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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Katherine Kersten on Peace and Norwegians

Category: Kersten
Posted: 01/30/08 19:04

by Dave Mindeman

The world of Katherine Kersten must be a colorless void. Everything is black and white. Her observation of the world is this: there is the right view (mine) and everyone else's.

Kersten generally shrouds everything in a semi-religious context. Only the people who have true moral beliefs "get it"... and everything else is to be criticized or dismissed.

So it is with her view of Rep. Keith Ellison and his affirmation of his support for the Department of Peace. He is living in a "pie in the sky" fantasy world that has no relevance. She even takes it one step furthur by chastising the entire country of Norway. Take heed Norwegians... you have been challenged.

Kersten and her "ilk" always criticize the Department of Peace proposal as if it has the power to somehow replace the entire "military industrial complex". We have plenty of war machinery... after all, the Defense Dept (which should more appropriately go back to its original name -- the War Department) gets the bulk of our Federal taxes every year. There is certainly no shortage of administrative will for war. The Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs, the CIA, the NSA, and a multitude of alphabetical names, all coalesce around the need to destroy.

Even the State Department, which in theory, was supposed to act as a counter balance to the military arm of the country has diminished influence. Diplomacy is dead, long live pre-emptive war.

To Kersten, a Peace Dept shows a dangerous sense of weakness. Which is why she brings Norway into the conversation.... the place that Rep. Ellison visited to study "peacemaking". Norway has promoted peaceful solutions for over a century. They use their resources to provide for its citizenry....and very little on defense. Kersten points out that the Norwegian government tried vainly to maintain a policy of neutrality in World War II, only to be swallowed up in the Nazi blitzkrieg. A fate that encompassed all of Europe.. whether they were fighting back or not.

Before Kersten disdainfully dismisses the "peaceniks" of Norway, she might want to read up on the Norwegian resistance. Especially operations entitled "Grouse" and "Gunnerside". These two military sabotage operations successfully foiled the Nazis research into "heavy water" or Plutonium 239 (The Germans had a plant in Norway where they could get proper supplies of ammonia)....possibly saving the world a Nazi atomic threat.

The story details how members of the Norwegian underground were dropped behind enemy lines and made preparations for a military assault team. The British assault team was to come by glider but the cable connecting it to the main plane was severed. They crash landed with several injuries. Before the Norwegians could rescue them, the Gestapo captured them and tortured them mercilessly. The Norwegians escaped to the mountains and suffered a long ordeal surviving a hard winter. After the winter, however, it was learned that the team was still alive and a few more Norwegian commando reinforcements were parachuted in.

During the time since the first failed attempt, the Nazis had increased security for the plant heavily. But the saboteurs found an old rail line that entered a lower level of the plant. The Nazi troops were either unaware of it or not worried about it because it was unguarded. They made their way to the electrolysis chambers of the facility, planted their charges and made their escape. They left a British machine gun behind to make it look like it was a British plot and hopefully lessen the retaliation on the local populace. The damage pushed the research project way behind and allowed the allies to keep the Nazis away from the nuclear age.

Not bad for a bunch of peaceniks, eh?

The point here is that promoting peace is not a substitute for fighting tyranny.... but it is a method of preventing tyrannical ideas from growing. The Bush administration has proven that even our own government can lead us down a destructive path if we don't have other voices and methods available.

Debating policy requires more than one voice or one idea. A Defense Department should and must prepare us for the ever present possibility of war. But we should also have a department that promotes resolution without conflict and cultural understanding without mistrust.

I can't think of a better name than...the Department of Peace.
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