Action Alert:

An Article 9 for the US Constitution?

David Rothauser writes:

Global Article 9 has invited me to participate in a 3 day conference in Osaka this October. They’ve asked me to show my Hibakusha  film and speak about  Article 9 on a global scale. The best I can do is talk about Article 9 from a limited American perspective.  Rather than just hear it from me I would like to include some of your ideas about the feasibility of a version of Article 9 in the American constitution.

Therefore would you kindly send me a fairly spontaneous statement of your thoughts and feelings about “Article 9 in America as a means to end war making as a political, economic tool.”  I’m including here the wording of Article 9 as it appears in the Japanese Constitution.

Article 9.
“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

The above was written by U.S. occupation forces in 1946. Japan has not made war in 67 years.

Please feel free to write your personal thoughts, pro, con or otherwise.  Your statements don’t need to be supportive – write what you honestly feel.  I would like to receive your statements   ASAP so I may incorporate them into  my presentation.  With the exception of WILPF members please only sign with your personal name, not as representing an official statement from your organization UNLESS IT IS AN OFFICIAL statement.

Keep calm and carry on,

David R. 


My response:

It would be a great day when the world’s largest superpower and self-appointed world’s policeman recogizes the futility of war and adopts article 9 in its constitution.  By the way, David Swanson reminds us that the US has already done that once, with the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, a treaty which is still on the books, though disregarded.
However, given the need of maintaining world order that the U.S. thinks it is responsible for, I suggest that a more realistic goal would be to convince Americans that they can safely transfer this burden to another entity, such as a strengthened United Nations or some new international structure.
We are far from that point.  Right now, the U.S. mainstream discourse and the President do not even recognize the obligation of our nation to follow the UN Charter, a solemnly ratified treaty, and a NYT story examining the international law aspects of the Syria issue does not even point out that issue; though it mentions the possibility of a Security Council resolution, it does not make clear its connection to international law.
Putin made this point, Chomsky talked about it September 10 at MIT, and Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law addressed it in an op-ed three weeks ago: 
Some pacifists might not agree, but I am with those who believe that threats to peace must sometimes be met by force. The task is to minimize those occasions, to ensure that only the minimum needed force is used, and to bring them under democratic accountable control. The UN Charter properly recognizes this. So I think peace campaigners should focus on strengthening or creating an international consensus and institutional structure to preserve peace.  Once that is in place, campaigns to move individual countries beyond that and adopt Article 9 should have more success.
How about a modified Article 9 that reaffirms the duty of the US to obey the Charter?