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Support the Troops with a Department of Peace

At an airport car rental facility, a young man in his mid-twenties politely and enthusiastically stepped me through the rental process. We exchanged kind words about travel and life in general. As I signed the paperwork, he inquired about my line of work.

“I’m with The Peace Alliance. We are supporting legislation calling for a US Department of Peace.”

His demeanor instantly changed. He took a step back and stated, “I’m an NCO ma’am (Non-Commissioned Officer) and I was just called up to Iraq. I might not be interested in that.”

“Really?” I replied. “A Department of Peace is one of the best ways to support our troops.” He frowned. I continued. “The Department of Peace would mean that our citizens would be educated in peaceful conflict resolution. For instance, are you familiar with the culture in Iraq or with the ways of the Iraqi people? Do you know the basics of mediation and nonviolent conflict resolution? Do you have the skills to de-escalate violence? What will you do in the city square if young men are arguing and they are carrying guns? What if their arguing escalates to a violent conflict?”

The young man was incredulous as he said, “Is that what you do?”

“Yes, a Department of Peace and National Peace Academy will provide training for our troops so that they will be prepared whether dealing with conflict in a war zone, the aftermath of a tsunami, or providing relief aid to hungry children overseas.”

“Do you have a card?” he asked, “I want to talk to my platoon about this. We should all be aware of this!” And with that he opened the car door for me. With a thoughtful look on his face he said, “But I have to tell you that if I am face to face with some guy in Iraq who wants to shoot me, he’s going down. I have a Mom to come home to!”

We stood still, looking into one another’s eyes. Finally he said quietly, “Oh, right, he has a Mom to go home to, too.”

Dorothy J. Maver, Ph.D. is Executive Director of The Peace Alliance, advocating for legislation that supports a Culture of Peace. www.thepeacealliance.org 

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