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The Peace Tax Seven

Modern Warfare and the Alternatives

Since time immemorial, governments have used war as an instrument of policy. In the modern age, using ever more sophisticated means, this has led to the civilian population being compelled to participate in preparing for war, and, increasingly, to become its major casualty. Training has played a key role as fighting techniques and more sophisticated technology have developed. This has meant fewer, more highly trained combatants, and a vastly increased amount of killing.

The Twentieth Century was the age of mass conscription, and the first industrial scale war happened in 1914. In the First World War, the majority of casualties were soldiers. But, in that war, combatants became airborne for the first time. By the time the Second World War started, aircraft were much more sophisticated. Bombing became a major strategic weapon. Civilians became the majority casualties for the first time. That trend has continued to grow.

It has been estimated that, in a conventional war of massed armies, 90% of the casualties were military personnel, and 10% were civilians. In modern warfare, this figure is reversed: 90% of casualties are civilians, and 10% are military personnel. For example, the occupying Coalition forces in Iraq have not even attempted to keep count of civilian casualties; approximately 900 soldiers have died. Current estimates suggest an estimated 11,000 civilians.

Mass conscription has now become a thing of the past in western countries. What is really needed most from civilians is their money, in the form of tax. Civilians pay compulsory military taxes, and in non-Western countries they are the most likely victims, but all civilians are powerless to influence the decisions, planning or outcome of any war. The ordinary civilian has paid for each war long before it is decided - on their behalf - who the enemy is, or what the conflict is to be about.

Read more on why war doesn't work...

But there is an alternative

Today there is a wealth of ideas and practical experience in non-violent resolution and transformation of conflict. Peacemaking, peace-building, peacekeeping, mediation and non-violent conflict resolution are tried and tested alternatives to the resolution of disagreements by mass violence.

The international growth in peacemaking has often gone unobserved. Headlines are not made by wars which do not happen. But in reality, thousands of people and communities owe their lives and existence to the expertise of peacemaking experts, groups and institutions.

Today, more than ever, war is never inevitable. Peacemaking, conflict resolution, and international development are better, more realistic, more humane and more cost-effective uses of public tax money than continued preparation for, and infliction of, mass destruction.

The PEACE TAX SEVEN are arguing for a legal way of channelling, in creative and beneficial ways, the tax that would otherwise be spent needlessly destroying lives and communities.

Click here to read about the peaceful alternatives to War...