Soldiers For Peace International is an all-volunteer virtual "Army" of a radical new kind. Rather than being an organization, it is a network of individuals working each in their own way to help build a united international front against fascism and war. Most of us have never met each other and the vast majority of Soldiers For Peace have never heard the term we use to describe our network. Nonetheless, it is our collective efforts that give humanity its last hope for peace, freedom and a future for our children worth passing on.
We are anarchical in that we have no command structure. There is no decision making body. There are no orders issued. Each of us is effectively an “Army of one,” acting individually and as members of organizations to wage a nonviolent "war" against injustice that we believe will lead to the end of war between nations. No one speaks for the all Soldiers For Peace. We follow our consciences and use our own initiative to further our common objectives in the field of battle. What follows is thus not a definition of Soldiers For Peace but my vision of what we can collectively become.
Our goal must be to convince a critical mass of humanity that we can end war. Only if we believe it is possible and absolutely necessary for the survival of human civilization will enough people engage in the work necessary to succeed. War is the ultimate example of injustice. All efforts to fight injustice peacefully further our ultimate goal.
Failure is not an option, because war is the ultimate tool of oppression and leaves no winners in its wake. At a time when war has become an accepted means of expanding and consolidating the power of a small group of international elite with no allegiance to nations or their peoples, none of us will escape the consequences if we fail to act now.
Given that the every decent human wants to see the end of war, the problem is one of overcoming the self-fulfilling prophecy that war is inevitable. This is a struggle each of us must ultimately wage alone. As founder of Soldiers For Peace International I only ask that you consider whether choosing to accept the idea of war is still necessary is in itself a betrayal of humanity and most especially, the children who will reap what we have sown.
Soldiers For Peace began in the US in 1990 in response to the threat of the first Persian Gulf war, now largely forgotten except by those who fought it and by others who saw it as a great American victory rather than the wholesale slaughter it was. Few Americans realize that after the defeat of the vicious Republican Guard that terrorized Kuwaiti civilians, the war degenerated into a massacre of Iraqi draftees who had been coerced into serving as cannon fodder in Hussein’s insane dream of restoring Iraqi greatness through another disastrous war.
Those of us who responded with alarm in 1990 to yet another war for corporate Empire so soon after Vietnam had already concluded what most people have yet to consider: War is not inevitable, it is always a choice. It is a choice made by people who are unaccountable to We the People and who act through the systematic manipulation of elected government officials. When the war was seemingly over, most of us went back to our day jobs. Only a few sensed that this was a harbinger of worse things to come.
The first Bush went on to punish the Iraqi populace for the sins of their dictator, who he apparently still found to be useful. The corrupt oil-for-food program caused the suffering of millions of poor Iraqis while doing little to curb income to Hussein. He was therefore not only able to continue his lavish spending on himself and his supporters but to allegedly acquire weapons of mass destruction, the first of many reasons offered to justify the second invasion.
Bin Laden and Hussein were in turn useful covers for the role of the corporatocracy's agents within and outside of the US government who allowed the massacre of 3,000 Americans in a plot they had been apprised of well in time to have stopped it. Unfortunately, the plot was much too convenient for the international corporate terrorists as a pretext to invade Iraq, as called for in a report by the Project for a New American Century released one year prior to 9/11.
As the initial conspirator presented to the American people as terrorism personified accused Saudi mastermind, the specter of bin Ladin proved useful only until the game plan called for the invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was deliberately and cynically substituted as the face of terror. The threat he was said to represent was the only justification given for continuing on the path to a New World Order that promised security at the cost of individual freedoms and loss of national sovereignty around the world.
The campaign of "Shock and Awe" made for spectacular television, with nighttime shots of smart bombs raining down on Baghdad. The citizens who were thus murdered could not be seen from the vantage point of cameras in the bombers and on the bombs so did not detract from the thrill patriotic Americans felt at this aggressive "defense of freedom." These attacks were often staged for prime time and put CNN front and center of the media cheerleading the Iraq war.
That President Obama has continued to follow the game plan of PNAC clearly indicates the extent to which the corporatocracy's reach has extended throughout the US government. It seems clear to me that he was warning us when he said repeatedly throughout the 2008 campaign “I can’t be the change, YOU have to be the change that we need.” Regardless of the meaning behind that sound bite, it is up to the people of the United States and the world to respond to that call.
In 2009, the time had come to consider anew whether it was possible to launch a movement based on a simple idea: War is not inevitable. If enough people can be made to recognize that we have the collective power to end it if they understand why failing to do so will spell the end of civilization as we know it, we can together create a tectonic paradigm shift in human consciousness in which war will become unthinkable.
Soldiers for Peace started as many things do as just a good idea. What it lacked was the means to build the virtual Army that was needed to wrest control of the US government from corporate rule on behalf of the American people and ultimately, all the Peoples of a world civilization poised on the brink of self-destruction. The internet provided that means.
Soldiers For Peace would have remained nothing but a good idea but for the fact that it is an idea whose time has now come. If you understand how the extension of the corporate power over the US government has made critical the state of America and the world and if you have pledged yourself to the nonviolent struggle for the survival of civilization as we understand it, then you already a member of our virtual Army, wherever you are.
We no longer have the luxury of waiting. America and the world stand poised on a precipice, reeling from the disorienting effects of 30 years of misuse of the power of the US government. With the support of citizens around the world, the American people must seize the reins of their own government to keep it from driving all of us relentlessly toward certain destruction through endless war and its effects on the environment, economy and collective psyche of Mankind.
True warriors will understand the importance of the mission know that surrender is not possible in this war. Though the odds against victory may seem insurmountable, every Empire has fallen before an implacable foe. Our goal is realistic if we realize and can convince enough of our fellow citizens that by acting according to our common ideals, we can demand and secure the right of self-determination of our nations and their peoples. The realist is after all in the end the one whose vision is realized. The cynic will be right only if his view prevails and we fail to try. It is our duty to those who have died in the belief that they were fighting for freedom to assure that the last, best hope for Mankind does not perish from the Earth and with it, our hopes for our children.
Freedom of thought is the one liberty that cannot be taken away. In freeing our minds from the trap of unquestioned assumptions we free ourselves. In sharing information and mutually supporting ideas for action, we can free each other from the Matrix of lies within which most of humanity is bound. This is how we build a united international front against fascism and war that will assure that our children thrive in a world free from want and war.
There is a place in our Army for anyone dedicated to the ideal that free Peoples can and should rule themselves. We must learn to think of ourselves first as citizens of the planet, abandoning the idea that we can identify ourselves first as citizens of a nation, members of a political faction or even of a religion. Such ultimately artificial distinctions obscure the fact that it is what we share in common that makes us human. At this time in history, we must fight together for the survival of human civilization.
If you find yourself subject to doubt and cynicism, know that you are not alone but do not submit to these demons. It is often said there are no atheists in foxholes. Desperation is sometimes the only way to inspire faith in the frightened and hopeless. We must find that faith in ourselves that allows us to believe that together, we can accomplish what faith alone cannot. We must pledge our lives and sacred honor to this cause. Together we will advance to victory, leaving no man, woman or child behind.
Soldiers For Peace International was first established by veterans of the US military. However, our intent was never to reject any supporter of our efforts who did not choose to serve in the military. We honor those who have made that choice. All who agree with our mission and understand the importance of working for unity among those striving for peace, freedom and democracy in the world are by definition Soldiers For Peace and are invited to join our group on Facebook. The more we achieve a common identity, the louder our collective voice will become.
If you are a veteran or active duty service member in the military of any nation, find out more about how you can uniquely contribute to our efforts by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This essay was extensively rewritten in 2012 for clarity to those who are reading it out of the context of the rest of the online book of essays Stop the Madness: The Diary of a Soldier For Peace in the War to Take Back America.