installations in countries are all over the globe has, in a number of cases aroused anger and led to terroristic reactions. The response the USA has had is to hit back with greater force, whether at a country or terrorist individuals or groups. The main engine for arms and more arms lies with the US industries that manufacture defense weapons and guns. A former defense official under Reagan, but later a critic of arms sales wrote, “It has become a money game, an absurd spiral in which we export arms only to have to develop more sophisticated ones to counter those spread out all over the world.”

Mr. President, I recall your words during the campaign that you will not let America go to war unless it is absolutely necessary. But already, one month in your administration, you have threatened some nations, among them, North Korea. The danger of US threats are that it can lead to war. When you look at the recent history of the US involvement in wars outside its boundaries, it is only the case of Vietnam. Afhagnistan, Iraqi, Somalia, Phillipines, East Timor, Libya, El Salvado and Guetamata on the continent itself, but involvements everywhere which has created the image of America as a war-machine-gun pointing at every other nation, big and small. Nations have reacted, many negatively or silently to this image. Instead re-direct the American sophisticated military technologies to the production of food, medicines, to education of the globe, to better housing for the various slum dwellers across the world.

This action Mr. President will create peace at home in America by creating jobs in industries that build humanity rather than destroy it. America can export more products. American companies can export more productive technologies to other nations instead of military equipment and guns. American companies will create employment in other nations, which will generate incomes in other nations which will generate incomes, new productive knowledge and create a new image of a Great America that you want. But this great America will have the image of a peace building productive and prosperous America. A positive image of America.

Mr. President, once again, take a look at the past, correct where your predecessors went wrong. Do the right thing for America and the world. Do more of the good things your predecessors did. That is what will make America the great nation you want it to be.


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