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Military strength not primary U.S. asset

"War is Not the Answer" declares the Friends Committee on National Legislation. But if war is not the answer, what is? As a non-partisan religious lobby, FCNL was founded to promote effective legislation as part of that answer. Fighting proves wh...

"War is Not the Answer" declares the Friends Committee on National Legislation. But if war is not the answer, what is? As a non-partisan religious lobby, FCNL was founded to promote effective legislation as part of that answer. Fighting proves who has the most lethal weapons, not necessarily who is right.

Joe Volk, Executive Secretary of FCNL, says, "Our question is, 'Who lost the peace in the Middle East?' All must share responsibility, including our own government and Israel. To return to peace building -- instead of bloodletting and destroying -- our government needs to recognize its role in the making of this lethal mess. We see the outcomes of the doctrine which holds that the United States can create a new world order through the force of military power. ... War has now been tried and proven not to be the answer. ... It's time to demilitarize for democracy, both here and abroad."

Ex-President Carter has said, "Our country always had a policy of not going to war unless our own security was directly threatened, and now we have a new policy of going to war on a preemptive basis. I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon. Israel is holding almost 10,000 prisoners. When the militants in Lebanon or in Gaza take one or two soldiers, Israel looks upon this as justification for an attack on the civilian population of Lebanon or Gaza."

Carter continued, "When I became president, we had had four terrible wars between the Arabs and the Israelis. I, under great difficulty, decided to try negotiation and it worked. We have had a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt for 27 years that has never been violated. You never can be certain in advance that negotiations on difficult circumstances will be successful, but you can be certain in advance if you don't negotiate that your problem is going to continue and maybe get worse."

To return to the advice of FCNL's Volk, "Our government officials should recognize that what the people of the world respect about the United States is not its military superiority but its culture of freedom; its scientific and technological achievements; its tolerance for many points of view; its academic excellence; its ability to engage with people of all religious, ethnic, and national origins; and its humanitarian and moral standing. These attributes of soft power are national security assets."

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And as United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Jan Egeland said July 28, "There is something fundamentally wrong with a war where there are more dead children than armed men. It has got to stop."

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