Sunday, December 04, 2005

Date: Sun, 04 Dec 2005 01:11:02 -0500
   From: "Linda Henderson" <>
Subject: RE: National Dept of Peace, Patterson article.
 To The Editor:
 I would like to write in appreciation of the attention
your paper has given to the the legislation now pending
in the U.S. Congress in consideration of creating a
cabinet level Department of Peace in the Executive
Branch of our
federal govenment. Specifically, I
would like to respond to Dave Coogan's statement
regarding his belief that such a department would
be "completely ineffective":
1. This rather dismissive statement is a mere
conclusion not supported by fact. It seems to
be presented more from the perspective of his
political affiliation and ideological bias
(College Republicans) than from any sound reason.
The facts seem to more readily support that our
present means of dealing with violence at home
and abroad are not working...regardless of who
is the "ruling" party. This proposed department
is a transpartisan concept. It does, however,
require that the governed and the government
evolve. I for one am not so skeptical that
this cannot be done. This is a democracy,
and we are a species given the gift of free
will...we can and will do whatever we decide
to so do. A more intelligent direction than
what we currently employ would seem to me a
good use of our free will.
2. From a cost/benefit analysis, this
legislation is more practical and timely
than any effort now being employed. Wasn't
it Einstein himself who advised that we
cannot solve a problem from the same
consciousness that created it? Not
unlike the concept of preventative
medicine, if we address violence at the
front end of the equation...we will not
be required to spend so much of our tax
dollars on violence manifest.
3. What's all this I hear about
"VALUES"? You would think, after the
last election cycle, when we heard so
much about values, that we would be
mindful of how many lives have been
lost because we did not value them
quite as much as we valued our need
to react to our own fears. Over two
thousand of our own people killed,
countless others maimed, "collateral
damage" for years to come for
countless families, tens of thousands
of Iraqi citizens killed in the name
of saving them from that bad man Sadam.
Al Qaida is now part of the norm in

. There is an estimated 80%
unemployment in that country while
Halliburton is making a "killing".
Here at home, school children are
killing and being killed, women are
battered, police are at highest risk
in responding to domestic violence,
prisons are overflowing, schools are
closing, racial and homophobic violence
continues to rear it's ugly head. And
when these things happen usually our
answer is to commission another study.
Might it be valuable to do our study
before the violence happens?
4. Too much bureuacracy? NO...just
a shift in bureaucracy. The simple
truth is that the State Department
deals with
U.S. interests abroad, often
in the interest of
U.S. businesses. The
Secretary of State can negotiate with
heads of state, and usually does so
only after an issue arises. A
Department of Peace would have as it
sole mission proactively researching
and addressing the underlying causal
elements to violence abroad. For
instance, we knew for decades the
environment that was festering in

and did nothing. Would
it not have been beneficial to have
someone at the table (cabinet)
advocating and advising regarding
the likely outcome that such an
environment would become a breeding
ground for terrorism? We may have
stemmed that tide for a fraction of
the human and financial cost expended
thus far. At a minimum, we likely
would have mitigated our damages had
we taken a more proactive role in
preventative measures. The State Dept
has some ad hoc programs that deal in
these terms, just as do the Departments
of Education, Defense, Homeland Security,
Environmental Protection Agency, etc.
None of them are given priority status,
and none of them create the national
intention a Department of Peace would
create, nor give uniformity, funding
and priority to all of the existing
programs in our local and state governments.
5. Readiness and Training. The Department
of Peace would create a
Peace Academy as
a sister institution to the existing
military academies. America has many
people who are ready to step into roles
training military and civilian students
in proven techniques of non-violent
communication skills who could be sent
into any given environment before, during
and post conflict. In addition, this
academy would address education in
language and culture arts that would
give soldiers and civil servants the
tools necessary to truly have credible
communication with peoples from other
countries. Every school in our country
should have curriculum that employs this
skill. Teaching non-conflict resolution
prevents the weeds of violence fromtaking
root. That we will continue to have
conflict as human beings is plain enough...
to learn how to "agree to disagree"
without the use of violence while we are
promoting our own positions is essential
to our survival.
6. Democracy requires that whatever form
of govenmental institutions we create
must be held accountable by citizens to
do the task they were created to do.
Do we do that now? No. One only need
look at what's become of the EPA.
Does that mean we should not have an
Itmeans we must evolve as a citizenery to
recognize that we have a vested interest
in seeing to it politics are...the citizens,
by action or omission to act, have to take
the ultimate responsibility for the government
that exists at any given time. One hopes that
when the citizens of this country realize the
need for a Department of Peace to the extent
that their elected Representatives will be
compelled to comply with their wishes, that
we will have also come to the collective
realization that we will have to maintain our
investment in sustaining a non-violent
environment by our vigilance in seeing
the intentions of such a department be honored.
Let me quote a very wise woman who proffered
the golden rule thusly: "Do unto others as
you would have them do unto you....because
they will". With the weapons available
which are capable of anihilating the species,
and people who are willing to kill themselves
in the pursuit of their beliefs/causes, the
concept of creating a Department of Peace is
the most sane, practical and productive effort
I have seen promoted in my lifetime.That is why
I volunteer my time to coordinate the State of

's effort to lobby for passage of these
bills. I hope you will join me. We not only
have the potential to change the world, we
have the present capacity to do so. For more
information, please contact:
To get involved locally you may contact me at:
 Linda Henderson, State Coordinator
Department of Peace, Michigan Campaign
MSU Class of '78, Thomas M. Cooley, J.D.

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