News Release

* WWI * Shootings and Militarism * Armistice Day

This weekend, Trump is scheduled to travel to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of fighting in World War I; see calendar. AFP reports: “Trump to snub Macron’s ‘Peace Forum’ on Armistice weekend.”

ADAM HOCHSCHILD, adamhochschild at earthlink.net
Hochschild is a lecturer at the Graduate School of Journalism at The University of California at Berkeley and the author of nine books, including To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918, which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He wrote about the First World War in last week’s New Yorker and the Guardian.

Hochschild was recently featured on the IPA news release “Trump Going to France; 100 Years After World War I: Who to Celebrate?” He said: “This war, like most, didn’t have to happen. On its eve, the major countries of Europe were getting along quite peacefully. On both sides, however, leaders were full of illusions that going to war would solve problems for them — and that the battles would be over in a matter of weeks. Instead, the war created vast and unimagined suffering and lasted more than four years. These are lessons worth remembering today, as the U.S. makes threats against China and Iran and prepares to pull out of an arms control treaty with Russia.

“On this anniversary, we need to celebrate not the politicians and generals who led the world into the carnage of 1914-1918, but the brave, outspoken people of that time who had the wisdom to know that the war was a catastrophe and should be stopped. They included Americans like pioneer social worker Jane Addams and labor leader Eugene V. Debs — who was sent to prison for speaking out. They had counterparts in all the warring countries, and these are the men and women we should be honoring on this centennial.”

DAVID SWANSON, davidcnswanson at gmail.com, @davidcnswanson

AP reports: “The killer [in the recent Thousand Oaks, Calif. shooting], Ian David Long, 28, was a former machine gunner and Afghanistan war veteran who was interviewed by police at his home last spring after an episode of agitated behavior that authorities were told might be post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Swanson is director of the group World Beyond War and his most recent book is Curing Exceptionalism. He writes: “In U.S. mass shootings, military veterans are over twice as likely to be mass shooters, and probably more likely than that. Needless to say, this is a statistic about a large population, not information about any particular individual.”

Swanson also just wrote in “Celebrate Armistice Day, Not Veterans Day” for The Humanist that “Congress passed an Armistice Day resolution in 1926 calling for ‘exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding … inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.’ Later, Congress added that November 11th was to be ‘a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.’ …

“Armistice Day, as a day to oppose war, had lasted in the United States up through the 1950s and even longer in some other countries under the name Remembrance Day. It was only after the United States had nuked Japan, destroyed Korea, begun a Cold War, created the CIA, and established a permanent military industrial complex with major permanent bases around the globe, that the U.S. government renamed Armistice Day as Veterans Day on June 1, 1954.”