All Problems Bleed from America’s Wound
“They gazed at the wall rising around them, encircling them for all
time. They touched, smelled, tasted, and listened to it, and talked
about it until they died. They did absolutely everything but
challenge its rise, and could have toppled it if they had tried.”
—The Last American Novel (manuscript)
By Brian Bogart
" -- -- Most people I meet in my daily strike for peace
at University of Oregon, even Pentagon-funded researchers, are
unaware that making and selling weapons has been America’s top
industry since 1950, that we have sustained this weapons-based
economy by supplying more than 200 wars in 55 years, and that some
310,000 companies and 400 colleges are on the Pentagon’s ever
The 1950 decision to support a military-first rather than a
people-first America—made without the knowledge and consent of the
American people—was the egg that hatched the Cold War. Since then
America has drifted toward destruction with the rise of public
servants beholden to the industry of war instead of the industry of
progress. Faced with peace, economic crisis arises. Thus, when the
Cold War ended, the Pentagon increased its efforts to outsource all
aspects of war to schools and companies in our communities. Such
dependence on conflict must end.
Here is our dilemma: America cannot be a just and peace-loving
nation—nor can its people ever truly prosper—as long as its top
industry is making and selling weapons.
According to America’s founding vision, citizenship involves
vigilance over government and the rigorous pursuit of social change
to serve the needs of the people. The CampUS Strike for Peace
Campaign seeks to spread that vision because the priority of weapons
profit over human prosperity is killing any chance of success for
equal rights, a clean environment, fair elections, a balanced media,
a just world, and thus a peaceful, meaningful future.
All problems bleed from this wound. Every problem our planet bears
is caused, exploited, or worsened by America’s war machine.
Injustice feeds it, so we must stop it. We must take the profit out
of war or war will take the life out of us.
Our founders entrusted us with the advancement of their vision, and
taught us to pursue it by continuous alteration of government, to
abolish or remake it as necessary to stay on a safe and forward
path. Remaking government has never been more necessary than it is
today. The misspending of our wealth will soon deliver us the same
fate that befell the Soviet Union. It is time to answer this call to
duty, for the sake of our children and our world. We are the key to
change, but we must do more than cast votes. There will be no
America without active participation of the American people, and
voting today is more a form of crisis perpetuation than
We are a distracted people, immersed in addressing symptoms and
steeped in the belief that our next vote leads to change. By not
challenging the root cause of our problems, we keep the weapons
industry healthy and approaching the moment of severing our right to
challenge it and save America. By failing to unite, and when lulled
into the voting routine, citizens are cogs in the war machine.
Profiteers have proven that greed unites. The people must prove that
our love of life and planet unites us, and act on one cause to
upgrade America to restore our world and cherish a common future.
Working the symptoms, while necessary, falls fatally short of
progress. We have lost if we still think we can successfully lobby
our servants in Washington through traditional means. Top
republicans and democrats have allied with the White House and less
powerful representatives have raised the white flag. Congress is
frozen, the system is broken, and conscientious Americans are
spending time on long-fought campaigns that have failed to challenge
the root cause of corruption—war and its profiteers.
Here is our solution: In the true form of lobbying (that is, free of
bribery), we must sing a single song in massive numbers and
peacefully defiant fashion. By popular demand, we must change
America’s priority from weapons for profit to human prosperity.
Demand a people-based economy and true servants will rise to replace
profiteers—and then we will clean up our government.
Our hard work, our taxes, and our research should benefit people
first, and funding education should reflect that priority. The
European Union develops technology for alternative energy and
medical advancements, and then a reasonable defense. America
develops technology for global battlefields, at tremendous detriment
to domestic and international prosperity. Filling the world with
weapons cannot deliver security and prosperity, and is the greatest
cause of conflict and terrorism. Unfortunately, few American
citizens have time to study the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy
and its Future Combat Systems program. These should be required
reading to properly unmask the use of our wealth.
Changing administrations or ending the war in Iraq without changing
our national priority will neither alter our course nor banish the
plague of perpetual conflict. The major parties have consciously
sustained this plague for 55 years; both are rife with corruption.
President Truman, a democrat, launched the war industry as we know
it; President Eisenhower, a republican, was the only president to
speak against it.
Some of us have spent our lives in search of a common ground and key
strategy against tyranny. Now that we have a solution, the challenge
lies in breaking through the saturation burden that prevents us from
effectively engaging our government—the email overload, the fog of
500 TV channels and other distractions. United around this solution
and against the machine—not its cogs, but its operators—we stand on
an ironclad strategy of basic American principles that our servants
cannot refute. We possess the moral high ground of government of by
and for the people. Profiteers have no business serving in a
capacity involving the oversight of the people’s prosperity because
they invariably overlook the people they serve.
In the first three years of my research, I learned that
profit-driven military policies are threatening our near future, so
I chose to strike for what’s right in my final year, and just three
weeks into the Strike for Peace Campaign (begun on September 26),
our faculty senate vowed to address the issue of military-funded
research. We must demand the same vow from Washington. No more
excuses, no time to rest—top industry, weapons; top loser, life.
By sheer force of numbers, public opinion can correct America’s
course and prompt a reasonable defense. Good will should lead us to
fund the creation of an international reparations cooperative to
undo the damage this nation has caused. That shift will provide a
new industry beneficial to all and a means for transformation to
save America. If we do not unite to advance our founding vision for
peace, we will perish by advancing our technology for war.
Americans together must declare an end to the age of war for profit
and the beginning of an age of prosperity for all. We are cogs in
this machine unless active against it. We must reprioritize our
nation and rededicate ourselves to its proper function. Unite for
our founders; unite for our future. Go to strikeforpeace.org.
Brian Bogart, University of Oregon’s first graduate student in Peace
Studies . Visit www.strikeforpeace.org for more information
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