Transcript of interview about the Depart of Peace
Thanks to Jim Torson
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Lynn McMullen, campaign director for the Department of Peace welcoming statement:

Today at 12 noon, Congressman Kucinich introduced a piece of legislation to create a Department of Peace within the United States Government. This concept was developed by Congressman Kucinich to bring the opportunity of nonviolence into the structure of the United States government. I want to take a moment and introduce you to Congressman Kucinich and then I'm going to let him make some brief remarks about the bill.

Congressman Kucinich is a dynamic visionary leader of the Progressive Caucus of the Congressional Democrats. His holistic world view carries with it a passionate commitment to public service, peace, human rights, workers' rights, and the environment. His advocacy of a Department Of Peace seeks not only to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our society, but to make war archaic.Note: no space for the text!
Kucinich: Today at noon I introduced legislation to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace and in doing that, I was joined by a total of 47 members of Congress. I have the list of members if anyone is interested to see if members from their particular area are represented. The stablishment of a Department of Peace is offered at a time when this nation and the world has plunged into a conflict over Iraq with implications which go far beyond Iraq.

This is the second time this bill has been introduced in the House. It was first introduced July 11, 2001. The reason it was introduced then is that I had been very active in the House in challenging the Clinton administration and the bombing of Serbia and saw the way that policy came about. I questioned whether or not that approach was the most effective and most responsive to the challenges that were confronting the people of Serbia at the time. I began to reflect on the fact that in the 20th century, there were 100 million people who have perished in wars, most of them civilian non-combatants.
It seemed to me the question of the inevitability of war is something that needed to be looked at because the nation found itself in 1999 and finds itself again in 2003 following policies that make war inevitable. I'm introducing the Department of Peace legislation to raise the question about
not only the inevitability of war, but in the hopes that we can make nonviolence an organizing principle in our society. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his whole life was about looking at the challenges of violence in our society, social violence, economic violence. It seems to me this is the
perfect time, considering the hour, for us to question the assumptions that we have about our culture, this society, and about the world as to whether or not war should be considered inevitable. And when we're looking at our domestic condition, we recognize that the level of violence in our society is seldom challenged in a comprehensive, pragmatic way.
The Department of Peace would work at a domestic level to address Domestic Violence, Spousal Abuse, Child Abuse, mistreatment of the elderly. To create programs that relate to the societal challenges of school violence, gangs, racial and ethnic violence, police community relations disputes, violence against gays and lesbians. To assist in the establishment and funding of community-based violence prevention programs, including violence prevention counseling and peer mediation in schools. To provide for public education programs and counseling strategies concerning hate crimes, to counsel advocates on behalf of women who have been victimized by violence, to finance local community initiatives that draw neighborhood resources that create peace projects, and generally to meet the challenge of violence in our society through structured, and programmatic approaches that organize the resource of the federal government and enable and empower communities to strengthen existing programs and create new programs that create an
awareness of nonviolence as being a path toward sustaining our country and the world.Note: no space for the text!
On an international level, the Department of Peace would be involved in sponsoring country and regional conflict prevention and (?) resolution initiatives wherever countries are experiencing social, political, or economic strife to create a multinational nonviolent peace force to look at
issues of human scarcity which often cause war to percolate. Issues like poverty and lack of food or water. Or the many reasons why wars proliferate need to be looked at and the Secretary of Peace would offer nonviolent conflict resolution strategies. And looking at these issues of human security. Whether the conflict's created for religious, ethnic, racial, or is class-based in origin, derives from economic concerns, including trade or maldistribution of the wealth. Or as I mentioned is initiated during disputes concerning scarcity of natural resources.Note: no space for the text!
This is the time in the country where it's appropriate to say, "Is there another way of proceeding? Is there another way which offers a response for the National Security Strategy which calls for preventive war and preemptive strikes and unilateralism? Is there another path we can take that can make it possible for America to play a leading role in the world without having to project armed force? That's where the bill comes from and I'd be happy to answer any questions after Marianne Williamson speaks.

McMullen: Thank you very much, Congressman Kucinich. I'm going to introduce Marianne Williamson to the editorial writers and media professionals on the call. Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer around the United States and the world. She has published seven books, four of which, including the mega best seller A Return to Love, have
been number one New York Times bestsellers. In 1989, Miss Williamson co-founded Project AngelFood, a meals on wheels program that serves homebound people in the Los Angeles area. Today Project AngelFood serves over a thousand people each day. Marianne Williamson also co-founded the Global Renaissance Alliance and she is currently leading a citizen's advocacy campaign to bring the Department of Peace Legislation into law. Welcome Marianne Williamson.Note: no space for the text!
Williamson: Thank you very much. Thousands of citizens have responded through visits, emails, phone calls, and letters to a call to lobby their Individual Congresspeople in support of this bill. Our collective enthusiasm represents a popular groundswell that is unique for the initial stage of a
bill's presence. I, and many more like myself, are prepared to work tirelessly Over the weeks and months, and if need be, years ahead, to create the political will to turn this bill into law. Conditions in the world today have motivated an entire generation to look beyond our immediate circumstances to fundamental issues regarding war and peace, particularly our need to create peace on earth as a requisite for human survival.

QUESTION: Hi Dennis, I was wondering if you would be including in this plan, the idea of having possible work done in high schools for countering military recruiters and providing another path for young people to maybe harness their idealism into something other than the military recruiters, which are basically so pervasive, and like the only way to get to college is going through the military?Note: no space for the text!
Kucinich: I would say, countering, no, because military service is an honorable approach toward serving the country. But what it would do is offer more options for the young people in terms of creating a Peace Academy that would parallel the development of the military academies. In doing that, we then create a path toward training individuals in skills which can help with intervention and mediation in nonviolent ways, so it would complement the existing structure, which relies on the military, which is a wonderful structure, but if we are to create a new possibility for this country, can actually be enhanced by balancing it with nonviolent conflict resolution approaches.

QUESTIONER: Yes, balance would be a better word there. Thank you for that.

QUESTION: This is probably on everyone's mind. This is a proposal for a cabinet-level position and in light of what is going around with the current cabinet, how would you foresee the outcome of this playing out if this Peace Department was a cabinet position under the current adinistration?
Kucinich: Under the current administration, the President would have a voice inside the cabinet who would come from a process trained to produce nonviolent alternatives for policy, decision-making. This President has very difficult decisions to make. And if his policy makers are individuals who believe that war is an acceptable instrument of policy, how could the President be faulted for pursuing war? Yet, if he's given more options, the President can see that peace keeping can actually be practical. That this proposal for the Department of Peace is grounded in understanding what Franklin Roosevelt called "the science of human relations" (and) is actually
important in terms of resolving conflict. It would be good for the President to have an entire department at his disposal, who he could go to and say, "Look, is there any other way we can deal with this other than armed conflict?" That would be the job of the Department, to give the President those options. He doesn't have those options. Or if there's maybe one voice that gets squelched inside of an administration without a Department of Peace, it's very difficult for a President to do anything other than use military might.Note: no space for the text!
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