FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A National Peacemaker’s Day

It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe it.
And it isn’t enough to believe in it, one must work for it.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

It is right and proper that our nation sets aside days to honor the men and women who have fought in the service of our country. They fully merit our collective thanks and admiration for their bravery and sacrifice.

But our nation fails to honor the peacemakers. Americans can serve their country not only by fighting its wars, but also by struggling to avoid war and promote peace. No president or general orders the peacemakers into action. They expect no glory for their deeds. Yet it is well past time that we set aside a day to honor the peacemakers. As Americans, we rarely equate honor, loyalty, and courage with actions on behalf of peace. Too often, we make the tragic mistake of equating advocacy for peace with disloyalty or subversion, when for the peacemakers it is their patriotic duty.

The late Robert McNamara said, “we were wrong, terribly wrong” about the war in Vietnam. Yet we not do today celebrate those who were right about Vietnam, the millions of ordinary men and women who put themselves on the line by taking to the streets to protest the war. To the contrary, in 2004, John Kerry’s anti-war protests were turned against him as akin to near treason against the United States. Yet, had McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson listened to the peacemakers when it mattered, they might have saved many tens of thousands of American lives and perhaps millions of Asian lives.

Who today remembers the struggles of American Friends Service Committee, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the World Council of Churches in the 1950s to end the horrific testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere and oceans? Their efforts ultimately contributed to the Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which rescued humanity from deadly nuclear fallout, with unpredictable effects on the future of the human race.

The litany of peacemakers who were right in their time goes on. However, we honor all our soldiers regardless of whether we believe they fought in just or unjust wars. So too we should honor all those who fought for peace, whether we now believe they were right or wrong. Their dedication still deserves our recognition.

We should respect as well the groups that today are protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were scorned during the early fervor for these wars, but now the majority of Americans are in accord with their views.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” says the gospel of Matthew. It is time to make this blessing a reality with a national peacemaker’s day.

ALLAN J. LICHTMAN is Professor of History at American University. His most recent book is, White Protestant Nation.

 

Inside the New Print Edition of Our Subscriber-Only Newsletter!

Obama and Black America

Ten months into Obama-time, the plight of black Americans is terrible. Yet overwhelmingly they rally behind the president. In a powerful report from the Deep South Kevin Alexander Gray asks the question: what should the black political agenda be? Mark Rudd counterposes “organizing” with “activism” and describes what it will take to build a movement.  H. Bruce Franklin gives a chronology of the march into Afghanistan. Get your new edition today by subscribing online or calling 1-800-840-3683 Contributions to CounterPunch are tax-deductible. Click here to make a donation. If you find our site useful please: Subscribe Now! CounterPunch books and t-shirts make great presents.

Order CounterPunch By Email For Only $35 a Year !

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail