The United States Department of Peace could be the steady, informed link to policymakers the peace movement needs. When Congress returns in January, both the House and the Senate will vote on bills to create a US Department of Peace, and a Secretary of Peace, to advise the president at the cabinet level on alternatives to domestic and international conflict. But the Department of Peace is by no means a done deal. The current campaign to create the department was launched in 2002, but attempts to create similar departments have failed more than 100 times throughout American history. No other country has created such a department.
But still, lofty goals are what got the peace movement this far. And, who knows, maybe a Secretary of Peace would be a powerful advocate for anti-war activists in DC.
“While we stand with our brothers and sisters who are designing an exit strategy and protesting and calling for immediate withdrawal, we are helping to design the very structures that will become the end of the beginning of all war,” says Dot Maver, executive director of the nonprofit Peace Alliance, in Rochester Hills, Michigan, which is leading the campaign for the new department. “Who is it who’s thinking about how we actually address this [war in Iraq]? How do we come up with an exit strategy? The Secretary of Peace would sit down with those concerned in both the anti-war movement and the military on the ground and would look at how we bring all the actors to the table.”
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