War does not work. Disarmament does.

It is time to change a basic British attitude. For a century of more we have been taught that, sometimes, our going to war is good and can bring about a better world. Blair believed that, together with most of the New Labour and Conservative parties who voted in 2003 for War in Iraq. Chilcot has confirmed War was not necessary. It was especially not necessary if we had not armed Saddam in the first place. In 2003 he was already defeated, no threat, had no WMD, and the UN route (supported earlier by the UK and US) was holding him to account. War (or more accurately three wars) destroyed Iraq. War has destroyed Syria. War has destroyed Libya. War destroyed Europe and especially the USSR for a decade and a half during and after both WW1 and WW2. War has destroyed Korea, Vietnam, Sudan, Japan, China, South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique, the Balkans and Armenia, Paraguay, the Jewish nation, Spain, Algeria, the American Indians, Cuba, Egypt, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Pakistan and most of the nations on earth at one time or another.
War destroys. It kills, injures and traumatizes. It eliminates infrastructure, hospitals, schools, history, housing, the basics of life and intimacy. It encourages rape, torture and robbery. It puts in places an overwhelming need for revenge that few of us could resist. War begets war. It destroys democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect. It validates “You shall murder”. It is the destroyer of persons, civilisation, family from which good does not come.
And here comes the myth. Of course war is evil, but we British are peace-loving, except when we really have to go to War to do good. Remember Hitler. Yes, let’s remember Hitler and the way World War One begat Hitler and the destruction of German, Russian and other nations out of which World War Two grew. We, British, forget that earlier we won an empire by war with the machine gun and the warship. We forget the Boer Wars made us hated for cruelty. We forget our part in generating wars, our belligerence, our turning down of disarmament, our infatuation with being strong, our ability to hate other states, our arms industry and our militarism. But we are now face to face with our War in Iraq. Chilcot has shown, if we did not already know, that the War was unnecessary, illegal, undermined the UN and came from our arrogance and desire to attack. We are the problem. We, “who put things right”, have made things wrong, vast nations destroyed, hundreds of thousands dead, millions of refugees, and we are the problem. We can sublocate blame to Blair, the dossier, the lack of spine of the Attorney General or military failure, but we have been the warmongers. We do not really love peace. Otherwise we would do it. The myth is a lie. We have been taught to shrug, to believe with Blair that our Wars have a purpose. But, we are wrong; they do not. They can be prevented. Three years or two months before they come, they need not be.
War is not an “it”. It is our endeavour. We cause wars, although there is a deafening silence over the process through which we do so. The West, largely, has armed the world. We have listened to those who say, “You need weapons to be safe” or “Arms exports are good for the economy”, and we make arms. We – the US, Russia, Germany, France, China , Spain and the UK – supply 86% of the world’s arms. We pretend that it is good for the world and its defence, but it produces wars, scares, military dictators, terrorism, cold wars, counter arming and arms races. We run the engine that drives world militarism, and that militarism produced the Iraq War and took in half-decent men (always men) like Blair and Cameron.. The engine is hidden, but it produces the power. Arms companies need War to stay in business, and they get it. Arms bring military dictators, threats, distrust, hate and catapult the nasties to the top of politics, but we sublimate what we are doing.
But we can do so no longer. We see the chaos and world destruction that arms cause. It can stop. Countries do not need to fight. Yorkshire and Lancashire worked it out five hundred years ago. Europe learned it in 1945. Mutual disarmament is easier than mutual armament. Swords into ploughshares is more practical than arms races which bankrupt nations and produce catastrophes. It only needs a million people worldwide who understand militarism and disarmament and will act resolutely for the world to change. Those who back arms are weak, because they are wrong; they can only destroy. Making peace works. Nation can speak peace unto nation and we can learn war no more. A fundamental change of attitude is required from the British wanting “to punch above their weight”. War does not work. Industrial militarism is destroying the planet. We can move from the woe of war to worldwide disarmament and the manufacture of peace. That is our Christian calling.

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