“War Is the Ultimate Failure!”
By Rev. John Dear
(Published on www.commondreams.org on March 20,2023)
On Saturday, March 18, 2023—the 20th anniversary of the U.S. war on Iraq—22 demonstrations against U.S. warmaking were held across the nation, including Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco. In Los Angeles, hundreds gathered to protest outside the CNN building in Hollywood. What follows are the remarks by Rev. John Dear to the crowd.
Today, in the name of the God of peace, we say to the United States: we are sick and tired of your endless wars, your military spending, your nuclear weapons, your global domination, your violence, your imperialism and fascism and corporate greed and permanent warfare. We remember the U.S. war on Iraq, and how we killed millions of sisters and brothers there for a great lie, to steal their oil and sell weapons and help the one percent get richer. We remember the U.S. war on Afghanistan, and how we killed and injured countless innocent civilians for a great lie so we could get their oil and sow chaos in the world and sell weapons. With thousands of people in over twenty demonstrations across the nation we say today, enough is enough! No more endless wars!
Today, in the name of the God of peace, we say to the United States: stop building nuclear weapons, stop spending billions and billions to upgrade our nuclear weapons, stop bankrupting our country by spending for war and nuclear war preparations. Use that trillion dollars instead on food and water for the hungry and thirsty, schools, jobs, housing and healthcare for the poor and everyone. Stop preparing for and threatening nuclear warfare on our sisters and brothers around the world, stop risking nuclear winter! Resume all treaties for nuclear disarmament, sign the UN Ban treaty, ands join the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons so that we can welcome a new future without nuclear weapons!
Today, in the name of the God of peace, we say to the United States: stop the economic warfare of sanctions against 40 nations in the world, including Syria after the horrific recent earthquake. Close our 730 military bases in over a hundred countries around the world. Stop escalating the Russian war on Ukraine. We demand negotiations not escalation! We want an immediate ceasefire, not permanent warfare! The way forward is diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy, not giving billions for another long war. Dismantle NATO, that relic of the Cold War and create new nonviolent institutions for global nonviolent conflict resolution. Stop selling weapons to all sides in all wars. Stop funding the Israeli occupation and killing of the Palestinians. Stop all hostilities and preparations for global war with China. And in the name of the Creator, stop the war on Mother Earth!
Today, in the name of the God of peace, we say to the people of the United States: war is the ultimate failure. War is immoral, illegal, and just downright impractical. War doesn’t work. War never leads to peace. War always sows the seeds for future wars. War is demonic, evil, anti-life, anti-creation, anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-democracy, and anti-humanity. War is the definition of mortal sin. Peaceful means are the only way to a peaceful future and the God of peace. So like the Abolitionists of old who announced the abolition of slavery and the vision of a new world of equality, we announce the abolition of war itself, and poverty, racism, corporate greed, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction, and the coming of a new nonviolent world of peace with justice for all people and creation.
Dear friends, today, in the name of the God of peace, we say with all the great peacemakers of history from Jesus of Nazareth to Saint Francis, from Dorothy Day and Rosa Parks to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.: we choose the way of peace and nonviolence! Today we pledge to be nonviolent to ourselves, nonviolent to all people, nonviolent to all creatures and Mother Earth, and to work for a new culture of nonviolence, to build up a new, global grassroots, people power movement of active nonviolence for justice, disarmament and creation the likes of which the world has never seen, to abolish war and welcome God’s reign of peace and nonviolence here on earth.
Let’s keep on speaking out for peace, marching for peace, taking a stand for peace, taking action for peace, working for peace, asking the God of peace for the gift of peace, and being the peace we seek for the world. God bless you!