ADDICTED TO WAR: IS THERE ANY CURE?

COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 4 Dec 2009

Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.

The word “addicted” is derived from the Latin word “addictum” meaning to devote or dedicate oneself to a specified objective, which may be beneficial or disastrous to us and to others. For example, we may be addicted to work hard to alleviate human suffering around the world. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and all the great saints in history, who spent their lives helping others in all of their needs, are very much admired for their humanitarian contributions to society. This may be viewed as positive and constructive addiction.

Good Intentions Not Enough

At the same time, those that pursue a path that eventually leads to great suffering and to the destruction of the infra-structure of nations become very dangerous to the people of our communities and the world at large. Since human beings tend to be like a coin with two sides, we may expect to observe in them, in a number of instances, a mixture of both good and evil.  While we need to retain anything that is good in us, we need to eliminate from us anything that is viewed as bad and disastrous. This is our real challenge in life.

Good intentions are not enough, since we are all familiar with the traditional saying that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Following the collapse of communism, the United States emerged to become the sole world-power on earth in terms of its advanced technology. Unfortunately, instead of using its resources to eliminate so much human suffering in the world as revealed in hunger, diseases of every kind, and homelessness, in addition to others, this nation embarked on one of the largest military build-up in history.

In the meantime, the military industrial complex has become the most lucrative business that ever existed in the entire 6,000 years of recorded history. We need to keep in mind that the United States is viewed as the seat of world capitalism where the motto is: “The sky is not the limit.” This means that the ultimate goal is to make more and more money with no end in sight. The tragedy with this lies in the fact that whatever comes in the way is literally demolished. It would not make any difference if these were to be objects or people.

When the means chosen to achieve a specific objective are intrinsically bad and we continue to pursue such means at all costs, then we have here a serious vicious addiction. In other words, we become categorically devoted or dedicated to the pursuit of evil by all means. The capitalists’ most effective weapon to use without having to be accountable to anyone is war. Ironically, Mexicans who come to the USA to make constructive contributions, while being paid hardly anything, are viewed by many as “illegal” and somewhat “dishonest” people.

Military Warfare above the Law

At the same time, the entrance of Americans into another country without any permission and whose purpose is not to make constructive contributions but to destroy the infrastructure of cities and have many innocent people killed or maimed, is termed as “legal,” and “appropriate” like with the case of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Such Americans are viewed as soldiers, as if such a professional description gives them the authority or power to break any kind of law whatsoever as they please and without any accountability.

In 2002, Frank Dorrel, published an important book which was illustrated by Joel Andreas. It is entitled: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can’t Kick Militarism. This book of merely 77 pages shows clearly that the United States, since its early days of existence, has developed a conspicuous addiction to war, a lethal habit that almost makes it next to impossible to really get over it. But we should not be discouraged because everything is possible if we sincerely try to do our very best with determination and perseverance.

For copies of this book contact Frank Dorrel, P.O. Box 3261, Culver City, CA 90231-3261, USA, Phone: 310-838-8131, E-Mail: fdorrel@sbcglobal.net or fdorrel@addictedtowar.com This book may be previewed on the following Website: www.addictedtowar.com You are very welcome to order at bulk rates, which is relatively cheap. This book is made available in Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Danish and German. It has been very widely diffused across the United States and around the world.

This book starts with an enlightening introduction and followed by a few chapters covering the following topics: manifestation destiny, the Cold War, the New World Order, the War on Terrorism, the War Profiteers, the high price of Militarism, Militarism and the Media, Resisting Militarism, and how to become involved in helping bring the addiction to war under full control. We will now proceed to examine the American phenomenal addiction to war revealed over the last decade as it started by US President George W. Bush and now continued by US President Barack Obama.

This US addiction to war is characteristic not of the American people as a whole but of several US government officials in general, who keep on defying the vast majority of the American people, even though constitutionally the ultimate power in the United States lies in the hands of the people. Let us bring one example of how the US government’s addiction to war defies the very same people this government proclaims to serve. We all recall the demonstrations that Americans held periodically against the Iraqi war.

U.S. People Demanding Peace

If we recall, in each of such demonstrations Americans demanded emphatically from their government to pull all American troops out of Iraq and to bring them home without any delay. The U.S. Republican government, under President George Bush, kept on ignoring the peoples’ demand for an eventual pull out of such troops. When the mid-term elections came, the Americans very determinedly ousted all the Republicans from both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives and the Democrats became a majority over night.

Did President Bush get the message for the eventual pull out of US troops from Iraq? In no way! A few weeks later, he defied the American people he swore to serve by sending more thousands of troops to Iraq to continue with the destruction of cities and the eventual killing and maiming of numerous more innocent Iraqis. This was not due, as some have pointed out, that President Bush was deep inside an evil man. It was due to the US government addiction to war that has been going on for virtually two centuries!

The phenomenal American addiction to war is based on machismo consisting of trying to convince other nations that in dealing with the USA, you better do what this nation demands, otherwise you will regret it by being seriously hurt unnecessarily. This addiction to war has emerged to become a very serious problem. This bad habit tends to be covered up with carefully elaborated phraseology and statements, such as: “national defense and security,” and “better we fight the enemies in their own country rather than in ours.”

The problem with this addiction to war mentality lies here. When in World War II the USA fought the Germans and the Japanese, the Americans knew whom they were fighting. Today, the US government came with the slogan: “War on terrorism!” The questions that need to be raised are these: Who are the terrorists? What is their nationality? Where are they located? There are no clear cut answers to such questions. The typical way to avoid such questions is found in the reply that President Bush once gave: “Those that are not with us are against us!” This means: “Do it our own way or we view you as the enemy!

Is there any cure for such a serious and dangerous addiction? The answer is a qualitative yes without the least shadow of a doubt. It would be a total contradiction for all those who may tend to believe that the best way to bring the United States under control is through a carefully planned war. We must keep in mind that, in the sphere of morality, two negatives do not make a positive. Two dead men make two dead men. They will never make one living man. The US addiction to war can be brought totally under control only if all of those who feel really concerned and conscientious will try to do something about it.

Center for Defense Information

The Center for Defense Information in Washington, DC is composed of retired top US military officials who were brought together several years ago to explore ways that would enable the United States get rid of its war addiction. They have made numerous videotapes of about 30 minutes each to enable people see into proper perspective the realities that surround them with as much accuracy and truthfulness as possible. They firmly believe that the first duty of politicians is to do their best to solve all problems encountered through healthy and constructive dialogues.

A few years ago, I managed to visit this Center for Defense Information in Washington DC and I spent the whole day with Ret. Rear Admiral Eugene O’Carroll who had visited Cuba a few times and made some positive and constructive videos on this peaceful neighboring country. We discussed the need for the military to start being used for positive and constructive purposes, that is, from a destructive organization to a humanitarian agency. Among other videos, I secured the following whose name speaks for their content:

1) Arming Dictators, a threat to their people and neighboring nations.

2) Military Nuclear Mess, radioactive waste that is dangerous to all of us.

3) The Language of War, ambiguities to keep people unaware of realities.

4) Why Military Spending goes up? Not the nation’s defense but profit.

5) Ending Cold War Freeze in Cuba, since it is in not a threat to the USA.

6) Welfare for Weapons Dealers? They seek not security but money.

7) Lifting the Veil of Military Secrecy, like dangerous military operations.

8) Defense Jobs at Economy Expense, such jobs harm the civilian economy.

9) Conversation with Noam Chomsky, weapons as the enemy of peace.

10) Costs of NATO Expansion, costing us over $200 billion dollars.

11) Child Soldiers – Invisible Combatants, forced to fight and kill badly. 12) Media and Image of War, myths about war, peace and weapons.

Anyone is welcome to visit the Center for Defense Information, which is now being known mostly by the name, World Security Institute. They provide good literature and excellent material that are hopefully geared toward the provision of a cure to this US addiction to war. To this end, one may get in touch with Mr. Andrew Portocarrero, Executive Vice President, World Security Institute, Center for Defense Information, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA, Phone: 202-797-5382.

International Nuclear Disarmament

Several months ago, a group from this Center went to Russia and other European nations that are armed with nuclear weapons to become involved in promoting an international program of total nuclear disarmament. This would be a gigantic step toward the achievement of a genuine world peace on a global scale. The world will be much safer if every single country will have no nuclear weapons than if many countries are eventually equipped with such dangerous items. In his recent trip to Asia, President Barack Obama emphasized his goal of seeing a world free of any nuclear weapons by all means.

However, in spite of his good intentions, President Obama cannot do what he believes would be in the best interest of the USA and the world at large. This is due to the fact that he is leading a nation that has been addicted to war for some 200 years already. Addiction is a disease, which may become fatal unless properly controlled. This US President must keep in mind that the American people elected him as their President because they were really sick with previous administrations all of them proved to be addicted to war in one way or another.

Obama promised to bring about change by shifting from a foreign diplomacy that is based on threats and fear, as well as on struggles and wars to one that is based on a strong diplomacy through healthy dialogues and mutual respect. To this end, he promised to meet with any world leader to discuss everything on basis of mutual interest and security with no pre-conditions. In other words, Obama has advocated that the traditional culture of war should be replaced by the culture of peace. War should never be an option any longer.

Needless to say, soon after he took the US presidency he discovered that he cannot implement his peace agenda without the support of those who surround him and without the endorsement of the members of the US Congress. There were those who advocated peace through the provision of humanitarian assistance everywhere. There were also those who advocated the continuation of military force as to achieve our US objectives fast and smooth. Of course, this latter one has never worked for a long period of time.

Besides, we have to keep in mind that Barack Obama was elected as US President because he promised to bring the unpopular Iraqi war to an end and to get the US troops out of this country by all means. After virtually a whole year in office as US President, the US troops are still in Iraq and, relative to Afghanistan he chose to follow the footsteps of the previous US President George W. Bush by sending to Afghanistan 30,000 more US troops. It is obvious that he took this step to keep the political hawks on his side. In this case, Obama chose the traditional way of doing things over the courage to take a different route as he promised.

President Obama’s Dilemma

Instead of bringing home all US troops from Afghanistan and get out from there like the Russians did before him, he chose to become more deeply involved in this messy war. This US addiction to war is making the average American literally very nervous. This political figure that brought Americans so much hope during his presidential campaign with an ardent expectation for real change, is now acting differently. This is certainly not good for the morale of the American people. To say the least, it is very frustrating and disappointing.

However, we should not give up. There is hope and all that we need is for all of us to become involved in replacing the US culture of war with the culture of peace. Based on discussions that went on among many humanitarian and peace organizations, and even among many veterans and several retired military officials, the following steps may be taken to eventually replace effectively the US culture of war with the culture of peace. Let us enlist some leading groups and what they could do. They are not enlisted in any specific order.

Role of Clergymen –While US clergymen preach the “sacredness of life from conception to natural death,” their infatuation with the abortion concept force them to ignore the value of life that starts with birth. This is due to their support of politicians who proclaim to be against abortion while, at the same time, for more weapons and wars. Such clergymen must keep in mind the commandment: “You should not kill.” It applies to both the life of the unborn and born alike. Pro-life politicians pushing for weapons and wars may be viewed as mass murderers.

Role of Physicians – The primary job of physicians is to make sure that people enjoy good health. They should get involved in the problem of air and water pollution as it stems from the military industrial complex. They need to condemn actions that endanger the lives of millions of people, even when caused by their government. It is ironic that such government officials claim to do this for the security of the nation, when they are killing brutally their citizens by letting them become victims of cancer and other diseases as a result.

Role of Teachers – We may state with certainty that teaching is among the best professions in the world. Teachers are assumed to have all necessary knowledge that relates to the area they are assigned to teach. Although at times it is quite frustrating, in the long range this profession is very rewarding. Our best hopes for a better world are ingrained in the future generations, which are under our full care. Hence, teachers should encourage students to become involved in becoming a part of the solution and not the problem. This is done by doing anything that is constructive and by avoiding anything that is destructive.

Role of Parents – All parents should give top priority on their children not from the moment of birth but from the moment of conception. They should eat right, that is, nourishing food while avoiding anything that is junk cooked in saturated fat and fried. Their healthy or unhealthy food will eventually affect the lives of their children. The absence of alcohol and smoking is imperative. Many parents with such habits lead their children quite often to surmountable health problems.
Above all, they should make sure to raise them in a culture of peace atmosphere.

Role of Politicians –In every country we may have good and honest as well as bad and dishonest politicians. We have to size them up not by their words but by their eventual actions. If they put the bulk of money on the good health, proper education, and adequate homes for the people, then we know with certainty we do have good politicians. However, if they put in the total yearly national budget more money on weapons and wars, then we should conclude with absolute certainty that they are a disaster, a malignant tumor on the face of the nation.

Role of Peace Organizations – These organizations are often described as humanitarian groups whose ultimate goal is to alleviate human suffering with any available means. Their objective is to find out what is wrong with our earthly society and then to provide constructive means to replace the culture of war that brought so much pain with the culture of peace, which always brought joy to people. They are expected to be very vocal in praising anything that is conducive to the welfare of all people and in condemning anything that is bad, that is, conducive to the destruction of people, like with the case of weapons and wars.

Role of Veterans and Military Officials – This group may prove to be an asset in creating world peace. Many of them witnessed the brutality of war, which leads us nowhere. They could advocate the transformation of the military from an institution of destruction to an institution of construction that could concentrate on building, rather than destroying, hospitals, schools and housing facilities for people everywhere. They should also become a major voice in demanding the closure of all military bases overseas. The billions of dollars wasted on such bases could then be used to improve drastically the lives of all Americans.

Role of War Industry Workers -The weapons industry need not to panic of going out of business. The product could be simply changed from manufacturing tanks for soldiers to manufacturing tractors for farmers. War construction companies could simply become peace construction companies by building houses for people instead of barracks for soldiers. It is incomprehensible to find those who believe that the presence of the military exists to bring about peace! Let us face it. The military always existed to wage wars. It is the only leading organization in the world that tries to achieve its goals through the creation of fear and paranoia.

Role of Businessmen – Quite often, those in the business profession tend to make money as the ultimate goal of their life. For money several chose even to risk their lives. No wonder why the Master Teacher of Nazareth told us “that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Businessmen are subject to a Code of Ethics, which demands respect for the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law, both viewed as God-made laws. They should never become involved in a business which provides weapons to destroy the property of others and kill innocent people.

Role of the News Media – The news media has become very powerful for it can influence millions of people for the better or the worse. Unfortunately, those that control the news media do not try to give news to the people to let them know what is going on in the nation and the world. The news media, especially in the United States, is used by the owners to twist around facts and events to put people on alert with fear as to force them see things the way such owners want. Here we have dishonesty at work, which carries destructive results.

Role of All Nations – If all the nations continue to remain silent when confronted with this US addiction to war, there will be not much that could be done. For any nation to become knowingly an integral part of the US addiction to war is deplorable and disgraceful. One drastic step all nations should take to help the United States be cured from this fatal addiction is to help this nation to replace its culture of war with the culture of peace. This could be done by demanding all US military bases on their respective territories to be closed down immediately.

The United States certainly suffers from a bad addiction that has proven to be detrimental. Today, not only the American people have literally become sick of their nation’s addiction to war, but the world at large as well. All nations have an obligation to put pressure on the USA to do away with weapons and wars. The NATO countries made a big mistake in becoming involved into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All US troops should be pulled out without further delay. Once we manage to find a cure for this US addiction to war, the 21st century may likely to go down in history as the century of peace.

___________________________

Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.:
President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, NGO Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 Dec 2009.

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