Pre-Note: I’d highly recommend the upcoming activities of Twin Cities Nonviolent, including Golden Rule and Peacestock. Details are here. Those in Twin Cities, specifically note the activity for International Day of Peace on Wed., September 21, 4 p.m. (The site on Wednesday is proximate to the Longfellow Grill, 2990 W River Pkwy at Lake Street and W. River Parkway, Minneapolis).
My Sep. 16 post on Golden Rule and the proposed new Military Museum at Camp Ripley, brought some significant comments. There are only a few comments at the post, and two others follow, as well as my own, but to advocates the variety of perspective give openings for conversation on the crucial issues of War and Peace.
Fr. Harry Bury, who has provided immense energy to Twin Cities Nonviolent, provided some information today which is pertinent to the conversation, from International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. You can access the site here.
Chuck Woolery’s contribution is the basis of most of the following. He responds first to the previous post, with “Nukes not worth the worry“.
I’ve known Chuck for quite a number of years, and those five words are not the whole of his story, not by any means.
He follows those words with a September 15 commentary by David Ignatius of The Washington Post, titled “Will deterrence have a role in the cyberspace ‘forever war’?” The entire column is here: Forever War David Ignatius Sep 15 22. The column is well worth your time.
On the other hand, the purpose of the Golden Rule, as I understand it, is to remember and remind all of us about the deadly and dangerous Nuclear issue, front and center from Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the Cold War, and once again to nuclear in the very near proximity to the Putin led activity against Ukraine. Ignatius notes we’ve managed to mostly cage the nuclear beast since 1945 but it’s still there.
Golden Rule says we must never forget what man wrought with nuclear as it embarks on its monumental journey….
Following the Ignatius column, Chuck adds his own opinion:
Chuck: “My comment: Traditional weapons are used up when used. Cyber, biological, and nano technologies can be weaponized and made to be replicable when used. This single factor changes war profoundly because engineering them are relatively cheap, easy, easy to hide and deliver, reproduce themselves, and they don’t leave a fingerprint or a return address. This makes them virtually untraceable and useful for anonymous or red flag attacks. Even framing another nation or violent extremist group as the attacker. Together the weaponization of these technologies make the cold war concepts of “peace through strength”, and deterrence – obsolete. Dead! And ‘forever wars’ a permanent fixture in our lives until humanity gains wisdom to put the protection of human rights and the environment above the protection of national sovereignty and corporations. AI might gain wisdom and do this before we do. Until then, Bio and Cyber security are oxymorons. Security has always been iffy, but these tiny bits of information will continue to be engineered to evade defenses and target specific weaknesses in the living systems and structures, and the cyber systems and structures that modern life depends on. Things change. Can we?
Chuck Woolery, Former Chair
United Nations Association, Council of Organizations. His blog, 435 campaign, is here.
Largely, I agree with Chuck. A few countries, primarily the U.S. and Russia, have large stockpiles of bombs that no one wants to use, for numerous reasons. But all it takes is one madman, or one mistake. Nukes have huge consequences, and what they hit depends on whether they actually work as intended. The ‘bullseye’ can be anyone, anywhere. A mistake will open the floodgates….
What Chuck doesn’t mention – or else I missed something – is the reality that the death’s door weapons he describes are not deterred by human things like borders, and just go as they go. As the recent ad campaign for a certain vaccine goes, a virus (or a hurricane, or similar) “doesn’t care” about why you think you don’t need to care about it. Covid-19 is only the most recent example. There are no walls anymore, much to the regret of some who think walls can be built to keep unpleasant things out…. Modern weapons destroy indiscriminately.
To some degree, I am a contrarian about absolutist positions, which might seem to be reflected in support for the new military museum proposal which I companioned with the Golden Rule roll-out in my recent blog.
To me, the two events were not contrasting nor conflicting. In fact, and much to my surprise, I found out that Mark Ritchie, who invited me to the Arden Hills event, is the chair of the group moving forward the idea, and this is an idea with ‘legs’, attracting much interest.
Mark and I are not strangers. In fact, he was one of the 27 Charter members – number 6, actually – of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (MAP) when it was founded in 1995. Later, before I knew him, I was President of MAP. The local sponsors of the Golden Rule, Veterans for Peace, are also Charter members of MAP – number 5, two days earlier than Mark; indeed it was one of their members, Wayne Wittman, who ‘signed me up’ 20 years ago.
I have never believed in coincidences, and this is one of those occasions where everything seems to align almost perfectly.
Remembering service of veterans, and the dangers of war, and the benefits of peace, are values virtually all of us share. It seems to me that seemingly dissonant activities represent a perfect opportunity for dialogue and collaboration.
Find some way to actively participate now and going forward.
Check back every now and then for new posts. It seems I do one or two a week. Best check-in point is here. The most recent post is on the page; the archive section has posts by the month.