US soldiers in Afghanistan. Picture: US MARINE CORP/REUTERS
US soldiers in Afghanistan. Picture: US MARINE CORP/REUTERS

Oblivious to the health and environmental consequences, just three weeks ago Richard McNeill was promoting the use of coal and nuclear power (Countries like SA can ill afford ‘carbon colonialism’, August 30). Now he tells us wars create peace (Peace doesn’t exist without war, September 20).

“If you want peace, prepare for war” has been the rant of militarists since the Romans. It didn’t work then, and it most certainly hasn’t worked during either the 20th or 21st centuries.  The destruction of Germany, Japan and England are just three examples of what happened in the 20th century, which was the bloodiest in history. 

The British Empire on which the sun never set (because even God could not trust the English in the dark!) is now reduced to a few “treasure islands” that make London the criminal money-laundering capital of the world.

With disastrous consequences the US has spent $21-trillion on militarisation since 2001 and, accordingly, both the “American dream” and US infrastructure have collapsed. The domestic environmental repercussions include the west coast fires and the east and gulf coast hurricanes and floods.

The domestic social despair of America’s wars includes a daily average of 20 former US soldiers who now commit suicide, thus even exceeding the number of soldiers killed in combat since 9/11 in the so-called forever wars.

Apartheid-era governments also tried militarisation in SA with disastrous results, including economic stagnation. Tens of billions of rand spent on nuclear weapons and missile technology failed to prevent the collapse of apartheid. The arms deal in the democratic era further unleashed the culture of corruption.

Had those hundreds of billions instead been invested in public education, health and poverty alleviation SA would not today be faced with the desperation of 40% unemployment together with social and criminal violence.

The use of war and annexation of land has been illegal under international law since the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, and was reaffirmed in the 1945 UN Charter. Those provisions unfortunately have repeatedly been broken by the US and its Nato allies; Afghanistan and Palestine being just two examples.

The International Criminal Court is this year finally investigating Israeli war crimes in Palestine. The Nuremberg trials followed Nazi barbarities during World War 2. That Israeli leaders including Benjamin Netanyahu might stand trial for similar war crimes in The Hague might eventually prove a wake-up call even for McNeill and others who delude themselves that “might is right”!

Terry Crawford-Browne
World Beyond War SA

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