November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.
By David Keppel firstname.lastname@example.org Mr. Keppel, a writer, activist and an Indiana state coordinator for MoveOn, lives in Indiana and is a frequent contributor to this website.
June 17, 2003
David Keppel Responds to Senator Lugar's Remarks on Fox News
Hon. Richard G. Lugar
306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1401
Dear Senator Lugar:
I know you will shortly be leaving for Iraq, and I send my best wishes for your trip. Because time is short, I take the liberty of sending this letter by email.
I read the transcript of your interview on Fox News on June 15th, and was particularly struck by your discussion - which of course made international headlines - that the United States might become involved in fighting Hamas and other groups that are in armed conflict with Israel. I find this suggestion deeply disturbing, for reasons I will discuss in this letter. May I say at the outset that Fox's interview style was, as often, highly assertive; so I am not sure how actively you yourself were advancing this possibility.
While there are many tragic dilemmas to the Middle East conflict, an American military assault on Hamas would in my view be the worst of answers. First, there is no reason to think we would be more successful than Israel has been. As Thomas Friedman wryly noted in Sunday's New York Times, Israel has killed so many top Hamas leaders that its decapitations are clearly only producing more. We will only be joining Israel in a military approach to what - the violence on both sides notwithstanding - remains an essentially political problem.
By joining Israel as a combatant, the United States would erase the current distinction between ultra-extremist organizations such as Al Qaeda, which target the U.S., and the vast majority of armed groups in the Middle East, which do not. By our own action, we would make the "war of civilizations" a full - and terrible - reality.
I of course agree that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tragic and dangerous, and we must be engaged in bringing peace. It is also true that the international community cannot allow extremists on both sides to spoil agreements. But this must be the work of the international community, in reality - that is, of the United Nations.
I have talked at length with Arabs and with Jewish Americans who have recently been in the Middle East about how to end terrorism. As a peace activist, I have often said I wished that violent resistance to Israel could be replaced by non-violence of the kind practiced by Gandhi. That is a goal that many who know the Middle East share, but they point out that non-violence must include the possibility of effective political resistance - a possibility that for historical reasons was open to Gandhi in India but that Palestinians in their current situation do not see.
An American-imposed settlement is not a substitute for a political process in which all the peoples of the region can find a way to live in peace and respect each others' rights. An American settlement - which at this stage is only prospective, after Palestinians have surrendered what some consider their only real leverage - might well be tilted toward Israel; and it would certainly be so perceived. Some would reply that there is simply no alternative to outside intervention. But in that case, it must be the United Nations, the only forum with global political legitimacy. The tasks of peace-keeping must also lie in its hands. To paraphrase Churchill, the United Nations is the most impractical solution - except for all other solutions.
The United States's failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has only sharpened suspicion that we invaded it, not to stop a dire threat, but to redraw the map of the Middle East and assert ourselves as an imperial power there. The bitter aftermath of "victory" shows that growing numbers of Iraqis resent and reject us. If we extend our military campaign to an attack on Hamas, we will not succeed in reshaping the Middle East, but only in redrawing the map of terrorism to the benefit of none and to our own great jeopardy.
With best wishes for your trip,
Page created June 17, 2003 by Charlie Jenks