War No More: The Case for Abolition

By David Swanson

Notes made by Russ Faure-Brac

February 2014

I. War Can Be Ended

  • Referring to a 1977 Hunger Project flyer: “At one time in history most people knew that:
    • The world was flat
    • The sun revolved around the earth
    • Slavery was an economic necessity
    • A four-minute mile was impossible
    • Polio and smallpox would always be with us
    • No one would ever set foot on the moon

All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.

  • Gallup polling indicates that in response to the budget crisis, after taxing the rich, the second most popular solution was cutting the military.
  • Slavery, blood feuds, duels, tar and feathering and other forms of social behavior have ended. The death penalty is on its way out in most nations. So war can also be ended also.
  • We don’t need to abolish all tools of war by next Thursday in order to commit to never fighting war again.

II. War Should Be Ended

  • The Department of Defense usually engages in acts of offense. While the best defense in sports may be offense, an offense in war is not defensive when it generates hatred and blowback. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan became major recruiting tools for anti-US terrorism. Each time a drone hits a tribesman, it creates more fighters for Al Qaeda.
  • What about Syria?
    • Rather than intervening in a country committing genocide, we should create a world in which such horrors are not likely to occur.
    • Nations like the US should adopt an even-handed policy towards human rights abuse.
    • Individuals, groups and governments should support nonviolent resistance to tyranny and abuse.
    • A government that goes to war against its own people should should be shamed, ostracized, prosecuted, sanctioned, reasoned with and moved in a peaceful direction.
    • The nations of the world should establish an international peace force independent of the interests of any nation engaged in military expansionism or staging troops and weapons in foreign countries.
    • You can’t use war to end war, judged by the first half-century the UN and NATO have used schemes of ending war through force.
    • The cost of wars is enormous, but it is dwarfed by the routine cost of preparing for wars.
    • The acceptability of war in our culture can be gauged by the unwillingness of large environmental groups to take on one of the most destructive forces in existence: the war machine. We cannot eliminate war without eliminating war preparations, which cannot be eliminated that    without eliminating the idea that a good war may come along some day.
    • You can recognize the misguided policies of decades that led to WWII and the imperialism of both sides as a product of their time. But that doesn’t mean we should be making plans to repeat either one.

III. War Is Not Going to End on its Own

  • Today war is bloodier than ever and the machinery in place to wage them is accepted as unquestionable or literally unnoticed.
  • War is not fading away. If we want to end war we will have to redouble our efforts and get many more people involved.

IV. We Have to End War

  • Ending war-making by the US and its allies would go a very long way toward ending war globally.
  • War support is often based on the idea of trusting and obeying presidents and other officials. We have an obedience problem.
  • Governments pretend to ignore activism, but activism has a greater effect on those in power than we realize.
  • We can’t just do nothing; it’s like obeying a deadly order.
  • We must create a moral movement against war and make war abolition the sort of cause that slavery abolition was – a coalition that can accomplish serious steps like restoring war powers to the legislative branch or cutting off weapon sales to dictators.
  • The United Nations should be made into a complete opponent of war.
  • The US is perfectly capable of enacting a Global Marshall Plan, or better, a Global Rescue Plan that could:
    • End hunger around the world
    • Provide the world with clean water
    • Eliminate major diseases, etc.

This would be one way to stop terrorism and make ourselves the most beloved people on the planet.

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