Act of reducing or depriving of arms
Over the course of our other discussions we have talked about war and weapons. We have even talked about the manufacture of guns, and how life would be a lot nicer (and less bloody) if we just stopped making the stupid things! Sorry, but sometimes the human idiocy knows know bounds.
So anyway, here we are, left with tens of millions of pistols, automatic rifles, rocket launchers, surface to air missiles, tanks, anti-personnel mines, grenades, cruise missiles, and last but not least., will you please give a warm welcome to everybody’s favourite deterrent… The intercontinental nuclear missile!
So there you have it. It’s not a complete list by any means, and there are always new weapons being developed all the time, after all, it is a business you know, and people have to make a living to feed their families!
There is no corner of the globe untouched by guns and weapons. Some are in daily use, others are stockpiled “just in case.” So let us begin our discussion. Let us attempt to find out why it is man can’t get rid of his arms (actually, if he got rid of his arms, he would find it difficult to fire a gun. There’s an idea!)
I can’t disarm. It’s impossible
So I called up a couple of countries, and asked them why they couldn’t just get rid of all the weapons that they, as countries, held. Obviously there will still be some illegal weapons, but we can’t help that for now. This is a transcript of the conversations.
Me: Hello, is that the head of the armed forces?
Chief: Speaking. What can I do for you?
Me: Look, I know you’ve probably heard question this a million times from the ‘anti-war lot.’
Chief: Yeah, them, they can be a right pain in the ass!
Me: Tell me about it. Always complaining about something. But look, I really want to ask you a serious question. Why can’t you just disarm. I mean get rid of all of your weapons? It seems kind of stupid to me. I know we can’t all get on all the time, but having all these things to kill people makes it worse don’t you think?
Chief: Look, I’ll be straight with you as you seem like a decent guy. We don’t need weapons, we need them just in case anyone attacks us.
Me: But why? Surely if everyone has no weapons whose going to risk attacking with spears and swords. Actually forget I said that, I forgot what they used to wage war with.
Chief: Yeah, I wondered if you’d spot that! Look, even if you manage to get everyone in the world to give up their big weapons, they are just the modern day equivalent of swords and knives – they do the same job at a further distance. I’m sure if you had been in a medieval battle you would have realised that some of the weapons they used were far more gruesome than ones employed today, and remember that people will always have knives.
Me: I’m sure. But it doesn’t answer my question, why don’t you do as the anti-war protesters have been asking you to do, and disarm?
Chief: Look one day, some lunatic with a bomb, or even a sword, is going to come over here and attempt to conquer us. We can’t allow that, we have a responsibility to the people.
Me: But what if the people didn’t want these weapons?
Chief: Look, don’t be so naive. If the people didn’t want a country with an army or weapons they wouldn’t have voted this government in. They would have voted some other party whose manifesto is to disband the army and get rid of all weapons.
Me: So it’s the people’s fault?
Chief: Ha ha. Sure is. Any other questions?
Me: No, no. I’m done. Thanks for your time.
Chief: (still laughing) It’s been my pleasure.
So I hung up the phone trying to understand what had just been said to me, and it became clear that it was not the government’s fault, or the army’s fault. The people (in a democracy) vote for the government and parliament makes the laws. So all they had to do was pass a law to get rid of all the weapons, and we would be free. But something was still troubling me. Something the chief had said to me earlier. So I decided to make another call, this time to a different country (democratic).
Me: Hello. Is that the chief of the armed forces?
Chief 2: Yes, it is. Who am I speaking to?
Me: Oh, you don’t know me, my name’s alan, and I’m calling you about disarmament.
Chief 2: (not sounding very happy) Disarmament? How did you get my number?
Me: That doesn’t matter. Can you spare two minutes of your time for me?
Chief 2: I suppose so, but make it quick, I’m a busy man.
Me: I’m sure you are, so here’s the thing. In order to further the human race, and all who inhabit this earth. I thought it would be a good idea if everyone just disarmed and destroyed all their weapons.
Chief 2: Ha! That’s a joke; why would any army do that? They need their weapons. And anyway, anything can be made into a weapon, you don’t have to buy machine guns. For thousands of years armies have been fighting each other, you don’t think they had tanks and mines back then, do you? (lightening up a little) We are an army, our job is to fight and destroy the enemy, we don’t need any ‘special’ weapons, we have our soldiers. So as long as there is an army, disarming all the modern weapons doesn’t make any difference. My men can fight hand to hand if they have to.
Me: But what if we got rid of the army?
Chief 2: Why would you want to do a stupid thing like that after all the army has done for you and your anti-war friends! This conversation is ended.
So that was the end of that. It didn’t matter if we got rid of all the weapons as I think he said they could still fight, “hand to hand,” if they have to. Well, I agree with him that anything can be a weapon, but modern weapons can kill more people. And if the army can fight hand to hand, then they’re going to go in and kill everyone anyway. So disarming is pointless. It makes no difference if we keep the weapons or not. I decided to make one last call, this time to a communist dictatorship.
Me: Hello, is that the chief of the armed forces?
Chief 3: Yes, to whom am I speaking?
Me: This is alan, from england, and I want to talk to you about disarmament. Do you have a couple of minutes to talk?
Chief 3: Well, ok. Seeing as you are on the phone. Go ahead.
Me: I have spoken to two different armed forces chiefs, but they were from democratic countries, so I thought I would get a view from a different angle, you know from a dictatorship?
Chief 3: Ah, I’m sure my democratic friends had some interesting viewpoint, no? But let me tell you, We are not so different from them.
Me: How so? I thought you brutally put down any kind of rebellion – that you killed people, or imprisoned them, because they do not agree with your views.
Chief 3: My friend, they are not my views. I am a mere soldier. I just follow orders. There are people in power who decide what is law. It is the same in your country, no? You cannot just stage an uprising against the government without any response from the Army can you? You cannot riot without it being put down. If you become a threat to their power, you too will have to go. They walk around in their expensive suits looking meek and mild, but because we wear our uniform you think we are more brutal. But at least we show who we really are. We make no pretences. We say: ‘If you do not obey our laws we will have to deal with you.’ It is the same in your country. The press just makes us look bad, so that your leaders look good!
Me: But at least in our country people get the vote!
Chief 3: And who do they vote for? The same people every time. The names of the parties may change occasionally, but the people do not. These are people in the power business. That’s all. They won’t let anyone get in their way. So they tell you you have control of who gets into power, but someone is always in power, over you, ready to use whatever it takes to put you down if you try to revolt. It is the same here. But didn’t you want to talk about disarmament?
Me: No, thank you, I don’t think it matters anymore. Goodbye.
As I put the phone down it became clear. This had nothing to do with disarmament. It didn’t matter if we got rid of all the weapons. As long as the army still existed, it would fight with what ever it had to hand if it needed to, and the army would fight, because that is what they were paid to do.
Not paid to protect the people, but to preserve those in power; those who control us. And would they agree to disarming? No, of course not, because all these new weapons just make it a lot easier to control us (oh, sorry, and save us from all our enemies, who are actually not our enemies, but theirs.)
You see, although the army may be good at hand to hand contact, there’s a lot more of us than there is of them. So it wouldn’t be a fair fight. Giving the army automatic weapons kind of evens things up a bit. Twenty of us against one of him. No contest. We win. One of him with a machine gun against twenty of us. No contest. He wins hands down. And order is restored!
There will never be a time when I can see the leaders of any country giving up all their weapons, because they are their power base. They need something that others haven’t got, so they can stay in power. Whether it be swords or crossbows, machine guns or nuclear weapons, the only reason the weapons are there are to protect the powerful.
I realised in a flash what needed to be done. Those in power needed to go if we were ever to get rid of all these terribly destructive weapons. But not a revolution, that is just guns meeting guns. Some ex-communist countries had revolutions where those in power were removed by millions of people demonstrating. But what happened? The old people in power were replaced by new people in power. They still have armies to control the people, and plenty of weapons. And so the cycle continues. What had to happen was the removal of power which is in itself a weapon. How would we be able to achieve that?
Well, we certainly wouldn’t be able to think our way out of this difficulty which is causing people to suffer all over the world. We would need to find out what it is that attracts man to power, and in understanding it deeply, be able to dismantle it once and for all. But first, let us find out what it means to be powerful.