August 27, 1928 Frank Kellogg from the USA and Aristede Briand from France signed the Kellogg-Briand pact which made war an illegal means of international diplomacy.
The biblical mandate “Do not kill” does not have footnotes (exceptions). When one kills another person in their own home or on the nearby street, a heavy penalty follows. If a confused youth leaves school to join an army leading him/her to kill abroad, medals of honor might be given.
Napoleon observed there have been more people killed in the spirit of obedience (Germans following orders) than revolution. An order to kill from military officers too often overcomes biblical prohibition to avoid killing.
Walter Rauschenbusch was a theologian from New York who said “Militarism and capitalism were the two worst evils of the 20th century.”
German statesman Konrad Adenaur said,”1913 was the last normal year in history.” “The Guns of August by historian Barbara Tuchman describes the outbreak of WWI and how warfare is ”the unfolding of unexpected events in history.” The invasion of Iraq is our national nemesis. War crimes are pending.
Sixty nations, including the USA came together during August 1928 in an effort to curtail expanding global violence while nations resorted to war as diplomacy. Sadly, nearly 10,000 years of human history contain only 200 years of relative peace. Anthropologist Reanne Eisler concluded in her book The Chalice (symbolizing women) and the Blade (the early instrument of war wielded by men) there was more peace over 5000 years ago when governance was shared by women and men.
Progress was made during our Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) Cold War era. The majority of nations signed on to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NTP) because leaders know MAD has evolved into Self Assured Destruction (SAD) in the event of our third use of atomic/nuclear weapons. Atomic bomb designer J. Robert Oppenheimer warned, “The next nuclear war will be fought with dozens, perhaps hundreds of atomic weapons.” In 2015 there are nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Indian writer Arundhati Roy observed the tension between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan then wryly said, “It could all be over in an afternoon.”
In December 2014 Pope Francis reiterated the plea of Pope John XXIII fifty years ago calling for abolition of nuclear weapons. Leaders of all nations hope for another suggestion that we step back from the brink by banning nuclear armaments as found in the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban treaty (NTB).
While international negotiations promote the possibility of nuclear arms reductions, small citizens of all nations can struggle to support the 1999 Land Mine ban and the 2008 Cluster Bomb pact. Land mines and Cluster bombs still kill or maim thousands of innocent citizens, too frequently children at play.
We could write to our elected officials to reflect on the Kellogg-Briand pact and also urge them to ban land mines with Cluster bombs. Letters to elected officials indicate our support of the Kellogg-Briand declaration against warfare.