More about the autor

Midday Matinee – The Department of Peace?

February 11, 2013

Midday Matinee

Midday Matinee – The Department of Peace?

The rather depressing confirmation hearings have me pondering why we don’t have a Department of Peace or a Secretary of Peace and Prosperity. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Think about it. We used to have a War Department which has become the Defense Department. We have Homeland Security. We have the State Department. We have the CIA. We have Police Forces and the National Guard. I truly do understand how we got to this state of affairs and I guess all our armaments, warriors and spies are truly necessary. But, I also think that we cannot achieve a goal on which we do not focus.

In Obama’s Second Inaugural Address he said:

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.

Our citizens seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace, and not just the war. Who turn sworn enemies into the surest of friends. And we must carry those lessons into this time as well. We will defend our people, and uphold our values through strength of arms, and the rule of law.

We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully. Not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.

The Defense Department budget is $553 billion. I wonder if the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address of 1961 is so thoroughly embedded that it is too late to give peace a chance. The State Department budget is $56.4 billion dollars. Peace through strength is expensive.

State and USAID account for just 1 percent of the federal budget. See that thin, yellow line? That’s us – 1 percent. Today, I want to explain how we use that 1 percent to make the outsized contribution to America’s prosperity, security, and leadership.

These are gross numbers and I’m sure someone who truly understood the ins and outs of war and peace could no doubt come up with a more accurate comparison. Still, if peace is important why doesn’t it have a cabinet level priority?

There is a saying that if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will do. If peace isn’t a stated goal and funded for success, we won’t ever achieve it. If nothing else imagining the confirmation hearings for the Secretary of Peace is an entertaining exercise.

4 Responses to “Midday Matinee – The Department of Peace?”

  1. NCrissieB Says:

    There’s actually a surprisingly long historical effort to create a Department of Peace. Benjamin Rush first proposed a Peace Office of the United States in 1793, and various leaders including Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) proposed a Department of Peace during the Bush administration.

    And yes, the Secretary of Peace confirmation hearings would probably be very … enlightening.

    • addisnana Says:

      I can almost picture the GOP neocon hawks trying to question potential nominees. I’m glad there is a long history and maybe one of these days it will happen.

  2. winterbanyan Says:

    I think a department of peace would be a good department to have. Unfortunately, I think we’ve swept that all over to State and then have underfunded them.

    I do think, however, that fewer euphemisms would be nice in helping us to sort things out. We ought to, for example, just call DoD what it is: the Department of War.

    And the Homeland Security designator has given me willies from the start. Homeland? Really? Very Orwellian. And if we have a true “Department of Defense” what the heck do we need Homeland Security for?