Today is Peace Day, or, if you want to get formal about it, the International Day of Peace. In order to commemorate this holiday, the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution last week, S. Res. 274, supporting the celebration of Peace Day.
I’m glad that the Senate passed that resolution. It contains a nice sentiment. However, when it comes to the kind of action that really counts, most of the current members of the United States Senate have also voted many times against peace. They’ve voted in support of sending the United States into war. They’ve voted to keep on funding our nation’s nuclear weapons program. They’ve voted in favor of George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s record-breaking military budgets. They’ve voted to continue to send terrible weapons such as cluster bombs to foreign countries where they’re used against civilian populations.
The Senate Peace Day resolution avoids mentioning the need to put an end to these large scale sorts of anti-peace activities. Instead, the Senate resolution celebrates little things happening in faraway places, things like:
– Providing mosquito nets in a province of the Republic of Congo
– Painting school buildings in Afghanistan
– A program to encourage peace through international soccer games
Don’t misunderstand me – these things are really nice. We need more programs like these.
However, there’s no way that a mosquito net is going to stop a bullet. No soccer game can withstand a bomb dropped from above by a foreign air force. It doesn’t matter whether school buildings are painted or not if the communities in which they are build are targeted by nuclear missiles.
The members of the United States Senate have much more power at their disposal than what they exercised through S. Res. 274. They have the power to stop shipping weapons overseas. They have the power to bring American soldiers back home. They have the power to reduce the ever-increasing U.S. military budget, by far the largest military budget in the world.
Given that power, a toothless resolution praising Peace Day just doesn’t cut it.