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Waging Peace
by Charles Keil
Submitted 10/01/01

I'm all for enduring freedoms here and worldwide. I'm for finite human justice, "patient justice" (Bush) as a path toward peace, and Gaia's Infinite Justice too. I want terrorists, war criminals, mass murderers of all sorts turned over to a world court for trials and punishment. Sometimes I can think I'm on the same page with key slogans in a Bush speech and the shifts in overall administration rhetoric often seem to be seeking a better direction, a proper multilateral response, an alliance that will work. I would really like to feel unified with my fellow Americans and with world citizens who are seeking justice, freedom, freedom from fear, peace, democracy, all the good goals.

But it's called "America's New War" in the corporate sponsored media campaign. "War" of some kind is just assumed by our politicians to be the obvious response to this terrorism. It is not.

None of the possibly good reasons for air strikes or sending in an army or police force to stop genocide, to stop fascist aggression can be applied here. And, perhaps more important, none of the bad or greedy reasons for war apply either. This time we can NOT protect our oil supplies in the Middle East by going to war. This time we can NOT revive our economy and world capitalism by going to war. This time we can NOT win or control "the enemy," claim enemy turf or destroy the enemy's capacity for violence with conventional or unconventional warfare. They are not located in any one place. They are few and far between. Many small needles in many very big haystacks. What if we got super lucky and hit Sammy B. Laden and his entire gang with the very first bomb dropped somewhere? Instant Martyrs inspiring generations of terrorists. His tapes will be dubbed and distributed widely. Even if the very first miraculous mission by special forces brought a bunch of terrorists back alive in some heliocopters for a fair trial? We still could not possibly win a war against terrorism.

The suicidal maniacs are spread around. Could be anywhere. Are everywhere. They don't need orders or a plan from a center anywhere. They need $3 box cutters. They don't need to know how to take off or land. They need $100 to bribe the guy who gives licenses to carry hazardous materials in a truck. Under present circumstances any terrorists caught or rounded up can easily be replaced. And with a war of any kind, many more terrorists are likely to be produced. And not only from a few dozen countries in the Muslim world. It only takes two (Tim M. and his friend), or a few pals, or even just one person home alone (Ted K.), a tiny splinter group from a Chinese cult or a Japanese clique, a few smart skinheads in Dresden or Budapest, an angry little cell or faction within any one of almost 200 nationalist states or within any of the over 1000 ethnic groups oppressed within those nationalist states angry Kurds, angry Tutsi, angry East Timorese, angry Basques, angry any one person anywhere.

Any one person on the planet who has seen so much suffering and injustice that those delicate threads of compassion that bind us all to each other have snapped, can devise a scheme for bringing down a building or destroying a communications center or poisoning a water supply or turning an area the size of Pennsylvania into a nuclear desert or spreading a bacteria that can destroy 20% of humanity, or 90% of humanity, or 100% of humanity. Why would someone who is committing suicide care whether he is taking 6000 people, 6 million people or 6 billion people with him? Ecology. Eco- means home. We are now living in one home and if one of us goes crazy and/or gets angry and/or has the wrong interpretation of a holy book, it can hurt us all.

Once you put yourself to sleep counting angries jumping over security fences, then you can wake up and starting counting crazies. And when you have finished with angry man scenarios, and crazy man scenarios, think of the angry and crazy women who can bring down half the sky more easily than men -- would a cute, blond farmgirl-looking pilot have any trouble renting a crop duster tomorrow? Plus religious fanatics. And don't forget accidents, the random perversity of animate and inanimate objects.

War won't work any more at all and terrorism will work better and better with every passing day, because of one very simple fact: increasing complexity.

Let me repeat it a few times for emphasis, because it is a fact that doesn't seem to be registering quickly enough with the Overcentralized Intelligence Agency and our leaders.

War won't work any more at all, and terrorism will work better and better with every passing day, because of one very simple fact: increasing complexity.

War won't work any more at all, and terrorism will work better and better with every passing day, because of one very simple fact: increasing complexity.

The system has become too complex, too intertwined, too vulnerable in over a million ways. You, whoever you are reading this, have already imagined in your head at least 2 or 3 ways in which one person acting alone, or just a few people acting together, could produce a more horrible day for the USA than what happened on Sept. 11.

Once the global economy, global communications, global resource depletions, global invention of new chemicals, global productions of new bacteria, new viruses, new prions, new technologies for spreading everything to everyone (make that 2 simple facts, increasing complexity and lots more bioengineered bad stuff) have gotten to the stage we reached on Sept. 11, all the big tech war machinery is worse than useless. Box cutters or bare hands or a single piece of disinformation or misinformation, or a wandering gene, can do amazing damage as the impact ripples through the complex intertwined system (ever more filled with bioengineered bad stuff). All the B1, B2, B3 bombers and aircraft carriers in the world can't stop it. Nor can ground troops.

What can we do? We can declare peace anytime. Enact peace. Be peace. Each of us. Now. And as we transform ourselves we transform the military industrial oil based economy into a peacetime sustainable economy. Some will do this out of idealism or religious obligation or from spiritual awakening. Others will do this out of pragmatism and realpolitik. Machiavellian motivation to seize whatever power remains might easily motivate peace work at this time. Honest patriotism and just wanting to do something could bring millions of Americans to a peace and justice plan of action. Because war just won't work anymore. Too big, too expensive, too cumbersome, too much "collateral damage," too much environmental devastation, and too much trauma passed down the generations with bad physical and mental health effects on grandchildren who might become terrorists 50 years from now. War won't work against terrorism. Peace will. Waging peace will create jobs. Waging peace will pump up the economy. Waging peace will bring European and Japanese investors back to America. Waging peace will make friends and trading partners for America throughout the globe. Waging peace will put capital to work in productive, life affirming, sustainable ways that solve the major problems of our times. Waging war in this new era does the opposite of all this. Loss of jobs. Loss of overseas investors. Loss of capital. Loss of trading possibilities. Rippling losses in all directions. We can do comprehensive peace work in place of a stupid war that can only be a loss-loss-loss-loss situation.

Waging peace will stop terrorism the only way it can be stopped, by giving everyone a minimum but absolutely necessary faith in the way things work: mass murderers will be brought to justice, the biggest thieves will be caught, justice will be witnessed in the light of public space and people will be able to "keep the faith" just enough to not want to commit suicide while taking a lot of people with them. Probably the rich will still be rich, the poor will still be poor and always with us, the size of middle classes will continue to fluctuate in a sustainable peace time global economy. But we can't afford obscene wealth and conspicuous consumption any more because it incites terrorism. And we can't afford grinding poverty and famines any more because it incites terrorism.

No gaurantees here. But we can try to heal the angries, soothe the crazies, defuse fanaticism, pray that no serious accidents will happen as the already released pollutants combine in new ways, as the already released radiation speeds up mutation, as the already bioengineered creatures make their way thru the environment and start shaping an evolutionary process that used to be Gaia's alone.

We need about $225-250 billion a year to give the world exactly what it wants (see below), to actually save the world, to end terrorism, to move into sustainable economics and a balanced ecology, to have the broad parameters for peace and justice in place.

Selling off half of GE's stock value (500 Billion) would pay for it the first year. Coca Cola is capitalized at around 110 to 130 Billion. Pepsi is worth 60 Billion. Cash in the sugar water kings to pay for the second year. Things could go much better.

Or a billionaires club of 50 of the world's richest individuals could contribute 200 billion each year and they would all still be billionaires next year.

Or we could ask each country with a big military budget to give the world a third of their military spending. They would still have 550 billion to waste on useless war machinery and armies that no longer have any place to go.

One way or another, I know we can find the money.

We have to find it all because waging peace MUST be comprehensive on all fronts. If we leave one world problem unsolved, that will cause serious terrorism eventually.

A few years ago (1997) the World Game Institute identified 18 fronts and proposed 18 detailed strategies, putting an annual price tag on each to achieve "What the World Wants." Go to their page or website from here for the more detailed strategies. Do the math. Write your congressperson. It's a finite and doable list and I think every country in the United Nations would be happy to help; they'd be embarrassed not to.

The contradictions, the laws of supply and demand, the invisible hand of the market, the evening news, a very vivid, practical and completely non-utopian vision of how happy people would be reforesting, saving topsoil, feeding all the children it all tells me the same thing: everything points toward comprehensive peace-making now, or maybe never.

Here's a short list of problems and very approximate costs to solve them as of 1997:
1 Eliminate Starvation and Malnourishment 19 Billion per year for ten years
2A Provide Health Care for All 15 Billion per year for ten years
2B Provide Special Child Health Care
2C Iodine Deficiency Program
2D AIDS Prevention and Control Program
3 Eliminate Inadequate Housing and Homelessness 21 Billion per year for ten years
4 Provide Clean and Abundant Water 10 Billion per year for ten years
5 Eliminate Illiteracy 5 Billion a year for ten years
6 Increase Energy Efficiency 33 Billion per year for ten years
7 Increase Renewable Energy 17 Billion per year for ten years
8 Debt Management 30 Billion per year for ten years
9 Stabilize Population 11 Billion per year for ten years
10 Preserving Cropland 24 Billion per year for ten years
11 Reversing Deforestation 7 Billion per year for ten years
12 Reverse Ozone Depletion 5 Billion per year for twenty years
13 Stop Acid Rain 8 Billion per year for ten years
14 Reverse Global Warming 8 Billion per year for twenty years
15 Removal of Landmines 2 Billion per year for ten years
16 Refugee Relief 5 Billion per year for ten years
17 Eliminating Nuclear Weapons 7 Billion a year for 10 years
18 Building Democracy 2 Billion a year for ten years
See World Game Institute pages for the specific strategies and costs.
Note: You could do 15 or 18 for less than it costs to build one B-2 bomber or for less than one half of what the US spends on perfume each year or for 0.025 % of the world's annual military expenditures.

Are we serious about Enduring Freedom and "patient justice" or not?

© Copyright Charles Keil 2001
You may freely post, reproduce, publish or forward this essay as long as you do so in its entirety, including this copyright notice. If you edit this essay or quote from it, please indicate clearly that you did so.


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