The Soundbyte That Abolishes War

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, March 7, 2024

It’s been a long and circuitous search to find the handful of words that can end all warfare on Earth.

Living in the United States I was long tripped up by the “Excuse me, but WHAT ABOUT HITLER?” question.

I tried pointing out that the U.S. and British governments refused to rescue Nazis’ victims because they simply didn’t want them as immigrants, that the war could have been avoided, that Nazism could have been avoided, that the U.S. didn’t need to develop and promote the dangerous bunk science of eugenics, or the practice of racist segregation studied in the U.S. by the Nazis, or the practices of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and concentration of people on reservations emulated by the Nazis, that U.S. corporations didn’t need to fund and arm the Nazis, that the U.S. didn’t have to prioritize opposing the Soviet Union, didn’t have to develop the pledge of allegiance and the one-arm salute, didn’t have to welcome former Nazis into the U.S. military, didn’t have to engage in a mad arms race and build up to war with Japan, didn’t have to develop or use nuclear weapons, and that all of these horrors happened in a very different world from today’s. But intelligent people who have no idea any of this makes sense because they’ve never heard it before, want documentation, as they should, so they have to read a book.

At times I gave up the hunt and declared it unfair. Slavery abolitionists weren’t required to transform the worldview of enslavers with a single sentence. They were allowed endless lectures and books and plays and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Why shouldn’t we be allowed Lay Down Your Arms? But I persevered.

I tried taking on particular hot wars. For example:

Yes, the side you oppose — let’s say Russia — has engaged in hideous, murderous, criminal warmaking. But both sides could have had a better deal prior to the Russian invasion had the West treated the Minsk agreements seriously, or through the agreement rejected by the United States and United Kingdom in the early days of the invasion, or at any point in the ever-worsening murderous quagmire up until now. There is no superior result that can come from continuing rather than ending a war that increasingly risks nuclear apocalypse for us all. But one can’t just say that like Moses and be believed by people whose televisions and newspapers have spent years making such statements sound like the ravings of a lunatic. So, again, documentation is required.

Or, for example:

Yes, the side you oppose — let’s say Hamas/Palestine — has engaged in hideous, murderous, criminal warmaking. That simply isn’t any moral or legal or practical excuse for the Israeli government to have engaged in dramatically larger scale hideous, murderous, criminal warmaking both before and after one particular day last fall. Both sides are fueling a vicious cycle that makes both sides worse off. That’s not the way to peace. It’s been tested many thousands of times around the world for centuries, and it fails overwhelmingly. The solution to dueling wasn’t to make sure the correct idiot had a better gun, but to outgrow the barbarisn of dueling. The same is true with war.

But such statements always require more for anyone seriously pondering the topic. In fact, a voluminous website that debunks myths and explains rationales can be required. And even that can be insufficient.

My temptation, as a lover of books, has often been to give up on finding the soundbyte and suggest reading these:

The War Abolition Collection:

Abolishing the Military, by Griffin Manawaroa Leonard (Te Arawa), Joseph Llewellyn, Richard Jackson, 2023.
War Is Hell: Studies in the Right of Legitimate Violence, by C. Douglas Lummis, 2023.
The Greatest Evil Is War, by Chris Hedges, 2022.
Abolishing State Violence: A World Beyond Bombs, Borders, and Cages by Ray Acheson, 2022.
Against War: Building a Culture of Peace by Pope Francis, 2022.
Ethics, Security, and The War-Machine: The True Cost of the Military by Ned Dobos, 2020.
Understanding the War Industry by Christian Sorensen, 2020.
No More War by Dan Kovalik, 2020.
Strength Through Peace: How Demilitarization Led to Peace and Happiness in Costa Rica, and What the Rest of the World Can Learn from a Tiny Tropical Nation, by Judith Eve Lipton and David P. Barash, 2019.
Social Defence by Jørgen Johansen and Brian Martin, 2019.
Murder Incorporated: Book Two: America’s Favorite Pastime by Mumia Abu Jamal and Stephen Vittoria, 2018.
Waymakers for Peace: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Survivors Speak by Melinda Clarke, 2018.
Preventing War and Promoting Peace: A Guide for Health Professionals edited by William Wiist and Shelley White, 2017.
The Business Plan For Peace: Building a World Without War by Scilla Elworthy, 2017.
War Is Never Just by David Swanson, 2016.
A Global Security System: An Alternative to War by World Beyond War, 2015, 2016, 2017.
A Mighty Case Against War: What America Missed in U.S. History Class and What We (All) Can Do Now by Kathy Beckwith, 2015.
War: A Crime Against Humanity by Roberto Vivo, 2014.
Catholic Realism and the Abolition of War by David Carroll Cochran, 2014.
War and Delusion: A Critical Examination by Laurie Calhoun, 2013.
Shift: The Beginning of War, the Ending of War by Judith Hand, 2013.
War No More: The Case for Abolition by David Swanson, 2013.
The End of War by John Horgan, 2012.
Transition to Peace by Russell Faure-Brac, 2012.
From War to Peace: A Guide To the Next Hundred Years by Kent Shifferd, 2011.
War Is A Lie by David Swanson, 2010, 2016.
Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace by Douglas Fry, 2009.
Living Beyond War by Winslow Myers, 2009.
The Collapse of the War System: Developments in the Philosophy of Peace in the Twentieth Century by John Jacob English, 2007.
Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror, and War by Mary-Wynne Ashford with Guy Dauncey, 2006.
Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War by Rosalie Bertell, 2001.
Nonkilling Global Political Science by Glenn D. Paige 2000.
Boys Will Be Boys: Breaking the Link Between Masculinity and Violence by Myriam Miedzian, 1991.

Then it struck me, a bolt of inspiration. There is a single soundbyte with the power to abolish war and bring about a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

Are you ready?

Here it is:

Read One of Those Books After Dinner Every Day and Call Me in the Awakening.

One Response

  1. Thank you all SOOOOOO much. I REALLY NEEDED THIS!!!!!. I will begin reading from the list above and enlighten myself. Great Gratitude for all the authors and books mention.
    In Peace & Great Gratitude,

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