Chuck Overby 2007 Japan Trip

My Dream of Article 9fs Potential Magic for All Humanity

[1]    Hello my dear Japanese Article 9 loving friends.  As the famous 19th  Century British author, Charles Dickens, said at the beginning of his novel on the French Revolution, The Tale of Two Cities, --

gIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair ch

[2]    Today as your Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lusts to destroy our gall humanityfs treasure,h Article 9, with President Bush and his neo gcon-menh enthusiastically encouraging him to hurry up and get it done –  it is difficult for me to see gthe best of timesh, gthe age of reason,h gthe season of light, or gthe spring of hope.h  I sense that we are in – gthe worst of times,h gthe age of foolishness,h gthe season of darkness,f and gthe winter of despairh -- on a multitude of dimensions, including prospects for Article 9fs longevity.

[3]    But, a sense of  gbad times,h gfoolishness,h gdarkness,h and gdespairh – and the anger and anguish that these feelings generate within us – might also be the gwomb of hopeh out of which dreams and creativity can lead us to non-violently overcome our anguish and despair.  After a brief elaboration on a few dimensions of our gstate of hopelessnessh – I will share a couple of kernels of hope and possibility with you – [1] a proposed US gVeterans for Peaceh (VFP) amendment to the United States Constitution modeled after your Article 9, and [2] some of my dreams for a Japan that demonstrates world-class leadership, with Article 9 as its badge of honor  in non-violent, non-military solutions of multitudes of contemporary species and Planet Earth problems (most all of which have no military solutions what-so-ever).

[4]    First, let me tell you how I was led by one of my favorite literary artistfs, US novelist Kurt Vonnegut  -- to the Charles Dickens quote with which I began this presentation.  Vonnegut cited Dickens gthe best and worst of timesh in a speech that he wrote in February, 2007.  Sadly he died on April 11th, before he could present it.  His son, Mark Vonnegut, read his speech for him at a memorial program honoring this creative iconoclastic United States literary artist. Here is a short excerpt from Vonnegutfs last speech that pithily says much on our US culture – and perhaps more broadly for cultures across the planet who now increasingly seem inclined to worship at the shrine of an unfettered so-called, gfree-marketh god.  Here it is.

gThere is good news and bad news tonight. This is the best of times and the worst of times. So what else is new? The bad news is that the Martians have landed in Manhattan and have checked in at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The good news is they only eat homeless people of all colors, and they pee gasoline.h
[5]    The insanity of present times can be illustrated with multitudes of examples, in addition to the one that mainly concerns us here -- Japanese and US governmental attempts to destroy Article 9 – and the mind-boggling consequences in Asia and around the world if Article 9 is emasculated.

[6]    Let me start with some of the unhappy things happening in Japan and then add a few other unhappy things about my culture that I have absorbed from 81 years of gbeingh as an American citizen and veteran of two of Americafs wars – World War II and Korea (B-29 combat pilot in Korea.).  Then I will emerge from this [gfoolishnessh-- gdarknessh -- and gdespairh] milieu of gbad timesh -- with my dream and hope for what Article 9 might mean for all of us on Planet Earth – if we as a species can keep your Japanese and my US governments from Article 9 homicide.  Along the way I will share some references with you where you might go to read more. Unfortunately, all my references are in the English language.

Some Abe Bad News

[7]    Prime Minister Abefs passion to change Article 9 and his current efforts to pass a greferendum billh to so as to pave the way for this eventuality – leaves me as a gaijin, confused, fearful, and angry.  

[8]    I am confused because I have found it almost impossible to find, in America, any information through our media, and even through our library systems – on this greferendum
bill.h  I have been scanning newspapers, weekly news magazines, and through Ohio University Alden Library for some time trying to find an English language version of the bill – so that I could read and try to understand what it is all about.  I have been able to read some of the pro and con commentary in the English language edition of The Japan Times, but unfortunately the bits and pieces that I have read leave me still being confused.  I have tried through some Japanese friends, both academic and non-academic ones and have received gbits and piecesh from some of them – but they also have not been able to produce an English language copy of this bill.

[9]     Thus, my dear Japanese Article 9 loving friends I am poorly informed about this latest step on the way to Article 9fs destruction – Abefs greferendum billh and also about other of his chauvinistic passions, for example – to dictate gpatriotismh with the December 2006 revision of Japanfs gFundamental Law of Education.h Therefore, I plead with you to help educate me on these very important matters here when I am with you in Japan.  For more information on my and Americafs ignorance in these matters, please see my endnotes .

[10]    I am fearful and angry because of the massive destabilization and resurgence of an arms race in Asia and, elsewhere in the world too, that will occur if and when Japan emasculates its promise to all those countries that it invaded and occupied in World War II to grenounce war as a sovereign right of the nation. That promise was Article 9.

More Bad News – US Brand

[11]    The US government is presently pushing the Japanese government, directly and indirectly, to kill A9 so that we can use Japanese soldiers to do our killing in wars in that region of the world, and elsewhere too.  Japanfs new conservative Prime Minister, Abe, is war-experientially ignorant.  He was born after WW-II so he has no experiential understanding of what it means to have all of Japanfs major cities flattened with fire bombing and of course – Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclearly vaporized.  Abe is presently lusting to emasculate Article 9 so that Japan can more freely join the USA in using its military fist around the world – sadly in situations that almost always have no military solutions.

[12]     Of course – we (the USA) stupidly assume that we will perpetually be supervising things for Japanfs wars. Meanwhile all of Asia – is becoming profoundly concerned about what is going on, and making preparations to increase military spending so as to counter Japanfs potential destruction of Article 9.  In many ways, as scholars like Chalmers Johnson have said, and with which I agree, Article 9 was Japanfs hugely significant apology to all if its neighbors – and to all humanity on Planet Earth for its war behavior in WW-II. This Article 9 apology, something that no other powerful nation has ever done for so long -- has been a significant contributor to stability in the region.

[13]    Japanfs wish to kill Article 9, and the resultant new arms race in Asia -- makes it financially wise to invest in US weaponfs manufacturerfs stock.  We have already enriched US companies like Raytheon who is significantly benefiting from the Bush administrationfs arrogant unilateral militarist international behavior with North Korea.   The USA has recently (summer of 2006) offered to provide Japan with 80 more of Raytheonfs Patriot interceptor missiles for Japanfs so-called ballistic missile shield -- and Japan has apparently agreed to buy them.  Raytheon stockholders smile all the way to the bank.  

More US Bad News –Oil-Resource Wars

[14]    The United States is currently engaged in a preemptive (and dominantly oil resource) high technology gShock and Aweh war on Iraq, enabled with the aid of Goebbelsian like governmental lies and propaganda.  This goil-resource-warh behaviorh arrogantly fails to address the real problem  – Americafs and the worldfs immensely wasteful and poorly designed resource consuming, ecosphere polluting, and global warming technology systems.  We fail by not seriously and strongly promoting -- research, development, production, and export of massively improved technology systems, including clean alternative energy sources – like solar with all its wonderful possibilities.  Much of that which we fail to do – I refer to as GTBD (Green Technology by Design.)   I also have another brief gMini-Topich paper with me on this trip, titled -- gArticle 9 and Resource War and Global Warming Preventionh -- that touches on GTBD.

[15]    Rather than clean up our own act and become less arrogantly profligate – we with our gbig-military-muscleh prefer to use military force to keep the oil flowing.  In so doing we also create a significant gfree-marketh failure.  The so-called gunfettered-free- marketh does not reflect the huge military fist subsidy for imported oil. Engineers draw erroneous conclusion when they do their engineering-economy gcalculus of pleasure and painh  (benefit/cost calculations) without including this unrecognized subsidy.

[16]    It is also difficult to adequately include gexternality costh in engineering-economy calculations – that is, the negative long term, commons , and gfuture-generationh costs in our choices of technology systems.  We gdiscountf the futureh – using compound interest methods called gdiscounted cash flow, etc.  

More US Bad News – RRW

[17]    The US government is rightly concerned with the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world. We currently focus on North Korea and Iran, conveniently overlooking recent gnukeh developments in Pakistan and India, and forgetting that we did not find gnuke developmenth in Iraq.  Nukes in Iraq was one of the chief stated reasons for our current  gshock and aweh preemptive war there – reasons that we increasingly learn were based on intelligence cooked to serve the ideological needs of Bushfs neo-gcon-men.h

[18]    Meanwhile the US prepares to further jeopardize international nuclear nonproliferation efforts by seeking to improve its nuclear arsenal with some things called the gReliable Replacement Warheadh (RRW) – and gComplex 2030.h

[19]    RRW refers to a new Bush Administration proposed program for designing and developing replacement warheads for our current abundant stock of 10,000 nuclear warheads. gComplex 2030h refers to a long term $150 billion gupgradeh for USfs nuclear weapons production system. 2030 is the proposed date of completion.

[20]    As the FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) says, gThe U.S. cannot in good faith call on other nations to stop the production of new nuclear weapons while U.S. scientists are spending billions to develop a new generation of deadly nuclear bombs.h

More US Bad News –US National Security Strategy & Rogue Statedness

[21]    These US behaviors and violations of international treaties remind me of what the National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS) says about grogue statesh-- those who violate international treaties etc.  If you have not looked at this short 31 page document, NSS, that was published on September 17, 2002 a year after the 9/11 tragedy – I encourage you to do so.  It lays out the rationale for most of the Bush Administrationfs arrogant, preemptive, and unilateralist actions up to the present. You might find it by typing its name into your web-browser – gNational Security Strategy of the United States of America.h   

[22]    Chapter V, page 14, the NSS discusses some of the attributes of grogue statesh – those who wish to harm us.  They are states who gc display no regard for international law, threaten their neighbors, and callously violate international treaties to which they are a party.h  My goodness, this excerpt seems to quite well define the United States itself.  To understand this, let me list just a few of the USAfs recent disregards of international law and treaties to which we are a party.  [1] The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (the US has never ratified this treaty and is now planning to build gmini-nukesh for preemptive deep underground strikes – a destabilizing act that may well unleash a new round of nuclear testing); [2] The Mine Ban Treaty; [3] The Chemical Weapons Convention; [4] The Bioweapons Protocol; [5] The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (Bush unilaterally withdrew the US from this treaty so as to push ahead with missile defense systems); [6] The Child Soldiers Protocol; [7] The International Criminal Court; [8] The Small Arms Action Plan; [9] The Kyoto Protocol; [10] The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

More US and Japan Bad News – North Korea

[23]    I know that you in Japan have some special concerns with respect to North Korea that get you excited.  Let me mention just two of them -- [1] a stupid abduction of a few Japanese citizens by North Korea many years ago, and [2] nuclear bomb and missile developments in North Korea.  I will come back to these two issues shortly, but first I think we need to briefly examine the nature of the instability on the Korean peninsula.  I think that a significant part of the instability problem with North Korea arises out of US policy there for over a half century. Please see my web site,  for an elaboration in other papers on this North Korea issue – especially the papers for my 2003 and 2005 trips to Japan.

[24]    The USA has been threatening this geconomically very poorh country, North Korea, for the past half century, including nuclear threats, while it refuses to sit down and work bilaterally with North Korea on a peace treaty to replace the July 27, 1953 truce. The USA has not been supportive of former South Korean president Kim Dae Jungfs hopeful and creative so-called gSunshine Policyh of creative engagement with the North.  Nor has the US been supportive of Kim Dae Jungfs successor, Roh Moo-Hyunfs interest in continuing to reach out to the North in creative engagement rather than with threats of violence. With relatively few exceptions, the USfs policy with North Korea has been one of threats of violence.  

[25]    One exception to this generally steady US policy of threats of violence came in 1994 when former President Jimmy Carter (with some displeasure from the Clinton Administration) brokered a deal with the North, called the gAgreed Frameworkh in which the Northfs nuclear ambitions would be set aside in return for several changes in US behavior. Things were slowly working their way toward some kind of a non-violent resolution of the so-called North Korean problem – then in 2000 came a new President, Bush and his neo-gcon-men,h and President Bushfs appointment of John Bolton, a neo-con ideologue of the fiercest kind as gUndersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.h   Almost immediately there was a change in US policy when in October 2002 the US accused the North of cheating on its obligations under the 1994 gAgreed Framework.h There has been much discussion on this October 2002 charge by the Bush Administration that signaled a more militant approach to North Korea -- with some feeling that it was based on shaky, perhaps ideologically driven intelligence information, similar to the flawed intelligence argument for our gShock and Aweh attack on Iraq to get Saddamfs nuclear weapons – that turned out not to be there.

The Abduction Issue

[26]    The abduction issue is a sad one for those poor people who were abducted, and for their families -- and it was a stupid act by North Korea.  Your press, TV, and other media, as is also true in America -- find these kinds of tragic stories helpful in selling newspapers and in attracting viewers in search of titillation to fill a bit of the void in perhaps somewhat vacuous and profligate consumption driven lives.

[27]    Your government, also as in America, likes tragedies as means to keep people distracted from other truly significant and genuine societal problems and/or to keep them angry at and fearful of gan enemyh or a gpotential enemyh so as to make it easier to do other things – in Japanfs case, to help make a case for emasculating Article 9 and/or to spend much money on worthless missile defense systems that enrich US weapons companies like Raytheon.  The August 25, 2006 Japan Times, English language edition tells that Japan is ready and willing to buy 80 more US made Patriot missiles. Raytheon stockholders love the money – they clap their hands all the way to the bank.

[28]    George Orwell in his book, 1984 so aptly illustrated these kinds of media and governmental manipulations.

[29]    The sad Terri Schiavo case in March 2005 – where a tragically brain-dead Florida woman who had been kept alive on a machine – became a media frenzy that sold many newspapers and glued many Americans to their TV sets.  It also helped President Bush, for a little while, to distract US citizens from his disastrous Iraqi gShock and Aweh war failure -- based on lies and ideologically gcooked-uph intelligence information.

[30]    It seems to me that reasonable and rational persons might relatively easily resolve this sorry North Korea abduction issue quite easily, if there was a will to do so. One must also put this abduction matter in perspective.  Surely it is not quite as serious as was Japanfs 35 year colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945 – an occupation that was blessed by then President Theodore Roosevelt – in such a way as to have it earn him an early Nobel Peace Prize.  How incongruously strange things can be.

The Missile and Nuclear Weapons Issue

[31]    Korean missile and nuclear bomb developments frightens Japanese citizens so that it makes it easier for your government to emasculate Article 9 and to buy worthless missile defense systems from America. My goodness, if I were some kind of a grogue state,h as the US characterizes North Korea, or if I was just some non-national group like Al-Qaeda, who wanted to destroy a city with a nuclear bomb – I surely not be so stupid as to try and do it with a primitive North Korean missile like the one that recently flew across Japan. Rather than a missile to deliver my bomb, I think I would choose to carry it to my chosen site in a suitcase or some other unobtrusive kind of container.  Perhaps we should have our US Department of Defense (DOD) ask US universities and colleges of engineering to submit research and development proposals for a gsuitcase bomb defense shieldh (SBDS) rather than a gmissile defense systemh (MDS).  This could be a nice new DOD, R&D boondoggle.

    Now for a tiny bit of gGood Newsh -- one item, and then my gArticle 9 Dream.h
Some Good News – A VFP Proposed US Constitutional Amendment Based on Article 9

[32]    In the above gbad newsh that I have above presented to you, it is difficult for me to understand how any leader of a major economic power such as Japan could see it in his or her nationfs interest to align itself with the incompetent bungling, stumbling, arrogant, militarist, and unilateralist international behavior presently being demonstrated by my nation, the USA. Why, I ask myself, could Japanfs leaders, wish to make themselves subservient to a grogue stateh like the USA by seeking to become a so-called gnormal nationh once again. gNormal Nationh means – a nation that can go around the world using its military fist as its chief means to get its way.  I do not have an answer to my question. Perhaps you can tell me why.

[33    It is also very difficult to find examples of ggood newsh to share with you.  Let me share just one thing with which I have personally been involved -- my 16 year effort to get a new constitutional amendment introduced in our US Congress, modeled after your great Article 9 Wisdom. On May 21, 2007 -- I placed in the US Postal Mail System, 535 letters to our Congress (100 in the Senate and 435 in the US House of Representatives) asking them to introduce an Article 9 type of war-renouncing clause for debate and for reading into the Congressional Record, the official record of Congressional business. This proposal was endorsed by a US veteranfs organization to which I belong – Veterans for Peace.

[34]    I have prepared another gMini-Topicf on the matter – a short four page document that I hope will be available to each of you if you wish a copy.  It is titled, gVFP Constitutional Amendment Proposal,h and contains [1] some discussion on how this came to be, [2] a copy of the VFP letter to Congress asking that this be done, and finally [3] a copy of the proposed amendment.  I will briefly say a few things about this proposed amendment, and read the amendment itself. Please note that I do not expect anything significant to happen with this proposal to the Congress – but it is a beginning at something that all nations on Planet Earth must come to do if we are not to become as lifeless as Planet Mars.   Now on to my Article 9 Dream.

More Good News -- My Dream of Article 9fs Potential Magic for All Humanity

[35]    At the beginning of this paper before I unloaded much gbad newsh on you I said that a sense of gbad times,h gfoolishness,h gdarkness,h and gdespairh – and the anger and anguish that these feelings generate within us – might also be the gwomb of hopeh out of which dreams and creativity can lead us to non-violently overcome our anguish and despair.  Now let me share some of my dream for a kind of a Japan different from the one that Prime Minister Abe and other current Japanese political leaders seem to seek – namely that Japan become again a so-called gnormal nationh – one that gets its way in international relations with military force – and one that does so under the USAfs wing.

[36]    I have a dream that one day Japan might rise to the magnificent opportunity that fate has tossed its way – and with Article 9 as its badge of honor creatively demonstrate, as the only major economic power on Planet Earth with this wisdom in its constitution – alternative non-violent and non-military means for coping with the multitude of problems that we as a species face – almost none of which have military solutions.

[37]    I see Article 9 as not belonging to just Japan. I see it as most all humanityfs cry for an end to that dominantly masculine brutal obscenity called war. I see Article 9 as an ideal that our species must grow-up to concretely and creatively embrace, so as not to eliminate ourselves and all other life on our planet – either [1] with our multitudinous engineering and scientific gweapons of mass destructionh (WMD) creations,h or through [2] ecosphere pollution and global warming as we profligately and mindlessly worship at the shrine of our profligate gconsumptionh god.

[38]    Neither of these dismal prospects need become reality, if somehow we as a species can keep Article 9 alive with Japan as a living and working demonstrator of what might be possible. What is wrong with all the other nations on our planet – allowing Japan to demonstrate non-violent, non-military solutions for most of the problems we face?  What if somehow we could build a consensus around the world that we must encourage and allow one nation on that hopeful potential inherent in all that Article 9 implies.

[39]    What is wrong with all the other nations on Planet Earth allowing and encouraging Japan, with Article 9 as its badge of honor, to safely demonstrate for the rest of the world what might be done non-militarily and non-violently to cope with multitudes of earthfs problems.  I use the words gsafely demonstrateh to indicate that somehow, all other nations must collectively guarantee Japanfs safety as it is allowed to show the way. If a reconstituted and more democratic United Nations can come to be, then the UN itself might be that guarantor.

[40]    Until that time, as a starter -- can we imagine all or most all Asian nations collectively agreeing to guarantee that none of them will attack Japan, if Japan does not destroy Article 9, but rather embraces it and proceeds to shift resources away from its SDF and into demonstrating non-military and non-violent means to address problems on our planet?  These problems range from global warming and resource war prevention -- to leading the way, as the only nation to have been assaulted with nuclear weapons, in using and enforcing Articles 6 and 7 of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  Articles 6 and 7 of the NPT read as follows –

[41]    Article 6 -- gEach of the parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international controlh

[42]    Article 7 -- -- gNothing in this Treaty affects the right of any group of States to conclude regional treaties in order to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories.h

[43]    I expand a little on the idea of Japan as a leader in global warming and resource war prevention in my separate, gMini-Topich paper titled – gArticle 9 – And Resource War and Global Warming – Prevention.h  This paper should be available to anyone who wishes a copy of it.

[44]    In our book, A Call For Peace, starting on page 137, I list and amplify on many more kinds of activities that a Japan with Article 9 as its badge of honor might do around the world as its non-violent, non-military means for bringing peace and justice to Planet Earth.  Here is a partial short list of the multitudes of things that might be done in nonviolence –

[45]     [1] experiment with and practice preventive diplomacy and other forms of war prevention; work to -- [2] reduce population growth; [3]  assist social and economic development;[4] overcome world hunger and poverty; [5] cope with massive refugee problems; [6] reduce human rights violations; [7] reduce nuclear arsenals to zero; [8] stop international trade in conventional weapons, [9] educate for non-violent action and conflict resolution; [10] defend the nation with Civilian Based Defense (CBD) as outlined by Gene Sharp; [11] preserve and conserve natural resources, reduce environmental degradation, design, manufacture, and market gGreen Technology By Designh – GTBD

[46]    If we can find a way to move Japan in this direction rather than the path that Prime Minister Abe seems to wish for her – most all people on Planet Earth will rise in gracious gWonder and Aweh at such behavior and CRY -- gTHANK YOU JAPAN FOR IMPLEMENTING YOUR WONDERFUL ARTICLE 9 GIFT TO ALL HUMANITY.h

[47]    Unfortunately, almost no one on earth has ever heard of your wonderful Article 9 – even much less have they any idea what-so-ever as to the multitudes of non-violent, non-military things that Japan might do so as to help bring peace and justice to our planet.—with Article 9 as its badge of honor and moral guide. Also, almost nobody on Planet Earth knows about the passionate ways that Japan and the USA seek to destroy Article 9. Your government and my government and most governments are so massively addicted to that age old outmoded idea of a gnational right of belligerencyh -- that we are faced with a humongous challenge – to educate the planet about Article 9 and most importantly about all it might mean if only we can get many of the rest of the nations to encourage Japan to keep Article 9 alive and let it be their guide.

[48]    Thus – I make a wildly magnificent proposal that we must find ways and means to create a gsomethingh whose objective will be to raise one billion US dollars within the next two years -- to be used to educate  Planet Earth about Article 9 and all the wonderful non-violent, non-military things that Japan might do for peace and justice – if she can be persuaded to take Article 9 as her badge of honor and demonstrate for all the other nations how we might put an end to our love for grules of warh in favor of Japanfs Article 9 grules of law.h

[49]    A billion US dollars is what it costs for six or seven F-18 military fighter aircraft.   I think if we can resolutely and seriously get our act together – we can do it. I hereby start this fund-raising with my initial offer of $5,000. All we need to do now is find another 200,000 donors with $5,000 each, or a few with nice larger gifts -- to help us spread the Article 9 message around the world and generate some strong commitments by others to keep it alive.  Let us think about this.

[50]    With these funds we need to hire a truly outstanding Public Relations (PR) firm and have them creatively help us educate Planet Earth on this magnificently beautiful and wonderful wisdom Article 9, and on how we as a species must generate massive world opinion and energetic actions so as to keep it from being killed by your Japanese and by my United States governments.

[51]    Let me end this too long a paper with the hope that you all might read what I have to say, beginning on page 37 of the new preface for our re-issued book, A Call For Peace.   Here I talk about some additional notes of optimism – [1] our need to harness the creativeness and energy of our youth in these endeavors to save Article 9, and [2] our need to reach out in an inclusive mode so as to encompass the growing numbers of new Article 9 support groups that are springing up around Japan to protest its potential destruction.  I am especially interested in how we might capture and enlist the creative artistry of youth across Planet Earth, in our efforts to save Article 9.  I am specifically asking for youth who are so gifted in their use of computer and Internet technology and systems -- to bring their creative minds and spirit (with feelings of exuberance) to help us inform and motivate Planet Earth to demand that the US and Japanese government stop trying to kill Article 9 – and to allow Japan to demonstrate world-class non-violent, non-military means to prevent wars, ecosphere pollution, and global warming, as its contribution to world peace and justice for this planetfs family of woman and man.

It is so absolutely important that we save Article 9 -- we cannot let it die.


            Chuck Overby