Friday, November 04, 2005

All Problems Bleed from America's Wound

They gazed at the wall rising around them, encircling them for all time. They touched, smelled, tasted, and listened to it, and talked about it until they died. They did absolutely everything but challenge its rise, and could have toppled it if they had tried.” —The Last American Novel (manuscript)

By Brian Bogart

11/03/05 "
ICH " -- -- Most people I meet in my daily strike for peace at University of Oregon, even Pentagon-funded researchers, are unaware that making and selling weapons has been America’s top industry since 1950, that we have sustained this weapons-based economy by supplying more than 200 wars in 55 years, and that some 310,000 companies and 400 colleges are on the Pentagon’s ever expanding payroll.

The 1950 decision to support a military-first rather than a people-first America—made without the knowledge and consent of the American people—was the egg that hatched the Cold War. Since then America has drifted toward destruction with the rise of public servants beholden to the industry of war instead of the industry of progress. Faced with peace, economic crisis arises. Thus, when the Cold War ended, the Pentagon increased its efforts to outsource all aspects of war to schools and companies in our communities. Such dependence on conflict must end.

Here is our dilemma: America cannot be a just and peace-loving nation—nor can its people ever truly prosper—as long as its top industry is making and selling weapons.

According to America’s founding vision, citizenship involves vigilance over government and the rigorous pursuit of social change to serve the needs of the people. The CampUS Strike for Peace Campaign seeks to spread that vision because the priority of weapons profit over human prosperity is killing any chance of success for equal rights, a clean environment, fair elections, a balanced media, a just world, and thus a peaceful, meaningful future.

All problems bleed from this wound. Every problem our planet bears is caused, exploited, or worsened by America’s war machine. Injustice feeds it, so we must stop it. We must take the profit out of war or war will take the life out of us.

Our founders entrusted us with the advancement of their vision, and taught us to pursue it by continuous alteration of government, to abolish or remake it as necessary to stay on a safe and forward path. Remaking government has never been more necessary than it is today. The misspending of our wealth will soon deliver us the same fate that befell the Soviet Union. It is time to answer this call to duty, for the sake of our children and our world. We are the key to change, but we must do more than cast votes. There will be no America without active participation of the American people, and voting today is more a form of crisis perpetuation than participation.

We are a distracted people, immersed in addressing symptoms and steeped in the belief that our next vote leads to change. By not challenging the root cause of our problems, we keep the weapons industry healthy and approaching the moment of severing our right to challenge it and save America. By failing to unite, and when lulled into the voting routine, citizens are cogs in the war machine.

Profiteers have proven that greed unites. The people must prove that our love of life and planet unites us, and act on one cause to upgrade America to restore our world and cherish a common future.

Working the symptoms, while necessary, falls fatally short of progress. We have lost if we still think we can successfully lobby our servants in Washington through traditional means. Top republicans and democrats have allied with the White House and less powerful representatives have raised the white flag. Congress is frozen, the system is broken, and conscientious Americans are spending time on long-fought campaigns that have failed to challenge the root cause of corruption—war and its profiteers.

Here is our solution: In the true form of lobbying (that is, free of bribery), we must sing a single song in massive numbers and peacefully defiant fashion. By popular demand, we must change America’s priority from weapons for profit to human prosperity. Demand a people-based economy and true servants will rise to replace profiteers—and then we will clean up our government.

Our hard work, our taxes, and our research should benefit people first, and funding education should reflect that priority. The European Union develops technology for alternative energy and medical advancements, and then a reasonable defense. America develops technology for global battlefields, at tremendous detriment to domestic and international prosperity. Filling the world with weapons cannot deliver security and prosperity, and is the greatest cause of conflict and terrorism. Unfortunately, few American citizens have time to study the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy and its Future Combat Systems program. These should be required reading to properly unmask the use of our wealth.

Changing administrations or ending the war in Iraq without changing our national priority will neither alter our course nor banish the plague of perpetual conflict. The major parties have consciously sustained this plague for 55 years; both are rife with corruption. President Truman, a democrat, launched the war industry as we know it; President Eisenhower, a republican, was the only president to speak against it.

Some of us have spent our lives in search of a common ground and key strategy against tyranny. Now that we have a solution, the challenge lies in breaking through the saturation burden that prevents us from effectively engaging our government—the email overload, the fog of 500 TV channels and other distractions. United around this solution and against the machine—not its cogs, but its operators—we stand on an ironclad strategy of basic American principles that our servants cannot refute. We possess the moral high ground of government of by and for the people. Profiteers have no business serving in a capacity involving the oversight of the people’s prosperity because they invariably overlook the people they serve.

In the first three years of my research, I learned that profit-driven military policies are threatening our near future, so I chose to strike for what’s right in my final year, and just three weeks into the Strike for Peace Campaign (begun on September 26), our faculty senate vowed to address the issue of military-funded research. We must demand the same vow from Washington. No more excuses, no time to rest—top industry, weapons; top loser, life.

By sheer force of numbers, public opinion can correct America’s course and prompt a reasonable defense. Good will should lead us to fund the creation of an international reparations cooperative to undo the damage this nation has caused. That shift will provide a new industry beneficial to all and a means for transformation to save America. If we do not unite to advance our founding vision for peace, we will perish by advancing our technology for war.

Americans together must declare an end to the age of war for profit and the beginning of an age of prosperity for all. We are cogs in this machine unless active against it. We must reprioritize our nation and rededicate ourselves to its proper function. Unite for our founders; unite for our future. Go to

Brian Bogart, University of Oregon’s first graduate student in Peace Studies . Visit for more information


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