Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Department of Peace and Nonviolence?

While I am a big fan of peace, and think that violence should usually be a last option, I am astonished at this piece of legislation proposed by Kucinich.

It has 59 cosponsors so far.

A. We DON"T need another federal department.
B. Peace and nonviolence, while admirable goals, are not the way to get things done as a Country!
C. Orwell much?



(a) Establishment- There is hereby established a Department of Peace and Nonviolence (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the `Department'), which shall--

(1) be a cabinet-level department in the executive branch of the Federal Government; and

(2) be dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to both domestic and international peace.

(b) Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence- There shall be at the head of the Department a Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the `Secretary'), who shall be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(c) Mission- The Department shall--

(1) hold peace as an organizing principle, coordinating service to every level of American society;

(2) endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights;

(3) strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking;

(4) promote the development of human potential;

(5) work to create peace, prevent violence, divert from armed conflict, use field-tested programs, and develop new structures in nonviolent dispute resolution;

(6) take a proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict, and structured mediation of conflict;

(7) address matters both domestic and international in scope; and

(8) encourage the development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups, and nongovernmental organizations.


(a) In General- The Secretary shall--

(1) work proactively and interactively with each branch of the Federal Government on all policy matters relating to conditions of peace;

(2) serve as a delegate to the National Security Council;

(3) call on the intellectual and spiritual wealth of the people of the United States and seek participation in its administration and in its development of policy from private, public, and nongovernmental organizations; and

(4) monitor and analyze causative principles of conflict and make policy recommendations for developing and maintaining peaceful conduct.

(b) Domestic Responsibilities- The Secretary shall--

(1) develop policies that address domestic violence, including spousal abuse, child abuse, and mistreatment of the elderly;

(2) create new policies and incorporate existing programs that reduce drug and alcohol abuse;

(3) develop new policies and incorporate existing policies regarding crime, punishment, and rehabilitation;

(4) develop policies to address violence against animals;

(5) analyze existing policies, employ successful, field-tested programs, and develop new approaches for dealing with the implements of violence, including gun-related violence and the overwhelming presence of handguns;(6) develop new programs that relate to the societal challenges of school violence, gangs, racial or ethnic violence, violence against gays and lesbians, and police-community relations disputes;

(7) make policy recommendations to the Attorney General regarding civil rights and labor law;

(8) assist in the establishment and funding of community-based violence prevention programs, including violence prevention counseling and peer mediation in schools;

(9) counsel and advocate on behalf of women victimized by violence;

(10) provide for public education programs and counseling strategies concerning hate crimes;

(11) promote racial, religious, and ethnic tolerance;

(12) finance local community initiatives that can draw on neighborhood resources to create peace projects that facilitate the development of conflict resolution at a national level and thereby inform and inspire national policy; and

(13) provide ethical-based and value-based analyses to the Department of Defense.

(c) International Responsibilities- The Secretary shall--

(1) advise the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State on all matters relating to national security, including the protection of human rights and the prevention of, amelioration of, and de-escalation of unarmed and armed international conflict;

(2) provide for the training of all United States personnel who administer postconflict reconstruction and demobilization in war-torn societies;

(3) sponsor country and regional conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives, create special task forces, and draw on local, regional, and national expertise to develop plans and programs for addressing the root sources of conflict in troubled areas;

(4) provide for exchanges between the United States and other nations of individuals who endeavor to develop domestic and international peace-based initiatives;

(5) encourage the development of international sister city programs, pairing United States cities with cities around the globe for artistic, cultural, economic, educational, and faith-based exchanges;

(6) administer the training of civilian peacekeepers who participate in multinational nonviolent police forces and support civilian police who participate in peacekeeping;

(7) jointly with the Secretary of the Treasury, strengthen peace enforcement through hiring and training monitors and investigators to help with the enforcement of international arms embargoes;

(8) facilitate the development of peace summits at which parties to a conflict may gather under carefully prepared conditions to promote nonviolent communication and mutually beneficial solutions;

(9) submit to the President recommendations for reductions in weapons of mass destruction, and make annual reports to the President on the sale of arms from the United States to other nations, with analysis of the impact of such sales on the defense of the United States and how such sales affect peace;

(10) in consultation with the Secretary of State, develop strategies for sustainability and management of the distribution of international funds; and

(11) advise the United States Ambassador to the United Nations on matters pertaining to the United Nations Security Council.

(d) Human Security Responsibilities- The Secretary shall address and offer nonviolent conflict resolution strategies to all relevant parties on issues of human security if such security is threatened by conflict, whether such conflict is geographic, religious, ethnic, racial, or class-based in its origin, derives from economic concerns (including trade or maldistribution of wealth), or is initiated through disputes concerning scarcity of natural resources (such as water and energy resources), food, trade, or environmental concerns.

(e) Media-Related Responsibilities- Respecting the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and the requirement for free and independent media, the Secretary shall--

(1) seek assistance in the design and implementation of nonviolent policies from media professionals;

(2) study the role of the media in the escalation and de-escalation of conflict at domestic and international levels and make findings public; and

(3) make recommendations to professional media organizations in order to provide opportunities to increase media awareness of peace-building initiatives.

(f) Educational Responsibilities- The Secretary shall--

(1) develop a peace education curriculum, which shall include studies of--

(A) the civil rights movement in the United States and throughout the world, with special emphasis on how individual endeavor and involvement have contributed to advancements in peace and justice; and

(B) peace agreements and circumstances in which peaceful intervention has worked to stop conflict;

(2) in cooperation with the Secretary of Education--

(A) commission the development of such curricula and make such curricula available to local school districts to enable the utilization of peace education objectives at all elementary and secondary schools in the United States; and

(B) offer incentives in the form of grants and training to encourage the development of State peace curricula and assist schools in applying for such curricula;

(3) work with educators to equip students to become skilled in achieving peace through reflection, and facilitate instruction in the ways of peaceful conflict resolution;

(4) maintain a site on the Internet for the purposes of soliciting and receiving ideas for the development of peace from the wealth of political, social and cultural diversity;

(5) proactively engage the critical thinking capabilities of grade school, high school, and college students and teachers through the Internet and other media and issue periodic reports concerning submissions;

(6) create and establish a Peace Academy, which shall--

(A) be modeled after the military service academies;

(B) provide a 4-year course of instruction in peace education, after which graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution; and

(7) provide grants for peace studies departments in colleges and universities throughout the United States.


(a) Under Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence- There shall be in the Department an Under Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. During the absence or disability of the Secretary, or in the event of a vacancy in the office of the Secretary, the Under Secretary shall act as Secretary. The Secretary shall designate the order in which other officials

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