Soldier wants to wage peace | TheUnion.com

Soldier wants to wage peace

Watching the events in Egypt unfold on his TV, Paul Chappell’s own message appeared to be playing out right before his eyes.

The Iraq War veteran and author of “The End of War: How Waging Peace Can Save Humanity, Our Planet and Our Future” says the world doesn’t have to take up arms to bring about desired change.

And the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo served as Exhibit “A” for that argument.

“That’s huge,” said Chappell, a former captain in the U.S. army who was deployed to Baghdad in 2006. “The most effective method for removing a dictatorship is nonviolent.

“It’s strategic nonviolence, like we saw with Martin Luther King. Even with military strategy, you don’t attack an opponent at strongest point, but rather at its weakest. … With Egypt and its corruption, it came down to its moral authority. What could (Mubarak) do?”

Chappell will speak in Grass Valley on Sunday at Unity in the Gold Country, an affiliate of the Unity Church of Christianity, at 180 Cambridge Court. The talk, which starts at 3 p.m., is free and open to the public. Sponsors of the discussion include SPAN (Season for Peace And Nonviolence) and the United Nations Association, which encourage people of all political affiliations to attend.

Chappell is the son of a career soldier who returned from Korean and Vietnam a deeply troubled. Yet, Chappell chose to pursue a career in the military, believing that war was sometimes necessary to achieve noble ends. His education, experience, and research have since convinced him otherwise.

“Propaganda has made the word ‘war’ synonymous with ‘security,'” Chappell said in a prepared statement, “but in fact peace is synonymous with security. In the 21st century, war actually makes us less secure.”

Chappell has written two books, including “Will War Ever End? A Soldier’s Vision for Peace in the 21st Century.” Both have won acclaim from leaders as diverse as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Lt. Col. David Grossman.

As he’s traveled around the country to “wage peace,” Chappell, a Santa Barbara resident, has watched the recent political uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya with hope.

“It has to come from the grassroots, from the people,” he said during a recent phone interview. “One thing we know about Iraq is that there was a lot of unrest with Saddam Hussein. But, early on, he had support from the United States. And we were allied with Mubarak, too. So, yes, if the United States had not supported Saddam, he could have also been overthrown.”

Chappell is now the peace leadership director at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and travels the country talking about the necessity of ending war. He is a principal in the American Unity Project (www.americanunityproject.com), a free online documentary series about waging peace.

To contact City Editor Brian Hamilton,

e-mail bhamilton@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4249.