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HOOSER: What can we do to stop the madness?

Innocent civilians: men, women, children, the very old, the very young, are being slaughtered daily. Whether it’s death by bullet, bomb or bayonet, people are being targeted and killed in their homes, sleeping in their beds, shopping in the market, or running through the fields. Their deaths are senseless, criminal, and unjustifiable — regardless of the flag that flies overhead. ​​

It’s the generals and warlords who order the slaughter, the soldiers, fighters, and mercenaries who knowingly and intentionally do the slaughtering, and the Presidents, the Prime Ministers, and the law-makers who embolden, applaud and cheer them on who are to blame.​​

They, along with those who make and sell the tools of war are who should be held accountable. As the trials of Nuremberg made ultimately clear, “just following orders” does not absolve anyone of their personal responsibility when they knowingly and intentionally murder non-combatant innocent civilians.​​

However as history teaches us, the politicians, generals and profiteers will be protected and enriched, while the soldiers and the innocents will die and the seeds of hate and divisiveness only grow stronger.​​

Collectively, we must somehow use our deep sadness and the incredible disappointment we are now feeling about our world to dig ourselves out of this. We must somehow figure this out and stop the madness.​​

Yes, there are bad guys in the world and yes, we need a strong military to protect us from them.

But we don’t need to be the largest arms dealer on the planet, and we don’t need to have the largest global military presence either. ​​

We need to be the leader in building and supporting hospitals, schools, housing and peace, not in the manufacturing and selling of missiles, guns, bombs and war.​​

What can we do? Now, today. ​​What can we do except twist in our chairs, pound on our keyboards, and bemoan the injustice of the world?​​ Hold a sign on the street-corner? March with our friends holding many signs calling out for justice?​​

It all seems so futile, like waving our little protest fist in the air — expecting that to stop the bombs, the missiles, the bullets and the bayonets.​​

Inside, deep down, I know we can and we must do something. The alternative is to sit back and watch good and innocent people die, and wait for that inevitable day when it will be our homes being destroyed and our children and grandchildren being slaughtered.

And the same players will be pounding their chests, shouting about vengeance, and depositing their war profits. ​​

We cannot let that happen. We cannot just sit in silence. We must raise our voices loud and clear to say stop the madness and we must show to all the love, compassion and acceptance so sorely lacking in too many corners of our planet. ​​

Reducing the global footprint and massive U.S military budget is an obvious and tangible step we must also take. This is the message we need to send today to our Hawai‘i congressional delegation. Stop the expansion here at home #stoppohakuloa and begin serious reductions in the 750 military bases located in at least 80 different countries on every continent.​​

We have here at the University of Hawai‘i, the Spark Matsunaga Institute for Peace and every few years people talk about its potential “if only it was properly funded”. At one time, there was talk of Hawai‘i being the “Geneva of the Pacific”. There has also been talk about creating a U.S. Department of Peace.​​

I’m thinking we need to stop talking and start doing.

Please join me in contacting our Congressional delegation and asking them to help lead in shifting our role from weapons dealer to peacemaker. Congressional contact info at​​​​​.


Gary Hooser served eight years in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua‘i County Counci. He presently writes on Hawaii Policy and Politics at
Source: The Garden Island

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