THE ROOT CAUSES OF WAR
(continued from previous page)
While particular wars can be analyzed, as we have done above, in terms of immediate, short-term causes, there is a need to understand the war system itself, which is as old as human history. Particular wars are the tip of a much deeper iceberg. Beneath war, there has developed a culture of war that is entwined with it in a complex web of causation. On the one hand, the culture of war is produced and reinforced by each war, and, on the other hand, the culture of war provides the basis on which succeeding wars are prepared and carried out. The culture of war is a set of beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that consists of enemy images, authoritarian social structure, training and arming for violence, exploitation of man and nature, secrecy and male domination. Without an enemy, without a social structure where people will follow orders, without the preparation of soldiers and weapons, without the control of information, both propaganda and secrecy, no war can be carried out. The culture of war has been so prevalent in history that we take it for granted, as if it were human nature. However, anthropologists point to cultures that are nowhere near as immersed in the culture of war, and it is the opinion of the best scientists that a culture of peace is possible.
Peace movements have not given enough attention to the internal use of the culture of war. The culture of war has two faces, one facing outward and the other inward. Foreign wars are accompanied by authoritarian rule inside the warring countries. Even when there is no war threat, armies (or national guards) are kept ready not just for use against foreign enemies, but also against those defined as the enemy within: striking workers, movements of the unemployed, prisoners, indigenous peoples, just as in an earlier time they were used against slave rebellions. As documented in my 1995 article in the Journal of Peace Research (Internal Military Interventions in the United States) the U.S. Army and National Guard have been used an average of 18 times a year, involving an average of 12,000 troops for the past 120 years, mostly against actions and revolts by workers and the unemployed. During periods of external war, the internal wars are usually intensified and accompanied by large scale spying, deportations and witch hunts. It would appear that we have once again entered such a period in the U.S. We are hardly alone in this matter. Needless to say, the culture of war was highly developed to stifle dissent in the Soviet Union by Stalin and his successors of "war communism." The internal culture of war needs to be analyzed and resisted everywhere. For example, readers living in France should question the role of the CRS.
The internal use of the culture of war is no less economically motivated than external wars. The socialists at the beginning of the 20th Century recognized it as "class war," carried out in order to maintain the domination of the rich and powerful over the poor and exploited. Not by accident, it has often been socialists and communists who are the first to be targeted by the internal culture of war in capitalist countries. And they, in turn, have often made the most powerful critique of the culture of war and have played a leading role in peace movements for that reason. Their historical role for peace was considerably compromised, however, by the "war communism" of the Soviet Union. With its demise, however, there is now an opportunity for socialists and communists to return to their earlier leadership against war, both internal and external, and to insist that a true socialism can only flourish on the basis of a culture of peace.