Sunday, October 28, 2007


by David Hazen
(529 words)

The cost of interpersonal violence in the USA added to the cost of US military involvement in violent conflict amounts to at least $1.1 trillion per year. If one percent of that were spent on prevention strategies and the benefits re-invested in continuing improvements to human security, how many years would it take to create a "peace dividend" of $1.1 trillion?

The 2005 Human Security Report: War and Peace in the 21st Century, published by Oxford University Press, shows that most forms of political violence have declined significantly since the end of the Cold War––and finds that the best explanation for this decline is the huge upsurge of conflict prevention, resolution and peace-building activities that were spearheaded by the United Nations in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Traditional security policy emphasizes military muscle. The proponents of human security have focused on preventive diplomacy, conflict management, post–conflict peace-building, building state capacity, and promoting equitable economic development.

There are strong similarities between the supportive strategies for promoting peace on the international scene to the strategies for prevention of interpersonal violence. Both are heavily dependent on communication and education, as well as on inclusion into economic markets ...

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David Hazen, MA in systematic design-planning, lives in Eugene, and is the Oregon State Coordinator for the campaign to establish a U.S. Department of Peace.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our History Teaches: Lessons from Vietnam and the American Revolution

Thomas J. Humphrey
(810 words)

Nearly forty years ago, historian John Shy compared the Vietnam War with the American Revolution and concluded that an invading superpower would have a hard time conquering people fighting to protect their homeland. Unfortunately, what happened in both of those wars seems to be playing out again in Iraq, and the result appears too obvious.

The superpowers that fought the Revolutionary War and the Vietnam War—Britain and the United States—failed for several reasons. Although Britain and the United States were far better prepared to fight a long, protracted war than their insurgent opponents, they were unprepared to fight rebels who fought in the open as little as possible. Nor were they prepared to fight an enemy who disappeared into the countryside or that melted into the local populations.

Neither country was prepared to fight enemies who were hard to see, harder to fight, and hardest to catch. In short, neither Britain nor the United States were prepared to fight the kind of wars they ended up fighting. In both Vietnam and the North American British colonies, insurgents fought a guerilla-style war in their homeland and avoided capture by blending in with local non-combatants, making it difficult to distinguish friend from foe and giving insurgents an advantage in the battle for the hearts and minds of the people...

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Thomas J. Humphrey teaches American History and the American Revolution at Cleveland State University, and is the author of Land and Liberty: Hudson Valley Riots in the Age of Revolution.

Free speech threatened when speakers are attacked

By George Beres
(652 words)

Free speech is indivisible. Yet we witness a growing effort to diminish that freedom nationwide. Here in Eugene, Ore., we see it in resistance to a forthcoming public appearance by historian, Mark Weber, editor of the Journal of Historical Review.

Spoken words of Weber and of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu may vary in their importance. But the freedom for them to speak, and for us to hear, should have equal merit. Ominously, recent developments on the college campus suggest that freedom-- our freedom-- is threatened.

Tutu's scheduled talk in Minnesota is the center of controversy that has mushroomed in higher education over cancellation of a number of speakers at universities because of alleged critical attitudes toward Israel. At the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace laureate, had been invited to speak next spring.

Following a pattern of behavior in academia nationwide, St. Thomas withdrew its invitation, it said, for fear it might offend local Jews. It has happened in recent months at the University of Montana, Barnard College, DePaul University, and with the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. In each case, a professor has been cancelled as a speaker or denied tenure because of allegations of anti-Semitism...

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George Beres is founding director of the University of Oregon Speakers Bureau.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Just War, Inc.

by Tom H Hastings
(538 words)

Back in the day (an expression my undergraduate students sometimes use) we had an expression, It’s all Greek to me. Aristotle helped us define what that means vis-à-vis war. He taught that the only just war was one fought with non-Hellenes. To borrow from another set of expressions, Mighty white of him. As long as you are attacking, say, Persians, war is alright, but please, stop with the city-state swordplay between Athens and Sparta.

Fast-forward to the time of Jesus. He was not in favor of swordplay and even rejected that in self-defense. He took it another step and admonished his disciple who rose to defend Jesus in the Garden on the eve of Passover. The disciple cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest and then Jesus took it to the next level and healed the ear.

Yet in our “Christian nation” we still hold that the doctrine of the Just War is supreme. It was cited on the floor of Congress to justify voting for Gulf War I. Most Christian denominations expressly believe in this Aristotelian doctrine...

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Tom H. Hastings is director of PeaceVoice and a founder of Whitefeather Peace Community in Portland, Oregon. He teaches full-time in the Portland State University Conflict Resolution MA/MS program.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Priests Protesting Torture at Fort Huachuca Jailed for Justice

(723 words)
By Bill Quigley.

Louis Vitale, 75, a Franciscan priest, and Steve Kelly, 58, a Jesuit priest, were sentenced to five months in federal prison for attempting to deliver a letter opposing the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Both priests were taken directly into jail from the courtroom after sentencing.

Fort Huachuca is the headquarters of military intelligence in the U.S. and the place where military and civilian interrogators are taught how to extract information from prisoners. The priests attempted to deliver their letter to Major General Barbara Fast, commander of Fort Huachuca. Fast was previously the head of all military intelligence in Iraq during the atrocities of Abu Ghraib.

The priests were arrested while kneeling in prayer halfway up the driveway to Fort Huachuca in November 2006. Both priests were charged with trespass on a military base and resisting orders of an officer to stop.

In a pre-trial hearing, the priests attempted to introduce evidence of torture, murder, and gross violations of human rights in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, and at Guantanamo. The priests offered investigative reports from the FBI, the US Army, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Physicians for Social Responsibility documenting hundreds of incidents of human rights violations...

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Bill is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He served as counsel for Frs. Vitale and Kelly. You can reach Bill at For more about their trial, see

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Balm of a Peace Process Infuses The War on Terror/ The Terror of War

(1622 words)

By Johnny Barber

Can we win the war on terror with the terror of war? Each time we declare we will win the war on terror, we dig ourselves a deeper hole. Each time we kill an innocent child on a city street and call it collateral damage, each time we torture and lie that we don’t- we add to the anger and hatred directed against us. Might as well be pointing the gun at our own temple.

Way back when, we routed the Taliban in Afghanistan, the war lords regained control and heroin production shot through the roof…soon we’ll be needin’ another, bigger and better war on drugs- this war will have to be fought in the homeland… the collateral damage will be our very own kids. Not to worry, Blackwater is growing, and looking to diversify. And now the Taliban are resurgent and vowing a new fight. Hamid Karzai (our puppet from Unocal), bunkered down in Kabul, offers them a place in the government if only they refrain from killing. A Taliban spokesperson refused the offer- as long as America interferes in their homeland, they will not negotiate...

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Johnny Barber travelled to Iraq, Israel, Occupied Palestine and Lebanon to bear witness and document the suffering of people affected by war and occupation. Barber is a member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship as well as the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

End This Travesty

(620 words)

by Tom H Hastings

It was mid-day, in Baghdad. When Iraqi citizens—not soldiers, not police, not insurgents, not terrorists—approached Nisour Square on September 16 of this year, little did they know that an incident had occurred a few blocks away. They are people caught in a war zone, but they are simply trying to live, to run errands, to get to work if they are lucky enough to have any, or to bring their children someplace.

Those mothers, daughters, fathers and sons were also unaware that Blackwater USA mercenaries, hired by the Pentagon, were there with a massive arsenal that would rain hellfire and lethal explosions on them, killing 17 and wounding 24.

Meanwhile, Erik D. Prince, CEO of the Blackwater corporation, was enjoying his massive personal wealth and luxury. Prince, a heavy contributor to Bush’s ...

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Tom H. Hastings is director of PeaceVoice and a founder of Whitefeather Peace Community in Portland, Oregon. He is core faculty in the Portland State University Conflict Resolution masters program.