Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Demonize War Not People !

In 1900 Lev. N. Tolstoy declared: War is ‘the slavery of our times’.

Today I declare: ‘War is a ‘public enemy’ — criminal and extremely damaging to society.

In 1895, my Spirit Wrestler (Doukhobor) ancestors burned their guns to say that the spirit of love/God in each of us forbids us to kill each other. Both Tolstoy and the Doukhobors did not condemn people, they rightly condemned the criminal evil of violence and wars.

During the current Russia-Ukraine crisis, puffed up by the news, I have been appalled by the demonizing rhetoric of Western leaders, the follow-the-herd mentality of much of the media, the eagerness of the government-military-industrial complex to increase spending, and the naivety of so many who think threat of war is the best solution.

The total cost of war in the past century is estimated at over 80 million. (The Canadian Friends Service Committee  have estimated the cost to be over $1 trillion. I suspect the real cost to be well over $2 trillion.) During World War II, Russians lost over 27 million people. The Nazi siege of Leningrad cost over 700,000 civilian lives — more than total number of soldiers killed during WWII from the U.S., U.K., and Canada. And today we know that many more surviving soldiers have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorders) which affects many more family and friends — uncounted millions of people suffer. 

To me it seems that only winners in war are those who profit from it (namely, the oil magnates, Big Banks and the Military industrial complex). This is a huge, preventable crime against humanity!

Historian Margaret MacMillan suggests that World War I could have been avoided if civil people negotiated alternatives to find win-win solutions. She said there was ‘nothing inevitable about the war’. The leaders of Europe could have chosen peace.(1)

Violence and war are learned behaviours. The 1986 Seville ‘Statement on Violence’ declared ‘...Just as wars begin in the minds of men’, peace also begins in our minds. The same species who invented war is capable of inventing peace. The responsibility lies with all of us.(4)

Glenn D. Paige of the Center for Global Nonkilling, has a solution. Dr. Paige presents a convincing case that we can stop lethal violence. What would happen if part of the annual $2 trillion spent on war was diverted to avoiding war?(2)

I also blame journalists who naively assume war is inevitable, and stereotype people into races who must fight each other. I suggest alternative peace seeking interview questions:
What are you doing to prevent war?
  • What is your position on creating a Department of Peace in parliament?
  • What are you doing to secularize our country, to integrate nationalities and religions?
  • How can our educational institutions better promote peace?
  • What programs do you support for international friendship?
  • What is the progress of reducing our nuclear weapons?
Avoiding war is a primary task of our civilization today. By diverting war funds to peace we focus on life, health research, education, pollution, infrastructure (roads, bridges, transportation) and quality of life for all.

Let’s get on with it before the patriotic war flames consume us.

  1. Margaret MacMillan. 2002. Six Months That Changed the World: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919.
  2. Glenn D. Paige. 2002. Nonkilling Global Political Science.
  3. Joam Evans Pim (ed). 2013. Nonkilling Security & The State.
  4. David Adams, et al. 1989. ‘The Seville Statement on Violence: A Status Report.’ Journal of Peace Research, vol. 26: 120-121.
  5. Ralph Nader. March 24, 2014. ‘Obama to Putin: Do as I Say Not as I Do’.
  6. Thalif Deen (IPS - Transcend Media Service). March 24, 2014. ‘Ukraine Coup Lawful, Crimea Referendum Unlawful?’.
  7. Prof. James Petras (Transcend Media Service). March 24, 2014. ‘Violence and Terror: The Ukrainian Colombian Road to Empire Building.’
  8. Norman Pollack (CounterPunch). March 24, 2014. ‘Ukraine as Stalking Horse: The Rise of Fascism in the West.’
  9. Uri Avnery (Transcend Media Service). March 24, 2014. ‘A Hundred Years Later.’
  10. Robert Parry (Consortium News). 'Ukraine: The Danger of False Narrative.' March 27, 2014. 


  1. Amen to that. What is most disappointing is that there is no sensible principled political leadership in Canada, but a shameless genuflection in front of potential voters.
    And 80 million as a cost of war over the past century appears modest.

    1. Hello Larry. The quoted cost is modest indeed. The Canadian Friends Service Committee in
      stated as follows: 'As of June 1, 2010 both wars had a combined estimated cost of over 1 trillion dollars, separately the Iraq War had an estimated cost of 725 billion dollars and the Afghanistan War had an estimated cost of 275 billion dollars. The numbers are based on US Congress appropriation reports and do not include "future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war". I suspect that the real cost of wars in the past century is well over $2 trillion.

  2. Ingrid Style, Quebec. 27 March 2014
    Koozma – First I want to thank you for making me aware of World Beyond War – an excellent initiative.
    And, of course, I agree with you about the Ukraine/Crimea situation – it is so déjà-vu isn’t it?!
    As for creative alternatives, I would like to know what you think of Jim Stark’s Vote World Parliament idea.
    Then there is the Global Action to Prevent War of Randall Forsberg and others.
    Now that we have a few creative alternatives shouldn’t we all be working together to bring them into effect?
    In your blog you say the ‘’only winners in war are those who profit from it’’ . I assume you are referring to the arms manufacturers .
    I hope you and your readers understand that the damage done by war to the planet, ( by the overuse of resources and destruction of environmental life support systems,) means that no living thing profits from war.
    The children and grandchildren of those who make money today are just as vulnerable as are our own.
    The proponents of war must be helped to see that.
    Humans may be evil at times, but they are biologically programmed to care about what happens to their progeny.

    1. I remember well being part of Jim Stark’s Operation Dismantle which he founded In 1977. Then in 2004 he founded the nonprofit NGO Vote World Government ( As well, I have heard of the Global Action to Prevent War by Randall Forsberg and others ( which is a coalition-building effort to stop war, genocide, and other forms of deadly conflict. These and many other worthy efforts, such as the Center for Global Nonkilling (, all have important insights into building a world without wars. Today, peace activists have both a choice and a challenge to bring these resources together. The big question is how to bring all these peace energies together for united action!
      Your reference to all life reminds me of Another Mother For Peace (
      and its logo “War is not healthy for children and other living things.’ Thank you Ingrid for giving context to this important question of getting rid of wars from planet earth.

  3. Valeriy Kalmykov27 March 2014 at 23:31

    Человечество воевало всегда, со времен палеолита люди воевали за кусок мяса, территорию, за женщин и за право пользоваться огнем. Воины делились на мировые, отечественные, гражданские, локальные, национально-освободительные, торговые, информационные, холодные, горячи, и еще множество всяких. Все войны ассоциировались со смертью, несчастьями, поломанными судьбами. Но что представляет собой война в общем понимании развития человечества в глобальном плане?
    Польский фантаст Станислав Лем в прошлом веке писал об эволюции, основанной на теории ошибок. Суть этой теории в том, что если бы простейшие клетки делились всегда правильно и гармонично, то миллионы лет назад жизнь на земле никогда бы не переросла в высокоорганизованные формы. Грубо говоря, миллион лет назад какая-то клетка ошиблась и поделилась так, что у неё появились плавники, а еще через несколько тысяч лет, ноги и так далее до развития современного человека.
    Война, это тоже ошибка. Ошибка эволюционного развития человечества. Но что получается в результате этой ошибки. Война перестраивает работу мозгов и заставляет мозг работать не в штатном режиме, включает организм работать в ускоренном ритме и на полную самоотдачу. Любая война, это прорыв технологий, открытие научных достижений, это эволюционный прогресс. Человек полетел в космос исключительно благодаря прорыву технологий в результате холодной войны между СССР и США. Примеров таких множество. Война заставляет человечество думать и принимать решения на максимуме своих возможностей. Материальное благополучие, независимость, свободу страны и народности получили исключительно те, кто воевал и сражался на полях военных баталий. Цена вопроса развития человечества это не деньги, а человеческие жизни. Человечество платить за свое развитие не долларами и не рублями, а жизнью каждого человека на Земле. Так было всегда и так и будет.
    Индийский философ Ошо писал: что историю делают люди «злые». Люди, которые всегда недовольны чем-то они ищут истину, конфликтуют, ошибаются, падают, но идут вперед. Люди добрые и всегда довольные никогда не будут развиваться и их основной задачей является оценка вкусовых качеств потребляемой еды.

    Историку Margaret MacMillan надо меньше фантазировать на темы альтернативной истории.
    -« Что было бы, если бы мать Гитлера умерла в раннем возрасте от сифилиса? Была бы вторая мировая война или нет?»
    А читать больше научные труды Карла Маркса, там все очень подробно написано про мировые войны и революции в частности.

    Мир без войны, это хорошая инициатива. Это цель, которая никогда не будет достигнута в силу своей нежизнеспособности. Такие инициативы как « Мир без наркотиков», «Мир без курения», «Мир без насилия» безусловно, несут в себе положительный импульс, но в действительности это не больше чем красивая иллюзия.

  4. TRANSLATION of Valeriy Kalmykov (above)29 March 2014 at 04:21

    Mankind fought ever since the Paleolithic people were fighting for a piece of meat, territory, for women, and for the right to use fire. Warriors were divided into global, domestic, civil, local, national liberation, shopping, news, cold, hot, and many others. All wars are associated with death, misery, broken lives . But what is a war in the general understanding of human development on a global scale?

    The Polish science-fiction writer Stanislaw Lem wrote in the last century about evolution, based on the theory of errors [probability]. The essence of this theory is that if the simplest cells always shared properly and harmoniously, millions of years ago, life on Earth would never have evolved into highly organized form. Roughly speaking, a million years ago, some cells spontaneously divided into fins, and a few thousand years later, into legs and so on, until the development of modern man.

    War is also an error. It is an error of the evolutionary development of humanity. But what happens as a result of this error. War rebuilds the brain and causes the brain to not work in normal mode, includes body work at an accelerated pace and total commitment.

    Any war involves a breakthrough technology, the discovery of scientific achievements, this becomes an evolutionary progress. The fact that man flew into space demonstrated exclusively through breakthrough technologies as a result of the Cold War between the USSR and the USA. There are many examples of this. War challenges mankind to think and make decisions at their best. Material well-being went only to those who fought in the fields of military battles. The price of human development is not money, but human life. Mankind has to pay for their own development not only in dollars and rubles, but in the life of every person on Earth. It always has been this way and will continue to be.

    The Indian philosopher Osho [Rajneesh] wrote that history is made by "evil" people. Those people who always complain about something are seeking for the truth, conflict, error, fall, but they go ahead. People who are kind and always happy will never develop and their main objective is to assess the palatability of food consumed.

    Historian Margaret MacMillan should less fantasize the theme of alternative history. — ‘What would happen if Hitler's mother died at an early age from syphilis? Would WWII have occurred or not?’ Instead, she should read more scholarly works of Karl Marx where there are full details written about world wars and revolutions in particular.

    A world without war is a good initiative. This is a goal that will never be achieved by virtue of its non-viability. Initiatives such as a ‘World without drugs,’ a ‘World without Smoking,’ and a ‘World without violence,’ certainly carry positive momentum, but in reality it is no more than a beautiful illusion.

    1. Valeriy Kalmykov essentially says that wars, like narcotics and smoking, will always be with us — they are natural and essential for the evolution of society. The many scholarly works of the Center for Global Nonkilling provide opposite views which I support.

      Dr. Paige says ‘.. a nonkilling society .. is completely possible. [because] (1) humans by nature are not compelled to kill. They are endowed with “consciousness”, “reason”, and “creativity” that enable them to reject lethality. And (2) economic scarcity must not be used to justify killing — men are not the slaves of matter. Scarcity can be overcome by “creativity,” “productivity”, and “most importantly by equal distribution.”...’ (Paige, 2002. pages 20-21). (Russian version online)

      I am surprised that Kalmykov used two non-scientific authors to support his evolutionary thesis. Stanislaw Lem is a science fiction writer. Osho-Rajineesh is a cult leader who opposed Gandhi and preached free-love.

      Kalymkov misses the point of the real tragedy of war which kills both educated and uneducated peoples and maims millions. Was it worthwhile to allow 27 million Russians to be killed in World War II so the USA could advance to a rich world power? Is this the kind of evolution we want? Coming from a Russian society which has suffered so much, Kalmykov ought to know better.

      I don't believe that promoting expensive wars is the best way to improve the world (feed the poor, cure the sick, educate the masses, reduce pollution, etc.).

  5. Needless to say, I agree with you Koozma, and everyone else who believes that war is a very primitive solution for resolving disputes for a species that thinks of itself as the most evolved on Earth.

    Until 200 years ago, slavery was also accepted as a normal part of culture and commerce around the world, and slavery is also a human activity that dates back to the beginning of time. I can just imagine the proponents of the slave trade in the 19th century defending it on the basis of the economic benefits, just like the people today that still believe that war has benefited humankind.

    Hopefully, people 200 years from now will look back and shake their heads when they ponder how stupid their ancestors were before war was abolished.

  6. Barry Verigin, Grand Forks, British Columbia4 April 2014 at 10:01

    Hello Koozma,
    Thanks for passing on the info. I check your site on a regular basis. We have reprinted one of your recent postings, the review of Stephen Cohen’s Cold War article in our current issue. We too feel a degree of frustration toward the present slant of mainstream media regarding the crisis in Ukraine and the Crimea. It is truly unfortunate that many of the more objective views based on factual historical perspective are being displaced by emotional rhetoric driven by econo-political motives. In your posting about Demonizing War Not People, I was impressed with your views as well as your references. The letter to Obama by Ralph Nader is something that more Americans and others should be aware of but unfortunately it’s not that widely publicized. Sometimes I get the feeling that objective media coverage in Canada has taken a back seat to political patronage. I wonder how many more news reporters will hold Senate seats in the future.