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In pursuit of Washington’s foreign policies, it is often stated: “All options are on the table.” But what does this actually mean? Usually this is said by hawks advocating the threat of military action and/or the actual use of force.

Peace Option

A Modest Proposal to Put Peace “Option” on the Table—Ed Rampell

In terms of the quagmire the U.S. has been ensnared in at the Muslim world for about a decade and a half, the truth of the matter is that the military “option” has simply not worked. Consider the fact that it took America, along with its WWII allies, less than five years to defeat the combined fascist militaries of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo.

Yet Washington has been mired in endless war in Afghanistan and Iraq for almost three times as long as it took the Allies to defeat the Axis during WWII. Despite massive expenditures and investments in blood as well as in fortune the U.S. military has failed to win outright most of the armed conflicts it has fought since 1945. One of the enduring lessons of the Vietnam War - which the American power elite always fails to learn - is that conventional land/naval/air power cannot militarily defeat irregular, unconventional warfare.

Indeed, the military option not only does not succeed, it opens the gates to hell and almost always actually makes matters far worse. The totally unnecessary invasion of Iraq is a case in point - there were no WMDs there (as U.N. weapons inspectors repeatedly proved) and ISIS didn’t even exist before the Bush regime’s “shock and awe.” The U.S., France, etc., are still fighting in Iraq, with no end in sight, as the out-of-control crisis spreads throughout the Middle East and Africa, with tragic blowback consequences at the metropoles.

U.S. mainstream media is flooded with calls for ramping up a military response, often proposed by the same historically discredited pundits and politicians who got it so wrong regarding Iraq, Libya, etc.

U.S. mainstream media is flooded with calls for ramping up a military response, often proposed by the same historically discredited pundits and politicians who got it so wrong regarding Iraq, Libya, etc. They only propose more of the same bankrupt ideas that have failed for more than a decade and quite literally threaten to bankrupt America. Just do the same thing - only do more of it and harder, and this time we’ll get a different result. And as with the MSM during the buildup to the Iraq War voices of peace are being drowned out by aggressive imbecility and bellicosity.

But it’s time for the West to recognize that if you attack a nation, you will not be thanked for it and welcomed as liberators. Rather, people will fight back, and they will retaliate with the means at hand that are available to them (as despicable and contemptible as these methods, from I.E.D.s to slaughtering unarmed civilians to beheadings, may be). Sticking your nose into other people’s business and hitting hornets’ nests with sticks are surefire ways to get punched and stung. Nobody likes a busybody and foreign interventionism around the world has only made America and the West LESS SAFE and perpetually embroiled in eternal war.

As comic Bill Maher said on his HBO program after the recent Paris attacks, “They’re over here because we’re over there.” According to a communique attributed to ISIS claiming responsibility for the raids: “Let France and all nations following its path know that they will continue to be at the top of the target list for the Islamic State and that the scent of death will not leave their nostrils as long as they partake in the crusader campaign, as long as they dare to curse our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), and as long as they boast about their war against Islam in France and their strikes against Muslims in the lands of the Caliphate with their jets…”

France has been the second biggest aerial bomber at Iraq and Syria after the U.S. and shortly before the Paris mayhem the French deployed its only nuclear powered aircraft carrier - the largest in the European Union - to the Persian Gulf. Soon after Moscow intervened in Syria with more air strikes, a Russian charter flight fell out of the skies above the Sinai Peninsula, killing 224 passengers - which ISIS has taken credit for as an act of reprisal. And in a Nov. 16 video a purported ISIS spokesman vowed: “We tell countries participating in the crusader campaign: We swear that you will experience a similar day to the one that France experiences; since if we have struck France in its heart - in Paris - then we swear that we will strike America at its heart - in Washington.”

Since the military option has not succeeded now for at least 14 years and these conflicts are only spreading, including violent attacks on unarmed civilians in Western nations and their allies, it’s obvious to any honest, clear-minded person that in order to stop what are in fact vicious reprisals, we must pursue another course of action to stop this endless cycle of violence. Although it may sound like a completely outrageous, fringe notion, it’s time to pursue THE PEACE OPTION. Western powers and their allies must call for:

A CEASEFIRE in the so-called “war on terror.” This would be an offer to ISIS, et al, to stop drone warfare, aerial bombardments and so on in exchange for their halting terrorist attacks in the West and its allies, especially those aimed at unarmed civilians.

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NEGOTIATIONS between Western powers and their allies with ISIS and other terrorists, stateless actors, etc., currently caught up in the endless cycle of perpetual war. These negotiations would aim at the following:

  • The West will withdraw its armed forces, intelligence agents, etc., from Muslim conflict zones. By leaving Islamic lands Westerners, Russians, etc., will remove the number one rationale ISIS, et al, has for staging reprisals against the West and its allies. Washington, Moscow and other Western powers would pledge to adhere to a policy on NON-INTERVENTION overseas and to stop meddling in the domestic affairs of other nations. This would range from military strikes and invasions to covert actions that topple governments. In exchange, ISIS would agree to stop staging bloody reprisals in the West, Russia, et al, and tell its jihadis to stand down.
  • To prove its sincerity to opponents the West will hold those who invaded Iraq accountable with 21ST CENTURY STYLE NUREMBERG TRIALS, trying Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rice, Blair, et al, for war crimes committed in Baghdad and beyond.
  • The U.S. will realign its colossal, yet ineffectual military budget to meet the needs of the American people and to pay REPARATIONS to those nations and people who have been targeted by the Pentagon. These compensatory payments would only be made if ISIS, et al, kept their promise not to wage bloody jihad in Western countries and their allies.

What does the U.S. and its allies have to lose if it changes course and takes another approach? Considering that part of the ongoing struggle is a propaganda war, if the Islamic State and other terrorists refuse to participate in a peace process, it could undermine their cause and appeal as defenders of Muslim lands against foreign “crusaders.” Such a move could undercut their recruiting campaigns, while Washington and company could simply resume military strikes against ISIS, etc. Their case and cause would be bolstered by the perception that they had at least attempted to bring about a diplomatic solution, which the enemy declined.

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Desperate times require desperate measures. The American peace movement must pressure presidential candidates to pursue efforts at negotiating an end to these conflicts and to stop perpetually intervening overseas, instead of escalating the already failed policies of more and more militarism and intervention. It’s time for Washington, Paris, London, et al, to recognize and accept the fact that war simply hasn’t worked, and if for no other reason other than out of sheer desperation, turn to the peace option.

Let’s see if sitting down at the negotiating table with our adversaries could accomplish what endless war has been unable to do for well over a decade. You negotiate with your opponents - not your buddies. After all, for decades during the Cold War, peace and disarmament talks somehow managed to keep Moscow and Washington from blowing the world to kingdom come - and the peace option may also end this never-ending tit for tat, this ever expanding spiral of violence, before it engulfs all of us. As Winston Churchill said: “Jaw-jaw is better than war-war.”

ed rampell

Ed Rampell

Let’s put the peace option on the proverbial table. When all else fails, as Lennon - John, not Vladimir - said, let’s “give peace a chance.”

Ed Rampell