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Settling differences peaceably?

I have just listened to President Clinton on Channel 7, commenting on the Denver school massacre, saying that we must teach children to settle their differences and vent their anger with words, not weapons.

Thinking of the war against Yugoslavia, can I suggest that NATO follow the United Statesí leaderís advice and settle their differences and vent their anger with words, not weapons?

War is never a permanent solution for any problem.

Ron Gray (21 April 1999 )

Australian Peace Committee (SA Branch)Inc.

Fri, 23 Apr 1999

The Institute for Public Accuracy occasionally solicits WILPF comments to put out to the media. Here's my statement when asked to comment on the irony of the President's urging high school students to find peaceful means of resolving conflicts, rather than shooting and bombing others in their schools.

NATO is the problem, not the solution. In the tragedy of Littleton, Colorado we are reaping the whirlwind of our violent posturing and actions around the world.

We live in a culture of violence. It starts with very young children and works its way up, giving our children the message that they cannot be powerful unless they are in control, unless they have power objects, unless others are afraid of them. Children and young adults learn by example, from what we do, not dishonest exhortations to settle conflicts peaceably.

President Clinton chose bombs, rejecting avenues for political resolution in Yugoslavia, ignoring opportunities to help Balkan countries and address human rights issues through the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Congress allows Senator Helms to dictate refusal to pay our dues to the United Nations, starving the very institution with the potential for preventing violent conflicts. We cannot foster a culture of peace in our homes and schools with violence the favored instrument of foreign policy, the media generating fear in its supportive role.

Military solutions to every problem are good only for the weapons manufacturers who dominate decision making in Washington. War economy corporations spent $50 million lobbying Congress in the 2 years leading up its NATO expansion vote. Twelve major corporations are paying $250,000 each for the entree of hosting the NATO summit this week-end.

Both Congress and the European members of NATO have been co-opted by Secretary Albright's war. It is a pre-emptive strike, the de facto exercise of our new strategic concept for NATO. In arguing over NATO's future role at the summit, let us hope the wariness of our allies and chastening lesson from the tragic bombing of Yugoslavia prevail.

Communities and families across the country interested in turning away from a future of more guns and violence in schools, in fostering a culture of peace, can start with "taking the pledge" - The Family Pledge of Nonviolence - and taking advantage of the resources and training in immediate, concrete approaches to fostering peace provided by the Parenting for Peace and Justice network.

From the anguish of our communities can come a new understanding of what we want as a people.


Return to PMA's Alert: Stop NATO bombing, Condemn NZ government support for the airstrikes!

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