Jonathan Chisdes VSU Spectator December 1, 1994 the military Recently I was chatting with some friends about our domestic problems, arguing where the money would come from, and I politely suggested we take it from the armed forces. I went on to say we'd be much better off without a military anyway. When their mouths dropped open in astonishment, I was able to explain that I believed that without a military we'll be forced to settle disagreements and disputes in a civil and diplomatic manner, as befits a moral nation in a civilized world. When we have a military, the temptation to use it is so great; it's simpler to kill the people you disagree with than to come up with a compromising solution that satisfies all. Wars just keep fueling each other in a never-ending cycle as each wrong sets the stage for the next. People oppose the murder of a single person on principle, but if hundreds of thousands are slaughtered, those same people cheer. Don't they see the inconsistency? No cause, no matter how righteous, is worth killing for. This is not a new, radical thought. Way back in the First Century BC, the Roman orator Cicero said, "I cease not to advocate peace; even though unjust, it is better than the most just war." When my friends finally recovered from their shock and were able to speak, they demanded that we need a military to defend ourselves. From what? I asked in response. America has taken the concept of security beyond the ludicrous, assuming incorrectly that everyone is out to get us. Nobody likes war. We can all disarm together, multilaterally, all nations, slowly, stably, with good will. One gasped, "But not all the nations will do it. Some live to make war. Look at Hussein, Noriega, Cedras." (The "bully of the month club.") That's what the administration wants us to think. They create crises just to solve them with force; to justify their existence, to make money for weapons manufacturers, to expand our political and economic control. Why did US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie tell Saddam Hussein that the US had no opinion on his border dispute with Kuwait only days before he invaded? It seems the Bush administration privately encouraged Hussein to go into Kuwait so Bush could make an issue out of it, send in troops, and have a war so he could increase the military budget, boost his domestic opinion polls, increase US dominance over the oil in the region; saving the Kuwaiti monarchy was only the superficial excuse. Nothing good has ever come from the military (that couldn't just as easily come from a non-abusive source). It's existence has never prevented a war. All it has done is consume mass quantities of money and energy that could better be spent elsewhere and advanced the economic interests of a special few elite by unjust and immoral acts. Violence never accomplishes anything other than destruction; it just provokes more violence and brings out the worst in us. Any solution reached by force is an unjust and immoral solution. We can always find an alternative to violence as long as we think creatively. Look at Costa Rica--they have had no military for almost 50 years and have survived quite well. Our military is a showcase of our technological triumphs but also a bleak monument to our utter barbarity. We're moving into the twenty-first century,people; isn't it time we started measuring humanity's progress by our moral leaps rather than our technological ones? Complete elimination of all the armed forces on the planet is not some beautiful but unachievable ideal; it's a worthy goal and a real possibility, as more and more people are repulsed by the military and become motivated to work for their dreams. As Martin Luther King said, "I refuse to accept the idea that the 'isness' of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the 'oughtness' that forever confronts him." Eventually, possibly even in our own lifetimes, there will be a world-wide consensus that mankind does not need armies and navies. But the more people buy the propaganda of the power structure that there are bad guys out there we need to defend ourselves from, the farther into the future that bright, shining day is pushed. The existence of the military is a serious moral and physical problem; the sooner we face that fact, the sooner we can deal with it.
Author's Note: This is my last column, so I'd like to close by
expressing my gratitude to Heath for giving me this opportunity for
vigorous debate and for working with me on this feature. I've never
known a more honorable Republican. Thanks, Heath, and good luck.