Reviews and Discussion of “Why Peace” by Marc Guttman

In the spirit of Memorial Day, this writer would like to share with you a book written/edited by a  physician, Marc Guttman. It is a thick book with essays from many people, all discussing war and the reasons to seek a world at peace. Some of the contributors included are Libertarian heroes such as Harry Browne and Steve Kubby. Other contributors known to the liberty community such as Llewellyn Rockwell, Coleen Rowley, and Butler Shaefer have provided articles. Following are some links about the book and a few reviews.

Here’s a look at the table of contents .

This is how the editor, Marc Guttman, describes his book :

“Who doesn’t want peace?” you might ask yourself. But look around you: War and human rights violations are everywhere. Fear is a dominant cultural bond. Meanwhile, so many of us consent to this aggression—when it is done by the government we think represents us.

Why Peace is about our aspirations to our own progression, to where peaceful and voluntary societal systems and associations replace the machinery of aggression and coercion. Only by interacting peacefully can we achieve a more harmonious, prosperous, healthy, fair and tolerant society.

This book is an exploration of aggression, and of the evolutionary (and revolutionary) process to peace. Through the insights of men and women, from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives, Why Peace presents stories of wars, invasions, and political repressions—down to the most basic levels of authoritarianism. These individuals share mind-opening and inspiring personal experiences with state violence: North Korean gulag prisoners, exiled journalists, soldiers at war (and some who refused to go back), Colombian campesinos displaced by drug war fumigations, people violently displaced by their government for private corporate interests in the Amazon, families run over by war, victims of cluster bombs in Southeast Asia, Guantánamo prisoners, a Cuban student denied the rights to speak and organize, and much more.

Also in this collaboration are military officers, former state officials, political prisoners, activists, economists, aid workers, and others. Each has contributed to this work to help demonstrate the philosophy, morality, and universal benefits of non-aggression and protecting human rights. Seventy-eight people, from thirty-four countries on five continents, share their stories here. Find out why they all came to a similar conclusion: peace is best for all and its time has come.


Karen Kwaitkowski

Why Peace
by Karen Kwiatkowski
November 3, 2012

Today, Americans are debating, marveling and despairing at Washington’s latest military action – or inaction – abroad. We obsess over the latest White House, CIA or Pentagon cover-up, study and deplore the latest intervention gone wrong. We wonder why it can’t be different.

We wonder why the system doesn’t seem to work, and why the actions taken by Washington overseas always lead to more death, more hatred, more destruction, and more war. We wonder what would it be like if the United States conducted a constitutional foreign policy, or maybe, a constitutional domestic policy. We wonder if there really is such a thing as a peace dividend. We wonder if authoritarian and heavily militarized governments in northern and southern hemispheres are the norm, or just a terrible phase through which we are passing through on our way to a bright and blessed 21st century.

We wonder, why not peace?

There is a new collection of thoughts that delve into and explore this very possibility. The contributors to Why Peace, edited by Marc Guttman, represent a wide variety of experience. The book consists of 78 short, compelling, eye-opening, and personal stories written by people who have decided on war, prosecuted war, fought in war, been victimized and damaged by war, those who have made careers on war and those who have been imprisoned as a result of war. There are stories from those who have worked and lived in the aftermath of war. Why Peace is a stimulating multigenerational conversation, around a comfortable table in your own kitchen, between the parents and children of war about visions of peace.

The chapters in Why Peace will take you around the world, and back to your own backyard. The perspectives, opinions, and experiences contained in Why Peace weave a living tapestry of our recent history, melding war’s ugliness and tragedy with the sanitized overworld of governments and politics and economics. The vignettes are not envisioned or dreamt of, but experienced and lived by real people, here in the United States and around the world.

The rest of the article can be found here

Gabriella Wheeler (Eva Kosinski)

Review: Why Peace
Posted on April 16, 2013
Why Peace
Marc Guttman, ed.

Why Peace is a comprehensive collection of essays focused on the seemingly obvious, but often ignored need for peace. By offering a balance of both personal, human experience with staggering facts, histories, and rational analysis, a compelling, holistic argument for the cessation of systemic violence emerges indisputable.

One of the most powerful qualities of Why Peace is its meticulous focus on how its contributing authors arrived at their individual convictions. Spanning time periods and geography, the book offers glimpses into the suffering of innocent children and families.

In recalling his interviews with victims of the covert U.S. bombing of Laos in the 1970s, Fred Branfman remembers one farmer who explained: “they dropped eight napalm bombs, the fire from which burned all my things, 15 buildings along with our possessions inside, as well as maiming our animals.”

Of the hundreds Branfman interviewed decades ago, few even knew who was dropping the bombs that killed their children. In another example of personal experience, Mark Braverman, an American Jew and former supporter of Israel, chronicles his growth. After years of blindly defending Israel, he demonstrates his understanding of the violence and manipulation by the Israeli government against the people of Palestine. These small snippets are but two examples of the individual tragedies of war and the destruction of the poor and innocent for the profit and control of the wealthy and corrupt.

The rest of the review can be read here .

Bretigne Shaffer

My own answer to the question ‘why peace?’ is an easy one: Because I unconditionally oppose the killing of children, and because I do not believe the lie that it is ‘sometimes necessary,’ or that it can ever be ‘justified.’ I suppose I could add to this ‘…or innocent adults,’ since there is certainly nothing more moral or just about killing them. But for me it is the systematized and sanctioned killing of children that makes war intolerable.

‘Serious people’ aren’t supposed to bring this up when talking of war. In the days and weeks leading up to a war, we don’t hear the talking heads pontificating about the deaths of children. Instead, they ask how much the war will cost, how long it will last, what the goals are and whether ‘we’ will accomplish them.

Nobody ever asks, ‘how many children will we kill? How many will we maim? Mutilate? And how will we kill them? Will we blow them into little pieces with ‘smart bombs’? Will we poison them with toxic sprays? Will our soldiers shoot them in the head? How many will they rape first? And how many children will die simply because they no longer have access to clean drinking water, or because the hospitals have been destroyed?’

To ask these kinds of questions is to reveal oneself as a ‘kook,’ ‘naïve,’ a ‘bleeding heart’ and ‘unrealistic,’ and to lose any hope of being taken seriously in the debate. Yet what could possibly be more serious?

Among the footage from the US war on Iraq, there is a scene in an Iraqi hospital. In it, a man carries the body of a baby that is either dying or already dead. Not because the baby has been shot or because his or her home was bombed, but because as a result of the UN-imposed economic embargo, there is no medicine available to treat the baby’s condition. The look on the man’s face as he carries the bundled up child helplessly should haunt anyone who so much as missed one opportunity to speak out against that murderous policy…

Of all the lies that support war, one runs deeper than the others. It is a lie that was given to most of us at a very young age. It is a lie about who we are, what we are capable of and what is the true source of the violence in our world. It tries to make us believe that the way we live now – with our Officer Oglesbys and fire-bombings and economic embargoes and the cutting off of fingers of other people’s children – represents the natural order of things. That because we are such flawed beings, we can expect no better.

‘As long as humans have a proclivity for violence,’ this lie tells us, ‘there will always be war.’ This is utter nonsense. War does not persist because human beings are flawed or unenlightened, or even because we are violent or hate each other. Even if all of this is true about us, it does not explain war. War is not just another form of violence. It is the institutionalization of unrestrained violence with no meaningful accountability for those who inflict it.

Our problems are not caused by our flawed nature, but by flawed institutions. There will always be Officer Oglesbys in our world. There will always be some people who don’t mind using violence to get what they want. There will always be criminals. The question is whether we have systems that protect the rest of us from the criminals, or systems that enable and even encourage the real criminals, while criminalizing those who are peaceful…

But these institutions also eat away at our center. They eat away at who we are, conditioning us to accept force, violation and disrespect as part of our daily lives; to accept the doctrine that might makes right, and to believe that nothing else is possible. They tear us from our own centers, our own moral centers, our knowledge of who we are.

‘Why peace?’ The reasons to abhor war are numerous, from an unyielding belief in the sanctity of human life, to fears for our own children’s future. But the simplest answer, the most obvious answer, is the one that seems to elude most of us, either because we have forgotten it or had it ‘educated’ out of us: Because it’s what we’re made for.”

Marc Guttman is an emergency physician and a former candidate for state Senate in the 20th District on the Libertarian Party line. He lives in East Lyme, Ct. He is also the editor of Why Liberty.

Here is a Facebook page for the book.

4 thoughts on “Reviews and Discussion of “Why Peace” by Marc Guttman

  1. Alan Pyeatt

    This is an excellent (and timeless) book.

    Libertarians need to promote the hell out of peace, and this book provides plenty of material.

    Americans’ proclivity to warmongering is one of the most successful social engineering projects ever conceived. Every Memorial Day and Independence Day, we celebrate soldiers, and the only holiday we ever had to celebrate peace (Armistice Day) was converted into another war-glorifying holiday to increase support for the conflict in Korea. We are even conditioned so that when somebody mentions serving our country, it is automatically interpreted as military service, as though that was the only way to serve the country.

    It’s good to celebrate and honor our warriors, of course. We need brave men and women who are willing to fight to protect us. But we also need to value and honor peace, and our culture is WAY out of balance on the side of war.

    Marc Guttman has performed a wonderful service to partially counteract this lack of balance, by collecting the essays in “Why Peace?”

  2. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I’m honored that Karen Kwaitkowski shared this review on our site to her Facebook page. I’d love to see her join us here sometimes.

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