If Only We Could Vote for Peace Instead of a “Commander-in-Chief”

freda war and peaceOp-Ed by Robert C. Kohler

Maybe it’s the phrase — “commander in chief” — that best captures the transcendent absurdity and unaddressed horrors of the 2016 election season and the business as usual that will follow.

I don’t want to elect anyone commander in chief: not the xenophobic misogynist and egomaniac, not the Henry Kissinger acolyte and Libya hawk. The big hole in this democracy is not the candidates; it’s the bedrock, founding belief that the rest of the world is our potential enemy, that war with someone is always inevitable and only a strong military will keep us safe.

In a million ways, we’ve outgrown this concept, or been pushed beyond it by awareness of global human connectedness and the shared planetary risk of eco-collapse. So whenever I hear someone in the media bring “commander in chief” into the discussion — always superficially and without question — what I hear is boys playing war. Yes, we wage war in a real way as well, but when the public is invited to participate in the process by selecting its next commander in chief, this is pretend war at its most surreal: all glory and greatness and hammering ISIS in Mosul.

“What about our safety here?” Brian Williams asked Gen. Barry McCaffrey on MSNBC the other night, as they were discussing the awfulness of terrorism and the need to bomb the bad guys out of existence. I cringed. How long can they keep selling this?

Our safety is far, far more imperiled by the fact that we have a military at all than by any enemy that military is allegedly fighting, but is, in fact, creating as it churns out endless collateral damage, a.k.a., dead and injured civilians.

The essential truth about war is this: The enemies are always on the same side. Regardless who “wins,” what matters is that war itself continues. Just ask the military-industrialists.

The only commander in chief I want to vote for is the one who will turn that title over to the historians and cry out that war is an obsolete and monstrous game, revered and coddled for five millennia now as the most sacred of activities that a (male) human can engage in. We need a commander in chief capable of leading us beyond the age of empire and the horrific games of conquest that are killing this planet.

“What about our safety here?”

When Brian Williams threw this question out to the American public, I thought, among much else, about the devastation and contamination the U.S. military has wrought on our deserts and coastal waters over the last seven decades by testing weapons — both nuclear and conventional — and playing, good God, war games; and then, sooner or later, by disposing of its obsolete toxins, usually with zero concern for the environmental safety of the surrounding area, whether it be in Iraq or Louisiana. Because the military is what it is, neither EPA regulations nor sanity itself usually applies.

For instance, as Dahr Jamail wrote recently at Truthout:

For decades, the U.S. Navy, by its own admission, has been conducting war game exercises in U.S. waters using bombs, missiles, sonobuoys (sonar buoys), high explosives, bullets and other materials that contain toxic chemicals — including lead and mercury — that are harmful to both humans and wildlife.

Why do we need to worry about ISIS when, as Jamail reports, “the batteries from dead sonobuoys will leach lithium into the water for 55 years”?

And then there’s depleted uranium, the extraordinarily toxic heavy metal the U.S. military loves; DU missiles and shells rip through steel like it was butter. They also spread radioactive contamination across Planet Earth. And they help poison the waters off the Washington-Oregon coast, where the Navy plays its games, just like they poisoned the waters surrounding Vieques, a tropical paradise island off the coast of Puerto Rico, which, as I wrote several years ago, “was commandeered by the U.S. military as a throwaway site for weapons testing” for 62 years. The Navy finally left, but left behind contaminated soil and water and many thousands of live shells that had failed to detonate, along with a legacy of serious health problems for the island’s 10,000 residents.

“They are indeed the largest polluters on Earth,” environmental toxicologist Mozhgan Savabieasfahani told Truthout, speaking of the U.S. military, “as they produce more toxic chemicals than the top three U.S. chemical manufacturers combined. Historically, large global ecosystems and significant human food sources have been contaminated by the U.S. military.”

What does it mean to vote for the next commander in chief of the largest polluter on the planet?

I confess that I do not know — at least not in the context of this absurd and superficially debated election, with virtually every serious question or issue pushed to the margins. How do we transcend nationalism and the game of war — the reality of endless war — and engage in securing the safety of the whole planet? How do we acknowledge that this planet is not just “a jumble of insensate stuff, a random melee of subatomic particles” for us to exploit, as Charles Eisestein writes, but a living entity of which we are, crucially, a part? How do we learn to love this planet and one another?

Any potential “commander in chief” who asks lesser questions than these is engaging in a childish game with real guns.

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is available at Amazon.com. Contact him at [email protected] or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License and was sourced here from CommonDreams.org

Image Credit: Anthony Freda Art


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11 Comments on "If Only We Could Vote for Peace Instead of a “Commander-in-Chief”"

  1. “Our safety is far, far more imperiled by the fact that we have a military at all than by any enemy that military is allegedly fighting,…”

    First advice is to READ the US Constitution. We are NOT supposed to have a standing (permanent) military. No one can put the USA into war except for the congress, they are the ONLY body that can lawfully declare a war and send our soldiers into battle. They also are the only body that can call forth the Militia.

    US Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11: “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”.

    Clause 12: “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years”.

    The person who serves as a US President is the Commander in Chief ONLY after the congress has made a declaration of war or when they call forth the Militia (that is us) to…
    — Enforce the US Constitution (supreme law of this land) and each state’s Constitution (highest law of the state),
    — Enforce and keep the “Laws of the Union” (which are constitutional laws ONLY),
    — Protect the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, and
    — “to suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”.

    Which is why the Militia is REQUIRED to be trained as the military is trained; and because they are under no one except the US Constitution and their own state Constitution required to be educated in both.

    George Washington: “It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government…, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50
    Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them, that the Total strength of the Country might be called forth at Short Notice on any very interesting Emergency.” (“Sentiments on a Peace Establishment”, letter to Alexander Hamilton; “The Writings of George Washington”)

    What Article 2, Section 2 says is this:’ The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the ACTUAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES;” (caps are mine)

    ““What about our safety here?” Brian Williams asked Gen. Barry McCaffrey on MSNBC the other night, as they were discussing the awfulness of terrorism…”

    When every able-bodied American is trained as the military is trained and armed then this nation will be much safer then any other (as it used to be).

    Thomas Jefferson: “For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and
    armed militia is their best security.”

    • Probably you have not noticed but the globalists who control the American system do not care about the Constitution and they’ll even shove Hillary on your throat..Vote for Trump and it will be the last chance to save what’s left of the Republic…

  2. If the US swapped that lousy warmongering National Anthem for “America the Beautiful’ the next generation of kids forced to sing it may not turn out quite so belligerent and triggerhappy – and they may even regrow their once extraordinary but now decimated landscape and environment..

  3. I remember JFK at the UN, when he said: “let us not have an arms race, let us have a peace race”. 6 months later they murdered JFK

  4. Regardless who wins the presidential election in less than a month, America loses, at least initially.

    I don’t think anyone will argue that we have been chosen to live in challenging times. They are also exhilarating times for those who have eyes to see that we are witnessing what is perhaps the most important paradigm shift in America’s history.

    One of the ways this shift is evident is in that today’s corrupt government system is self-destructing, preparing the way for Yahweh’s ambassadors to fill thecoming vacuum with a righteous alternative–if only
    we’re prepared to do so.

    Today’s two presidential candidates (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) are but further evidence that the biblically seditious Constitutional Republic is under God’s judgment. See Daniel 4:17.

    Because Yahweh, God of the Bible, is sovereign, everything goes wrong just right. Whether Clinton or Trump gets elected, America will be getting exactly who she deserves. Either one will be for America’s judgment for her rejection of Yahweh, which commenced in 1787 with the 18th-century founding founders’ humanistic government of, by, and for the people based upon capricious man-made Enlightenment and Masonic traditions.

    The good news is with enough judgment, America will someday repent and return to her God. Nevertheless, we do not want to be party to that judgment and thus complicit in the nation’s sins.

    Before voting for one of these two candidates (or any candidate for that matter), PLEASE listen to the message we just posted. It’s titled “Constitutional Elections: Dining at the ‘Devil’s’ Table’.” Click on my picture, then our Website. Go to our Audio Messages page, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the title.

    • I will put my thrust in those who mention GOD’s name and neglect those who are scared to pronounce it…God works through people no matter “where they sit” As it stands we cannot split hairs since Trump is not perfect but he can save the Republic if we help him. I’ll vote for him.You can vote for whoever you want but Trump.It’s exactly what the globalists expect.Then when you complain that it’s worse of the same do not blame anyone, but you…

      • Joe, thanks for responding.

        I’m not the least interested in saving the Republic. Republicanism, like Democracy, is just another contemporary form of man doing what is right in his own eyes, per Judges 21:25. Judges 21:25 is what today is commonly known as humanism, aka We the Peopleism:

        “…Constitutionalists insist the United States government is a republic, not a democracy, but they never stop to consider that the two are virtually the same regarding sovereignty.

        “Christian Constitutionalists further insist republics are Biblical. However, because republics (like democracies) rely upon the majority vote of the people for the selection of their leaders, rather than upon Yahweh’s choice (as per Deuteronomy 17:15), republics are not anymore Biblical than are democracies. Both democracies and republics culminate in a government of, by, and for the people rather than a government of, by, and for Yahweh. The same is true with other issues voted upon by the people: ultimately the majority’s will is exalted over Yahweh’s will.

        “As demonstrated in Chapter 3, both republican and Christian governments are ultimately theocracies. As a result, they are incompatible and hostile to each other. A republic looks to the people as its sovereign; a Christian theocracy looks to Yahweh. The very definition of a sovereign, or supreme ruler, excludes simultaneous sovereigns.”

        For more, see online Chapter 7 “Article 4: Republic vs. Theocracy” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” Click on my picture, then our website. Go to our Online Books page, click on the top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 7.

  5. You can vote fora peace candidate–you can vote for Dr. Jill Stein.

    • Actually a vote for Dr.Jill Stein would be a a wasted vote and a vote for Hillary.It’s clear that people do not understand what’s at stake here.there is no time for dreaming.If you want to save the Republic, vote for Trump.It’s the last shot the liberty has. The rest of the candidates are just “background noise” and a distraction in this election. It’s been documented by the Wiki Leaks that Hillary plays dirty and nobody investigates since the entire system is under globalist control. There is no room for dreaming here.

  6. As long as the globalists are in power it will not be peace…

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