“Have peace activists ever stopped a war?” asks Lawrence S. Wittner, a history professor and author who specializes in the history of the peace and nuclear disarmament movements.
He starts by admitting that it’s hard to tell: “we know much more about peace movements’ organizational history than we do about their impact upon public policy.” But he suggests that, in the United States, the Mexican War of , the Vietnam War, the proxy war in Nicaragua in the , and the Cold War were all either significantly dampened or brought to an end due to anti-war sentiment and activism.
In addition, he believes that some otherwise likely wars were prevented because of the actions of the anti-war movement, and that the anti-war and nuclear disarmament movements were able to bring the idea of using nuclear weapons into such disrepute that they prevented any nuclear powers from using their arsenals in other than a passive deterrent role after World War Ⅱ.
So that was your “don’t get discouraged” moment, and now for your “get your ass in gear” moment, courtesy of Cindy Sheehan:
My son Casey was in the first 1000 to be killed in Iraq. We reached that dismal mark by . MoveOn.org conducted candlelight vigils for that occasion. Then , MoveOn.org conducted candlelight vigils to commemorate the 2000th soldier.
If we don’t get off of our collective apathetic and complacent backsides to stop the barbaric killing in Iraq, when will the next candlelight vigil be? George Bush and the evil neocons are killing our precious soldiers at the rate of 2.78 per day. By my calculations, we should be lighting our candles again and singing “Kum bah ya” by .…
If I hear one more rendition of “We Shall Overcome” and then watch the vigilers or marchers go home and turn on their TVs and crack open a brewsky, content in the fact that they have done something for peace that day, I am going to scream! We can’t overcome unless we take the proverbial bull by the horns and overcome!…
Change will not happen until we make it happen. We can’t make change happen by wishing or praying that it will happen.