by Dennis Kucinich
June 13, 2012
For Immediate Release
“The Department of Peace is based on faith in the evolution of human consciousness”
New York, NY (June 13, 2012) — Appearing on a live broadcast of Brian Lehrer Radio Show at The Green Space, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called for a new approach to peace. He explained H.R. 808, his legislation to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Peace. H.R. 808, which seeks to address the causes of violence both nationally and internationally, currently has 52 cosponsors.
“The Department of Peace creates a structural response to violence in our society. The Department of Peace puts into practice conflict resolution in all our human contacts. It requires a shift in our thinking that we are not ‘our brother’s keeper’ but that we are an aspect of our brothers and our sisters.
“Nations and leaders may take a detour into war, but we have a duty to challenge that. We must challenge violence on the national scale. But what gives us our authenticity as individuals is that we have peace in our own lives.
“War in the microcosm is domestic violence, gang violence, violence in schools and violence against gays. Society is sated with war. It starts with individuals and our perceptions of violence. Violence is a learned response. Nonviolence can be a learned response.
“The main message of the Department of Peace is that we are not chained to this wheel of violence. War is not inevitable. It is not inevitable that we descend into some circle of Dante’s hell. That is the core of the Department of Peace: the faith in the evolution of human consciousness.”
H.R. 808 would establish a Secretary position to advise the President on peace building strategies in times of international conflict. It would establish a Peace Academy, modeled after military service academies, which would provide instruction in peace education, and offer opportunities for graduates to serve in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution. It would also provide funds to support and expand domestic programs that provide training in known best-practices such as mediation, alternative dispute resolution techniques, and nonviolent communication programs in our public schools and in the public sector workforce.
Congressman Kucinich also addressed the legacy of the wars which have consumed our nation for the last decade:
“We went to war against a nation that didn’t attack us based on choice. A million innocent Iraqis died as a result. That is a significant number, and there are consequences for that. If America is to shed the shackles of war, we need to go through a period of truth and reconciliation.
“We have to recognize that we are still choosing war. We chose war in Iraq. We chose to go to war in Afghanistan. I think it was right to strike the training camps, but we chose to stay at war for more than a decade. And we are choosing to possibly go to war with Iran.
“If you go deep – and I spent the better part of the last 10 years, every single day challenging these wars – what I have learned is that people in Washington just don’t understand that there is another way to end conflict without killing people.
“When we look at Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, which was a war of choice, and after you wreak havoc on these countries and then you sing Kumbaya and work at conflict resolution, there is magical thinking there. If we create these wars, we are not accepting the consequence of what we have done. To leave it to peace keepers and conflict resolution experts, we are way disconnected from our own actions. We have a country that has not been able to shed our imperial instincts. The idea that we can dominate the world through a global war on terror is insanity.
“All our peace-building efforts will fall apart as long as we believe we can control the world through the use of force. We must acknowledge that every time we drop a bomb, it expands the war and ripples into the future ultimately coming back to us.”