Useful And Fantastic: War As Waste
Val Yule suggests antidotes to war.
War is often justified by the inventions that turn out to be of great civilian use – lasers, radar, microwave ovens. But consider, if all the money spent on military research was directly spent on “civilian research”, how much more would be invented? How many materials would be saved for civilian use? How much money would be available for governments to spend on civilian use?
The greatest waste we see in war is the waste of soldiers’ lives that might have been spent in useful work and enjoyment of life. Then there is the waste of countrysides and resources
As Nature is having her own back in demonstrating that she too can devastate the earth, our fighting should be against the terrible acts occurring partly from Nature herself, and partly through human instigation – the earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, floods, droughts, enormous winds, volcanic eruptions, sea-rising, and extinction of species.
Meanwhile humans continue to scorch the earth in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan etc. Every suicide bomber not only kills people, he destroys civilizations and towns. Every drone blows up the precious earth, together with any human life it may extinguish. Afghanistan has long been a place that humans have devastated, but even a century ago much that is desert today was described as a garden. Iraq was the cradle of civilization because its mighty rivers watered what is now a desert.
When we examine history we see how many wars were stopped by compromise and cooperation, compared with those which stopped temporarily by one side crippling the other – laying the groundwork for the next war.
If I had $20 billion to fight terrorism, I would use it to free the seedbeds of terrorism from fear and want.
– To help make the poor countries of the world more self-sustainable, with more employment in Landcare, with less need for imports of basic goods, less deterioration of resources, less importing of armaments, and so less debt.
– To help my own country be less dependant on the armaments industry for employment and export profits, in part by encouraging the production of durable and mendable goods – since renovating and mending is highly labor-intensive and saves natural resources.
– To help all countries understand the ways of peace, rather than the ways of war.
– I would even try to set a population policy for the world: until we reverse the present losses of fertile soil and anxieties over water, there should be a Right for everyone to reproduce themselves (two per couple) and to be supported in that right – but no rights to more, and that family planning help to make this possible. That this applies to all the world prevents cries of “genocide”, and prevents another potent cause of ethnic and religious strife and terrorism – the fear that the other group is out-breeding.
– I would promote public education for all, discouraging ghetto and segregated schooling.
– Instead of missiles and bombs, my country’s planes would drop basic needs for starving and homeless and tool-less people, to help them pick up their lives again.
– I would promote balanced trade, without great debt pile-ups, and promote capitalism as the use and rewards of capital to develop industries and infrastructure, not capitalism as a way to amass unearned wealth by financial manipulations, speculation, and the accumulation of real estate.
– I would encourage the vision of artists and entertainers to make Western culture something we need not be ashamed of before a critical world; that did not teach violence, destruction, voyeurism or suffering and the dumbing-down of thinking and knowing. We would recognize that when the West (USA) goes to one extreme in its culture, then reaction against it will go to the other extreme – in this case fanatical religious repression of all freedom, pleasure, and rights for women.
– I would ensure that business companies co-operated, rather than smother their competition, and were not driven by imperatives to grow incessantly or be taken over themselves.
It is one of the oldest political ploys – to unite people against a common foe. There are great political rewards in a President’s rousing speeches and calling the nation together to fight external foes. This unity and momentum can and must be used to promote freedom and justice world-wide. We must fight our enemies by enlisting them in the fight against a common foe. Most countries are experiencing some of the effects of climate change and waste of resources. Everyone must see the world-wide effects beyond their own limited vision. Not only the scientists, but also the common people, from the peasants on subsistence to the middle-classes on Waste. And the warriors who devastate, whether with the batteries of 21 century military research, or with machetes or suicide belts.
The common foe is the devastation of the earth.