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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Department of Peace 

I haven't seen this widely reported but the Democrats are working to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence. If I recall correctly, this was a plank in the platform of the ill fated Kucinich Presidential campaign of 2004. With the Democrats now in control of the legislature, they are moving ahead.

It appears the proposal would establish a cabinet level position with broad new powers and responsibilities, and the details of this proposal describe Utopia through the progressive lens. I began looking for choice bits to post as highlights, but it was so hard to choose I had to reproduce in total.

For those looking for a distillation, imagine a governmental agency responsible for advising on non-confrontational foreign policy options, establishing and enforcing new gun control measures, designing school curriculum, establishing and enforcing new legislation governing "hate crimes" and violence against animals, and my favorite, establishing a "Peace Academy," a four-year institution of higher learning modeled on our service academies. (Wait, doesn't the Ivy League already have like six of those?)

SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE.
SEC. 102. RESPONSIBILITIES AND POWERS.
(a) In General- The Secretary
shall--
(1) work proactively and interactively with each branch of the
Federal Government on all policy matters relating to conditions of
peace;
(2) serve as a delegate to the National Security Council;
(3) call on the intellectual and spiritual wealth of the people of the United States and
seek participation in its administration and in its development of policy from
private, public, and nongovernmental organizations; and
(4) monitor and analyze causative principles of conflict and make policy recommendations for developing and maintaining peaceful conduct.

(b) Domestic Responsibilities-
The Secretary shall--
(1) develop policies that address domestic violence, including spousal abuse, child abuse, and mistreatment of the elderly;
(2) create new policies and incorporate existing programs that reduce drug and alcohol abuse;
(3)
develop new policies and incorporate existing policies regarding crime,
punishment, and rehabilitation;
(4) develop policies to address violence against animals;
(5) analyze existing policies, employ successful, field-tested programs, and develop new approaches for dealing with the implements of violence, including gun-related violence and the overwhelming presence of handguns;
(6) develop new programs that relate to the societal challenges of school violence, gangs, racial or ethnic violence, violence against gays and lesbians, and police-community relations disputes;
(7) make policy recommendations to the Attorney General regarding civil rights and labor law;
(8) assist in the establishment and funding of community-based violence
prevention programs, including violence prevention counseling and peer mediation in schools;
(9) counsel and advocate on behalf of women victimized by
violence;
(10) provide for public education programs and counseling strategies concerning hate crimes;
(11) promote racial, religious, and ethnic tolerance;
(12) finance local community initiatives that can draw on neighborhood resources to create peace projects that facilitate the development
of conflict resolution at a national level and thereby inform and inspire
national policy; and
(13) provide ethical-based and value-based analyses to
the Department of Defense.

(c) International Responsibilities- The Secretary
shall--
(1) advise the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State on all
matters relating to national security, including the protection of human rights and the prevention of, amelioration of, and de-escalation of unarmed and armed international conflict;
(2) provide for the training of all United States personnel who administer postconflict reconstruction and demobilization in war-torn societies;
(3) sponsor country and regional conflict prevention and
dispute resolution initiatives, create special task forces, and draw on local, regional, and national expertise to develop plans and programs for addressing the root sources of conflict in troubled areas;
(4) provide for exchanges between the United States and other nations of individuals who endeavor to develop domestic and international peace-based initiatives;
(5) encourage the development of international sister city programs, pairing United States cities with cities around the globe for artistic, cultural, economic, educational, and faith-based exchanges;
(6) administer the training of civilian peacekeepers who participate in multinational nonviolent police forces and support civilian police who participate in peacekeeping;
(7) jointly with the Secretary of the Treasury, strengthen peace enforcement through hiring and training monitors and investigators to help with the enforcement of international arms embargoes;
(8) facilitate the development of peace summits at which parties to a conflict may gather under carefully prepared conditions to promote nonviolent communication and mutually beneficial solutions;
(9) submit to the President recommendations for reductions in weapons of mass destruction, and make annual reports to the President on the sale of arms from the United States to other nations, with analysis of the impact of such sales on the defense of the United States and how such sales affect peace;
(10) in consultation with the Secretary of State, develop strategies for sustainability and management of the distribution of international funds; and
(11) advise the United States Ambassador to the United Nations on matters pertaining to the United Nations Security Council.


(d) Human Security Responsibilities- The Secretary shall address and
offer nonviolent conflict resolution strategies to all relevant parties on
issues of human security if such security is threatened by conflict, whether such conflict is geographic, religious, ethnic, racial, or class-based in its origin, derives from economic concerns (including trade or maldistribution of wealth), or is initiated through disputes concerning scarcity of natural resources (such as water and energy resources), food, trade, or environmental concerns.


(e) Media-Related Responsibilities- Respecting the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and the requirement for free and independent media, the Secretary shall--
(1) seek assistance in the design and implementation of nonviolent policies from media professionals;
(2) study the role of the media in the escalation and de-escalation of conflict at domestic and international levels and make findings public; and
(3) make recommendations to professional media organizations in order to provide opportunities to increase media awareness of peace-building initiatives.

(f) Educational Responsibilities- The Secretary shall--
(1)
develop a peace education curriculum, which shall include studies of--
(A)
the civil rights movement in the United States and throughout the world, with special emphasis on how individual endeavor and involvement have contributed to advancements in peace and justice; and
(B) peace agreements and circumstances in which peaceful intervention has worked to stop conflict;
(2) in cooperation with the Secretary of Education--
(A) commission the development of such curricula and make such curricula available to local school districts to enable the utilization of peace education objectives at all elementary and secondary schools in the United States; and
(B) offer incentives in the form of grants and training to encourage the development of State peace curricula and assist schools in applying for such curricula;
(3)
work with educators to equip students to become skilled in achieving peace through reflection, and facilitate instruction in the ways of peaceful conflict resolution;
(4) maintain a site on the Internet for the purposes of soliciting and receiving ideas for the development of peace from the wealth of political, social and cultural diversity;
(5) proactively engage the critical thinking capabilities of grade school, high school, and college students and teachers through the Internet and other media and issue periodic reports concerning submissions;

(6) create and establish a Peace Academy, which shall--
(A)
be modeled after the military service academies;
(B) provide a 4-year course of instruction in peace education, after which graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution; and
(7) provide grants for peace studies departments in colleges and universities throughout the United States.



You can't make this stuff up.

64 Comments:

By Blogger andrew, at Fri Apr 13, 01:10:00 PM:

This has to be farcical. Please tell me the Congress hasn't sunk this low.

You have to love the part where the Secretary is instructed to first seek help from "media professionals" in formulating administration peace policy. That's leadership for you.  

By Blogger Charlottesvillain, at Fri Apr 13, 01:15:00 PM:

If so, it is a work of sheer genius.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 01:18:00 PM:

There was a wonderful slogan in Soviet Union Brezhnev's time rendered by local party chiefs in different regions of the country as:
1. Communism is humanity's future,
2. Communism is inevitable,
3. There is no alternative to communism,
4. There is no escape from communism,
.... etc.
It looks like some of those pesky local soviet chiefs reincarnated in the US Congress.
What a pity.  

By Anonymous colagirl, at Fri Apr 13, 01:46:00 PM:

...Please tell me you're kidding me.

They could call it Minipax!  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Fri Apr 13, 01:49:00 PM:

I understand it will be housed initially in the Pentagon.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 02:03:00 PM:

Ironically, this proposal for a Department of Peace makes me feel very violent.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 03:06:00 PM:

This sorta reminds me of the comment from PJ O'Rourke about socialized medicine;"If you think that medical care is expensive now, just wait 'till it's free."

If you thought the world was violent now, just wait 'till there is an agency bent on imposing peace, everywhere, all the time.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Fri Apr 13, 03:28:00 PM:

This comment has been removed by the author.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Fri Apr 13, 03:31:00 PM:

I agree with Colagirl -- my first reaction was thinking of George Orwell's 1984.

Don't we already have a Department of State?

Maybe this is a sub-section of State for the hard core Kumbaya folks.

There are actually some pieces of good ideas in there:

(2) provide for the training of all United States personnel who administer postconflict reconstruction and demobilization in war-torn societies;

(6) administer the training of civilian peacekeepers who participate in multinational nonviolent police forces and support civilian police who participate in peacekeeping;

(7) jointly with the Secretary of the Treasury, strengthen peace enforcement through hiring and training monitors and investigators to help with the enforcement of international arms embargoes;

Um, "nonviolent police forces"? --Don't police forces have to have at least the threat of violence to be seen as a legitimate law enforcement mechanism and crime deterrent? Or does that phrase intend to eliminate the really abusive police forces?

Anyway, I think that the 21st century might call for a combined military/civilian rapid reaction force that would go into a place like Darfur and immediately provide security (with teeth, so this is not "Department of Peace and Nonviolence" stuff) and start quickly transitioning into a rebuilding mode. Call it small scale nation building. Of course it would have to be in places where the U.S. does NOT have vital strategic interests to get any kind of limited bi-partisan support. It might be made up of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (2,200), elements of the Army Corps of Engineers, USAID, Red Cross, people from State, JAG lawyers, GAO accountants to do the financial work (to forestall any claims of fraud), and selected NGOs under contract. Perhaps there are a total of 3,500 people, 2:1 military to civilian that reverses over time. There would need to be a substantial logistical tail requiring a fair amount of air lift capacity. It would need to be under military command for at least the first 6-12 months, probably under a Marine Brigadier General. It would be a U.S. run operation, though if the U.N. wanted to contribute people from UNESCO, I suppose that would be welcome.

Democrats might like the idea because it at least shows that they have some willingness to project force, a la Bill Cinton in Bosnia and Kosovo. Non-paleocon Republicans might like it because it (in the case of Darfur) would be a strong push back against a nasty Arab/Islamic regime, and otherwise would generally send the message that the U.S. will not tolerate genocide and has the will and the means to act, regardless of the wishes of the host government.

Or am I just overreaching here?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 04:51:00 PM:

Why don't Democrats offer what they REALLY want to do:

Castrate every man in the nation.

Geez. A more calculated effort to emasculate the nation could not be imagined.

Dept. of Kumbayah?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 05:24:00 PM:

The left wants peace - just everybody get along. That is really a nice idea and it is what most, maybe 98 percent of, people want. Trouble is it requires changing the psyche of the rest of the people, like 1 -2 percent, those who want control over those that want peace. Those bastards prey on and lead all the misfits - the religously challenged, the marxist sympathizers (stupid fools), immature college students, the gender challenged, the racially challenged, the intellectually challenged, the backbone challenged, the trust funded, the drugged, non-workers, and socially inept who all band together for any anti-establishment cause. That small percentage of killers and spoilers terrorize and intimidate the weak. Getting to peace means killing the bastards and disabling their enablers. Not neat and tidy work but has to be done to make peace.

Best way to get to peace is with overwhelming and ruthless force. No cat and mouse play - just earthshaking ubiquitous crushing conclusive and decisive action.  

By Anonymous blogger, at Fri Apr 13, 05:33:00 PM:

Sounds like a formalized carbon copy of the crap that passes for UK Gov't.

Next comes stealth taxes to pay for the overpaid box-tickers who check the results of all the nefarious initiatives, and the quangos, - made up of friends of the 1984 dreamers, - who dream-up more insanities.

Finally more taxes to pay for law enforcement agencies, and thought police to enforce correct thinking, dictated by the quangos and any little 2cents clerk with more than half a brain cell.

Welcome to the Orwelian UK.
Welcome to the socialist nirvana.
No learning curve!

The US falls down the same pan as the Eurinals  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 05:34:00 PM:

Hayek must be weaping  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Fri Apr 13, 05:37:00 PM:

instruction in peace education

What kind of deranged bullshit is this?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 06:15:00 PM:

What kind of deranged bullshit is this?
this kind  

By Blogger Semanticleo, at Fri Apr 13, 08:18:00 PM:

Mayhaps we should just call a spade, a spade and revert to the original
name of the Defense Dept.

'Department of War'

'Secretary of War' is more appropriate for the craven among us.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 10:27:00 PM:

And yet, as Laputan a bill that is, will no one on the right consider some sort of civic (un-)armed force to project power and promote reconstruction? Apparently in Mitt Romney there is one, if I am reading between the lines correctly...

"It is high time to truly transform our civilian instruments of national power. We need to enable joint strategies and joint operations. Just as the military has divided the world into common regions for all of its branches, so too the civilian agencies should align along consistent boundaries. And one civilian leader, a Deputy lets call him or her, with authority and responsibility for all agencies and departments, must be fully empowered, just like the single military commander for CENTCOM. These Deputies of our civilian resources must have sufficient authority over the activities in their region. They will be heavy hitters, with recognized reputations around the world. They must be given objectives, budgets, and responsible oversight. They will be measured by their success in their region in improving such things as healthcare, education, and economy, and for their progress in promoting peace and democracy."

http://www.mittromney.com/News/Speeches/Remarks_George_Bush_Library_Center  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 13, 10:50:00 PM:

Last time I checked the military had a joint chiefs of staff, not a grand commander.

Peace is a great goal but there are already institutions to promote all these ideas.

People have this weird habit of overlooking what they already have to get something new. That's okay for shopping but endless for bereaucracy.  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Fri Apr 13, 10:57:00 PM:

Anon (4/13, 10:27pm)

Sounds like what the State Department should be doing, and aren't they called ambassadors??  

By Anonymous Bird of Paridise, at Fri Apr 13, 11:57:00 PM:

And their SECRATARY OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE CAN BE HANIO JANE FONDA THEIR LOGO CAN BE A YELLOW CHICKEN IN A 70s CHICKEN FOOTPRINT SYMBOL  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sat Apr 14, 12:42:00 AM:

Wow, right away, from the very top:
(1) Work proactively and interactively with each branch of the Federal Government...

Wish I'd thought of that.  

By Blogger Dan, at Sat Apr 14, 07:58:00 AM:

I dunno man. I think history just may be begging for another Reichstag fire.

Draw what you may from that comment.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Apr 14, 08:02:00 AM:

State, War, Treasury, and Justice were good enough for Washington, and maybe with the addition of Interior are good enough for me.

BTW, TH, which 2 Ivy League schools aren't included in your list of "Peace Academies." :-)

JLW III
49 days until the P-rade  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sat Apr 14, 11:02:00 AM:

SAC - "Peace Is Our Profession"  

By Blogger jaed, at Sat Apr 14, 01:30:00 PM:

It's never a good sign when I start feeling like I'm living in an Ayn Rand novel.  

By Blogger Chuck, at Sat Apr 14, 02:24:00 PM:

This is the real thing. It will never make it out of committee.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.00808:  

By Blogger maha, at Sat Apr 14, 04:33:00 PM:

This "department of peace" thing is Dennis Kucinich's baby, and I assure you it's going nowhere. Please don't hang it on "the Democrats."  

By Blogger Nikolay, at Sat Apr 14, 04:33:00 PM:

This is Kucinich's own solo project. Kucinich is a total nut. Like you guys have no nuts on your side and no nutty policies. Only in your case they are actually implemented, like fighting AIDS in Africa by "promoting abstinence".  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Apr 14, 04:38:00 PM:

It's a solo project, except for those 62 co-sponsors of HR-808. Usual suspects...

JohnS  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sat Apr 14, 04:51:00 PM:

I only counted 50 co-sponsors. Either way, it is 25-30% of the Democrats in the House, including some of the flower and chivalry of the leadership.

So either we repudiate the defense that Kucinich is a nut, or we decide that there are a lot of nuts in the House.

Either one works for me.  

By Blogger Chris Arndt, at Sat Apr 14, 04:55:00 PM:

We don't even have a Department of War anymore and they want a Department of Peace?

Another reminder of the sort of asshats we donate cash to on Tax Day.  

By Blogger Nikolay, at Sat Apr 14, 05:13:00 PM:

Kucinich is certainly a nut. You can read, for example, Kos slicing him into small pieces for, among other things, "Department of Peace" idea.

That said, it's questionable to what degree are those 50 in fact real co-sponsors. Are you sure this formula "I, for myself and blah-blah-blah" does indeed mean co-sponsorship?  

By Anonymous PST, at Sat Apr 14, 06:28:00 PM:

This isn't news. Dennis Kucinich has introduced this bill or a similar one in every Congress since 2001 (see www.govtrack.us). It never goes anywhere and it never will. It has fewer co-sponsors this time than it did in the last Congress.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sat Apr 14, 06:54:00 PM:

Oh, they're not "real" cosponsors, Nikolay. I see.  

By Blogger C-C-G, at Sat Apr 14, 09:15:00 PM:

"And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful."

As usual, C.S. Lewis had it right decades ago. (quote from The Abolition of Man)  

By Blogger HCdL, at Sat Apr 14, 09:30:00 PM:

Non-violent police, eh? Does anyone remember Sly Stallone's movie Demolition Man? "We're the police, we're not equiped to deal with this kind of maniac."

Someone has definitely never had to face reality, here.  

By Blogger Simon, at Sat Apr 14, 11:30:00 PM:

The bill is HR808. It was introduced by Rep. Kucinich, but what's frightening is that it has 62 cosponsors.  

By Anonymous JAFAC, at Sat Apr 14, 11:32:00 PM:

The good news is that the Secretary can only: call on the intellectual and spiritual wealth of the people of the United States

No tax dollars for this new department; must mean it is funded solely by bake sales.  

By Anonymous Bird of Paridise, at Sun Apr 15, 12:41:00 AM:

THE DEPT OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE PRESENTS PEA SHOOTER BATTLE AT THE OK CORRAL  

By Anonymous merkur, at Sun Apr 15, 01:03:00 PM:

There appears to be a huge amount of vitriol towards this idea, but very little substantive comment. What specifically in the text that Tigerhawk posted do people object to? Because most of the objections seem to be that a) the text is poorly phrased (which is true for almost all bills of any kind) and b) it uses the words "peace" and "nonviolence" too much.

I agree that the idea of nonviolent police force is nonsensical, but the answer to the question "Don't police forces have to have at least the threat of violence to be seen as a legitimate law enforcement mechanism and crime deterrent?" is No. Police forces need to have the rule of law, an effective criminal justice system and credibility with the community to be seen as a legitimate mechanism.  

By Anonymous SouthernRoots, at Sun Apr 15, 01:35:00 PM:

I'm sure that, in order to have a department of peace and nonviolence, they will fight to the bitter end and destroy any obstacle in their path.  

By Blogger directorblue, at Sun Apr 15, 01:40:00 PM:

A more apt name for such an agency would be The Department of Genocide, as that would be the inevitable result of such a folly.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 15, 01:51:00 PM:

Another step down the road of the Left trying to turn this once proud nation in to a bunch of whiny pussies.  

By Blogger curious, at Sun Apr 15, 04:42:00 PM:

The sad thing is, a department like this could really work, but not the way the Dhimmicrats have described it.

Free, affluent, highly educated, highly developed countries do not make war on their neighbors. Who is worried about being invaded by Denmark? Or Finland? Who is worried about the Norwegian suicide bombers?

So, ensuring peace in the world means ensuring that all countries in the world are free, affluent, highly educated, and highly developed.

Let's start with the most deprived people and see how they can be helped to at least start on the road to being affluent and highly developed. The most deprived people in the world need:
1. Clean Water - pretty easy to provide clean water using low tech tools, the poor who need the clean water can provide the labor, we could even pay them for their labor.
2. Sanitary Sewer - again, easy to do using low tech tools, the poor who need it can provide the labor, we can pay them to do it.
3. Electricity - kind of hard to be a developed country if you don't have any electricity. The developed world could easily help the undeveloped world build electricity generation plants. Again we could hire the people who need it the most to do the labor. The US already has experience with this, it was the federal government that provided electricity to the rural south after WWII through the Rural Electrification Adminisration and other agencies as provide by the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. Rural electrification was based on the belief that affordable electricity would improve the standard of living and the economic competitiveness of rural families. Gee, what a concept.
4. Basic healthcare - hundreds of thousands of people die every year from easily treated, easily prvented diseases like malaria, guinea worm, sleeping sickness, river blindness, well the list is pretty long. The US could easily provide the means to eradicate these illnesses.
5. Communication - Outer Mongolia provided wireless high speed internet and wireless phone service to the entire country made possible by a small grant from a U.N. NGO.
If Mongolia can do this, I would guess the United States can do it for other small countries or rural villagers.
6. Starvation - we can easily eradicate starvation, if we can get rid of the Democrats in Congress who block every attempt to get the big money agribusinesses out of the way.
7. Education - we can easily help poor villagers build small schoolhouses using local materials and then supply them with books, paper, white boards, etc. Hmm, maybe a lot of the education could be distance learning coming over the high speed internet?

If we stop giving "aid" to corrupt dictators and help poor villagers help themselves by providing the engineering knowhow, basic materials and money for their labor, a lot of crushing problems could easily be solved.

But, this is NOT what the Dhimmicrats are talking about. They want a crushing, all intrusive bureaucracy that would make actually doing anything ten times more difficult.  

By Blogger curious, at Sun Apr 15, 04:52:00 PM:

Anonymous
And yet, as Laputan a bill that is, will no one on the right consider some sort of civic (un-)armed force to project power and promote reconstruction?

We have someone like this, his name is President Bush. Time and time again the President has been thwarted in providing real assistance to people in dire need only to be blocked by the Congress.

The lastest example of this nonsense was the President BEGGING the hypocrites in Congress for authority to help starving people in Africa by buying food locally instead of being forced to buy the food from American agribusinesses and ship the food to Africa using American flagged ships and American crews. The shipping costs are 50% of the cost of the food. The food costs double, triple, or quadruple what it would cost to buy it locally. Also, it takes four months to get the food where it is needed. The Democratic senator who had the power to make this happen said that the President's plan was "beyond insanity". Meanwhile 40,000 people starved to death.

There are numerous laws on the books, which were written and passed by Democrats, that make it impossible to respond quickly to humanitarian needs without ensuring that some big American company gets its share of the money.

If the Democrats want a welfare program for big agribusiness, ship owners, and ship crewmen then they should just create one and stop making the starving of the world suffer as a consequence.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Sun Apr 15, 04:57:00 PM:

Merkur -

Thanks for responding to my question, which perhaps should have been phrased, "Don't police forces have to have the implied threat of violence (simply because of the fact that policemen are armed to some extent) to be seen as a legitimate law enforcement mechanism and crime deterrent?"

If someone is armed, even with only a billy club as was the case a generation ago with London "Bobbies," there is ipso facto the chance the weapon might be used, and therefore a threat of violence exists. I suppose we could employ police only once that they were black-belt level martial artists, and didn't carry any weapons (so that the threat of violence was less obvious), but eventually their hands and feet would be seen as the functional equivalent of weapons.

Police forces need to have the rule of law, an effective criminal justice system and credibility with the community to be seen as a legitimate mechanism.

What is the rule of law without some ability to enforce it at the street level? Or are we both in some circle of logic here? Or is it that you're a little bit more Rousseau and I'm a little bit more Hobbes? Since you agree that the idea of a nonviolent police force is nonsensical, perhaps we're not that far apart.

In the same post, I did try to take pieces of the bill and comment on it and build on it in some substantive way. What do you think of such an interdisciplinary task force? Even the fictional president Jed Bartlett on the West Wing (usually reluctant to use military force) intervened in an African country that was slaughtering its own citizens.  

By Anonymous S. Weasel, at Mon Apr 16, 09:54:00 AM:

It's old.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 16, 10:39:00 AM:

I think the Dems forgot the Committee for Kissing Everyone Else's Ass. I propose we put Jimmy Carter in charge of that.  

By Anonymous AUSPatriotman, at Mon Apr 16, 11:26:00 AM:

TH--I went to the Bill Sponsor page, counted 62 as of 11;30am, 4-16-07. That is 13.5% of the House. don't know how you got your percentages but my basic high 'scrool' math from 1964 gave me that number. 13.5% of 456 total members= 61.5 or rounded 62.

They're all asshats and deserve to be banished to any mid-east country of their choosing.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Mon Apr 16, 11:36:00 AM:

AUSPatriot- doing this from my blackberry, but I believe I said that the sponsors were 25-30% of the Democrats in the House. I stand by my math.  

By Anonymous merkur, at Mon Apr 16, 11:50:00 AM:

Escort81:

"If someone is armed, even with only a billy club as was the case a generation ago with London "Bobbies," there is ipso facto the chance the weapon might be used, and therefore a threat of violence exists."

I agree that the police require authorisation to use "violence" (really, force) to enforce the law, but law enforcement is not the sum total of police work. You made the distinction yourself in your earlier post: traffic control, for example, does not require the police to carry any weapons, neither does forensic investigation. I believe that the authority of the police rests on the three factors that I mentioned, with the authorisation to use force a small component that supports the implementation of their duties.

"What is the rule of law without some ability to enforce it at the street level? Or are we both in some circle of logic here? Or is it that you're a little bit more Rousseau and I'm a little bit more Hobbes? Since you agree that the idea of a nonviolent police force is nonsensical, perhaps we're not that far apart."

I'm a little bit more Calvin than Hobbes... the rule of law is not the content of the law, but the consistency of it. Most laws don't apply at street level, and most don't rely on the use of force for their implementation - contract law, for example.

"In the same post, I did try to take pieces of the bill and comment on it and build on it in some substantive way. What do you think of such an interdisciplinary task force?"

I think the idea is a good one. It has in fact been proposed by a number of different governmental and non-governmental organisations. The model that you propose would not work - the primary problem is that it could not be (or perceived to be) under the command of one particular country, for obvious reasons (see Afghanistan or Iraq for more details). I also think you underestimate exactly what these kind of operations require in terms of resources and political manoevreability.

The only other alternative would put it under an organisation such as the UN or EU - and we all know how good they are at managing large operations like that.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 16, 12:09:00 PM:

I agree this idea is ridiculous, but is there any evidence that "the Democrats are working to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence"? I haven't seen any evidence of this at all. Yes, loony Kucinich and some others have introduced a bill just as they have in previous Congresses, but there isn't any evidence this bill is being considered at all. Stop fretting. 1000s of bills get introduced every year.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 16, 12:24:00 PM:

(4) The Secretary shall establish a formal process of consultation in a timely manner with the Secretary of the Department of State and the Secretary of the Department of Defense--

(A) prior to the initiation of any armed conflict between the United States and any other nation; and

(B) for any matter involving the use of Department of Defense personnel within the United States.

(b) Consultation in Drafting Treaties and Agreements- The executive branch shall consult with the Secretary in drafting treaties and peace agreements.

So - this essentially slows down any administration's response to hostilities, saying that one of the new "Peace" positions must be consulted prior to any armed response.... OR anytime DOD personnel are required in the US, I'm assuming this would include the National Guard...

Talk about hamstringing the powers that be.

We've got riots in the streets and a Governor needs the Guard....he has to consult with the resident "Peace Specialist" before doing so?

And before the President can respond to a clear and present danger to the security of the United States, he has to consult with a "Peace Specialist" to make sure that we respond appropriately and try to avoid hurting other people's feelings?

Give me a break.  

By Anonymous Harvey, at Mon Apr 16, 01:07:00 PM:

Let's just change the name of the department to Peace And Nonviolence Department of External Relations (or P.A.N.D.E.R.) because that's all they're going to do.)  

By Blogger Escort81, at Mon Apr 16, 03:57:00 PM:

Merkur -

Thanks again for your thoughtful response.

We are probably getting off the beaten path here, but your points are well taken in trying to differentiate between force and violence.

I live near the City of Philadelphia, and all on-duty police officers in the city are armed, even if tasked with traffic duty. Even in the township in the suburban counties where I live, all officers are armed and have vests, and violent crime is not a frequent occurrence here. I think if we're talking about a post-conflict developing nation, it would be very important for a police force to be armed to help to begin to establish even the rudimentary aspects of the rule of law.

I think Calvin & Hobbes is amusing, too. I do think that the effectiveness of the rule of law is determined in part by any number of factors, including the content of the law (such that the text of a law itself can't be seen as being grossly unfair or overly beneficial to a particular section of the citizenry), the consistency of its application (as you state), and a shared philosophy or culture among the citizenry that will lead people to believe that all will be better off by buying into a system of laws (the necessary pre-existing conditions for democracy, if you will, under the best case scenario for a developing country in post-conflict situation).

I did have in mind criminal law when writing my post, and of course criminal law is quite separate from contract and civil law in the judicial system in the U.S. I do think there are a number of Western countries that still are fairly quick to incarcerate those who break contracts -- Switzerland, I believe, have a kind of a debtor's prison for those who enter into a credit agreement and are unable to honor it. In the U.S., I think that if you choose to ignore a court order in a civil matter, you would ultimately face sanctions which would be enforced by an armed agent of the court, or a "Sheriff."

I agree that my rough outline for an intervention force is not workable. As to its governance, if an international imprimatur is necessary, I think NATO is the least worst choice. I do predict that we will see something approximating that sort of force if Hillary is elected president -- she will be (in Maureen Dowd's words) the Warrior Queen bringing some sense of law and a start to the rebuilding process into parts of the world that have none, and where no vital U.S. strategic interests are at stake. But perhaps lots of people may be better off for it, and we might feel good about it.  

By Anonymous mojojojo, at Mon Apr 16, 04:10:00 PM:

Looks like it should be more appropriately called the "Ministry of Social Justice." This appears to be creating an official government office for pushing specifically EVERY plank in the Democratic (Communist) Party platform.

Starting from the top of Section B:

1. Subjugate men through more 'domestic violence' laws
2. Animal rights
3. Gun control
4. Gay rights
5. Labor unions
6. 'Hate crimes'
7. Promote 'tolerance'
8. Regulate the Dept. Defense

Unbelievable, but nothing from these people surprises me anymore.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 16, 04:58:00 PM:

Why not a Department of Peace?

Wouldn't you folks rather be "at peace" than "at war" ?

We've lived through a lot of Peace Time. I know that I wholeheartedly prefer Peace to War.

You must have something wrong with you if you don't want peace.

-Wayne Red  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 16, 06:40:00 PM:

Of course, there are also secret provisions that establish the Alaskan "deconfrontation kumbiya" camps for all those who fail to worship Hillie/Willie and the sacred dem icons. The purpose of these camps is to retrain and then, reintroduce those who survive back into society as compliant servers.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 16, 07:42:00 PM:

The way it is written the Department of Peace = the Department of Individuality Suppression

It will be the opposite of peace by leaving people alone, it will be liberal government persons with their hands all over your life trying to stress you to the max until you break and they put you away for reeducation.

The day that crap passes into "law" will be the first day of the next American Civil War. Better dead then under a liberal's fat greedy thumb.  

By Anonymous BA, at Tue Apr 17, 12:43:00 PM:

The purpose of this dark bill is not directly in front of you. The purpose is written between the lines.

Once a government gives itself the power to control violence…it will begin by using that power to take away the people's rights, such as “The right to bear arms.”

An ongoing struggle between the rights of Free Americans and those who don’t want them to be free.  

By Anonymous Pixelkiller, at Tue Apr 17, 03:21:00 PM:

What's the mechinism for the inforcement of peace? Strong men with guns? Peace at any cost? Kill for peace? What total bullshit!  

By Blogger Carrington, at Thu Jun 21, 01:47:00 PM:

Yes, minipax sounds familiar... but given our current efforts to impose peace and democracy in the mideast, the Republican commentators are yapping in falsetto already.  

By Anonymous Stone, Rosetta, at Wed Aug 22, 01:45:00 AM:

THE MORNING WILL COME WHEN THE WORLD IS MINE

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what can you do for Hillary Clinton. I was a guinea pig at Hillary’s “think tank.” Somewhere, between Purgatory and the Soviet Gulag system, Hillary spawned the US Public Service Academy. The Duke lacrosse team fiasco shows that liberal educators have created a phony cultural paradigm that distorts reality. And, nobody exploits phony paradigms, obfuscates the truth, or games the system like the Clintons.

TOMORROW BELONGS TO ME

Set the Wayback Machine for 23 August 1995: a hot day in the nation’s capitol. But 3000 miles due west on the California Coast, a constellation of events was unfolding that would have a cataclysmic effect on Western civilization. Bill Clinton picked up the telephone. It was his Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, calling from a payphone in Monterey. Bill held the receiver at arms length and gazed at the tasteful floral arrangement that adorned the Oval Office. Leon’s disembodied voice filled the room. What now, asked Hillary. It’s that damn college, mouthed Bill. Hillary nodded; just tell Leon he’ll get whatever he needs. There was, no getting out: http://theseedsof9-11.com  

By Blogger Valery, at Sat Nov 24, 08:56:00 AM:

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