By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, October 24, 2023
I don’t recall getting to vote on sending more weapons to four wars at a time in the name of democracy, do you?
Has anybody asked you whether you agree with the media’s universal consensus that having a House Speaker who could facilitate the prolongation, escalation, and creation of numerous wars would be obviously better than not having a House Speaker?
Has a single member of the House even agreed to shut up and stop speaking during what should be a blissful period of silent speakerlessness?
Since summer, the U.S. public has been willing to say No to pollsters on sending weapons to wars, if asked incisively enough. A CNN poll in August broke with the standard of calling a mountain of weapons accompanied by a couple of trucks of bread “aid” and gave people lots of options for what the U.S. could do in Ukraine: “Assistance in intelligence gathering, “Military training,” “Weapons,” “U.S. military forces to participate in combat operations,” “Another form of assistance.” Only the first two broke 50%. The last two didn’t break 25% support.
According to CBS on October 19, strong majorities want to send humanitarian aid to Israel and Palestine but only 48% in the U.S. want to send weapons to Israel. And 53% of Democrats oppose sending “weapons/supplies” to Israel. And according to Data for Progress, 66% agree with this: “The U.S. should call for a ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Gaza. The U.S. should leverage its close diplomatic relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths.” Whether its close diplomatic relationship encompasses its role as chief weapons dealer, we can perhaps not be absolutely sure, given that most people do not know most things, potentially including where Israel gets its weapons. But seriously attempting to “prevent further violence” does require halting weapons shipments.
Of course, all answers are available in polling on any question depending on how one words the question. According to the USA Today on October 24, you can get 58% to support sending the vague substance called “aid” if you call Hamas “terrorists” and use other questions to pretend the only two options ever available are warmaking and isolationism.
The usually horrible Quinnipiac claims that 64% say yes to “Do you approve or disapprove of the United States sending weapons and military equipment to Israel in response to the Hamas terrorist attack?” But it claims only 39% of 18- to 34-year-olds say yes to that. And one can hardly expect old people to be skeptical enough to understand that in reality there is more than one way to respond to a war/terrorist attack.
What if there were a way to hear from people more in-depth? Well, here’s a petition, signed by thousands, that says to the U.S. government “No More Weapons Shipments to Ukraine, Israel, or Taiwan. Stop the weapons shipments, and replace them with diplomacy and a new focus on the human and environmental crises that these wars defund, distract from, and exacerbate.” People have added comments to the petition, including these:
“Absolutely, no more weapons shipments, including airplanes, to Israel. Why would anyone add fuel to this horrific, fiery war? We are not going to end this carnage until we stop the flow of weapons and start dialogue between the powers that be.”
“It’s time to demand an immediate ceasefire to all fighting on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. There’s no good outcome from arming anyone anywhere anymore! Eastern Ukraine is a great example of our violent policies while more and more people in this country slide into poverty. Enough is enough!”
“Stop sending money to Israel every year!”
“The more weapons we give to Israel the longer Israel will maintain it’s brutal and illegal occupation. Israel violates International Law and the U.S. is an accessory to their crimes. We need Peace, not War.”
“Clearly this President loves the idea of war and keeping the American ‘merchants of death’ rich and fat. As a nation we need to be looking at negotiating for the end of wars, not to be feeding the flames of war.”
“There is no better time for peace than right now.”
“We must stand up for the suffering people of Gaza! We are supporting genocide.”
“Please wise up and recognize that this Earth and the life it sustains is the most important thing. Stop fomenting war and relinquish your love of power and your worship of Death.”
“Stop this murderous mayhem!”
“The owners of global military industrial complex are minting money out of all wars. I wonder what do they need this wealth for, am confused, I suppose they do have means to take it with them in their graves.”
“We need peace. Weapons do not promote peace.”
“What the US is promoting is similar to what Europeans did to Aborigines when they colonized America. No consideration for anything. Just say NO to the warfare states!”
“War is obsolete.”
“Yes, there are ‘bad guys’ in the world, but there seem to be more weapons manufacturers and military contractors cashing in on the death and misery we humans are so adept at sowing planet-wide. Stop aiding the killing and destruction, and foster PEACE.”
“Stop the forever wars!”
“End war profiteering. War is not the answer.”
“US FOREIGN POLICY IS MURDER INCORPORATED !!!!!!!!!”
“No more wars!”
“Get money out of politics. Weapons mfgrs own government.”
“What kind of moral commitment or stance does the United States have regarding war. It seems to support, perhaps encourage, war wherever there is an opening. We must say no to this depravity.”
“No more war.”
“Promote peace not war!”
“I’m an concerned American citizen living abroad. This is madness! I voted for Biden to prevent the world war that Trump wanted to start. Now, it seems like Biden will start one instead!”
“I strongly urge you to stop the proliferation of arms in the name of politics. It does not make us safer. We must use diplomacy.”
And thousands more like that.