A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE?


Blase Bonpane

A

few months ago I met with Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and he told me of

his plans to formulate a Department of Peace for the United States Government.

He now has a draft of a bill to establish such a department. You can see this on

his web-site:

www.house.gov/kucinich/action/peace.htm  

Our response is on The Office of the Americas web-site 

www.officeoftheamericas.org 

The

congressman is asking for input from people throughout the United States. OOA

has sent him its thoughts on the matter. We don’t consider a Department of Peace

to be a conservative/liberal issue. It is something of universal concern. We

believe the time for a Department of Peace has come and that the proposal should

be expressed with boldness and clarity. In our travels we see that militarism is

no longer a synonym for patriotism. Our survival as a planet depends on

maintaining peace and justice.

We

suggested that a Department of Peace have a cooperative link with the United

Nations. Clearly our Congress has had downright hostility to that international

body. The League of Nations after World War I was destroyed by the action of our

Senate. World War II followed. That horrible disaster  would not have taken

place if the League had been permitted to achieve its potential. After World War

II the United Nations was formed. We must support its potential.

We

believe that people must globalize their consciousness. We live on a very small

planet in grave danger of environmental destruction. The world military at peace

is a prime danger to our environment. Should the military of the world be at

war, we will encounter an entirely unsustainable situation.

It

has become rare for us to find a congressional initiative that we can support.

Let’s get behind this project of Congressman Kucinich and work for a Department

of Peace.

For

some seventeen years we have sought international peace through the private

diplomacy of the Office of the Americas. We would be most happy to see our

objectives become institutionalized in the public sector.

Some

points from a draft of the bill:

The

Department of Peace shall be established at the Cabinet level of the Executive

Branch of Government. It shall be enabled to strengthen non-military means of

peacemaking. It shall seek to create peace, to prevent violence and to divert

from armed conflict by developing new structures in non-violent dispute

resolution. It shall endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to

expand human rights. It shall address matters both domestic and international in

scope. It shall derive its strength from a structure which encourages

initiatives from local communities, religious groups and non-governmental

organizations. A Secretary of Peace shall be appointed by the President.

The

Department of Peace shall develop a peace education curriculum in cooperation

with the Department of Education. The Department shall provide for citizen

exchanges and exchanges of legislators. It shall encourage the development of

international sister cities programs.  

In

view of a history of over one hundred U.S. military interventions in the 20th

Century the proposal may be received by some with cynicism.

I

suggest that we get behind the proposal of Congressman Dennis Kucinich and that

we may find

 

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