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Political Responsibility, not Military Fixation

"The model of just peace is central for strengthening political responsibility and overcoming military interventions and wars. This model overcame the pre-enlightened idea of the just war..We urge the government of the US to act multilaterally, not unilaterally, not first militarily but utilizing all practical political options in accordance with international law and human rights." This article is translated from the German.
Political Responsibility, not Military Fixation

By Johannes Zerger

[This press release from Aktion Suhnezeichen Friedensdienst on the Bush visit is translated abridged from the German on the World Wide Web, www.asf-ev.de/aktuell/020521.shtml.]

... As Aktion Suhnezeichen Friedensdienst (Atoning Services for Peace), we do not ignore the US sacrifice for Germany's necessary liberation from national socialism that was only possible militarily. We attempt to express this remembrance through volunteer service to the people in many countries affected by national socialism. Since the end of the sixties, we have worked on invitation of North American peace churches in projects in the US and found many friends offering reconciliation. We are thankful for that. Finally, we will not forget the many victims of the brutal mass murder attacks of September 11, 2001.

Open and controversial political argument is necessary on combating this form of terrorism. Only the necessity of capturing the culprits and their accomplices and bringing them to trial is uncontroversial. Toward this legitimate goal, all actions must be consistent with international law, the humanitarian international law of war and human rights and respect the proportionality of means.

Just Peace

The model of just peace is central for strengthening political responsibillity and overcoming military interventions and wars. This model overcame the pre-enlightened idea of just war. On this background, people in the US and Europe hearkening back to the idea of "just war" for justifying military campaigns is alarming.

The model of just peace is oriented in an all-embracing idea of peace that includes respect of human rights, realization of social justice, development chances for all world regions, preservation of natural resources, the rule of law, participatory decision, continued development of international law, strengthening the United Nations as an instrument of necessary world order policy, peaceful conflict regulation mechanisms, codifying international relations, arms controls, disarmament and strict limitation on arms exports.

We urge European governments and the US government to apply this idea of peace and security and create the means and instruments for converting these goals into reality. Turning away from the path of violence is imperative. The "preferential option" for nonviolent solution of conflicts developed in the ecumenical process for justice, peace and integrity of creation is an indispensable prerequisite.

A Necessary Criticism

After the end of the Cold War, a special responsibility comes to the United States as the remaining superpower for solving the great world problems of hunger, poverty, violence, war and oppression. This responsibility has effects on other states. Certain malformations and undesirable trends should be ended. We criticize the present policy of the US administration for

a stereotype/scapegoat thinking dividing the world in good and evil and including a series of states in an "axis of evil",
the enormous costs of new waves of armament justified with a military idea of security that are lacking for worldwide social balance,
an obstructionist policy toward the United Nations and international law that are indispensable instruments of a necessary world order policy,
rejecting important ecological treaties and agreements,
active opposition to the establishment of an International Criminal Court to counter impunity in crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide,
cancellation of important disarmament- and arms control agreements,
development of new nuclear strategies and missile defense plans,
war plans against the Iraqi dictator,
a broad interpretation of the "war against terrorism" that can be misused by the governments of Russia, China and other states by appealing to the policy of the US as a justification for violating human rights in acting against critics and the civil population.

We criticize European Union (EU) policy

that its efforts are focused disproportionately on military action while strengthening and developing instruments and processes of civil conflict resolution and violence prevention are treated secondarily,
for deficient readiness to effectively empower the United Nations to influence the misconduct of individual states, without belittling efforts at creating the International Criminal Court,
the lacking perspective for the political prevention of violence instead of military interventions.

"Humanity is quarrelsome by nature. Still its essence is friendliness" (Heinrich Heine). In the Tagesspiegel, May 12, 2002, the former CIA chief James Woolsey announced a 4th World War that will probably last longer than the 2nd World War. Unfortunately this is not an isolated opinion. We regard this as the wrong answer to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and the precursor attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Disastrous effects are likely. Therefore we oppose this response.

We do not misjudge the seriousness of the situation and therefore urge the government of the United States to act multilaterally, not unilaterally, not first militarily but utilizing all practical political options in accordance with international law and human rights - oriented in the model of just peace.

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