You are hereWhen the World Outlawed War
When the World Outlawed War
2011 book by David Swanson
When the World Outlawed War tells the story of how a treaty was created in 1928 that bans war and is still the supreme law of the land under the U.S. Constitution.
This is an annual essay contest that can be entered at any time.
The top prize is $1,000, with lesser prizes for runners-up.
In 800 words or less answer the question: How can we obey the law against war?
Essays are judged based on (1) Knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (2) Insight into how the Pact influences U.S. foreign policy (3) Creativity in recommendations regarding compliance (4) Quality of prose.
Please include your: (1) name, (2) age (if under 19), (3) mailing address, (4) phone number, (5) email address, and (6) year and school that you first learned about the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
Email your Peace Essay to email@example.com or mail to Peace Desk, 213 S. Wheaton Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60187.
Deadline for this year’s contest: April 15, 2013.
This contest is a creation of the West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition.
A copy of When the World Outlawed War by David Swanson will be donated to the library of the winner's school. The WSFPC will also send the best Peace Essays to key members of the U.S. Congress.
Congressional Record article 3 of 5
RECOGNIZING THE KELLOGG-BRIAND PACT -- HON. KEITH ELLISON (Extensions of Remarks - April 18, 2013)
[Page: E491] GPO's PDF
HON. KEITH ELLISON
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, April 18, 2013
- Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
- One of the busiest streets in Minnesota's state capital of St. Paul is Kellogg Boulevard. This street runs along the Mississippi River and was named after the only person from Minnesota to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. Frank B. Kellogg was a Department of Justice prosecutor who was elected President of the American Bar Association and then served as a U.S. Republican Senator from Minnesota, followed by an appointment as U.S. Secretary of State for President Calvin Coolidge from 1925 to 1929.
- Kellogg was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929 for his work in co-authoring the Kellogg-Briand Pact that made war illegal, renounced the use of war, and committed nations to the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Kellogg-Briand Pact--also called the Pact of Paris, or the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War--was signed on August 27, 1928 by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, and several other countries.
- The Pact prohibited the use of war as ``an instrument of national policy'' except in matters of self-defense. President Coolidge signed the Pact on January 27, 1929 and the U.S. Senate passed it by a vote of 85 to 1. On July 24, 1929 President Herbert Hoover declared the Pact in force. The Kellogg-Briand Pact provided the legal basis for prosecuting Nazi officials at Nuremburg and is still U.S. and international law, with 84 state signatories.
- Mr. Speaker, some of my own constituents are currently planning a commemoration of the Kellogg-Briand Pact to mark its 85th anniversary and to recognize Frank B. Kellogg. The Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of Veterans for Peace is taking part in a peace essay competition organized by the West Suburban Faith-based Peace Coalition. The competition asks the question, ``How can we obey the law against war?'' The best essays will be sent to members of Congress. I urge this body to welcome these essays and give them due attention. Everyone must do their part to help eliminate war and promote the cause of peace.
Here's the book that tells this story:
And here's how to enter the essay contest or introduce it to your schools and youth groups:
By John Grant
“The elite always has a Plan B, while people have no escape.”
- Ahmad Saadawi
How Can We Obey the Law Against War?
Top Prize $1,000
Peace Essay Rules
In 800 words or less answer the question:
How can we obey the law against war?
Please include your: (1) name, (2) age (if under 19), (3) mailing address, (4) phone number, (5) email address, and (6) year and school that you first learned about the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
Mail your Peace Essay – postmarked by April 14, 2013 – to:
Peace Desk, 213 S. Wheaton Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60187
Peace Essays will be judged by members of the West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition (WSFPC) (www.FaithPeace.org) based on:
(1) Knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact
(2) Insight into how the Pact influences U.S. foreign policy
(3) Creativity in recommendations regarding compliance
(4) Quality of the Peace Essay prose
The author of the best essay will receive $1,000. Also, if the award winner identifies the school where she/he learned about the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a book – When the World Outlawed War, by David Swanson – will be donated to the school library. The WSFPC will also send the best Peace Essays to key members of the U.S. Congress.
For more information please contact
Frank Goetz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone who respects the Law should work for Peace.
Most People understand that war is destructive but few know that it is illegal. On August 27, 1928 many countries signed a treaty called the Kellogg-Briand Pact which outlawed war. After ratification by the U.S. Senate the following year this Pact became the supreme law of the land in the United States and sixty-five other countries. How can we respect the law if most of us are ignorant of its existence? Members of the Peace Community have decided to: 1) educate the population on why this law was passed, and 2) encourage insight and creative expression on how we can bring our country into compliance.
213 S. Wheaton Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: 630-510-8500 ext. 104
Podcast w/ David Keen, author of Useless Enemies: When Waging Wars Is More Important Than Winning Them
It's not so unusual to observe that war is often a goal in itself rather than a means to an end. But it is unusual to systematize the observation, to normalize it, and -- I hate to use this term -- to give it theoretical underpinnings. Although he doesn't talk about his findings in theoretical terms, and doesn't need to, David Keen has taken a great step toward revising our thinking about war in his book Useful Enemies:When Waging Wars Is More Important Than Winning Them (Yale University Press, 2012). This is an important and provocative work, presented in a low-key, unassuming sort of way. In other words, a find!
I hope you enjoy the podcast.
Remarks to the Marin Peace & Justice Coalition, Social Justice Center of Marin, and Community Media Center of Marin, Armistice Day 2012.
Most members of our species that have lived on this earth have never known war. Most societies that have developed war have later abandoned it. While there's always war somewhere, there are always many somewheres without war. War deprivation, the prolonged absence of war, has never given a single person post traumatic stress disorder. Most nations that participate in wars do so under duress as members of coalitions of the willing but not the eager. Most nations that engage in wars refuse to use particularly awful weapons and tactics. Most incidents that are used to spark wars are identical to other incidents not used to spark wars. War making does not increase with population density, resource scarcity, testosterone, or the election of Republicans. War making is, like all forms of violence, on the decline globally, even as the Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World develops a permanent war economy and gives war powers to temporary despots or 4-year kings.
Today we celebrate Armistice Day, a moment of tremendous opposition to war -- opposition that built understanding and structures to prevent war, structures that failed once and only once as regards wars like World War I, wars among the wealthy well-armed and white nations of the world. That the rich nations continue to wage racist and exploitative wars against the poor nations doesn't erase the fact that Europe stopped attacking itself until Yugoslavia became an opportunity for NATO. Soldiers in the U.S. civil war and drone pilots would not recognize each other as engaged in the same enterprise. There is no central core to war that homo sapiens are obliged to continue by their genes. We can choose not to eat, drink, sleep, have sex, or breathe. The notion that we can't choose to refrain from something as complex and laborious as war is just incoherent.
That Europeans only attack poor people is not, of course, grounds to give the European Union a Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, indeed, it is a little-acknowledged feat of miraculous life-saving power that Europe has not gone to war with itself -- other than that whole Yugoslavia thing -- since World War II. It's as clear a demonstration as anything that people can choose to stop fighting. It's a testament to the pre-war peace efforts that criminalized war, the post-war prosecutions of the brand new crime of making war, the reconstruction of the Marshall Plan, and ... and something else a little less noble, and much less Nobel-worthy.
Alfred Nobel's will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Fredrik Heffermehl has been leading a valuable effort to compel the Nobel committee to abide by the will. Now they've outdone themselves in their movement in the other direction.
Europe is not a person. It has not during the past year -- which is the requirement -- or even during the past several decades done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations. Ask Libya. Ask Syria. Check with Afghanistan. See what Iraq thinks. Far from doing the best work to abolish or reduce standing armies, Europe has joined with the United States in developing an armed global force aggressively imposing its will on the world. The Nobel prize money will not fund Europe's supposed disarmement work remotely as much as Europe could fund itself by simply buying fewer armaments.
There were good nominees and potential nominees available, even great ones, including a young man named Bradley Manning. In fact, I happen to believe a truly qualified nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize next year would be Medea Benjamin.
Now, instead of moving in that direction, the Nobelites have almost guaranteed themselves a second-ever pro-war peace-prize acceptance speech. If you don't recall who gave the first one, I'll give you a clue. If he were a Republican we'd all have posters and bumper stickers denouncing him for it.
Was Nobel asking so much really when he asked that a prize go to whoever did the best work toward abolishing war?
Was Carnegie asking so much when he required that his endowment work to eliminate war?
Is it asking too much today for our so-called progressive movement to address the spending of over half of federal discretionary dollars on preparations for the criminal act of war?
Ninety-four years ago today, on the original Armistice Day in 1918, much of the world ended a four-year war that served no useful purpose whatsoever while costing the lives of some 10 million soldiers, 6 million civilians, 21 million soldiers wounded, an outbreak of Spanish influenza that took another 100 million lives, environmental destruction that is ongoing today, the development of new weapons—including chemical weapons—still used today, huge leaps forward in the art of propaganda still plagiarized today, huge setbacks in the struggle for economic justice, and a culture more militarized, more focused on stupid ideas like banning alcohol, and more ready to restrict civil liberties in the name of nationalism, and all for the bargain price, as one author calculated it at the time, of enough money to have given a $2,500 home with $1,000 worth of furniture and five acres of land to every family in Russia, most of the European nations, Canada, the United States, and Australia, plus enough to give every city of over 20,000 a $2 million library, a $3 million hospital, a $20 million college, and still enough left over to buy every piece of property in Germany and Belgium. And it was all legal. Incredibly stupid, but totally legal. Particular atrocities violated laws, but war was not criminal. It never had been, but it soon would be.
A powerful movement would ban war in 1928 in a treaty still on the books and to which 81 countries are now party. In 1935, the New York Herald-Tribune's Institute of Public Opinion found that 75% of voters wanted a public referendum before any war could be launched, and 71% opposed joining in any war with other countries to "enforce the peace." That's not just a quantitative difference from today. Our great grandparents were able to think of war very differently. They'd ended blood feuds and duelling and other barbaric habits. War was to be next. It was mass murder. The problem wasn't butchering or urinating on corpses. You couldn't clean that up and make war OK. The problem was the creation of the corpses. War was to be abolished, and not just bad wars and aggressive wars. All wars. They didn't keep defensive duelling around. There was no humanitarian duelling. War needed to be set behind us.
In this militarized nation that has essentially never ended World War II, never left Germany or Japan, never undone the taxes and the spending, never stopped seeking out uses and customers for weaponry, we've lost track of the campaign to abolish war and of the steps already taken on that path. As war evolves to minimize further the deaths of the aggressing army, while continuing to kill foreigners (and even occasional U.S. citizens made to seem frighteningly foreign) war is ironically coming to resemble more closely in the minds of many what it has always been: murder. An assassination program is a form of war no more or less moral or dangerous or controllable or legal than any other form of war. But it may bring home to people that war is not a sport, that war is the killing of men, women, and children in their homes at such expense that we could instead have bought new homes for them and all their neighbors.
We should remember at a time like this that when the slightly less funded of two corporate funded candidates wins, we don't win. President Obama publicly and illegally instructed the Attorney General not to prosecute the CIA for torture. We accepted that. Obama told environmental groups not to speak of climate change and most of them obeyed. Obama told unions not to say "single payer" and they didn't. The peace movement spent the first Obama year muttering about how it was too early, the second worrying about the midterm elections, the third trying to focus the Occupy Movement on our collective antagonists, and the fourth being scared of Mitt Romney. Now we're being told we must not demand military spending cuts or the prosecution of war crimes or the immediate withdrawal of forces abroad. Progressive groups want to pretend to take a stand on Social Security and Medicare before caving. And their opening pretense doesn't even touch military spending.
It's our job to add that to the conversation. It's our job to focus our friends and neighbors on the fact that our money and our names are being used to kill, and that there is nothing necessary about it. War is waged by a particular type of nation. War is waged by a nation that accepts the waging of war. That acceptance needs to end now.
Most people understand that war is destructive, but few know that it is illegal. On August 27, 1928 many countries signed a treaty called the Kellogg-Briand Pact which outlawed war. After ratification by the U.S. Senate the following year this Pact became the supreme law of the land in the United States and sixty five other countries. How can we respect the law if most of us are ignorant of its existence? Members of the Peace Community have decided to: (1) educate the population on why this law was passed and (2) encourage insight and creative expression on how we can bring our country into compliance.
Peace Essay Rules:
Although we are focusing on the student population, anyone can enter the Peace Essay Contest. In 800 words or less answer the question: How can we Obey the Law against War? Send your Peace Essay to:
213 S. Wheaton Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187
Please include: (1) Your Name, (2) Age, (3) Mailing Address, (4) Email Address or Phone Number, and (5) Year and school that you first learned about the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Peace Essays will be judged by members of the West Suburban Faith-based Peace Coalition (www.FaithPeace.org) based on: (1) Knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, (2) Insight into how the Pact influences U.S. foreign policy, (3) Creativity in recommendations regarding compliance, and (4) Quality of the Peace Essay prose.
Age-appropriate prizes will be awarded for the top 25 Peace Essays received by November 1, 2012. Also, if the award winner identifies the school where she/he learned about the Pact, a book – “When the World Outlawed War” by David Swanson - will be donated to the school library. The WSFPC will also send the best Peace Essays to key members of the U.S. Congress. For more information please contact Frank Goetz at email@example.com.
Here's an excellent column from a former prime minister of Malaysia who seems unaware of this.
Use people power to outlaw war, too
CHANGING MINDSETS: World community must rally to make war a crime
FOR the past few years, the Perdana Global Peace Foundation has been trying to convince people that war is a crime; that war should be criminalised.
If one thinks deeply enough, one must conclude that war is indeed a crime. We all, the whole human race, regard the killing of a person by another as a crime; a crime so serious as to warrant the stiffest punishment, including the death penalty.
Yet, in war, a person may order the killing of a million people, and it is not regarded as criminal. Indeed, the man who ordered the killings is often regarded as a great man, a hero.
And the killers, too, the soldiers, are regarded as heroes, awarded medals and multicoloured ribbons to wear proudly on their breasts on ceremonial occasions.
There is something wrong here. How can we regard the killer of one man as a murderer but the killer or killers of millions as heroes? The pilot of the Enola Gay, which bombed Hiroshima killing 100,000 people, is a free man, regretting nothing regarding the horrors he inflicted on innocent men, women and children, the healthy and the sick.
Wars have been fought for thousands of years. Does that make wars normal and acceptable? Think of slavery. Slavery, too, was regarded as acceptable and normal for millennia. But for most countries, slavery has been abolished. It has been abolished because it represents oppression by men on other men. That is not right and so it is made illegal; made a crime.
Slavery is certainly not as bad as murder, as the killing of men by men. Yet, slavery was considered bad enough for the human race to abolish it, to inflict severe penalties on whoever practises slavery.
Clearly, what was acceptable as normal in the past does not necessarily justify continued acceptance today and in the future. As the human community becomes more civilised, the practices of the past have been scrutinised and re-evaluated and many have been condemned as incompatible with the values of a more sophisticated and more sensitive modern human society.
So, is it so strange or unusual for modern society, conscious of the horrors of war and the massive killings involved to reject war, to criminalise it the way it was done with slavery?
Perhaps many of us are not aware of the horrors of war as we should. Let us take a closer look at war. War is about killing people, usually on a massive scale. In war, ordinary men willingly kill. In war, men behave like wild animals. No, men in war behave worse than animals.
Animals kill for food and animals don't kill their own kind, even the wildest of them. But men kill merely for the sake of killing. Men kill their own kind. And he does this with inhuman beastliness.
Men are trained to kill, and are equipped with ever more lethal killing instruments. Such is the training in modern wars that special commandos willingly creep up to the unsuspecting enemy to slit his throat with a knife. And often, they train their guns on innocent civilians and with a burst of their automatic weapons, kill these people who had done them no harm.
In the current war, the usually young soldiers would mutilate bodies, decapitating and hacking off the limbs, kicking dead bodies with total disrespect.
In Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, men and women from a great civilisation strip prisoners naked, force them to self abuse, threaten them with dogs, tie ropes round their necks and drag them on the floor, subject them to electric shocks to their genitals, pour water on towels covering their faces so that they inhale water when they breathe and feel as if they are drowning and many, many more hideous acts unworthy of modern civilisation.
The worst part is that the very civilised leaders of a great nation actually legalised the forms of torture meted out to detainees, many of whom were released after years of detention without any explanation as to why they were detained. Presumably, they were found to be innocent of the acts they were suspected of committing.
In today's wars, the whole country becomes the battlefield. Bombs are dropped and missiles fired at villages, towns and cities, killing innocent non-combatants of all ages, razing to the ground buildings and houses, schools and hospitals and destroying electric cables and wires, and water pipes. Life support equipment in hospitals suddenly stops, killing the patients.
The destructiveness of the last great war deterred the powerful nations from going to war against each other. And so they pick on weak countries to invade, to kill and destroy.
The leaders of these powerful nations are not ashamed to tell lies in order to justify their invasions and killings. When their lies were exposed, their people still re-elected them. This makes their people equally culpable.
Research and development of ever more destructive weapons take up much of the powerful countries' budget. Gleefully, they report on the destructiveness of their new weapons. They are forever seeking opportunities to test them in real life. For this, they instigate proxy wars or they find excuses for going to war. It is suspected that the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centre was engineered to provide an excuse for war.
Their latest creations are the unmanned aerial vehicles, tanks and warships. With these weapons, their fighters would be safely ensconced a thousand miles from the target zones and the people they wish to destroy and kill. They, the killers, would run no risk of being injured. They can kill a hundred thousand people while drinking beer in the air-conditioned operations rooms.
They will not see the destruction, the deaths and the horrors they have caused. They will sleep well and soundly after committing mass murders.
The big military powers of today are nothing more than international bullies, picking on countries unable to match their military capacities, applying sanctions to starve and weaken their puny target countries and then launching "shock and awe" invasions. The killings and massive destructions are intended to impress and frighten their adversaries into capitulation.
Yes, wars of today are massively destructive, with an unlimited toll in deaths. No one is spared. The people in the target countries are truly terrorised, waiting to have their heads torn from their bodies, their arms and legs blown off and their remains eaten by the ownerless hungry and wild dogs.
One would expect that the great advocates of human rights, the people who loudly proclaim the freedoms of democracy, to be foremost in wanting wars to be made illegal. But, alas, these are the very people who resort to war at the drop of a coin.
Even as they talk of the sanctity of human life, of freedom from oppression, they would not hesitate to indulge in massive bombings and rocketings, killing hundreds of thousands, laying waste whole cities, towns and villages, detaining without trial and torturing their victims for years and years.
These hypocritical powers will continue to resort to wars for as long as human society considers war as proper and legitimate.
Maybe even if we make war a crime, the big powers would not care; would still wage war against other nations. But public opinion is a powerful force. Just as slavery ceased to be practised because public opinion was against it, war, too, can be outlawed if people, ordinary people, object to the mass murders and destruction due to wars.
Changing mindsets and value systems takes time. But it is not impossible. Already, many of the cruelties and injustices of the past have been abolished. In fact, even the death penalty has been abolished in many so-called humane countries of the world.
If the campaign to make war a crime is carried out assiduously and persistently, the day will come when war as an option to settle conflicts between nations would be rejected and classified as a crime. Then, we can say that our civilisation is truly a civilisation.
By Bruce Levine, Huffington Post
David Swanson, since serving as press secretary in Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, has emerged as one of the leading anti-war activists in the United States. Swanson is not satisfied with just stopping current U.S. wars. In his previous book War is a Lie, Swanson made the case for the abolition of war as an instrument of national policy, and his new book, When the World Outlawed War, provides an historical example of just how powerful war abolitionism can be.
This time of year is ideal for reflecting on the miracle of Christmas 1914, that famous temporary truce and friendship between opposing sides in the midst of a war. Here was a new type of slaughter confronted with a new type of humanism, the leading edges of two opposing trends.
An op-ed in the New York Times last week by Steven Pinker and Joshua Goldstein argues that peace, rather than war, was the dominant development, and that over the millennia, centuries, decades, and right up to this moment, "War Really Is Going Out of Style."
David Swanson, since serving as press secretary in Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, has emerged as one of the leading anti-war activists in the United States. While Swanson has fought against the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and tried to alert Americans to the fact that U.S. military spending is the source of most of our economic problems, his anti-war activism goes much deeper. He wants to stigmatize militarist politicians as criminals. In his previous book War is a Lie, Swanson made the case for the abolition of war as an instrument of national policy, and When the World Outlawed War provides an historical example of just how powerful war abolitionism can be.
Bruce Levine: At a college lecture that you recently gave, you asked the students and professors if they believed war was illegal or if they had ever heard of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and only about 2 or 3 percent of a large group raised their hands. But what really seems to have disturbed you is when you asked if war should be illegal, and only 5 percent thought that it should be.
David Swanson discusses his new book When the World Outlawed War in Charlottesville, Va., November 16, 2011.
Believe it or not, November 11th was not made a holiday in order to celebrate war, support troops, or cheer the 11th year of occupying Afghanistan. This day was made a holiday in order to celebrate an armistice that ended what was up until that point, in 1918, one of the worst things our species had thus far done to itself, namely World War I.
World War I, then known simply as the world war or the great war, had been marketed as a war to end war. Celebrating its end was also understood as celebrating the end of all wars. A ten-year campaign was launched in 1918 that in 1928 created the Kellogg-Briand Pact, legally banning all wars. That treaty is still on the books, which is why war making is a criminal act and how Nazis came to be prosecuted for it.