Chance for Peace
Did you hear the latest hippie rant from Bernie Sanders? Or maybe it was Jill Stein.
This is what was said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
Poetic, right? But clearly the words of a leftie progressive idealist who doesn’t quite live in the real world.
Actually, the “cross of iron” speech was originally called the “Chance for Peace” speech, and it was delivered in 1953 by Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican President of the United States and Supreme Commander of the NATO Allied Forces during World War II. A career military man, a member of Augusta National golf club, a classic conservative.
This is how far right our country has moved in the subsequent 60 years: Eisenhower today sounds like a Berniecrat. Comparing military spending to stealing from the people is not something you’ll hear from either Money Party nominee in this year’s Presidential election. Whether neoliberal Democrat or demagogue Republican, the military-industrial complex isn’t something to be warned against, as Eisenhower did; it’s who you work for.
The business of America is war-making and will continue to be war-making until We the People collectively demand peace. Not a conditional, theoretical, Utopian peace, but comprehensive, leading-by-example demilitarization. This is obvious. And necessary. All we are saying is . . . what Lennon, Gandhi and, in his own way, Eisenhower said: We have a chance for peace. Let’s not squander it.
Electing leaders who are adamantly anti-war would be a promising start.