I posted this article a year ago, and think it's worth posting again as the second term of Obama begins. It looks to me like this is an idea whose time has come (and gone - and come - and gone - and come.....) In asking why we don't have a "Department of Peace", I was amazed to learn the long and dedicated history of people and times who have, in fact, tried to create just that. It was first proposed in 1793, along with the founding of the Constitution.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The history of legislation to create a Department of Peace
The peace movement in the United States has a proposed legislative history that dates to the first years of the republic:
--Let a Secretary of Peace be appointed to preside in this office; . . . let him be a genuine republican and a sincere Christian. . . .Let the youth of our country be instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and in the doctrines of a religion of some kind; the Christian religion should be preferred to all others; for it belongs to this religion exclusively to teach us not only to cultivate peace with all men, but to forgive—nay more, to love our very enemies.1925: Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters, at the Cause and Cure for War Conference, publicly suggested a cabinet-level Department of Peace and secretary of peace be established.
--To subdue that passion for war . . . militia laws should everywhere be repealed, and military dresses and military titles should be laid aside. . . .
1926/1927: Kirby Page, author of A National Peace Department, wrote, published and distributed the first proposal for a cabinet-level Department of Peace and secretary of peace.
1935: Senator Matthew M. Neely (D-West Virginia) wrote and introduced the first bill calling for the creation of a United States Department of Peace. Reintroduced in 1937 and 1939.
1943: Senator Alexander Wiley (R-Wisconsin) spoke on the Senate floor calling for the United States of America to become the first government in the world to have a Secretary of Peace.
1945: Representative Louis Ludlow (D-Indiana) re-introduced a bill to create a United States Department of Peace.
1946: Senator Jennings Randolph (D-West Virginia) re-introduced a bill to create a United States Department of Peace.
1947: Representative Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois) introduced a bill for “A Peace Division in the State Department”.
1955 to 1968: Eighty-five Senate and House of Representative bills were introduced calling for a United States Department of Peace.
1969: Senator Vance Hartke (D-Indiana) and Representative Seymour Halpern (R-New York) re-introduced bills to create a U.S. Department of Peace in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The 14 Senate cosponsors of S. 953, "The Peace Act", included Birch Bayh (D-IN), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Alan Cranston (D-CA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Edmund Muskie (D-ME). The 67 House cosponsors included Ed Koch of New York, Donald Fraser of Minnesota, and Abner Mikva of Illinois, as well as Republican Pete McCloskey of California.
1979: Senator Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii) re-introduced a bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace.
2001: Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) re-introduced a bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace. This bill has since been introduced in each session of Congress from 2001 to 2009. It was re-introduced as H.R. 808 on February 3, 2009 and is currently supported by 72 cosponsors. In July 2008, the first Republican cosponsor, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) signed on.
2005: Senator Mark Dayton (D-Minnesota) introduced legislation in the Senate to create a cabinet-level department of peace a week after Dennis Kucinich introduced a similar bill in the House.