We will fight for peace, but we will do no violence.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Blood on the White House Carpet?

In 1981, Harvard law professor Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, published a thought experiment in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

“There is a young man, probably a Navy officer, who accompanies the President. This young man has a black attache case which contains the codes that are needed to fire nuclear weapons. I could see the President at a staff meeting considering nuclear war as an abstract question. He might conclude: “On SIOP Plan One, the decision is affirmative. Communicate the Alpha line XYZ.” Such jargon holds what is involved at a distance.

“My suggestion was quite simple: Put that needed code number in a little capsule and then implant that capsule right next to the heart of a volunteer. The volunteer would carry with him a big, heavy butcher knife as he accompanied the President. If ever the President wanted to fire nuclear weapons, the only way he could do so would be for him first, with his own hands, to kill one human being. The President says, “George, I’m sorry but tens of millions must die.” He has to look at someone and realize what death is - what an innocent death is. Blood on the White House carpet. It’s a reality brought home.

“When I suggested this to friends in the Pentagon they said, “My God, that’s terrible. Having to kill someone would distort the President’s judgment. He might never push the button!”

Friday, July 10, 2015

Nonviolent Quakers 1775

"From our past experience of the clemency of the king and his royal ancestors, we have grounds to hope and believe that decent and respectful addresses from those who are vested with legal authority, representing the prevailing dissatisfactions and the cause of them, would avail toward obtaining relief, ascertaining and establishing the just rights of the people, and restoring the public tranquillity; and we deeply lament that contrary modes of proceeding have been pursued, which have involved the colonies in confusion, appear likely to produce violence and bloodshed, and threaten the subversion of the constitutional government, and of that liberty of conscience for the enjoyment of which our ancestors were induced to encounter the manifold dangers and difficulties of crossing the seas and
of settling in the wilderness."

"We are therefore incited, by a sincere concern for the peace and welfare of our country, publicly to declare against every usurpation of power and authority in opposition to the laws and government, and against all combinations, insurrections, conspiracies, and illegal assemblies; and as we are restrained from them by the conscientious discharge of our duty to Almighty God, “by whom kings reign and princes decree justice,” we hope, through his assistance and favor, to be enabled to maintain our testimony against any requisitions which may be made of us, inconsistent with our religious principles, and the fidelity we owe to the King and his government, as by law established; earnestly desiring the restoration of that harmony and concord which have heretofore united the people of these provinces, and been attended by the divine blessing on their labors."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ernest Hemingway: About War

"The title of the book is A Farewell to Arms and except for three years there has been war of kind almost every year since it was written. Some people used to say, why is the man so preoccupied and obsessed with war, and now, since 1933 perhaps it is clear why a writer should be interested in the constant, bullying, murderous, slovenly crime of war. Having been to too many of them, I am sure that I am prejudiced. But it is the considered belief of the writer of this book that wars are fought by the finest people that there are, or just say people, although the closer you are to where they are fighting, the finer the people you meet; but they are made, provoked and initiated by straight economic rivalries and by swine that stand to profit from them."

-Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms