A messenger brings us news of a proposal being generated from within the basement meeting rooms at the Pentagon (or ….someplace) for reforming the pension arrangements for the US military. Apparently as part of the initiatives begun at the start of the Obama Administration to reduce the size, scope and cost of the US defense establishment, an advisory committee known as the Defense Business Board, which most everyday Americans had no clue existed, but which has been in existence by law for forty years, is recommending that the 20-and-out option be scuttled, and other major revisions be adopted.
We have no concrete opinions on this or any other proposals from the Defense Business Board, though we will note that it does seem odd that in time of conflict and peril to the nation, there have been more and more proposals crop up to whittle away at the financial support structure of the US military, as well as its traditions, and heretofore conventional acceptance of the need to maintain sufficient force levels, materiel and programs to provide for the nation’s defense. But our curiosity was piqued at the discovery of this Defense Business Board and so we looked it up. As we do with other outfits that come to our attention, we look to it’s members and their backgrounds to give us a clue as to where they’re coming from. Often, just for fun, we pick a few at random just to see what their life experiences and influences may be. Sometimes, the results are a little jolting.
In this case, we sampled a few of the Senior Fellows and Board members of the Defense Business Board. Pretty impressive resumes of all, and, as you would expect, former military people in the mix. One thing that struck us is that more than a few are members of, or serve in some capacity at, the Council on Foreign Relations. We aren’t focusing on that today, except to note in passing that some pretigious members of the Council on Foreign Relations are…..Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Fareed Zakaria and ……….Angelina Jolie. Impressive list, no?
When we took a peek at DBB Board Member Owsley Brown II, though, we were momentarily taken aback. For in addition to Mr. Brown’s sterling pedigree, he has a curious affiliation that could, if one wanted to be cynical, explain the origins of some of the more baffling initiatives cropping up in recent months regarding our military. You see, Mr. Brown is an International Trustee of the World Conference on Religions for Peace. If you take a look at the makeup of a lot of the boards and commissions advising the US government these days, you will see the words ‘international’ and ‘global’ in the bios of a lot of these boffo performers and academics. But we suspect, or hope, that it’s still somewhat uncommon to find someone so closely linked to the decisions made regarding the future of the nation’s defense to be not just a card-carrying member, but international trustee, of a group that has as it’s mission statement …
“Religions for Peace is the largest global coalition of representatives from the world’s great religions, dedicated to an enduring mission….STOP WAR-END POVERTY-PROTECT THE EARTH.”
It is not noted what specific religion Mr. Brown considers himself a member of, and to be associated with a group that wants everybody to get along, share and not litter is certainly not a crime, nor does it prohibit one from serving one’s country. But certainly those who state that they want to serve their country, famous examples of which would be John F. Kennedy running for President fifty years ago or Mitt Romney today, did and do receive examinations and questions and speculations about how their backgrounds and religious affiliations and associations would affect their service. Likewise, we don’t think it beyond the pale to ask if someone appointed to advise the US defense establishment which fork in the road it needs to take really, really and truly, in his heart of hearts, wants that establishment to be successful in it’s mission.
The reason we say that is the World Conference of Religions for Peace has these things called World Assemblies and they happen every five years and out of these things come what are called ‘Declarations’. We ask the reader to note this example from the Kyoto Declaration (not to be confused with the environmental ‘Kyoto Protocols’, but interesting to be back home in good old Kyoto again, yes?) which came out of the First World Assembly back in 1970:
We cannot honestly denounce war and the things that make for war unless our personal lives are informed by peace and we are prepared to make the necessary sacrifice for it. We must do all in our power to educate public opinion and awaken public conscience to take a firm stand against war and the illusory hope of peace through military victory.
Imagine. Imagine John and Yoko. It isn’t hard to do.
And proceeding on up through the Amman Declaration of the Seventh World Assembly of 1999, which necessitated the believers do this:
Religions for Peace asserts that the achievement of common security for humanity and all forms of life requires a holistic understanding of the nature of security as well as a comprehensive commitment to action. On the one hand, there must be the elimination of militarism and militarization in all their manifestations, including developments in space.
Holy George S. Patton. According to these people, it’s not only “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes,” it’s “Don’t fire. In fact, don’t even carry a gun. In fact, don’t even look them in the eye.” Definitely not the warrior class.
So is Owsley Brown II sufficiently constituted to serve on the governing board of the Defense Business Board? We are not making that call. We only remind the reader that, when you are assured that ‘We’re lookin’ out for you!’, you might want to trust but verify. That’s all we are saying.