Practical Solutions Military Nonviolent National Defense

About a practical proposal for the military to promote nonviolent national defense.



Nonviolent National Defense

Whenever I first mention my plan for converting the U.S. from the biggest military power in the world to a weaponless nation that would defend itself through nonviolence, I am invariably met with snickers, head-shaking, and outright hostility. But when I explain the details, people calm down and even take me seriously. The problem is obvious. A tremendous amount of time, energy, and money is wasted building weapons, researching new weapons, and training people to use weapons that will likely be obsolete by the time they are learned. Just because the Russians are stupid enough to blow a huge chunk of their annual budget on weapons, why do we have to match them stupidity for stupidity?

Still, we have to be prepared for an invasion by the Soviets or the Chinese. First of all, I don't think we have to worry about a nuclear attack. Are you shocked? Look at it this way. The only reason the Russkies or Chinese would invade the U.S. is to obtain our vast resources. If they obliterated us with hydrogen bombs, there would be nothing left to exploit. After all, what use is a smoldering, radioactive country, strewn with dead bodies? Besides, if the U.S. were wiped out as a world power, the Soviet dictators could no longer use the threat of "American imperialism" to scare their citizens and keep them in line.

So our only real worry is that the Commies will come over here in large numbers and occupy the U.S., forcing us to keep running our industries and businesses for their benefit. A disgusting thought, but one we would never have to worry about if everyone in the U.S. were trained in the three basic principles of nonviolent national defense: sabotage, noncooperation, and fraternization. Each person would be taught how to make a part of our system stop functioning. Remove or break the right bolts or wires and an entire factory can grind to a halt. When ordered to fix a machine, the factory workers could refuse or pretend to do it in a slow and inept manner.

It is true that some people might be killed by frustrated invaders, but the death toll couldn't possibly be as high as with the "defense systems" (i.e., war) that the chiefs of staff have planned for us now. And this leads to the third part of nonviolent national defense: fraternization. Every soldier, no matter how cold and brainwashed he is and no matter what uniform and weapons he is hiding behind, is a human being inside, just like the rest of us. Deep down, there is a part of him that can be appealed to by emotions or logic.

So picture this scene: The invading army marches into your local city, expecting to be met by bombs and snipers. Instead the locals come out of their homes and shops and greet the invaders with food and small gifts as if they were liberators. The invaders, stunned that Americans aren't imperialist beasts after all, relax a bit and are more than happy to socialize with the Americans. This is our chance to gradually shift the conversation to the subject of democracy and the advantages of our way of life over communism. If the Soviet generals and other officers become upset by this turn of events and order their soldiers to stop fraternizing with us natives, this will only serve to emphasize to the soldiers that it is we who are the good guys and their leaders who are the bad guys. These tactics of fraternization, sabotage, and noncooperation should reduce any foreign invasion to a shambles.

Mitchell Cooperman Boulder, Colo.

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