Peace and war

Have you ever wondered why it is that there is no Department of Peace, but there is a Defense Department? Compared to war, discussions about peace seems to enjoy a marginal existence at best. Peaceful people, it seems, are seldom regarded as having much power. Peace, it seems, has a reputation of weakness in comparison to war and warriors. Who are our heroes likely to be? Warriors, old and young. Peace and peacemaking attract little positive attention. It is obvious why. There is no money in it. There are trillions of dollars to be made in munitions and other weapons of war. President Eisenhower warned against the growing alliance between industry and the military. He was right. Military spending wins hands down, and at a tremendous cost.

Several years ago I wrote a prose poem titled The cluster bomb salesman, recently published on my author’s blog. Here it is:

“A manufacturer’s rep at a cluster bomb show explains on camera how these weapons are designed to avoid civilian targets and focus only on military ones seen from thousands of feet above.

He looks into the camera’s eye and says in all seriousness, like a man delivering a sermon that “these weapons are very effective and are available to anyone with cash and the proper credentials,” as if the transaction is the kind of behavior that ordinary, sensible people engage in every day.

Canisters filled with violence are marketed  like the latest model toaster, very effective in providing toast,  and without the cleanup older models required. They do provide toast … in a way.

What does this say about us as a society, as men and women that we can explain such weapons blandly, as if they are nothing? What does it say about our future as a species, about the winsomeness of hope in a small child’s eyes? The wail of a mother and a father? What does it say about you and about me?”

Please leave your comments. I’ll be continuing this subject on this page.



About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at
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