"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Saturday, November 27, 2010

RESTRAINT: What the World Needs Now!


The Korean War, which officially ended in 1953, never really ended at all. It continued to simmer, and although eclipsed by the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union, tensions have continued to build for roughly 57 years, and the situation now rivals the worst moments of the Cold War. The situation is as tense as it has ever been.

I have been busy supporting the Disarm Now Plowshares five who will soon face trial in U.S. District Court for their 2009 Plowshares action intended to bring to light the immoral and illegal nuclear weapons on which the U.S. government continues to not only maintain and deploy as a "deterrent", but focuses on building up the existing nuclear weapons infrastructure (which signals a focus on nuclear weapons far into the future).

All this focus on nuclear weapons provides me with a thorough understanding of the potential of these terrible, omnicidal weapons. Even a limited nuclear exchange between any two nations would have not only devastating effects on the immediate populations, but would also affect surrounding nations and quite probably regions around the globe, not only with the drifting radioactive clouds, but also due to dramatic effects on climate (at least one study documents the massive crop failures that would result).

The opening salvo from North Korea on November 23rd that now appears to be escalating into unknown territory, as the U.S. immediately sent a carrier task force to the aid of South Korea, is a sober and chilling reminder of how tenuous our existence is on this small planet we all share. The joint military exercises (U.S. and South Korea), particularly in a time of crisis, will only exacerbate tensions between South and North Korea, and the results could be catastrophic.

This is a time for serious international diplomatic intervention, diplomacy and negotiation; it is a time for (serious, nonviolent) TALK - NOT a time for saber rattling! There are no military solutions (that will not result in the North and South committing collective suicide, and dragging other nations into the maelstrom).

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) has issued a statement on "The Need for Talks to Avoid Escalation of the Crisis on the Korean Peninsula." (scroll down at the link for the English version) They call for the following:

1) An immediate cessation of hostilities to be declared.

2) A further investigation to be held into all aspects of
the artillery exchange before any judgment or action is made.

3) All sides to refrain from military provocation that
could lead to further escalation of tension or violence, including military
drills in the area.

4) An emphasis on dialogue, both bilaterally between the DPRK and ROK, and regionally,
including the resumption of the Six Party Talks as the only existing framework
for dialogue on peace and security in the Northeast Asian region.

5) Civil society participation in dialogue processes
related to this conflict.

6) World leaders to build bridges to calm the situation
rather than reenact the language and barriers of the past.

Do these 6 points make sense? Indeed, only a non-violent, non-military approach will resolve this crisis, and the only way to convince our (U.S.) government to change course (and send the carrier task force home) is through a massive involvement of civil society. We must call for immediate de-escalation and an immediate end to the U.S./South Korean war games!!!

Join the National Campaign to End the Korean War (www.endthekoreanwar.org)
in a coordinated "online demonstration"!!!

On Sunday, November 28, from 12 noon to 3 pm EST (9 am to 12 noon PST) and Wednesday, December 1 from 7 pm to 10 pm EST (4pm to 7 pm PST).

Barrage the White House and State Department with emails (and phone calls) and urge President Obama and State Secretary Clinton to immediately stop the joint U.S.-South Korean war maneuvers, and sign a Peace Treaty to end the state of war that has existed for sixty years on the Korean peninsula!

White House email White House switchboard: 202-456-1414

State Department email State Department phone: 202-647-4000

Click here for more details of the ONLINE DEMONSTRATION.

We can (and must) be voices for sanity in the midst of this madness. Please forward this on to as many people in your network as possible NOW.

Towards Peace,



National Campaign to End the Korean War

[Translation] Korean organizations' statement: Immediately cancel the joint ROK-US drill mobilized with an aircraft carrier in the West Sea!