Way Outside the Choir

Having spent years going to events organized by peace groups, at which people tell each other they should stop “preaching to the choir,” I’ve started doing another kind of event. I debate war supporters in front of mixed crowds that include lots of war supporters, as well as people who haven’t really formed an opinion yet on the question of whether war is ever justifiable.

The first one of these I did was in Vermont. It was to be a debate with a just-war-theory professor. I sent him my thoughts beforehand, and he immediately bailed out. So, I published my thoughts as a book. And the organizers found another similar professor who did the debate. ROTC students in uniform, veterans groups, and other people who had been subjected to at least a decade of U.S. television and text books heard arguments for the abolition of war, likely for the first time. People I spoke with told me they’d been moved. We didn’t take a good before and after count of people to numerically gauge the results — something I hope to do going forward.

The second such debate I did was in Philadelphia. In both of these first two, my debate partner was not fully enthused by the role, I think. I got the impression — perhaps because it was part of the argument they made — that they preferred being more anti-war than other people. Of course “But I’m more anti-war than everyone else,” is not a very good argument for war. I think I may now have found a debate partner who truly believes in the justifiability of war. I don’t expect to persuade him otherwise, but I do expect to persuade lots of other people otherwise.

We’ve set up the following events:

Upcoming Debates on “Is War Ever Justifiable?”

A Debate: Is War Ever Justifiable?

Pete Kilner and David Swanson

Pete Kilner is a writer and military ethicist who served more than 28 years in the Army as an infantryman and professor at the U.S. Military Academy. He deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan to conduct research on combat leadership. A graduate of West Point, he holds an MA in Philosophy from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Education from Penn State.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie  and War Is Never Just. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. He holds an MA in philosophy from UVA.

Radford University, February 12, 2018, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Bonnie Hurlburt Auditorium (Hurlburt Building). Jefferson St. Radford, VA 24142. FLYER PDF.

Eastern Mennonite University, February 13, 2018, 8 p.m. Common Grounds Coffeehouse, University Commons building, Eastern Mennonite University. 1301-1311 College Ave, Harrisonburg, VA 22802 FLYER PDF.

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3 Responses to Way Outside the Choir

  1. Todd Millions says:

    An excellent talking point for your purposes-
    Veterans today has a clip post on veteran remains
    being dumped in a landfill.
    Its not clear to me if this is a repeat of the incidents in 2015.
    Or a new round.
    But reference too it ought to -‘damp the pert” if debate is
    manipulated out of hand.
    After it could be pointed out -quietly
    that this is our cut rate elites plan for us all.
    With maximum by product profit along the way
    of course.
    For further amplification Dump fires in
    St Louis and the dropping of any report
    on it or the landfilled Manhattan project
    wastes therein may be
    usefully tabled.

  2. Sparticus says:

    Debate? Nobody Debates anymore. Too many Censors. Too many babies. Nevertheless, I will answer your question, because I can read minds. You want to know why peace cannot be obtained. War and Violence are only tools to make people do the bidding of their masters. War and Violence are Tools, and they reign supreme, because it will always come down to the peaceful protester being threatened by police and they will always obey the CLUB. So, the Club will always be used to keep the animals in line. Simply, until people overcome their ungodly fear of violence and war, by learning how to use them properly, there will be no change.

    MLK repented of his “peaceful” because in the end it achieved nothing. The US government saw equal rights as a way to abuse everyone “equally,” so they allowed KING to preach for them. Jesus preached peace and they put him on a Cross! Jesus supposedly learns his lessons ( he is a slow student) and in the biblical stories comes back with violence in the ending. SO … Unless, you want to end up like JESUS, you have to learn how to use violence and war to achieve your objectives or you will fail. Mankind is violent. Mankind is not some noble creature because it cannot even compare to nature in any way, shape or form. Simply, if ET were to observe the earth from space they would see a beautiful natural world and then a parasitic plague called mankind violently eating away at its core! Now, believe in GOD or not, It is irrelevant, but GOD ( I can use scripture as a book of literature) cannot even deal with mankind peacefully, so, WHO ARE ANY OF YOU?

    Peace is good for Getting people Murdered. This is the only historic lesson taught to peaceful protesters throughout history. Those who are unwilling to fight do not deserve FREEDOM, and none of you have FREEDOM, so … WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!!! You live in a land with over 1-million laws!

    Arm Up, Man Up, Unite and then You can Achieve Something, America!

  3. Sparticus says:

    Reality Check …

    War is never Justifiable, it is only “Justified by the Criminals” who use it to achieve their Greedy objectives and Ambitions!

    And, please, those with MA`s in philosophy ( solomon the wise-fool of the bible could not even understand Inequity –WOW– and the sin continues today) are the ones torturing people at GITMO. Point … None of you are WISE! Education does not make you Intelligent! Intelligence is given at Birth. You can educate a beast but you cannot remove the beast from the beast. You have a government made up of doctors, philosophers, teachers, lawyers and it murders more people than any other before it. The US government is the largest propagator of War and Violence ( legal and Illegal) that has ever inhabited the planet. You, as Voluntary Tax Payers, are all “willing participants” in this vile act. So … If you cannot get past me, You all better Pray there is no God, because you (mankind) will never fool Him.

    Now, you want to be peaceful with warmongers! JUMPIN JESUS CHRIST!!!! Indeed, that is a Mission to Heaven.

    Peaceful People … WTF is that Some GD KIND OF JOKE????!!!!!!

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