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End of War: John Horgan on Peace Building

Friday, March 02, 2012

As part of the End of War series, John Horgan, science journalist, director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology, and author of The End of War, discusses a way toward peace. 

Take the End of War survey and tell us if you think war is inevitable, and check out the results of the survey so far.

Guests:

John Horgan

Comments [32]

These creatures in helmets and khakis,
I say to myself, aren’t Jews,
In the truest sense of the word. A Jew
Doesn’t dress himself up with weapons like jewelry,
Doesn’t believe in the barrel of a gun aimed at a target,
But in the thumb of the child who was shot at—
In the house through which he comes and goes,
Not in the charge that blows it apart.
The coarse soul and iron first
He scorns by nature.
He lifts his eyes not to the officer, or the soldier
With his finger on the trigger—but to justice,
And he cries out for compassion.
Therefore, he won’t steal land from its people
And will not starve them in camps.
The voice calling for expulsion
Is heard from the hoarse throat of the oppressor—
A sure sign that the Jew has entered a foreign country
And, like Umberto Saba, gone into hiding within his own city.
Because of voices like these, father
At age sixteen, with your family, you fled Rypin;
Now here Rypin is your son.

Aharon Shabtai~

Mar. 05 2012 09:42 PM
Maria Rivera from Hoboken,NJ

Nowadays it is so easy to voice your opinion and have so many "eyes" read and react to it quickly. We should all seriously get involve and exploit all the present technology within our grasp to be able to voice our values. I truly believe that collectively WE CAN END WAR once and for all. We need to give more pressure to our leaders to opt for more dialogue and civility. We can all agree to disagree. Hope begins at home. Adults should teach younger people on how to communicate and compromise with each other. Children learn quicker through example. We should all give each other the benefit of the doubt and we should always try and follow the golden rule: treat others as you would have them treat you. We need respect, patience,and common sense. To be human, is to be divine. To me that means to strive to be your utmost good.

Mar. 05 2012 02:58 PM
Mark Yehle from Kearney, Missouri

End of War--Not including civil wars like our own, can you name two true democratic countries that have ever gone to war with each other?

Can you have peace without justice first?

Mark Yehle

Mar. 03 2012 11:38 PM
John from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

If you take the percentage of anti-war Democrats and add them to Ron Paul's
supporters, you have about 60-70% of the US population that is now against
our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the push for war against Iran and Syria. Also under-reported is that Ron Paul has the largest percentage of active military donations of all the Republican candidates. Does NPR, the Take Away, New york Times or the main stream media reporting reflect this? No, we get the same hand wringing about why a strike on Iran may be necessary or more reports of crimes against humanity in Syria.
WNYC does a great job with local programs it produces and it's unfortunate that they pays dues to pro-war propaganda outlets like the BBC, NPR and the shows like "The Take Away".

Mar. 02 2012 04:53 PM
John from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

If you take the percentage of anti-war Democrats and add them to Ron Paul's
supporters, you have about 60-70% of the US population that is now against
our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the push for war against Iran and Syria. Also under-reported is that Ron Paul has the largest percentage of active military donations of all the Republican candidates. Does NPR, the Take Away, New york Times or the main stream media reporting reflect this? No, we get the same hand wringing about why a strike on Iran may be necessary or more reports of crimes against humanity in Syria.
WNYC does a great job with local programs it produces and it's unfortunate that they pays dues to pro-war propaganda outlets like the BBC, NPR and the shows like "The Take Away".

Mar. 02 2012 04:51 PM

Rumsfeld provided Iraq with the gas and support to kill as many Iranians and Kurds as the US needed him to.

Geezus.

Mar. 02 2012 12:31 PM

DarkSymbolist from NYC!

You realize you're attempting to engage in rational debate with an irrational, psychotic ideologue?

Everyone knows that 150,000 innocent Iraqis were a small price to pay for all those WMDs we were able to remove from circulation.

Psychotic.

Mar. 02 2012 12:28 PM

I am also not inspired optimistically by this show. Though I have other more complex reasons to be optimistic, this show didn't touch on them.

His dismissal of the climate change comment, and what was actually a reference to the diminution of biodiversity, was unscientific and shallow. He twisted the argument to serve his purpose.

This kind of reporting is dangerous. It is not really as cute as it seems.

No support this year from me. I have been reticent since 911. Somehow NPR changed right about then. It's never recovered its integrity, in my humble opinion.

Mar. 02 2012 12:24 PM
Elsie from Brooklyn

Obviously NPR is airing this plea for optimism because fund raisers believe people give money when they are feeling optimistic. That NPR would use such cynical tactics to shill for money makes me even less inclined to ever support them.

Mar. 02 2012 11:51 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

To Elsie,

"Does Leher think we are children - because only a child would buy this "optimism". Hasn't America suffered enough under this enforced optimism - an optimism that has blinded us to reality again and again."

I could not agree more. It's this kind of stupid, unintellectual, ignorant brand of "optimism" that I think is actually quite negative in reality as it is so harmful due to it's inability or unwillingness to look at reality and facts. It's an ugly and self destructive part of American culture.

I just don't understand why Lehrer would give a forum to someone who was so clearly unknowledgable about the very facts he used to make his argument. It was like motivational speaker garbage. Ridiculous.....and quite frankly his outlook is ultimately destructive. Real low point for the Lehrer show, I have to say.

Why no one on with him to present a counter arguement? Because they would destroy him in a debate is why.

Mar. 02 2012 11:44 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Dark Symbolist

Why don't you ask the Iraqis whose families were murdered and raped by Saddam and his crew? Why not ask the Kurds whose families were gassed? And most of the people killed in the war, were killed by OTHER Iraqis and outsiders.Stop blaming America for everything! It was a just war. I'm nost suggesting that we do it everywhere, but Saddam was asking for it. Begging it for it. So he got it. No different than Hitler. So what kind words do you have for Assad? Do you praise him for his work now?

Mar. 02 2012 11:43 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

To jgarbuz

Ron paul is scary because he's a mysoginistic, racist, state's rights, isolationist idiot who due to his anti-war stance (which is really just part of his old-fashioned isolationist stance) has a lot fooled into thinking he is something else other than what he is..

Mar. 02 2012 11:37 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

jgarbuz
"It was a JUST WAR"
Tell that to all the Iraqis who were killed for no reason.
And just because the oil didn't work out the way the administration planned (like most everything else they planned with that war) doesn't mean that wasn't one of their interests in that fiasco of a war.

Talk about having one's head in the sand...

Mar. 02 2012 11:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Dark Symbolist

Ron Paul is the scariest of all! He's the mild mannered old guy who is the scariest of the lot. If he gets into power, we'll just surrender altogether. Surrender is one way of avoiding war.

Mar. 02 2012 11:32 AM
Elsie from Brooklyn

Does Leher think we are children - because only a child would buy this "optimism". Hasn't America suffered enough under this enforced optimism - an optimism that has blinded us to reality again and again.

This is the type of delusional pap that makes me never want to support NPR.

Mar. 02 2012 11:30 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To John A

Why would a Holocaust survivor who lost his whole family WANT war? Why would I WANT war? The people of France in 1938 wanted PEACE at any price. They had lost an ENTIRE generation of youth in WWI. Nobody who has actually experienced war wants war. But the fact is, Hitlers and Hamans and Khameinis and Ahmadinejads arise in every other generation, whether we like it or not. And if they are not put in place quickly, the damage is much worse later! We should have taken out Saddam in 1991. We should have taken out Hitler in 1936. If we don't take down the Islamofascists in Iran now, it will be much, much, much worse and bloodier later. That's the way I see it.

Mar. 02 2012 11:30 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC

@ Amy
"Maybe most of a nation won't follow a madman anymore.."

I've been paying close attention to the Republican primaries....Santorum? Gingrich? Romney? These people aren't laughed off the podium with all their fear-mongering, mad claims and assertions? No...clearly there are plenty of people still willing to follow a madman...

Mar. 02 2012 11:28 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It's truly amazing to me, how IRaq is protrayed now. It was actually a great victory, turned into a major defeat by the Liberal press that always snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. Saddam, besides murdering and brutalizing hundreds of thousands of his own people, had attacked all of his neighbors. He attacked Iran. He attacked Kuwait. He shot missiles into Israel, and I personally was at the receiving end. He had an illegal nuclear program, that was shut down in the 1990s. He was shooting at US planes enforcing the no-fly zone. Okay, we were wrong in the end with the WMDs, but we did not take a single drop of oil from Iraq to pay for the war. I don't understand this HYSTERICAL anti-Iraq war hysteria! It was a JUST WAR! And would have been considered a success if we had taken some oil to pay for it, and gone home quickly!

Mar. 02 2012 11:26 AM

@Leonick. Just a few (and these are only from the 50's): optic fiber, solar cell, laser, pacemaker and THE PILL.

Mar. 02 2012 11:26 AM
Jo from Brooklyn

This guy has his head in the sand. Sure, NYC's air and water are cleaner than they were 100 years ago but that's because America is exporting its pollution to China and other places that have lax environmental regulation by manufacturing everything in those countries and turning a blind eye to the fact that American companies are not adhering to American values when they exploit the land and people in those countries. Drinking tap water in China is UNHEARD OF. Air quality in Beijing is abominable. In the end, that will come back to bite all of us, especially as China becomes richer and not only demands luxury but also things like bottled water and other resources that they no longer have for free. Its a very vicious cycle.

Mar. 02 2012 11:25 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

@ Chris

Great point. The population was a lot less. was the guest speaking proportionately? he certainly didn't say so. He seems to have a very rudimentary knowledge of history and facts.

Well...like they say: Ignorance is bliss...so sure, it's easy to be "optimistic" when you don't know anything.

Terrible guest, Brian. If you want someone to argue that viewpoint, please put on someone who displays some knowledge. Yeeesh!

Mar. 02 2012 11:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Maybe most of a nation won't follow a madman anymore, but at the beginning of this century our advanced nation was persuaded through lies & fearmongering to make war on a country that never attacked us. I hope Mr. Horgan is right, but a caller brought up global climate disturbance, & right now we're witnessing how a highly advanced civilization can not only deny a serious threat to its existence but demonize those who want to do something to prevent it. I wouldn't have believed it if I weren't seeing it.

Mar. 02 2012 11:24 AM
John A.

buz,
Sounds like You want war. Don't.

Mar. 02 2012 11:24 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The fact is that it doesn't matter what system you have, there will always be times of economic or other crises where people in despair will turn to a demogogue who promises instant solutions. There will always come times when megalomaniacs will win the hearts of the people and rise to power on their shoulders, only to bring disaster down on everyone. That never changes.

Mar. 02 2012 11:22 AM
Phil from Brooklyn

Iraq was not a war of retaliation, Iraq didn't attack us, had nothing to do with 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction.

Mar. 02 2012 11:22 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Excuse me...your guest is a moron: The Iraq war was not a war or "revenge" for 9/11. Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11. The administration tried to conflate the invasion with 9/11 but Iraq had nothing to do with the attack on the USA. This is common knowledge now and if your guest doesn't know that, then he is a complete utter fool.

Oh and part of the reason for the Iraq war was oil, so...there goes his theory about resources.

Why are you wasting time on this guest? he clearly has no knowledge of history. The last 100 years? Does he realize that would encompass most of the 20th century one of the bloodiest in world history? Does he realize that would include WWI and WWII (and that's just the tip of the iceberg).

Mar. 02 2012 11:20 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Your guest just revealed his true colors by essentially blaming ISrael and the US for Iran's actions, or "reactions" as he posits it to be. The fact, is Iran called the US "the Great Satan" and ISrael "the Little Satan" many decades ago, and the SUpreme Fuehrer of Iran wants to build a Shia caliphate strong enough to confront the West, and bring it down with higher oil prices. Anyone who sees PRESS.TV and follows Iranian propaganda closely would know that.

Just as in the early '30s there were those justifying Hitler by pointing to the "unjust" Versailles treaty and making all kinds of excuses for his behavior, all the up to 1939, so we have the same kinds of people trying to blame the Jews, or ISrael, by claiming that Iran is just the victim here! Disgusting!!

Mar. 02 2012 11:18 AM
Diane from NYC

Please invite Jonathan Schell on to talk about this; his book "The Unconquerable World," speaks very interesting to this topic. Thanks.

Mar. 02 2012 11:17 AM
John A.

I note that John has a new video on the topic, on BigThink
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM6rvequsz4
-
Of course things can run backwards for years or even decades, but I agree - the march of history has been upward.

Mar. 02 2012 11:15 AM
Leonick

Really, comparing us with mid XX century is pretty lame.

More to the point, though, is this: the rate of improvement has slowed to a crawl. How many civilization-changing inventions or discoveries can he count since 1950?

Mar. 02 2012 11:14 AM
Chris from NYC

typing from NYC, fyi, with the question about 1-billion described as "a fraction"

Mar. 02 2012 11:13 AM
Chris

one-billion in life-threatening poverty is "a fraction" of what it was 150 years ago??? What was the world population 150 years ago? How can 1-billion be just a fraction?

Mar. 02 2012 11:12 AM

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