Novelist Bernard Malamud wrote, “Conscience and conscience alone will turn the world upside down.”
Richard Clarke, a former security czar under presidents Clinton and George Bush, Jr. is the most recent government servant to say, “Up with this I will not put,” and simply quit rather than violate their conscience. Clarke opposed US invasion of Iraq, telling Mr. Bush that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Now Clarke has the courage to go public and admit the US invasion of Iraq is in the category of war crimes for the US and Britain. Clarke and Daniel Ellsberg, who opposed US intervention in Vietnam, courageously remain within the US.
Veterans who returned from Afghanistan, Iraq and other foreign wars have formed Veterans For Peace (www.veteransforpeace.org) and should be heard as they try to dissuade our leaders from more deadly ventures. The vets prepared an historical recount of war’s futility that is relevant in our era:
- Revolutionary war – 25,174 military deaths – no figures on civilian casualties
- 1812 – 20,000 military deaths – no figures on civilians
- WWI – 116,516 military deaths – 6,458,886 civilian deaths
- WWII – 405,399 military deaths – 36,372,900 civilian deaths*
- Korean war – 54,246 military deaths – 1,847,240 civilian deaths
- Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia – 58,177 military deaths – 5 million civilians killed.
- Afghanistan/Pakistan – 1,462 deaths – 34,715 civilian deaths
Total: 1.3 million military deaths and 51,219, 331 civilian deaths. Note the proportion of 50 times more civilians killed than soldiers.
*This figure includes those who died in Nazi concentration camps. 19 million Russians died in WWII www.nuclearzero.org is a movement to block governments from planning future wars with use of nuclear weapons.
It was my privilege to meet an officer in Honolulu who declared “I no longer agree with what my country is doing.” The officer was connected to Commander in Chief-Pacific (CINPAC) and revealed our government had over 40,000 targets in the former USSR. The officer has since returned to God and can be calm for having followed his conscience that prohibits killing. Government leaders have time to change their attitudes on warfare. Vets for Peace are prophets.