A New Job for the New President


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“In 1799, when George Washington died, Henry Lee presented to the House of Representatives this resolution: “To the memory of the Man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” We would be hard pressed to find any other statement about any subsequent president that places the laurels of accomplishment in peace and war at the same level.

More than 200 years later, and deep into an era of the existence of weapons of mass destruction which have an irrefutable capability of dissolving civilization and destroying all life, we hold our president responsible to be the Commander-in-Chief of our military, the principal war maker, but there is no balancing responsibility for the president to make peace. This is more than a lack of symmetry; it is a defect of great moral and practical significance….”

Author: Scott Jones, former US Naval Intelligence Officer and founder and president of the Peace and Emergency Action Coalition for Earth (P.E.A.C.E.)
Published in: HuntingtonNews.net
Date: December 7, 2008

For the full article:
A New Job for the New President
(464 words)
by Scott Jones

In 1799, when George Washington died, Henry Lee presented to the House of Representatives this resolution: “To the memory of the Man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” We would be hard pressed to find any other statement about any subsequent president that places the laurels of accomplishment in peace and war at the same level.

More than 200 years later, and deep into an era of the existence of weapons of mass destruction which have an irrefutable capability of dissolving civilization and destroying all life, we hold our president responsible to be the Commander-in-Chief of our military, the principal war maker, but there is no balancing responsibility for the president to make peace. This is more than a lack of symmetry; it is a defect of great moral and practical significance.

The pledge of a presidential candidate to maintain a military force second to none, if it stands alone, is also an admission of intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy. We have a great deal of practice using violence. We have not developed our nonviolent capacities for creating a global culture of peaceful conflict management.

Any president who would fail as Commander-in-Chief to defend the country against perilous threats would likely be impeached and convicted for the high crime of dereliction of duty.

Is it not obvious that it is also appropriate for the president to be held directly responsible for proactive peace strategies designed to resolve issues before violence takes place and war is contemplated? If the president was constitutionally designated the principal Peace Maker of the country, he or she would have this responsibility and could be held accountable to carry it out. Such a constitutional statement would provide the legal basis to begin to institutionalize peace in our country. Here is a proposed amendment:

Article Two – The Executive
Section 2
[1] The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States; he or she shall also be the principal Peace Maker of the United States; . . . .

As wise and prescient as our founding fathers were, they cannot be faulted for failing to anticipate weapon technologies with obscene capabilities that make the consequences of “winning” a war something that may only be recorded in Extraterrestrials journals that also record a once beautiful planet that extinguished life on what the inhabitants inexplicably called a civilized world.

It is difficult to imagine a more nonpartisan and necessary undertaking. Support the introduction and ratification of this Constitutional Amendment. Assume that your life and the lives of your loved ones depend upon it.

Scott Jones is a former U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer and was Special Assistant to Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island. He taught political science and international relations in the University of Maryland’s European program, at the University of Kansas, and Wyoming University at Casper. He is the founder and president of the Peace and Emergency Action Coalition for Earth (P.E.A.C.E.).