Have Peace Activists Ever Stopped a War?

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.

I was intrigued to learn that Ernest McQueen, a former U.S. Marine, who went AWOL during the Vietnam War, has recently been arrested and charged with desertion.

He deserted in when the story of the My Lai massacre and coverup hit the papers.

I can’t help but wonder about the reason why the military has gone after this stale, 36-year-old desertion case. It must be getting nervous about being able to keep the people currently in uniform from ducking out and it wants to send a message.

“In , taxpayers will pay roughly $1.2 trillion in federal income taxes. But America’s tax burden is more than just the amount of tax paid. It also includes the cost of complying with federal taxes, including tax planning, paperwork and other hassles caused by tax complexity.”

And time is money, as they say. What if you took all of the hours people spend working on their taxes and multiplied that by their hourly wage?

In individuals, businesses and nonprofits will spend an estimated 6 billion hours complying with the federal income tax code, with an estimated compliance cost of over $265.1 billion. This amounts to imposing a 22-cent tax compliance surcharge for every dollar the income tax system collects.…

When examined by income level, compliance cost is found to be highly regressive, taking a larger toll on low-income taxpayers as a percentage of income than high-income taxpayers. On the low end, taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) under $20,000 incur a compliance cost equal to 5.9 percent of income while the compliance cost incurred by taxpayers with AGI over $200,000 amounts to just 0.5 percent of income.

“How much is a middle-of-the-road middle-class salary?” asks Living on Less. $60,000? $40,000? Time to consult the Census Bureau. Turns out the median income for adults in the U.S. is $23,186. Only about 12½% make over $60K a year. Only 25% make more than $40K. You wouldn’t know it by watching TV.