Peace Something we can all agree on

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Something we can all agree on

Who would argue that war is more desirable than peace? …that any ideology – call it “democracy”, call it “new world order” – is worth more than the lives of innocent children, other victims of war, or our troops? … Surely none of us would support such an idea.

… Surely all of us, whatever our particular political or religious convictions might be, wish to see our entire world free of war. Since “Peace on Earth” is the theme for this Season of the year, let’s pause to focus on what some of our greatest thinkers and leaders have said about –

War and Peace

Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1783: “There was never a good war, or a bad peace.”
In 1787, Thomas Jefferson expressed the desire for our country to have “peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the nation in one of his last fireside chats: “When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries is in danger.” (1945)
With World War II ended, United Nations leaders, looking toward a day when war would be no more, wrote: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” (UNESCO Constitution, 1946)
U.S. Senator Adlai Stevenson, during an interval of peace for our country, said: “Making peace is harder than making war.” (1956)
Upon accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., declared: “Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood.” (December 10, 1964)

Dr. King spoke out against the Vietnam War at New York’s Riverside Church. There, exactly one year to the day before he was murdered, he said: “There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.” (April 4, 1967)

The Nature of Peace

Perhaps no one has stated it better than did Mexican President Benito Juárez almost 1-½ centuries ago when he said:

El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.”

(“Respect for the rights of others is peace.”)

The Cost of War

Senator Hiram Johnson, speaking to the U.S. Senate in 1917, said: “The first casualty when war comes is truth.”
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, on the eve of World War II: “In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers.”
With much of that war behind us in 1944, retired U.S. President Herbert Hoover reflected: “Older men declare war, but it is youth that must fight and die.”
Half a century ago Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker movement, considered by many to be one of the greatest Americans of our times, wrote: “Wars today involve total destruction, obliteration bombing, killing of the innocent, the stockpiling of atom and hydrogen bombs. When one is drafted for such war, when one registers for the draft for such a war, when one pays income tax, eighty per cent of which goes to support such war, or works where armaments are made, one is participating in this war. We are all involved in war these days. War means hatred and fear. Love casts out fear.” (The Catholic Worker, February 1954, 1, 7)
How much have things really changed since then? During this Season of Peace, even with Saddam Hussein now in captivity, we would all do well to give serious thought to this question. To help us think – and to keep truth from becoming “the first casualty of war” – our local libraries are full of titles like these. Why not check out one or two for your Holiday reading this year?
A People’s History of the United States ·

A Problem From Hell · Affluenza · Alternative Economic Globalization ·

At War With Ourselves · Bias · Buzzsaw · Corporateering ·

Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy · Corporate Planet · Courting Disaster

Culture Jam · Dude, Where’s My Country? · Endgame · Full Spectrum Dominance ·

Globalization and Its Discontents · Hope Dies Last · Implicating Empire · Infectious Greed·

Keeping Faith in Difficult Times · Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them ·Lost Liberties

Lost Rights · Manufacturing Consent · Media Control · New Rulers of the World

Overruling Democracy · Pity the Nation ·Power and Terror · Power Politics

Profits Over People · Propaganda · Selling Out · Soul of a Citizen ·

Take it Personally - How to Make Conscious Choices to Change the World ·

Taking America Back · The Best Democracy Money Can Buy ·

The Case Against the Global Economy · The Globalization Syndrome · The Great Unraveling · The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media · The Iraq War Reader ·

The Lies of George Bush · The New Nuclear Danger · The Threat From Within ·

The War on the Bill of Rights · Thieves in High Places · Towards A New Cold War·

Trust Us, We’re Experts · War Talk· Ways to Win · Weapons of Mass Deception

The Urgency of Peace

On the eve of his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stressed the need for a choice: “Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence.”

(“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Memphis, Tenn., April 3, 1968)

Join Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice for weekly peace vigils at Middletown Rd. & Rt. 59 in Nanuet, every Saturday 1-3 pm. For info: or call the Fellowship of Reconciliation at 358-4601.

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