Civilian-Based Defense has been quiet for the last two years. The Civilian-Based Defense Association had lost members of the board of directors and needed an editor for this magazine. Now, we are back.
As the new editor for the magazine, let me say a few words by way of introduction. I was involved in the anti-war movement in Moorhead, Minnesota, and its more famous (or infamous) twin city across the river, Fargo, North Dakota. As a member of the philosophy department at Minnesota State University Moorhead, I had been asked to give a number of talks about the then impending war in Iraq. One of these talks was at the Unitarian Universalist church that I attend. (The text of this talk is included in this issue.)
After that talk, I was approached by Cali Anicha (then Colleen Morken), one of the board members of the Association and a long-time member of the church. She asked if I was interested in getting involved with the CBDA. After finding out more about the CBDA and civilian-based defense, I was eager to get involved.
This led to Cali and I traveling to Boston this summer to meet with the other members of the board. In Boston we consulted with others interested in Civilian-Based Defense and planned the reemergence of the CBDA. We were lucky enough to have Gene Sharp attend our consulting session, as well as others such as Bob Irwin and Dale Bryan.
After the morning consultation, the board worked on picking goals that we might begin to aim for. We decided to work on a project – suggested by Gene Sharp – to reach out to libraries and try to get books on civilian-based defense placed in as many libraries as possible. We also wanted to get an issue of the magazine out as soon as possible.
This series of events seems well-timed given current events. The United States' invasion of Iraq is nearly a year past. Many people seemed to support the war while it was in full-swing. Even then, however, there was still a vocal group dissatisfied with the rush to war and with the administration's dissimulation about its motives and evidence for the need for this war. As the problems in Iraq grow – problems that military might cannot solve – and as even more questions are raised about the administration's honesty or lack thereof, I expect even more people will want to know what might be done differently.
It took us a few months, and we hope that you will be pleased with the result. We also appreciate your patience as we begin moving forward again.
In Boston this summer, Bob Irwin shared with us a survey of Gene Sharp's work that he wrote a few years ago. This survey is printed here for our readers who might want some guidance in working through Sharp's large volume of work.
Despite violent conflict in the middle east this year, there was also a bright spot for proponents of nonviolence in Georgia, as citizens ousted Eduard Shevardnadze without bloodshed. A report on "Tiblisi's 'Revolution of Roses'" by Peter Baker was published in the Washington Post this past November. We reprint this report here.
In addition to the talk I gave at the Fargo-Moorhead Unitarian Universalist Church, I have written a review of Jonathan Schell's latest book The Unconquerable World, a book that I believe our members would find very interesting.
We would like your feedback on this issue. We also encourage submissions of articles on the topic of civilian-based defense and nonviolence in general. We look forward to hearing from you.
Philip M. Mouch, Editor
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