Why a study on Quaker peace strategy?
From some current perspectives, laboring over the stra-tegy and history of Quaker peace work is a curiosity, if not a waste of time. Larger and more influential groups are at work on peace issues, especially in Washington DC; isn’t our main role is to support or join them?
I’m all for collaboration, but this study starts from a differ-ent premise, a credo: the conviction that the Religious Society of Friends is a gathered people. We are a distinct religious group because God called the early Friends together, to worship and do some particular work in some particular ways.
Quakers weren’t called because we’re better; we’re just called. And we’re still here because God is not done with Quakers yet.
What we have named the “Peace Testimony” is a part of that work. Concern for peace is hardly unique to Friends, but in various manifestations it has long been a Quaker emphasis. Further, the history of this concern suggests that the Society has been a fertile nurturer of both new ideas and dedicated people to pursue them.
This creative potential is far from exhausted. Thus, Friends should come to collaborative work, not merely as one more name on a coalition list, but as heirs to a productive and steadfast resource that has its own integrity and dynamism.
This Peace Testimony, however, is neither self-defining nor self-executing. We have to figure out what it means again and again, individually and as a group, and then it’s up to us to put these new leadings into motion..
This study is a contribution to this ongoing process. It was prepared from a US resident’s standpoint, but I hope it might be useful to Friends from elsewhere as well.
ONE: The “Original” Peace Testimony
Phase One: The Problem of the Letter
When Friends are asked, “Where can I find the ‘Quaker Peace Testimony’? Where does it come from?” where would we turn to find it?
Most of us in North America and England would pick up a book of Discipline or Faith & Practice. There the answer seems straightforward. Almost all the recent such books I have examined, from across the various branches, include the following statement, with only minor variations:
“We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever, this is our testimony to the whole world . . . .”
This phrase is presented as an unqualified rejection of all war. And it is offered as a direct quote from a historic letter from early Quaker leaders to King Charles II in 1660.
However, in fact this is a 20th Century formulation, unknown in Quaker periodicals and documents before about 1920.
A Biblical Sidebar: “As To Our Own Particulars”
The original of this statement is significantly different:
“All bloody principles and practices, as to our own particulars, we utterly deny; with all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever; this is our testimony to the whole world.” (Emphasis added.)
The full original statement is confined to “our own particulars,” which is significantly narrower than an absolute rejection. That is, if Quakers don’t do war, are they saying that no one can or should?
Not exactly. Or more plainly, not at all. The 1660 Letter refers to the Apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 13:1-5, not once, but twice, and there it says something quite different.
Many Friends today, particularly the more “liberal,” are unfamiliar with this Romans passage, so let’s review it:
Romans 13: 1-5: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on evil-doers. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.” (Emphasis added.)
This brief text is one of the most important biblical passages in Western political history. It has been repeated down the centuries as the scriptural sanction for civil power and official use of violent force. It is regularly cited today as a justification for war, from the White House to influential preachers, as a simple web search would show.
This passage is also very important in the history of the Friends Peace Testimony.
As we said, the 1660 Letter refers to this passage twice.(These references are not usually mentioned among the modern quotes. Here’s the first reference:
“Therefore in love we warn you [King Charles] for your soul’s good, not to wrong the innocent, nor the babes of Christ, which he hath in his hand, which he cares for as the apple of his eye; neither seek to destroy the heritage of God, nor turn your swords backward upon such as the law was not made for, i.e., the righteous; but for sinners and transgressors, to keep them down.”
(Emphasis added. And note the, um, measured character of the self-description of Quakers’ spiritual status: they–we–are the “apple of God’s eye”; the very “heritage of God”; The “babes of Christ” – and we’re so humble, too.)
Now to the second reference:
“And whereas all manner of evil hath been falsely spoken of us, we hereby speak the plain truth of our hearts, to take away the occasion of that offense; that so being innocent, we may not suffer for other men’s offenses, nor be made a prey of by the wills of men for that of which we were never guilty; but in the uprightness of our hearts we may, under the power ordained of God for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well, live a peaceable and godly life, in all godliness and honesty.” (Emphasis added.)
Which is to say, Quakers themselves (“as to our own particulars”) declined to get involved in official violence, but they affirmed its use by the “rulers,” on scriptural grounds.
Further, this letter is not the only place in which founding Friends affirmed this “sword-bearing” role based on the Romans passage. For instance, in a 1676 epistle to Friends on the Caribbean island of Nevis, George Fox wrote:
. . . if any should come to burn your house, or rob you, or come to ravish your wives or daughters, or a company should come to fire a city or town, or come to kill people; do not you watch against all such actions? And will you not watch against such evil things in the power of God in your own way? You cannot but discover such things to the magistrates, who are to punish such things; and therefore the watch is kept and set to discover such to the magistrate, that they may be punished; and if he does it not, he bears his sword in vain.” (Emphasis added.)
There’s a Romans 13 reference yet again. And this participation in the security watch leads to another question: what would this outlook mean if Quakers moved from being “subjects” of the rulers to being “rulers” themselves?
It wasn’t long before this situation came to pass, and answering the question became urgent.
Peace Testimony – Phase Two: The Problem of Power
The 1660 Letter portrayed Friends as a meek and apolitical people: “ . . .as for the kingdoms of this world,” it said, “we cannot covet them, much less can we fight for them . . . .”
Perhaps that was true in Restoration England in 1660. But this sentiment did not long survive the passage across the Atlantic: in Rhode Island, Friends not only coveted worldly power, but soon achieved it.
Although Rhode Island was not founded by Friends, the colony’s annual election in 1672 (only twelve years after the Letter to Charles II) produced a Quaker Governor, Deputy- Governor, and a Quaker majority in the colonial assembly. And Friends held most or much of the local political power in the colony for many years afterward.
George Fox visited Rhode Island that same year. In a sermon there, Fox expressed great satisfaction with the new regime: “What an honor is it that Christ should be both Priest, Prophet, Minister, Shepherd & Bishop, Councellor (sic) Leader, & Captain & Prince in your Colony,” he declared. He also – as was his habit – gave them lots of concrete advice, about outlawing drunkenness, swearing, etc., and upholding their “ancient liberties.”
But along with the power of the magistrate or governing authority for upholding righteousness, there also came the issue of bearing the sword against evil-doers. And this aspect of the role was soon tested, not by argument but by fire and blood.
In the late summer of 1675, an alliance of native groups launched a massive, region-wide terror war aimed at extermi-nating or driving white settlers out of New England. This deadly struggle is known to history as King Philip’s War (after the Christian name given to its leading chieftain, whose Indian name was Metacomet).
The horrifying impact of this war, and its toll on settlers in Rhode Island and elsewhere, was powerfully evoked by the historian Meredith Baldwin Weddle, in her pathbreaking book, Walking In the Way of Peace (Oxford, 2001). Weddle’s analysis is one of the most trenchant and truthful I have seen:
. . . [T]o appreciate the moral task facing each Quaker during King Philip’s War, it is essential to imagine the immensity of the danger threatening the people of New England; the fear of violence shredding all certainty and all expectations, just as sword and hatchet shredded the bodies fallen in their way. . . . The imminence of death alone would have been enough to shake each vulnerable settler or Indian; when death itself was dressed up in atrocity, whether real or rumored, it would be the rare person who could be sure that principle would not yield to terror or rage. For the Quaker, alone in his small house, miles perhaps from a neighbor, fear and horror faced down the ordained love for his enemies. . . . To the extent that the danger and fear can be approximated from the security and predictability of modern America, to this extent no hesitation can be seen as remarkable or shameful.
(From the security and predictability of modern America? This was written in those good old days, of late 2000, which were too-soon gone.)
What was a governing authority to do in the face of such unbridled terror? More pointedly, what was the duty of a Quaker “governing authority”?
We don’t know if those Friends in office engaged in much theorizing or soul-searching; no such records have turned up. But we do know that they did two things:
First, in 1673, they adopted the first conscientious objector statute, exempting from militia duty those whose religious scruples forbade the bearing of arms. (We can be reasonably confident this law was largely the product of their Quaker convictions, because as soon as non-Friends regained political control, they repealed it.)
And second, they went to war.
As Weddle summarizes their course:
“Rhode Island exiled Indians, supplied boats to the Plymouth and Massachusetts armies, blockaded Philip on Mount Hope, rescued English soldiers, provisioned and provided a safe haven for colonial troops, raised and dispatched soldiers, stored ammunition, transported troops across Narragansett Bay to battle, encouraged the mobilization and training of the local militias, deployed gunboats, manned an official garrison, contributed troops to the final search for Philip himself–and, at last, tried and executed prisoners of war. This is scarcely the record of either a neutral government or an inactive one.” (p. 170)
The Peace Testimony: A “Great Deep”?
Reflecting on the sobering story of Quaker power confronting terror in Rhode Island, Weddle reflects on the course of Quaker pacifism with profound insight:
“The complexity of violence itself, the vast differences between cultures, both geographical and through time, the alternating periods of relative war and peace, and the influence of a shining integrity have, with underlying contradictions, rendered Quaker pacifism far less coherent than it has appeared. The major coherence, in fact, has been the persistence of a continuum of belief and behavior even when the very basis of pacifism changed. At any particular time in history one can find examples of the whole continuum of Quaker understandings –understandings about why violence was evil, the very basis of peace principles; about what kind of violence is evil; about responsibilities of government and the use of force; about weapons; and about where to draw lines to separate oneself from the violence of others. . . . The existence of a pacifist continuum reflects the fact that the renunciation of violence is a great deep, containing within it schools of sources and justifications and reefs of contradictions and requiring a tide of action and restraint. . . .”
She also notes that:
“An uncharacteristic silence in Quaker records has veiled the complexities of Quaker pacifism. Quaker record-keeping, historically so comprehensive, has, in the area of pacifism, been minimal. . . . When people cannot agree, they may conceal that disagreement for very practical reasons. Quaker recording of history was a witness of the unity of Truth for outsiders and to a degree was meant to be instructive for Quakers as well. To display the variety of approaches to issues of peace undermined the presumption of unity; it also compromised the ability of Quakers to plead that they were a special case the next time a Quaker attempted to refuse military involvement. Even when a particular group did seem to adhere to common standards, they may have been tempted to leave any “backslidings” obscure. They were torn between two needs: recording an offense, in order to reinforce the standard, and not drawing attention to the offense, in order to avoid bringing a “reproach” upon Truth. The offender, too, needed time to repent.”
So where does this brief historical review leave Quakers today who want to be mindful of their tradition, yet make the testimony practical for our time?
In response, two points are worth stressing: First, looking to early Friends for a simple, unambiguous rule of thumb doesn’t work, anymore than it does by asking current Friends (as Chel Avery’s essay shows). Sorry; the history of Quaker pacifism is just not like that.
But second, this ambiguity has an upside: for one thing, it is not only a modern predicament. In fact it leaves us in fellowship with early Friends and earlier Christians, for whom Paul’s advice in another passage (Philippians 2:12) applies: “Therefore, my dear friends . . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. . . .”
Fear and trembling? That doesn’t sound very encouraging. But in our world of wars and rumors of war, is witnessing and working for peace supposed to be easy?
Besides, Paul wasn’t finished with his counsel. To the “fear and trembling” he added, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to God’s good purpose.”
So if the task is hard, and the course not always clear, at least we’re not working alone.
The ambiguities that surfaced in Rhode Island did not disappear after King Philip’s War ended. In fact, they were just as much alive if we were to fast-forward 288 years, which we’ll do now.
TWO: What Are We Up Against?
January 2011 marked fifty years since Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961.
In this address, the retiring president introduced the now-famous phrase “military-industrial complex” (MIC for short) into American public discourse. It’s worth recalling what he said in full:
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
The Overlooked Phrase That Leaps Out
All of this is still worth pondering. But one phrase, overlooked in most discussions of this MIC concept, leaped from the page as I re-read it:
“The total influence [of the MIC] – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the federal government.”
The total influence “. . . even spiritual . . . .”
The military industrial complex (or MIC) a “spiritual influence”?
In my experience, absolutely. Let me try to explain why.
During the half-century-plus since this historic speech, presidents have come and gone; political parties have waxed and waned; Secretaries of Defense have taken office and given it up; and there have been times of open war, punctuated by intervals of “peace,” and covert conflicts; the economy has seen boom and bust.
Yet through it all, the size and reach of this MIC has steadily grown. The MIC is, among other things, the top consumer of oil, and a major source of mostly unregulated toxic pollution.
Today the MIC’s reach is more pervasive than ever, to the point where it has become so familiar that Americans hardly notice it, except in concentrated locations like Fort Bragg and other large military bases. Today it would be more accurate to call it the Military- Industrial- Political-Academic-Scientific-Think-Tank- Mass-Media-Entertainment Complex.
(The “MIPASTTMMEC”??? Thanks, we’ll stick with MIC.)
There’s more. Alongside the visible economic and political aspects of the MIC, there has been constructed a secret, extra-legal set of structures that have wreaked havoc across the world, and laid the foundation for a police state here.
Like the visible parts, the secret structures have grown over time as well. We have learned many horrifying details about their activities in the past few years. Unfortunately, most Americans seem bent on forgetting all that as quickly as possible.
One of the most penetrating Quaker writers of the mid-twentieth century, Milton Mayer, compellingly described the process of accommodation to government by secrecy and delusion in his classic study, They Thought They Were Free. Mayer showed in understated but harrowing detail how ordinary, personally virtuous 1930s Germans were seamlessly reduced from citizens to subjects, cogs in a totalitarian state. (Larry Ingle’s essay elsewhere in this issue profiles Mayer and his work in more detail.)
One of the most telling features of this malevolent transformation was that for most, all it entailed was doing nothing. As Mayer put it: “the rest of the seventy million Germans, apart from the million or so who operated the whole machinery of Nazism, had nothing to do except not to interfere.”
“Nothing to do” does not mean cowering in a corner, but rather, focusing fixedly on daily life: family, job, religion, entertainments, even quiet political hand-wringing. All while being careful “not to interfere.”
This accommodation – “doing nothing” and forgetting the unpleasant disclosures, is facilitated when the MIC, as it does, sprinkles jobs and money across every state and most counties. It is further reinforced when it is, literally, blessed by God. Or at least by God’s putative representatives.
Yes, the MIC’s reach definitely includes the “religious” and spiritual.
Let’s look at the religious connection briefly. It has several important aspects; we will speak of three.
First is a very direct connection. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (http://mrff.org/) has exposed deep involvement by a kind of crusading fundamentalism in high levels of the military services, an involvement that has many ominous implications, both for freedom of religion among servicemembers, and especially for conflicts involving “non-Christian” (i.e., Muslim) populations.
Secondly and more broadly, much of American religion, especially Christianity, has adopted the conviction that the United States is God’s chosen instrument to exercise the role of the planetary “sword-bearing” magistrate, charged to “rid the world of evil-doers,” as a president vowed to do in 2001, and has been restated more recently. Thus these churches, some of the largest in the country, not only support but actively advocate for the projection of American military might around the world, regardless of the cost in blood and treasure, to Americans, but especially to foreigners. This is, they are sure, God’s work.
Charles Marsh, a committed evangelical, spoke truth when he wrote in 2007:
“Fancying ourselves to be the global caretakers of Christian truth, if not of all truth, we have turned God into an appendage of the American way of life, acted with utter contempt toward the global evangelical and ecumenical church, and at times even presumed that the military powers of our nation act in vicarious represen-tation of Jesus Christ the Lord.”
And third, the MIC itself has taken on the character of an autonomous, self-propagating entity. I have compared it to a schoolyard merry-go-round, with bars pushed by interests great and small, so that it has developed so much momentum it seems to run by itself. We tend to see this motion as centered in and around Washington, and its similar political whirl.
But this is much too restricted a view. The hands pushing the bars to such a high and steady pitch are reaching from a much wider area – all over the country, in truth.
I call this image the Wheel of War; it is illustrated below. It represents the fulfillment, in spades, of President Eisenhower’s prophecy of “the disastrous rise of misplaced power.”
Turning the Wheel: “Powers & Principalities”
What is “spiritual” about this self-spinning wheel? To get at this, I turn to the most revealing description of it that I’ve found. It is one that’s two millennia old, and comes from, of all people, the Apostle Paul. In several passages of his letters he speaks of “powers and principalities,” by which he means disem-bodied spiritual powers that have concrete impact on the visible world. A spiritual influence, to repeat another of Eisenhower’s insights.
What does this phrase, “powers and principalities” mean? Consider, as an example, Fayetteville, North Carolina: home to both Quaker House, one of our major peace projects, and Fort Bragg, one of the largest US army bases.
In many ways, Fayetteville is no different from any other urban collection of human specimens: among them are saints and sinners, happiness and tragedy. Families start, grow, and some-times shatter there, as elsewhere. Individuals and groups are doing the best they can given their circumstances.
All this is true. But it’s not the whole truth.
The citizens of Fayetteville and Ft. Bragg are also part of larger systems, systems which have their own autonomy, momentum and identity. Together, they add up to more than the sum of their individual human components. These larger, supra-individual systems and their dynamics make up what we can call the spiritual dimension of the area.
Here is one example: between the time I came to Fayetteville at the beginning of 2002, and the end of 2009, the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, one of its main units, had five different commanders. Each of these men was a distinct individual, with his own personality, style, and abilities. It surprises me as an outsider how quickly they came and went; and yet the 82nd, a unit of more than fourteen thousand troops with eighty-plus years of active duty, goes on. As a unit it maintains its own “personality,” its own momentum, its own “spirit.”
The 82nd Airborne, I would suggest, “leads” its commanders as much as they “lead” it, if not more. It seems clear that the division would not have been seriously damaged if an enemy had captured all the generals who have passed through its headquarters in those years; it might have stumbled briefly, but would have fought on. Its “spirit” is more important than any individual.
On a much larger scale, it seems clear the whole American militarist enterprise has developed its own over-arching “spirit,” with its own dynamic and self-reinforcing momentum. It has become an autonomous “power.” Especially in historic view, the idea that it is controlled by a handful of policymakers in Washing-ton seems less and less realistic: Eisenhower was right: since 1961, ten presidents have occupied the White House. If changing faces in the Oval Office were enough to tame this power, it would have happened. Instead, they have come and gone, while the MIC has kept growing regardless.
An Autonomous Power Echoed In Scripture
The processes hinted at here are echoed in scripture. In the cultures of many biblical writers, reality had two dimensions: overlapping the everyday visible world was a parallel realm of “spirit” and spirits, populated by angels and demons. These angels and demons, normally invisible to the everyday world, nonetheless interacted with and influenced it.
Moreover, somewhat like soldiers, they came in different ranks: there were low-level “privates” given minor, routine duties, such as tempting (or guarding) an individual, such as you or me. But others were like generals or even military governors, ruling vast territories or large enterprises: nations, religious cults, financial or cultural institutions, etc.
These are the “powers” and “principalities” that such as Paul of Tarsus wrote of, in his letter to the new church at Ephesus, chapter 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” These spiritual entities had various names and personalities, and could rise and fall like their visible counterparts.
It is all too easy to vulgarize, mock, or simply dismiss these ideas as ancient and obsolete superstition. But one is not required to “believe” in supernatural entities to find functional value in such images. Careful sociological studies could construct counterparts in secular terminology for this “powers and principalities” motif. Besides, Dwight Eisenhower, one of the most experienced warrior leaders of the last century, spoke of this “spiritual influence” of the MIC nearly fifty years before I did; and he was no myth-making sentimentalist.
Further, the concept came to have much useful explanatory value for me, as Director of Quaker House, next door to Fort Bragg. It helped make sense of what our tiny outpost was up against. This “frame” has also, as will be explained later, helped me think about how to challenge and change it.
For one thing, take Paul’s associated declaration that “we do not struggle against flesh and blood”–that is, mere evil persons. This has been a crucial insight, helping me see past the fixation on individuals that I believe is a great obstacle to adequate understanding and planning for peace work.
This sense is confirmed by personal experience that Fayetteville and Ft. Bragg are no more full of irredeemably evil people than is your home town. All of them carry the Light Within, even those in desert camo uniforms loaded down with deadly weapons.
And yet this city – like our country – is under the heel of the Spirit of War. Ft. Bragg is a key cog in the machinery of militarism. The reach is worldwide, but many of the key gears rotate back to and mesh here in eastern North Carolina.
Behind an outward semblance of ordinary existence, massive projects are hatched there for destruction, secrecy, torture, propaganda and deception, combining into a vast apparatus animated by this spectral image. Although it is drawn from a two-millennium-old myth, yet the Spirit of War feels as tangible and looming as the huge oak tree at the foot of the Quaker House lawn. It can be heard rumbling through the woods; its priests and acolytes carry on their rituals in the open; the faces of its sacrificial victims regularly stare out at us from the pages of our local paper.
For instance, more than three hundred soldiers based at Ft. Bragg had been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of 2009, and several thousand more gravely wounded. In addition, dozens more had killed themselves or their spouses, and an unknown but huge number bear the psychic wounds of what they have done in combat.
And what of the Iraqis, Afghans and others killed, maimed or made homeless as these troops carried out their orders? Millions. In cozier precincts, this steadily mounting toll of death can be kept at a safe, abstract distance. In Fayetteville one foregoes that luxury.
The notion and language of “Principalities and powers” were familiar to the Friends who wrote the 1660 letter to King Charles II. Indeed they cited the same passages from Paul that mention them, as here:
“Our weapons are spiritual, and not carnal,” they wrote, in a paraphrase of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 10:4, “yet mighty through God, to the plucking/pulling down of the strongholds of sin and Satan, who is the author of wars, fighting, murder, and plots.”
The struggle against these “principalities and powers” is commonly referred to as “spiritual warfare,” as evoked in these verses. What does this mean? They weren’t going to make war against powers and principalities the way one would against a physical army.
But they were called to make war. And so, I suggest, are we. In doing so there are weapons to be deployed, tactics evaluated and strategies planned. That’s what we will begin to explore next.
THREE: Study War Some More
When Jesus sent his disciples out, he told them (in Matthew 10:16) that they were going like sheep into the midst of wolves, so they needed to become “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” For Quakers and other aspiring pacifists, taking on the military machine looks similarly daunting.
Further, note the order of Jesus’ counsel: the disciples don’t get to be harmless unless they’re also, and first, wise. And I contend we can learn some crucial “wisdom” in this area from those who make it their profession, namely the military (metaphorically at least, the “serpents”; and remember, in Bible times, a serpent was not necessarily evil. Genesis 3:1: “Now the snake was wiser [or shrewder] than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.”) Their “wisdom,” I contend, is particularly useful for learning to think strategically, and applying such strategic thought to our peace witness.
Looking to the military for such “wisdom” has been more fruitful than the alternative. While the idea of war as a “principality and power” has been helpful concept to me, the corresponding biblical idea of “spiritual warfare” was initially more difficult.
Not for lack of material about it; if anything, there was too much. “Spiritual warfare” is a staple in large sectors of Christian spirituality and practice, especially in Pentecostalism, and there are shelves of books about it. But this body of practice has not been useful to me. For one thing, too much of it, as formulated by revivalist preachers, could be boiled down to two pieces of advice: Pray a lot; and send money. No doubt most of its practitioners are sincere; but it slides easily into a pose or even a scam.
Now I’m all for praying (and sending money too, especially to Quaker House). But as a basis for taking on the Spirit of War as encountered in the American military apparatus, they are no substitute for more traditional warriors’ wisdom. For this, I turned to some military sources.
One of their first principles, I found, is that success in war begins with strategy. As Alfred Thayer Mahan, a renowned figure in the field put it,
“As in a building, which, however fair and beautiful the superstructure, is radically marred and imperfect if the foundation be insecure–so, if the strategy be wrong, the skill of the general on the battlefield, the valor of the soldier, the brilliancy of victory, however otherwise decisive, fail of their effect.”
So where to learn of strategy? Here, amid the shelves of books available, I turned to two, one relatively new, one impossibly ancient.
The new one had the deliberately unpoetic title of MCDP 1-1, Strategy, and was published by the U.S. Marine Corps in 1997. (It’s online, for free, here: http://bit.ly/2D27NFx ) It was an excellent overview, and I hereby offer a tip of this peacenik’s broadbrim to its unnamed author.
Learning from Another “Bible”
Yet while the Marines’ manual yielded useful nuggets, the other book was a veritable gold mine: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. It’s a book at least as old as the Bible, and treated with about equal reverence by many students of strategy. I read it online, in an edition that had all the ancient Chinese sage’s battlefield bon mots numbered like verses in scripture. This sacral aura was reinforced by the editor’s charge that we not only read these verses, but savor and meditate upon them. (One complete translation is online here: http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html )
Although a bit fulsome, this was basically sound advice. (The Art of War has a big advantage over the Bible as a meditative handbook, in that it is very much shorter.) Sun Tzu’s counsel to ancient generals and rulers has been adapted to serve the education of business executives and others who would wield power in environments of conflict or competition, military and otherwise. And like so many other readers down the centuries, I found great value in it, even from the perspective of an aspiring peaceworker.
Here are three of his key insights, with a Quaker gloss:
(Caution: readers who dislike warlike language are advised that this next section contains numerous explicit references of that sort.) Let’s hear his sayings, and then do some analysis:
Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack weak points. You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.
Hence that general is skillful in attack whose adversary does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose adversary does not know what to attack.
That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone dashed against an egg – this is effected by the science of weak points and strong.
The first maxim, If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear . . . is crucial, both in theory and in practice. In my work among Quakers and other like-minded folks, the indications are that we fall far short of adequacy here.
For instance, I often give a short quiz, based on two lists of names on a blackboard: one is a set of second-tier American generals: Stonewall Jackson, John J. Pershing, George Patton and so forth. The other is a list of Quakers who have made signal contributions to our 300-plus years of peace witness: Lewis Fry Richardson; Jonathan Dymond, Hendrik van der Merwe, and others.
A show of hands consistently shows that most of us recognize the generals’ names, even if we don’t know much about them. This is predictable because our landscape is saturated with military monuments and memorials. Few pacifist-minded Quakers these days have had much actual contact with the military, except for those old enough to remember the draft, which ended more than forty years ago. But just driving from here to there, we get indoctrinated willy-nilly with the symbols and names of war.
More surprising is the fact that the Quaker names are almost universally unknown among what is properly considered their own people.
For the record, Lewis Fry Richardson was a British Quaker who singlehandedly invented the field of peace research almost a century ago; he is the Isaac Newton of that discipline. Jonathan Dymond was an early nineteenth century Friend whose treatise, “An Inquiry” asserting war’s inconsistency with Christianity, was widely read and highly influential for many decades. (It’s online now, here: http://www.qhpress.org/texts/dymond/.)
And Hendrik Ven der Merwe (1929-2001), a South African Friend, played important behind-the-scenes roles in freeing Nelson Mandela and enabling the transfer of power away from the apartheid regime there.(More on him here on Wiki:). When it comes to efforts to dismantle militarism, most American Quakers know little either about the target of their labors – or of their own long heritage of powerful peace work.
By Sun Tzu’s standards, then, it is no surprise that one so frequently hears from this group complaints that their efforts often feel hopeless, ignored and futile: of course! “If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
This first point leads to the second, what Sun Tzu calls “the science of weak points and strong.” Good strategic thinking for peace workers involves assessing our strengths and weaknesses, and those of the groups or forces we’re up against, then finding ways of bringing our forces to bear against the other side’s weaknesses. Ignorance of either aspect of this “science” undercuts effective planning.
But the record is not all negative. Here is a “winning” example, from the Vietnam era: many Friends Meetings, churches and other community activist groups offered draft counseling to young men, and helped hundreds of thousands of them to avoid the military draft. These projects were quiet, legal, widespread, and little noticed by the media. (The active part played by Friend Ken Maher is described elsewhere in this issue.) Yet they made a big contribution to a serious weakening of the US military during the latter years of the Vietnam war.
From a strategic perspective, this draft counseling brought many strengths of the peace constituency–a decentralized net-work, high verbal skills, access to local churches – to bear on the military’s major weakness: recruiting, its constant need to persuade young men in their hometowns to join up or submit to the draft.
Of course, there were other factors involved too; but the impact of the draft counseling movement is still an example of smart movement strategy with implications for peace work today. Too bad it is almost unknown among Quakers only a few decades later.
Strengths against weaknesses. Bear this mantra in mind as we move to the third of Sun Tzu’s oracles:
Sun Tzu wrote: The highest form of generalship is to foil the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field; [When he is already at full strength.] and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities. . . . The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided . . . .
Walled cities? They’re the worst? Do peace folks face “walled cities” in our efforts?
Yes. In my view, Washington DC is the ultimate “walled city,” protected by many thick layers of armored institutional brickwork. Yet year after year it is the primary, often the sole focus of most peace workers’ labors. And year after year, the same complaints of futility are heard, loud or soft; and year after year, the military industrial complex keeps growing and tighten-ing its grip on our society.
The reasons for the peaceniks’ predicament are not so mysterious. I spent two years working on a Congressional staff, and saw that to make things happen in Washington, a person or group needs at least one, and preferably more of the following items, which I call the Big Four:
- Big Numbers. (As in, millions of people behind you.)
- Big Bucks. (As in millions of dollars for lobbying and campaign cash.
- Big “Butts” (As in, high officials on whom you have some claim or hold.)
- Big Media.
After ticking off this list, especially to my own Quaker constituency, I pause and ask, “Which items on this list do WE have?”
The answer is obviously, None.
And the same goes for most other peace groups.
It is easy, if deflating, to document this conclusion. Read, for instance, the accounts of the battle between the major parties for the “Catholic vote” in, say, the 2008 national election. Millions of dollars were spent, operatives fanned out across the land, bishops and priests lobbied and were lobbied intensively, parishioners pursued and propagandized from coast to coast, right down to the wire.
By contrast, how much time and money were spent to bag the “Quaker vote”?
(Sure, there are moments, as during the largest peace rallies, when we become part of big numbers; but such moments soon pass.)
Again, Washington is the ultimate “walled city.” Sun Tzu would smile sardonically at the strategic naivete we display in falling again and again for the mass media-fed idea that all our attention and effort should be aimed directly at it.
If the people currently at the controls there (who are not, remember, really in command of that raging power, the Military-Industrial Complex) – if they ever thought about the “peace movement” (which they don’t, let’s not kid ourselves) – but if they did, they’d say, “Keep on doing what you’re doing, folks.” Why?
The answer is simple: we keep putting our weaknesses up against the political system’s most vigorously-defended stronghold; it’s a reliable recipe for disempowerment and despair.
(At this point in almost any discussion, someone will raise a hand, brows furrowed, and ask one of two questions. The first: “But, but – what about the next election? It’s so critical.”
Well, maybe it is. (Or maybe it isn’t. Which election since 1952 actually reversed the relentless momentum of the MIC?)
And keep in mind that Quakers will not be even a bubble on the top of a small wave in the next electoral tide, whichever way it goes. So sure, we should vote, and do some work for our favored candidates; that’s citizenship.
But what about the day after the election? And what about the impact of the MIC outside of the Beltway? And what about the task of finding ways to exert our special strengths in our own way? [What can that accomplish? That’s where knowing our history comes in.]
Then someone asks the second question: “But what about FCNL? Doesn’t The Friends Committee on National Legislation, our Quaker lobby in Washington, do good work?”
Of course, they do. They have achieved many excellent things. But let’s view their efforts from a warrior’s point of view: FCNL is like a small commando squad operating behind enemy lines: lightly armed, they are skilled snipers. From time to time a target comes within range, and with one of their precious few “bullets” or a legislative “IED,” they pull the trigger and make an impact.
All good. But keep it in perspective: FCNL’s agile snipers are a handful, grossly outnumbered by the battalions and divisions of corporate lobbyists; out-gunned by the hundreds of millions of dollars they throw around like bunker-busters; and the media rarely pays FCNL more than a few seconds of attention. Yes, FCNL is worth every penny; but The Big Four still apply.)
The Alternative: Think Like A Warrior
Is there any hope after this realization about the Big Four sinks in?
But it does mean that for most of us, it’s time to break with our conventional notions and learn how to think like a warrior, to plan like Sun Tzu: learn and assess the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, and begin figuring out how to put our strengths creatively into play in engagement with the other side’s weaknesses.
How do we do that? We’ve already touched on one example, the draft counseling network of the Vietnam years. And when the sweep of Quaker peace and social witness is considered, there are many others. In fact, Quakers have undertaken many projects which have had important practical impact. Added up, they can be represented in a counter-image to the “Wheel of War” – the “Wheel of Peace.”
Here the momentum goes in the opposite direction – away from violence and destruction. It is not now as big or as potent as the counterpart; but it is not insignificant either.
It also shows us what can be done without the Big Four, by small groups armed with imagination and determination. Among the examples listed there, one of my favorites is that of six housewives, sitting around a kitchen table on a farm in rural upstate New York in 1848, deciding to do something to improve the status of women. The Women’s Rights Convention they organized in nearby Seneca Falls was met with ridicule in the “mass media” of the day – but it began a movement that has shaken America and the world. (And when they did it, remember, the women couldn’t even vote.)
Another is that of Jim Corbett, a former librarian who spent much time herding goats in the Arizona desert. (Jim is profiled elsewhere in this issue.) One day in the 1980s, he met some refugees, fleeing the bloody Central American wars. Corbett was unknown, had no money, no friends in high places. But his imaginative response was truly “wise as a serpent’s,” and completely nonviolent, became the seed of the 1980s cross-border Sanctuary movement. This leaderless network of networks successfully challenged the US administration which was financing the wars.
Then there was the quiet work of Friend Bayard Rustin in the mid-1950s. Along with the American Friends Service Committee, he made it possible for a young civil rights leader from Montgomery, Alabama to travel to India and study the nonviolent action of Mahatma Gandhi. This almost unknown initiative helped shape the career of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Many others are even less well-known. Another unheralded Friend who made an impact in the Vietnam years was Marion Anderson. One of her exploits is described elsewhere in this issue.
(This “Wheel of Peace” is illustrated below.)
It would be tempting to spend many more pages in detailed case studies of the creative, wily individuals and groups who have added their “push” to this “Wheel of Peace.” Such a study would be very worthwhile, and encouraging, and to be comprehensive would need to include non-Quaker projects as well. Here we only have space to be suggestive.
Besides, there’s another level of homework yet to be done here. We don’t want just a collection of happy-ending tales. With all the campaigns and committees Friends have mounted, what do we know about which worked well, and which didn’t? And who will put forth the effort to learn the military well enough to understand its strengths and weaknesses? (By contrast, the Army maintains a “Center for Army Lessons Learned” at Fort Leaven-worth, Kansas, whose main task is to analyze and learn from the military’s ongoing history. More on it here: http://usacac.army.mil/organizations/mccoe/call)
Such intensive learning will not be quick, easy or dramatic; but it is necessary. One feature of the best Quaker work that seems apparent even at first glance, is that its variety and creativity illustrates another of Sun Tzu’s key observations about war:
Sun Tzu wrote:
In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.
Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are as inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more . . . There are no more than five musical notes, yet the variations in the five notes cannot all be heard. There are no more than five basic colors, yet the variations in the five colors cannot all be seen. There are no more than five basic flavors, yet the variations in the five flavors cannot all be tasted.
This passage is quite poetic, but rather indefinite. Beyond the needed homework, how do we apply Sun Tzu’s maxims to make for better, more strategic peace action?
That comes next.
FOUR: The Hundred-Year Lamb’s War
Early Friends were not shy of using “war talk.” There are many references in early writings to “The Lamb’s War.” The term comes from the Book of Revelation (yes, early Friends were big on that difficult book), Chapter 17 verse 14: “These shall make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” For Friends, it described a struggle for peace and justice carried on both internally and out in the world.
But why speak of a Hundred-Year Lamb’s War?
For me, the answers come from “studying war some more.” And this study has more to teach about peacework than simply some pithy quotes from Sun Tzu. Valuable lessons can be gleaned from our current war machine as well.
To begin with, let’s acknowledge what most others in the world know, that the current US military is one of the most efficient destructive forces the world has ever seen. To be sure, many things about the military, especially as a human society, are deeply flawed, even self-defeating, with huge human costs. And the vast net of military bases the US has built may well be a burden our treasury can’t afford to carry much longer.
Yet when it comes to the principal mission, which is blowing up things and killing people, our force still has no peer. It’s not just big; it’s not just costly. It’s also the best in its bloody business.
How did it get that way? What has made it so effective? There are many factors involved; but I want to focus on three which, I believe, could also be applied nonviolently, to building an adequate Quaker peace witness:
- The military thinks and plans for the long term, and with big-picture strategies.
- The military is careful to “secure its base.”
- The military makes training a top and continuing priority, at all levels. And throughout, it respects what it calls the “tooth to tail” ratio.
(One might call these “Several Habits of Highly Successful Warmakers,” or maybe, “Chicken Soup for the Militarist Soul.”)
Seeking A Big-Picture Quaker Strategy
Let’s start with taking the long view and thinking strategically. This requires some focus, so we’ll get back to the other items later.
We’ve already learned basics from Sun Tzu about how to begin. “Long term” and “big picture” are really two sides of the same coin: strategy is a way of looking ahead; but the “big picture,” means looking back as well as forward, incorporating the past into the mix.
The importance of this two-sided effort for Friends came home to me when I prepared a week-long workshop on Lucretia Mott. A striking pattern emerged in her work. It had to do with time: Lucretia campaigned personally for an end to legal slavery in the U.S. for fifty years.
Fifty years agitating against chattel slavery – and she lived to see the end of that peculiar institution, though of course not the end of racism. And something else also emerged: the fact that when Lucretia began her labor, Friends as a body had already been working to end slavery for the previous fifty years. After all, while Lucretia Mott was exceptional in many ways, there were plenty of other, lesser-known Friends doing similar work. (One of the earliest ones in the colonies, Benjamin Lay, is described elsewhere in this issue.)
That’s a hundred years of Quaker labor on this one issue.
Or take women’s rights. Lucretia personally worked on this cause, not for fifty but for sixty years – and she didn’t live to see its first major breakthrough, winning the right to vote. That took forty more years after her death in 1880.
Sixty plus forty: there’s another hundred-year project.
Then we come to the issue of ending war. Lucretia crusaded for peace too. She was a very optimistic person, and late in life she believed the world was within sight of achieving permanent peace. Reading her sermons on peace today often makes my heart sink – she’s been gone for more than 135 years, and instead of progress, the world has unquestionably slid rapidly backwards on this life-or-death matter.
What do all these centuries add up to? Simply the realization that the Quaker campaigns for an end to legal slavery, for peace and women’s equality, were not fads or pastimes for dilettantes. They were dead-serious, hundred-year projects–and in the case of war, a century was just for starters.
Obstacles to The Long View
You might think, given this recurrent pattern, that Quakers today would be used to taking a long view. But by and large I believe you’d be mistaken, especially compared to how the military does it. For instance, the Pentagon is planning decades ahead, getting ready to stop even potential adversaries from challenging its supremacy. Many of the plans may be madness and folly, but they’re making them.
Further, the long view includes the past as well as the future. Each service has a cadre of professional historians, and some of them have already written books on the latest U.S. wars. They’ll recount and analyze them in detail, comparing and contrasting them to other wars, ancient and modern. The Army’s Center for Lessons Learned has already published numerous reports on Iraq and Afghanistan.
This self-study “feedback loop” is not new, by the way; it’s a venerable tradition. The military historians’ big books are not widely read outside military circles, and maybe because of that they tend to be hard-hitting and candid.
They are candid because their purpose is not propaganda, but to help the military learn from past experience: what worked and what didn’t? Which leaders and units performed well, or badly? And why or why not?
All so they can do it better next time.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s not only smart armies which do this: smart companies, smart universities, even smart churches do too.
Now, what of Quakers– how do we compare in this area? Well, the results of my own unsystematic but ongoing research are not encouraging. We’ve already heard about the quiz list of Friends who did important peace work that hardly any Quakers today know about.
That so few knew any of the Quaker names didn’t surprise me. After all, how many Quaker peace memorials are there?
Almost none, unless you count the Mary Dyer statues in Boston, Philadelphia and Indiana. And the only American peace museum that I know of is in Ohio, near Dayton. There used to be another in Chicago. I visited it once, thought it was wonderful, and wished there were more. But it closed.
By contrast, there are more than 300 war museums in the U.S. And tens of thousands of war memorials.
Think about that for a minute; 300 museums for war, 1 for peace, and none for Quaker peace work.
Yet why not? We have plenty of material: Friends have been witnessing for peace in North America for more than 340 years. The records are in our archives. And there is a wealth of powerful stories: in Pennsylvania, for instance, during what William Penn dubbed his “Holy Experiment,” he and his successors managed to keep peace with the natives for seventy years, from 1680 to 1750, without an army.
No other American colony had a record that came anywhere close. (Remember Quaker Rhode Island, and King Philip’s War?) But is there a museum which illustrates and celebrates Penn’s Quaker peace landmark? Or any of the others down the centuries? Not that I ever heard of. How many of us even know about this “Long Peace”?
So that’s one of the primary tasks: to learn how to take the long (Quaker) view and see the big (Quaker) picture. And there’s lots of work to be done to get there.
The Trap of the Media Mindset
What do many Friends have instead of a sense of our history, or a long view of our future?
We have a mass media mindset. The signs of this outlook are easy to spot: a shortening attention span; a fixation on Wash-ington and Big Four politics; action priorities which uncannily mirror the latest headlines; an obsession with pundit chatter; acceptance of the illusion of being “informed” and “involved” that they promote.
A New Yorker cartoon captured this perfectly: a man on his couch, staring at the TV, says to his wife, “Watching people argue about the world situation night after night makes me feel like I’m doing something about it.”
The sardonic humor hinted at another common feature: an underlying sense of disempowerment.
This outlook is also highly parochial. It’s almost all about us: America and Americans, with the rest of the world chronically presented in relation to our “interests.” This learned self-centeredness is especially troubling in relation to war: Several million Congolese are killed in a decade-long regional conflict; but few Americans are among the casualties, and what do we know about it? Colombia, Chechnya, Myanmar, the Sudan, and in many other places, equally horrendous wars drag on, and by and large we hardly notice.
Is this an exaggerated view of the overall mindset of too many American Quakers? Maybe. But another poll I frequently took among Friends between 2003 to 2012 was to ask how many had been to a meeting or a protest about Iraq or Afghanistan in the past year? Consistently most hands went up. The next question was, who’s been to a similar meeting or protest about the Congo, or Sudan, or Colombia? Then the hands were very few.
Why is that? Can it really be that the Spirit, That of God, the Beating Heart of the Universe, the Light of Christ Within, just happens to want Quakers to see the world from the same, America-centered, headline-driven perspective as the U.S. media (especially public radio)?
I don’t believe it.
And this leads me to ask, how much of our peacework is Spirit-led, and how much of it is media-driven?
Spirit-led, versus media-driven; that’s a distinction worth pondering deeply, I think.
It’s also why I very much admire those Friends who are the glaring exceptions to this rule, who like David Zarembka of St. Louis Meeting has focused on the Great Lakes region of Africa. Horrible wars and slaughter took place there not long ago, and the area is now off the media radar screens, where it was featured only briefly anyway. Or the late Newton Garver of Buffalo, NY Meeting, who developed an ongoing connection between US and Bolivian Friends. Or the New England Yearly Meeting Committee which has worked for years with Quakers in Cuba.
Let me come at this another way: Suppose US Army generals got the bulk of their military knowledge from daily news broadcasts, and hardly any knew who Stonewall Jackson was, and how he outsmarted the Union army, or why all of Hitler’s Panzer tank divisions couldn’t stop George Patton in Europe? What would happen to their brigades and battalions when they led them into battle?
The Quaker giants of peace witness I have known were all very different from each other, but they had one important feature in common: on their issue, on their concern, they knew what the hell they were talking about. Whether it was the Law of the Sea Treaty, or how to build a sanctuary movement to save central American refugees, or even helping Vietnam era antiwar draftees and GIs get safely out of the country, they knew their stuff.
And these weighty Quakers didn’t attain this depth and credibility from 5-minute news reports. It took work, experience, study, and lots of plodding deteermination, not to mention courage, worship, and spiritual strength.
The same thing goes for looking forward and thinking strategically, planning a Hundred-Year Lamb’s War. Can we figure out where we want to be in twenty or fifty years, and plan realistically to get there, or at least be headed continually in the right direction? I believe that’s what we are called to do.
The Elements of Strategy
Okay, what are some elements of a possible long-term Quaker strategy? In the military, there are several levels. At the highest is grand strategy. Evolving US grand strategy is summed up in an unclassified document issued every four years or so, and available on the White House website: the “National Security Strategy.” (The December 2017 version is online here: http://bit.ly/2oH3MUC )
In sum, its goals are to maintain American preeminence, while we remake the world, by “promoting democracy” and squashing any real or imagined rival.
In our Civil War, Abraham Lincoln settled on a grand strategy too. As I understand it, his plan was similarly straightforward: blockade the Confederate states along the coast, split them in two down the Mississippi river, and then starve or crush their forces one chunk at a time. And that’s more or less how it worked out, though of course actual warfare is never that neat.
Under the umbrella of grand strategy come operational goals, the major plans for achieving the grand strategic objectives. An example of this is what Colin Powell said about Saddam Hussein’s army in the first Gulf war – do you remember? He said: “First we’re going to cut it off, then we’re going to kill it.”
We won’t deal much with operational goals here, even though that’s where the sexy stuff is, when some may get arrested or take other dramatic risks. Those plans will have to be hammered out in a broad, ongoing discussion, from which an informed consensus can emerge.
I want to mention, though, that it will be a mistake to think that the most important of such goals is the next election. This essentially continuous horse race is an obsession in the media every other year, and if it becomes ours as well, then we’ll still be lost in the wilderness. Instead, I hope we can begin to approach elections from the perspective of our own grand strategy, the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War. We will still have our (varying) preferences, but no matter which way they turn out, we’ll find more opportunities, and sustain hope.
My Friend Lucretia Mott comes back to mind here. In the 500-plus pages of her letters that I read spanning fifty years, Lucretia only rarely referred to elections, though she was a well-informed, keen eyed, and sharp-tongued observer of public events andn issues. I’m not entirely sure why she was so quiet about politics, but I suspect in large part it reflected a clear long-term perspective: she fully expected that attaining equality for women would take a lifetime of labor, and even longer.
She also understood that there were many ways of making ongoing social change, besides elections – which was a good thing, since American women were not allowed to vote! She knew her Bible, too, so no doubt she had read this verse, from Psalm 146:3 “Put not your trust in princes.” Or maybe it was just that she didn’t have the mass media to distract her.
[Even so, I affirm that there are times when electoral action takes on an emergency character – like dropping everything else to join a bucket brigade when the house is on fire. In 2017 and 2018, I think we are in that kind of emergency situation. Yet even so, like the snarky jibe about learning to walk and chew gum at the same time, while filling and swinging the buckets, we are still called to see beyond the house fire.]
For us today, I hope the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War may help us see the forest behind and encompassing the electoral trees. If it’s going to take at least that long to make much headway, wouldn’t some grand strategy thinking help us make the most faithful use of our limited resources?
I believe so. And I believe that developing a long-term view of our witness can help overcome the disempowering effects of walled city-centered, moment-to-moment media and electoral fixations. The current house fire will not go on indefinitely; even if the house burns down, there will be a day, and a decade, after. And strategy can help put media and politics in perspective, make them assets for our larger work, instead of a distraction from and even a substitute for it.
Our “larger work”? Yes. And here comes peeking out the credo with which I began this essay: the conviction that the Religious Society of Friends is a gathered people. We are a dis-tinct religious group because God called the early Friends toge-ther, to worship and do some particular pieces of work in some particular ways.
Quakers weren’t called because we’re better; we’re just called. And the call has been answered, repeatedly, down the generations. We’re still here because God is not done with Quakers yet.
An ongoing study of the long succession of remarkable, creative, resilient tough, yet mostly unheralded Quakers who have made a difference, went a long way toward convincing me of this vision. It’s not proof of a scientific kind; but I found plenty of evidence. And I expect to find more.
Grand Strategy for The Hundred-Year Lamb’s War
So let’s try to think in Lucretia-length terms for a few minutes. Here for your consideration are three goals which could form the grand strategy of a Hundred-Year Lamb’s War, an overall framework for a century of practical witness:
First: To make the United States into a law-abiding member of the international community, respecting human rights both internally and externally.
Second: To move the three great monotheistic religions to a place where they conduct their rivalries without violence or bloodshed. And
Third: To make the Religious Society of Friends a meaningful player in both arenas, and one that can go the distance.
That’s what The Hundred-Year Lamb’s War could be about – it could serve as a Quaker counterpart and rival to the plan for a century dominated by American military might – and the counter-drive for a fanatic theocracy. Even partial progress toward these ends would make the world a safer place and increase our chances of surviving the clash of crusaders and their bloody visions.
Let’s take a quick look at these three goals:
First, getting the US to be a law-abiding, human-rights-friendly international citizen.
What a concept. Was it only a few years ago that such an idea might have seemed mundane or even unnecessary? Yes, it was. But now it’s downright radical, and even under the best of circumstances, it will take decades to reconstruct the major elements of international law and order (and our own civil liberties) that have been undermined or demolished in the recent past.
Second, promote a peaceful rivalry among the mono-theisms, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
To me this is at least as important as taming the American empire, and probably more difficult. And for this, a century is likely a very short time. After all, we don’t often recall that it took western Christianity about two hundred years and rivers of blood to reach a similar place internally.
Even then, many of them still thought it was just fine to slaughter those other monotheists, Jews, right down to my own lifetime. And Christian-Muslim differences were whipped up into a pretext for mass slaughter in the Balkans only a few years ago. And then Iraq.)
The real if imperfect truce among most European Christian sects is one of Western culture’s highest achievements, yet one of its least recognized. Where are the peace museums documenting how most Western Catholics and Protestants finally learned to stop killing each other–and recalling the not insignificant Quaker role in that process?
This saga, which we know so little of, could be an asset, a model – and a warning – as we set out to help end the current religious strife. And make no mistake: many of the wars and rumors of war that threaten us today and tomorrow will be religious in large measure.
Contrary to what many say, I don’t believe the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were “all about” oil, or multinational corporations, though yes, these played a part. Instead, at bottom, I hear just as much in these the echo of Romans 13: It’s about God. About who gets to play God, and be the anointed enforcer for the divine.
And then there’s the third goal of the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War – making the Religious Society of Friends a long-term player; which will get us to the practical part of this study.
What would it mean to plan a Quaker peace witness on such a long-term basis?
Would deciding to be part of it make any difference when we close this book?
Would it reorder priorities, move us to do anything different next week, or next month?
Would it change the usual routine of following one media-hyped “crisis” or another, with our attention flitting across tiny slices of time? And fretting about the next political horserace poll, and then the one after that, and the one after that?
I believe it would. Or at least it could. And some specifics about this impact are what’s next.
FIVE: Getting Specific
To move from grand strategy to more concrete implications, we’ll make use of other lessons for peacework I’ve taken from the military, starting with doing what an army in action does first, which is to secure its base.
For an armed force heading for combat, securing the base means, among other things, making sure they have the supplies, the transportation, the food and bullets to fight their battles, safe places to store them, and hospitals to take care of the wounded.
More broadly, back home securing the base means keeping Congress and the public hypnotized by militarist propaganda. This is how they keep recruits signing up and megabillions in tax money flowing to the Pentagon. The US military works very hard at this side of the task. In 2005 at Fort Bragg, the Fourth Psychological Operations Group had a sign outside its headquarters that read: “Words Conquer.” And within the United States, words are deployed in exactly this way, with the citizenry – you and me – as the targets of conquest. (They do a damn good job, too.) As a caption I’ve added what I call the QuakerAntiwar Koan.
What’s involved in this persuasion/conquest? As one example, remember those 300-plus war museums? They are not just about the past; they are also strategic investments in shaping present and future public awareness, and they pay handsome long-term dividends. They tell – and re-tell, and re-re-tell – a simple story: For America, war is necessary; war is righteous; war works; war is exciting; war is worth it – and war is almost painless. Then there is the billion dollars spent annually in recruiting advertising, glamorizing the whole enterprise. And lots more.
What would “securing our base” mean for Friends? Let me suggest three things for starters:
First, it means build our meetings. Build them spiritually, first and foremost; and physically, and numerically. They are our base; without them we’re nothing. There shouldn’t be a need to expand on this imperative. While we’re dealing with many concrete activities here, they are all part of spiritual warfare. Those who don’t think spiritually-centered, vital Friends meetings are central to Friends’ life and witness, are probably headed toward a spiritual home somewhere else.
Second, to this growing base of strong meetings, let us add a national network of twenty or more replicas of Quaker House.
Yes, if we’re going to be mounting a Hundred-Year Lamb’s War, we will need more projects like Quaker House, compact but with full-time, professional staff. They would be regionally controlled and supported, able to see beyond their back yard, and with sufficient support to keep them going for at least the five decades that we’ve managed to survive in Fayetteville, as of 2018.
These projects would not be intended to duplicate any existing organization. Instead, they reflect the fact that there’s plenty of varieties of peace work to go around. There are many other cities besides Washington. There are many other war-related institutions besides Fort Bragg; and much of the MIC’s work does not require uniforms. Like the Good Book says, the fields are ripe for the harvest, so let’s pray that the lord of the harvest will send laborers – and then have someplace for them to work from when they appear.
Another reason to build these new projects is that we need to develop our own pool of expertise and skill, without supplanting our decentralized, lay-led meeting structures, and this is a way to do that. In my time, too many of the best activist Friends have had to go outside Quaker circles to exercise their gifts and follow their leadings. Not a few have thereby been lost to us. It’s been our own homegrown Friendly brain drain, and it’s tragic.
I don’t mean these new projects should duplicate what is done at Quaker House in Fayetteville; not at all. Each one will have its own mission, as we do, fitted to its situation and the concerns of its sponsors. Some of them, for instance, could well be the home of peace museums; or interfaith peace work; or torture accountability; or – (insert your leadings here).
And for a special assignment: get the American environmental movement seriously involved in naming, documenting, and challenging the military’s connections to the environmental dangers we face. The lack of such connections is a serious deficiency for both the “greens” and the “peaceniks”; not to mention the rest of the world.
One other thing: as long-term Friends projects go, the Quaker House model is a bargain: our 2010 budget was less than two hundred thousand dollars a year. So if they’re well-designed, these new ventures won’t break our bank accounts; and anyhow, we’re not a poor church.
Besides, support for these new Quaker House projects need not be all Quaker, just mostly. The remarkable interfaith religious peace constituencies brought to light by the Iraq war offer many opportunities for supportive networking, if we will only go out and get to work on it. (That’s another helpful hint the military understands well, but some of our rulers seem to have forgotten, or spurned: allies are good, especially in a long-term struggle.)
A Quaker Peace Pentagon?
Whatever their particular agendas, these new projects should all be well-networked, in touch with each other regularly for cooperation, learning and self-defense. I like the idea of an annual national Quaker Peace Conference, where those active in these projects (and similar ones) come together for cross-fertilization and mutual encouragement, learning, sharing ideas and strengthening their ties (but not to pretend they’re a Peace Pentagon drafting marching orders).
There have been such conferences occasionally, usually to good effect; and one wonders why they haven’t become a standard Quaker function. I suspect it’s because past conferences were largely media- and crisis-driven. But as Lucretia Mott could have told us, peacework is an abiding assignment: ongoing, and multi-generational. Regular gatherings could help develop an unofficial and evolving but influential consensus about plans and priorities, and help revise the long-term plans as conditions change.
Note that as Friends and meetings refocused on this base- and network-building effort, we might start missing out on some of the latest slices of news and the urgent pull to run here and there, trying to keep pace with this or that blip on the kaleidoscopic media radar screens.
But if so, that will be because we have better things to do. We’re busy with the long-term, and acting strategically. We’ll put the next election into a broader context, looking at the forests, as well as the trees. We’ll be busy working on the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War, to tame and redeem the “new American century.”
Building and securing our base is also closely related to the next major lesson from the military: the priority of training. Its relevance to Friends comes from a simple and inescapable fact: few if any of us who help launch the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War will be around to see the end of it.
Thus from Day One we had better be about training the next generations to take over for us – not least so they can fix our mistakes – because their turn will be coming soon, sooner than they think. And that training needs to be an integral – no, a central part of all our programs.
The Trouble with Osmosis
Yet here, Friends, is another area where I’m afraid we’re in pretty sad shape. If you and I and most of us know so little about the rich and important history of Quaker peace witness–its failures as well as its successes–how are we supposed to improve and transmit this heritage to new attenders and our children?
One telling indication of the situation on this front for me came a few years ago. I posed a question to a roomful of teachers in Quaker schools – how do you teach Quakerism? The general answer – after a long, embarrassed silence – was: “Mainly by osmosis.”
I was then tempted to ask, did they also teach math and science (for tuition of $40,000 to $50,000 per year) by osmosis? But that would have been flippant.
Or maybe not. Can we imagine an instructor at West Point or the Air Force Academy teaching navigation, or artillery – or strategy – by osmosis? No wonder their graduates are among the best in their grim business.
And the military’s training priorities do not stop with the elite schools preparing future generals and admirals – not at all.
The services are just as serious about training those who will be sergeants and petty officers. This fact was obvious every day that the artillery out on Fort Bragg rattled the windows when I was Director at Quaker House: the troops there only fight wars periodically. But they train for war all the time. In this respect, the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg had nothing on Lucretia Mott. May that soon come to be true of the rest of us as well!
The army also emphasizes training because they know the answer to a basic question, namely: If the 82nd Airborne doesn’t prepare their own new leaders and troops with their special skills and esprit, who will?
The answer, of course, is nobody.
By and large, however, too many Friends seem to have forgotten both the answer and the question. But depending on “osmosis” doesn’t cut it. If we don’t train new Quakers in the past and present (and prospects) of Quaker worship and witness, who else will? How will we discover & learn from mistakes? And without that, what kind of future can either have?
Of course, we have our First day Schools. But to prepare new and young Friends to carry on the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War, we’ll need a lot more new and substantive Religious Ed material, and a lot more RE teachers, than we have now. And this religious education I’m imagining is not just for kids, or classrooms, or First Days.
It will also be an integral part of the work of all active Quaker organizations. It already is, in the best of them, which have youth interns every year, as part of their ongoing work.
Good as all these are, they’re not enough. As I said, I’ve seen too many committed young Quakers forced to go outside our ranks for the chance to learn service and to put their ideals into action. And many of them haven’t been back. To sustain the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War, we need to turn that around, and the sooner the better.
From Tooth to Tail
Much of the work sketched here may seem humdrum, routine, and unrelated to the exciting and scary business of war and peace as reflected through the mass media. And yes, some tasks may be routine, unlikely ever to show up on the news. But are they part of the bigger strategic picture?
You bet they are–important parts too.
The Army understands this: it’s what’s behind a phrase mentioned awhile ago, the “tooth to tail” ratio. That’s army-talk for the fact that for every soldier who actually fires a weapon or drops a bomb, there are up to ten more behind her or him, in a long and often humdrum line, including civilians. Most will never be noticed by the action-obsessed “embedded” war reporters, but from the long-term, strategic perspective, every link in the chain has its place.
The same goes for us. For many Friends, a role in the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War may mean teaching First Day School, balancing a growing meeting’s budget, deepening our worship, caring for those who are hurting or spiritually lost among us – in other words, securing our base. Or pursuing a leading to understand, really understand Islam, or China; or North Korea.
So that’s the outline of the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War, the kind of war our tradition recognizes. I urge you to pursue this conversation about how Friends can prepare to help redeem the calamitous nuclear and environmental hubris of the American Century, and to play our part in overcoming the ancient impulse to make war for the glory of God. That’s easily the work of a hundred years.
But how do we connect the Hundred Year grand strategy with the tasks of today, or tomorrow?
Of course, there is no Friendly Pentagon, no broad-brimmed & bonneted Chiefs of Staff to issue our marching orders – though I can’t help recalling that it wasn’t so long ago that Quakers did wear uniforms, and our guiding manuals were called Books of Discipline. That’s a favorite military term, discipline – so these concepts may not be as alien to Quakerism as some today tend to think.
Nevertheless, Quakerism is not an army, and each of us is called to find our own leading, our own place in the tooth to tail ratio, working together with others as way opens.
Fortunately, the grand strategy goals of the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War frame a very broad quilt. There’s room under it for Friends whose pieces are concerned with women’s issues, the environment, racism, or poverty. It can also cover very different styles, from inside lobbyists to outside agitators, scholars and visionaries, lone wolves and committee junkies.
So I don’t think making these connections between the overall plan and the everyday will be that hard to do, if we set our minds to it. Still, if this notion of a Hundred-Year Lamb’s War speaks to you, but you’d feel better with a To-Do list, here are several suggestions for getting started on it, in ascending order of challenge.
First, you can write a check to your meeting – and add a zero to your usual amount.
What’s the connection between that and the Hundred Year Lamb’s War? Easy: it helps secure our base. And if you don’t write checks to your meeting, as I didn’t for most of my early years, I suggest it’s a good time to start.
Second, read a good book about Quaker history and witness. Not just a pamphlet or magazine article either. There’s been a lot of exciting scholarship in the last generation, challenging many of our comfortable notions about our Quaker selves. So get one or more of these, and learn what it has to teach you.
And then, find another one. You might also pick up the Bible–it was one of Lucretia’s strongest and most reliable weapons of spiritual warfare, even though she was skeptical about much that was in it. To do all this reading you might have to turn off the radio for awhile; but just for awhile. What’s the connection here? It helps develop the long-term view that we need so badly.
Third, you can start a discussion/planning group in your meeting and with other meetings about the Quaker House-type project that could best serve the needs and opportunities in your area. Will it offer GI counseling? Truth in recruiting? A peace museum? Torture accountability? The environmental impact of militarism? Youth work? All of the above? What alliances would help make it happen?
The connections here are: More base-building, and new training facilities. And you can commit to sticking with this seeking even if it takes a decade to bear concrete results. We’ve got a century to work with, remember.
Fourth, learn Arabic. It’s a fundamental tool for being of use in serious peacebuilding in relation to Islam.
If Arabic isn’t for you, how about Hebrew? Swahili? It’s a humbling fact that learning foreign languages is one of the hardest things to get American college students to do these days. It’s the internalized imperial outlook: everywhere Americans go today, other people learn English. It’s the language of power in the early years of the new American Century. (But some who are taking the long view are learning Chinese.)
Yet learning another group’s language is the key to opening the door to true cross-cultural understanding and reconciliation. Do more American Friends have the gumption to break out of that circle of privilege? It’s not a matter of guilt, but simple competence.
And speaking of foreign languages, if you are truly adventurous, get started on understanding the seemingly alien tongue of conservative Christianity. I can’t stress often enough that it is a central support of the power and principality that is the american Spirit of War. Sooner or later, it’s got to be challenged by people who know what they’re talking about.
And – are you still with me? – Fifth, and perhaps most challenging – after you’ve read a couple of these meaty new books I mentioned, and done some Bible study, you can step up on the high diving board and – sign up to teach First Day School.
This advice is meant especially for those in my age group, and those who taught classes back when our kids were young, for those of us who feel, “I’ve put in my time; I’m on parole; let me be.”
But to these Friends, to us, let me repeat what the army says to such objections. If you’re going to win a war, especially a long one, training doesn’t get finished. Remember the question: If we don’t train the next generation to take over and do better, who will? (Osmosis doesn’t work.)
Adding to the challenge of this call is the fact that to fulfill this part of the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War objectives, you’ll need a lot of material that doesn’t exist yet; so you may have to research and write it, or figure out how to support someone else who can.
Remember the story line of all those war museums and memorials? “War works; war is righteous (when we make it); war is exciting; war is almost painless.” (And in the religious settings, “We’re always on God’s side, as His special warriors.”)
We have a different story to tell, and re-tell: “There is another and better way than war. We can have security and peace. It can work; it HAS worked; it can work again. We can make it happen.”
There’s plenty of material for this story in America’s Quaker past and present, but it’s vastly underutilized, a lamp shamefully hid under a bushel.
So that’s a quick and dirty laundry list for the opening salvoes of the Hundred Year Lamb’s War. It could be longer, but that should keep some of us busy for a week or two.
Oh– I almost forgot; there’s one more thing. This is for unprogrammed Friends generally, rather than as individuals: if we’re going to secure our base so it can truly sustain a century’s worth of Quaker peace witness, a Hundred-Year Lamb’s War, there’s one other drastic change we can’t avoid.
Yes, Friends, we’re going to have to just give it up, and–
Learn how to sing.
That’s right, I said sing. Together.
Like the Methodists, and the evangelicals.
Why? It’s no mystery: I started out as a rookie activist in the civil rights movement. And later, in my checkered career as a writer I’ve had jobs where there were labor unions. In both these movements, and lots of others, it’s clear that when they were at their best and most powerful, music was one of their key assets, for inspiration, for morale, for courage and inspiration.
A singing church, like a singing movement, is one with hope, and with a future. So we’re going to have to just bite the bullet, and get with the program.
And by the way, the military figured this one out too, a long time ago. If you are tempted to snicker at military music, you’re making a mistake. It keeps the troops marching; it’s done it for centuries.
Who’s going to lead this change in our customs? Maybe the next generation.
But one way or another, we’ve got to do it, Friends.
Can’t you see? There’s a war on!
Postscript: Jesus Killed Mohammed
Before we get too caught up in the specifics of the last chapter, let’s recall that what’s being described here is not a battle against “flesh and blood”: we’re facing the Spirit of War, something that encompasses much of what we can see as the MIC, but is more than the sum of the parts.
We’ve looked at biblical metaphors to help understand what this “spiritual influence” President Eisenhower warned us about means. In closing, I want to look briefly at another image, from that favorite book of early Friends, Revelation.
In one of its key apocalyptic visions (Chapter 13), two beasts appear that devastate the world and its people. One is more familiar: the main one with the secret name that’s coded in the number 666.
But this boss-beast has a sidekick, according to the book’s seer-author, John:
“Then I saw another monster, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast . . . . And he performed great and miraculous signs . . . . Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, the second monster deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast . . . .”
Okay, this is metaphor, remember, so stay with me. The point is that the sidekick beast is the enabler and the legitimizer of the big one.
In the American context, I think of the MIC and the Spirit of War it embodies, as the 666 beast, the big kahuna. But his sidekick-enabler is critical to perpetuating the boss’s power. And the enabler beast’s identity is not an obscure mystic number, which preachers can haggle over indefinitely. Nope, it’s plain for all who have eyes to see: It is War Christianity.
This connection has been mentioned before. It needs to be brought specifically into our strategic calculus here. That’s because it relates to an idea strategists often use in battle planning, the “center of gravity.”
A target’s “center of gravity” is whatever is most important in making it able to defend itself. It may not have anything directly to do with weaponry; instead, it may be a motivator, such as a beloved symbolic leader, for whom devoted followers are ready to fight to the last.
Similarly, in its home society, a military establishment’s “center of gravity” does not depend chiefly on guns or bombs. Rather, it can be the force which lends it the most legitimacy, which makes war and militarism worthy, honorable, deserving of support, even sacred.
After working up-close and personal for several years with the US military, I think I can point to its center of gravity. I’m convinced that the “Spirit of War” that grips our society like the Beast 666 depends for its hold more than anything else on the devotion and blessing of US War Christianity. American churches, many actively and others passively, have become tools of the Enabler beast’s influence over large segments of the citizenry. As a contemporary rendering puts the verse from Revelation, “it talked the people into making an idol in the form of the beast . . . .” (Remember: “Words Conquer”?)
There isn’t space to describe this complex force in detail. It has infected both Catholic and Protestant churches, and has a foothold in the Jewish community as well. It will require careful study as much as any other key element of the MIC.
But its role is clear, and is anything but metaphorical or symbolic. It ranges from crusader infiltration of the military academies, to signs plastered on Humvees in Iraq declaring “Jesus Killed Mohammed.” It is also not new – indeed, it glorified the extermination of Native Americans, upheld slavery, blessed America’s entry into the “great game” of imperialism, is still opposing LGBT equality, and in many settings oppresses women. Now, among other things, it justifies torture and scoffs at climate change. It fills our days with what Milton Mayer identified as “doing nothing” in the face of official horror and burgeoning corruption.
In my view, real progress on two of the grand strategic goals of the Hundred-Year Lamb’s War – making the U.S. into a law-abiding nation, and promoting peaceful competition among the major monotheisms – will sooner or later involve major thrusts against War Christianity, as a key “center of gravity” of U.S. militarism.
Tackling the war spirit in the churches will not be easy; the struggle will be unsparing spiritual warfare that truly deserves the name. Many liberal Friends have spent much time avoiding and escaping everything to do with this, and most other varieties of Christianity, becoming secular in all but name. But when push comes to shove, avoidance will not suffice. The sooner we begin getting ready, the better.
Selected Readings & Online Resources
Ashford, Oliver M. Prophet – or Professor? The Life and Work of Lewis Fry Richardson. Taylor & Francis, 1984
Clermont, Betty. The Neo-Catholics. Implementing Christian Nationalism In America. Clarity Press, 2009.
Corbett, Jim. Goatwalking. A Guide to Wildland Living, A Quest for the Peaceable Kingdom. Viking, 1991
Crittenden, Ann. Sanctuary, A Story of American Conscience and Law in Collision. Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, 1988
D’emilio, John. Lost Prophet, The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin. University of Chicago, 2004
Dymond, Jonathan. An Essay on War, An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the Principles of Christianity (original, 1823). Online at: http://www.qhpress.org/texts/dymond/
Eisenhower, Dwight D. “Farewell Address,” January 17, 1961. Online at: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwightdeisenhowerfarewell.html
Fager, Chuck, “Lucretia Mott: Liberal Quaker Theologian,” Quaker Theology, Vol. 6 No. 1, Spring-Summer 2004. Online at: http://www.quaker.org/quest/issue-10-mott-CEF-01.htm
Lutz, Catherine. Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century. Beacon Press.
Marsh, Charles. Wayward Christian Soldiers. Against the Political Captivity of the Gospel. Oxford, 2007
Mayer, Milton. They Thought They Were Free. University of Chicago, 1955
McCallum, Chris. Yes to the Troops, No to the Wars. The Story of Quaker House. Quaker House, 2009
Sharlet, Jeff. “Jesus Killed Mohammed: The Crusade for a Christian Military.” Harper’s Magazine, May 2009. Online at: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/05/0082488
Tzu, Sun. The Art of War. Various editions. Online in full at: http://www.sonshi.com/learn.html
U.S. Marine Corps. Strategy- MCDP 1-1. Online at several sites; google it.
Vance, Laurence M. Christianity and War. Vance Publications, 2008.
van der Merwe, Hendrik. Pursuing Justice & Peace In South Africa. Routledge, 1989.
Weddle, Meredith B. Walking In the Way of Peace. Quaker Pacifism In The Seventeenth Century. Oxford, 2001
Weinstein, Michael M. With God On Our Side, One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup In America’s Military. St. Martin’s Press, 2006.
Zarembka, David. A Peace of Africa. Madera Press, 2011.
Video: Why We Fight. Online at: Youtube.com. A documentary directed by Eugene Jarecki, illustrating the growth and reach of the MIC, 2005
Websites: The Dayton (Ohio) International Peace Museum. http://www.daytonpeacemuseum.org/
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation: www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org
Quaker House: quakerhouse.org