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1914 - 2014: Lessons Learned for Peace

Tuesday, 23 July 2013 09:42 By David Krieger, Truthout | Op-Ed

 American soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, search for signs of insurgents in a makeshift cave near the village of Lakaray, Afghanistan, April 14, 2013. (Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)American soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, search for signs of insurgents in a makeshift cave near the village of Lakaray, Afghanistan, April 14, 2013. (Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)

The wars of the last century have offered important lessons for peace.  Among these are:

Wars begin in the minds of men (and women) and are often based on the lies of leaders.

Wars can occur when they are not at all expected.

Politicians and generals send the young to fight and die.

Wars can consume entire generations of youth.

Wars are not heroic; they are bloody and terrifying.

Wars now kill more civilians than combatants.

Long-distance killing and drones make wars far less personal.

Any war today carries the risk of a nuclear conflagration and omnicide (the death of all).

The terms of peace after a war can plant seeds of peace or the seeds of the next war.

The best ways to prevent illegal war are nonviolent struggle and holding leaders accountable for the Nuremberg crimes: crimes against peace (aggressive war); war crimes; and crimes against humanity.

Lessons offered unfortunately do not necessarily translate into lessons learned.  Philosophers have warned that we must learn the lessons of the past if we are going to apply them to the present and change the future. In a nuclear-armed world, the challenge is made all the more urgent.  As Einstein warned, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”  Today, learning these lessons for peace and changing our modes of thinking to put them into practice are necessary to assure that there is a future. 

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

David Krieger

David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a consultant to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Readers can find more information on the Nuclear Zero lawsuits by the Marshall Islands and can support them at www.nuclearzero.org.

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1914 - 2014: Lessons Learned for Peace

Tuesday, 23 July 2013 09:42 By David Krieger, Truthout | Op-Ed

 American soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, search for signs of insurgents in a makeshift cave near the village of Lakaray, Afghanistan, April 14, 2013. (Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)American soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, search for signs of insurgents in a makeshift cave near the village of Lakaray, Afghanistan, April 14, 2013. (Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)

The wars of the last century have offered important lessons for peace.  Among these are:

Wars begin in the minds of men (and women) and are often based on the lies of leaders.

Wars can occur when they are not at all expected.

Politicians and generals send the young to fight and die.

Wars can consume entire generations of youth.

Wars are not heroic; they are bloody and terrifying.

Wars now kill more civilians than combatants.

Long-distance killing and drones make wars far less personal.

Any war today carries the risk of a nuclear conflagration and omnicide (the death of all).

The terms of peace after a war can plant seeds of peace or the seeds of the next war.

The best ways to prevent illegal war are nonviolent struggle and holding leaders accountable for the Nuremberg crimes: crimes against peace (aggressive war); war crimes; and crimes against humanity.

Lessons offered unfortunately do not necessarily translate into lessons learned.  Philosophers have warned that we must learn the lessons of the past if we are going to apply them to the present and change the future. In a nuclear-armed world, the challenge is made all the more urgent.  As Einstein warned, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”  Today, learning these lessons for peace and changing our modes of thinking to put them into practice are necessary to assure that there is a future. 

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

David Krieger

David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a consultant to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Readers can find more information on the Nuclear Zero lawsuits by the Marshall Islands and can support them at www.nuclearzero.org.

Related Stories

War as the Politics of Failure
By Cary Fraser, Truthout | Op-Ed
War and the Tragedy of the Commons
By H Patricia Hynes, Truthout | Series
War and Peace
By Clay Bennett, Chatanooga Times Free Press | Political Cartoon

Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus