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 Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK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.
Scott Ritter's Talk on War with Iran and Q & A
June 23, 2005 at Traprock Peace Center
Scott Ritter Challenges the Peace Movement
David Dashefsky and Sunny Miller discuss his comments and the movement
"The peace movement failed, and all you have to do is look at the fact that we're at war in Iraq today to understand the depth and the magnitude of that failure. The peace movement, for all of its good intentions, did not succeed. It didn't even come close to succeeding."
"The best thing that the peace movement could do is support a strong military. And again. You use the logic I put forward. You support a strong military because you want to create something that can never be used. Never be used. But if you support a strong military you've already nullified the argument that the right wing uses against the peace movement."
- - excerpts from Scott Ritter's Q & A session on June 23, 2005 at Traprock Peace Center
[Please listen to Scott Ritter's entire Q & A session to hear his comments in context, specifically as relate to the activists' discussion below.]
Sunny Miller, Executive Director of Traprock Peace Center, and David Dashefsky, national coordinating committee member of the Campus Antiwar Network, discussed Ritter's challenges to the movement. Has the peace movement failed? Does it need, per Ritter, to support a strong military to build a bridge to veterans and Main Street America? photo © 2005 Charles Jenks.
Listen to and download their discussion - 21:40 minutes; 7.5 mb at 48 kbps (mono); recorded on July 7, 2005 at Traprock Peace Center.
On stopping war:
"There are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States who work hard every day to end this war and to work for peace. Those people haven't failed and they've kept going. They haven't given up and decided to go home, or say "too bad, we didn't stop the war, we're done now." - David Dashefsky
On working with veterans:
"I don't think the peace movement would be where it is now without veterans and without soldiers. And I think fundamentally what we're doing is advocating for their rights as much as we're advocating to end war."- David Dashefsky
"We've been very gratified to see that when we bring forward the message of a Gulf War [II] veteran like Gerard Matthew locally we've been able to break the pattern of not hearing those voices on some of our media....The public and the media both listen better when veterans speak their personal truth...I would criticize the movement more for not working directly with Iraqis." - Sunny Miller
On support for a strong military:
"If you do hold that we need the world's largest, nastiest military, I think it seeps into becoming a core value. I don't think as human beings we are able to distinguish so clearly between a skill and a value, so the skill of killing starts to morph into the value of killing." - Sunny Miller
A DVD, audio CD and a transcript of Scott Ritter's talk are available.
Excerpts from Scott Ritter's June 23rd talk on war with Iran at Traprock Peace Center (download audio - mp3 47:08 min; 48 kbps; 16.2 mb )
We are in a process right now from which there is no elegant solution. There is no magic snapping of the fingers. We cannot undo what has been done. This is my own personal opinion. You're welcome to disagree. But, right now, we have people who say, 'what can we do, ' and what they're really saying is 'what can we do to effect change now? ' Nothing. There's not a thing you can do to effect change now. The peace movement failed, and all you have to do is look at the fact that we're at war in Iraq today to understand the depth and the magnitude of that failure. The peace movement, for all of its good intentions, did not succeed. It didn't even come close to succeeding. There were massive demonstrations, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people went out on the streets, held hands, we'll sing Kumbaya, and then they went home, patted themselves on the back. It was a massive act of self-gratification, and that was it. It failed. There was no sustaining it. There wasn't demonstration after demonstration after demonstration. Each demonstration was an event, and event like a carnival. Let's have a demonstration. Let's have freedom of speech. Let's go home. Let's get back onto our lives, and let's do nothing while the nation marches towards war. And now we're in war, and we're heading toward another war, but the difference is, with Iran, there's not even an acknowledgment in America that we're going to be at war in the near future, that we are at war today. Where is the peace movement today? Where are the massive demonstrations? Everybody's focused in on the past, as they should be. Iraq is a travesty. Iraq is a tragedy. Iraq should be dealt with. But Iraq is also a distraction to what's going on in Iran, and, if you blink your eyes long enough, we're going to be at war in Iran. If you wait long enough, there are going to be American forces marching out of Azerbaijan to the outskirts of Tehran, hoping to encourage the Iranian people to rise up against the mad Mullahs. This is the direction we're heading. What can we do? I think it's time that we have to acknowledge, we have to accept that we lost the opening battle, and we're going to pay a heavy price for this defeat.
How can you hold the President of the United States accountable for violating the Constitution of the United States of America when Americans don't understand what the constitution is? Therefore, they can't be cognizant of the fact that he has violated it. If the peace movement wants to do anything, it has to start with the grassroots not bashing Bush but teaching Americans about what it means to be an American, about who we are and what we are as a people. Throw politics aside. I don't care if you're a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. If you call yourself an American that means that you have embraced the constitution because that is what an American is. A citizen of the United States of America is somebody who has sworn an oath of allegiance to that document, to the words, to the ideals of that document, and right now we have citizens who don't even understand what that document is, couldn't site you any verbiage from that document. But they could damn sure tell you what the newest Play Station II game is. They can tell you what's on TV, what the commercials are, what the movies are. We've stopped being a nation of citizens, and instead we have become a nation of consumers, and this consumerism is killing this country.
Excerpt from Scott Ritter's Question and Answer session (download audio mp3 1:04:57 min; 48 kbps; 22.4 mb )
Most of your veterans came home and didn't want talk about the war [WWII] at all. You know why? Because there's nothing glorious in war. There is nothing wonderful about it. They were scared to death and they knew it. They knew that war was horrible. Every veteran shared that. Anybody's who's seen combat shares that hatred of war. That absolute hatred of war. These are natural allies. These are natural allies of the peace movement. You've just got to find a way to build that bridge. You can't confront them. You can't insult them. You can't tear down what they believe in. These are people who believe in a strong military. The best thing that the peace movement could do is support a strong military. And again. You use the logic I put forward. You support a strong military because you want to create something that can never be used. Never be used. But if you support a strong military you've already nullified the argument that the right wing uses against the peace movement. "A bunch of pacifists - you want to role over and play dead (they say." You know what? No you don't. You don't want America to role over and play dead. But you don't want America to go around killing people either. You want a responsible America. An America that operates domestically and internationally in accordance with the rule of law. And the rule of law, as we all know, isn't about cops running around giving everybody a hug. The rule of law has cops carrying guns, carrying sticks and the bad guys are out there and the cops apprehend the bad guys. The bad guys get processed in a court of law. We're not talking about anarchy here. We have to recognize that the world is a difficult place. There's some bad people out there. Those bad people might want to do us harm. And we have to be prepared to defend ourselves. But it doesn't mean, just because we are prepared to defend ourselves, that we preemptively defend ourselves. It doesn't mean that we dictate to the rest of the world. If the peace movement can find the way to incorporate a national security strategy that speaks of a viable military, a strong military, that embraces that, you have nullified one of the biggest weaknesses that you have. Because I am here to tell you that Main Street America isn't going to turn its back on its military. It just isn't going to happen. Not in this generation. Not in the next generation. So you've got to find that way to build that bridge. Those are just my thoughts. I don't mean to say that its the gospel.
Copyright Notice to Audio Recordings, DVD and Transcript and Photographs
The Audio Recordings are © 2005 Charles Jenks; all rights reserved.
The audio recordings are available for radio airplay, without prior permission, provided that the radio station notifies Traprock of the airing (413-773-7427) and provides attribution and copyright notice. All other public use requires prior permission. In particular, internet websites are encouraged to link to, but may not post, the audio on their sites without prior permission. Individuals may download mp3 audio files for private use only.
Photographs are © 2005 Charles Jenks. All rights reserved; use by permission only. charles [at] grassrootspeace.org
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