Author Archives: DavidSwanson

How Did Syria Get Here?

Wars may be how Americans learn geography, but do they always learn the history of how the geography was shaped by wars? I’ve just read Syria: A History of the Last Hundred Years by John McHugo. It’s very heavy on … Continue reading

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TV ad airing in Las Vegas asks drone pilots to refuse to fly

This advertisement does a number of things in 15 seconds that U.S. television has not done before. It presents a moral case against drone murders (the U.S. government’s terminology, and strictly accurate). It opposes drone murders as illegal. It shows … Continue reading

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Admit that torture does not work

To: Keifer Sutherland and Kathryn Bigelow Admit awareness of the fact that torture does not work in real life. Sign the petition. Why is this important? The popularity and acceptability of torture have soared in the United States and around … Continue reading

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ISIS Derangement Syndrome

Here’s Time Magazine‘s David von Drehle: “The greatest threat that ISIS poses — even to the poor souls living under ISIS rule — is the unintended damage that might follow from the effort to eradicate the group. . . . … Continue reading

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Skipping The Speech for All the Wrong Reasons

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to hear that Congress members will skip Netanyahu’s speech no matter what reason they offer. Here are some of them: It’s too close to Netanyahu’s election. (That doesn’t persuade me. If we had fair, … Continue reading

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Actually Qualified Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

Source: http://www.nobelwill.org/index.html?tab=7 The Norwegian Nobel Committee ignores the testament of Nobel. They claim that the “champions of peace” Nobel described in his will no longer exist. To end this charade we have seen no alternative to lifting the curtain of … Continue reading

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Did Berkeley Just Save Us From Drones or Target Us With Drones?

Cities and states across the United States have been taking various actions against drones, while the federal government rolls ahead with project fill the skies. Robert L. Meola has been working for years now to get Berkeley to catch up … Continue reading

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Not a Bug Splat, Not Chattel

U.S. drone “pilots” refer to people they burn to death in places like Pakistan as “bug splat” because they look like bugs being squished to death on the pilots’ video monitors and because it’s easier to murder bugs than humans. … Continue reading

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No Weapons to Ukraine

No Weapons to Ukraine An Open Letter to the U.S. Senate Reject S. 452, “A bill to provide lethal weapons to the Government of Ukraine.” Sign here: http://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/no-weapons-to-ukraine Why is this important? The United States is the leading provider of … Continue reading

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U.S. Army Claims to Be Full of Liars

“Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession” is the title of a new paper by Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras of the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. Its thesis: the U.S. Army is full of liars who habitually lie … Continue reading

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Not Very Funny

By David Swanson Remarks prepared for event with comedian Lee Camp, Charlottesville, Va., February 21, 2015, event postponed by snow storm. When it’s rescheduled I’ll say something completely unrelated. This is the serious part of tonight’s event, except that Lee … Continue reading

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Cuba: Land of Opportunity

What can I be sure of after only one week in Havana? Very little. There are exceptions to every pattern, and sometimes more exceptions than patterns. But a few claims, I think, are possible: 1. The sea and this island … Continue reading

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Cuba Through the Looking Glass

Today in Havana, Mariela Castro Espin, director of the national center for sexual education and daughter of the president of Cuba, gave us a truly enlightened talk and question-and-answer session on LGBT rights, sex education, pornography (and why young people … Continue reading

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Cuba Is Our Family

Cuba and the Estados Unidos have been family for so long that relationships have been reversed, forgotten, turned inside out, and repeated. In the 19th century, the Cuban community in the United States and their supporters there were the base … Continue reading

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Cuba Is Good for Your Health

“It’s behind us,” Fernando Gonzales of the Cuban Five said with a smile when I told him just a few moments ago that I was sorry for the U.S. government having locked him in a cage for 15 years. It … Continue reading

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Cuba Uncensored

This evening, February 9, 2015, a handful of visitors from the land to the north asked an assistant (or “instructional” which I take to be a step below “assistant”) professor of philosophy about his studies and his teaching experiences here … Continue reading

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Cuba Is Hot

We arrived in Havana tonight, February 8, 2015, or year 56 of the revolution, 150 of us filling an entire airplane, a group of U.S. peace and justice activists organized by CODEPINK. The place is hot and beautiful despite the … Continue reading

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The Key That Is the Saudi Kingdom

Was the United States compelled to attack Afghanistan and Iraq by the events of September 11, 2001? A key to answering that rather enormous question may lie in the secrets that the U.S. government is keeping about Saudi Arabia. Some … Continue reading

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Addiction Is Not Addictive

Whether someone becomes addicted to drugs has much more to do with their childhood and their quality of life than with the drug they use or with anything in their genes. This is one of the more startling of the … Continue reading

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It’s the Blind Partisanship

Why did the peace movement grow large around 2003-2006 and shrink around 2008-2010? Military spending, troop levels abroad, and number of wars engaged in can explain the growth but not the shrinkage. Those factors hardly changed between the high point … Continue reading

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Born at War

Foreword to America’s Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying (available in Kindle version free this week.) One of the ways in which we commonly handicap our own struggles to reform the bad practices of the U.S. government is by imagining those … Continue reading

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When Veterans Try to End Wars

Nan Levinson’s new book is called War Is Not a Game: The New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built, but it left me wishing there were a “Where Are They Now” chapter, because it ends around 2008. The book … Continue reading

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Exporting Sherman’s March

Sherman statue anchors one southern corner of Central Park (with Columbus on a stick anchoring the other): Matthew Carr’s new book, Sherman’s Ghosts: Soldiers, Civilians, and the American Way of War, is presented as “an antimilitarist military history” — that … Continue reading

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Pentagon Silent on Current Use of DU in Iraq

Back in October, I reported that, “A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, … Continue reading

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CIA Tried to Give Iraq Nuclear Plans, Just Like Iran

If you’ve followed the trials of James Risen and Jeffrey Sterling, or read Risen’s book State of War, you are aware that the CIA gave Iran blueprints and a diagram and a parts list for the key component of a … Continue reading

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Students Save Palestine

In proposing that Congress Members boycott or walk out on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress, expected to push for sanctions if not war on Iran, activists are drawing on actions engaged in by college students in recent … Continue reading

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When Shock and Awe Turns 12

Shock and Awe is having a troubled adolescence. The U.S. government is killing children with flying robot death planes, keeping troops in 175 countries, actively using “special” forces in 150 countries, asking us to ignore what it’s done to Libya … Continue reading

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“We murdered some folks” in Guantanamo

Murder at Camp Delta is a new book by Joseph Hickman, a former guard at Guantanamo. It’s neither fiction nor speculation. When President Obama says “We tortured some folks,” Hickman provides at least three cases — in addition to many … Continue reading

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Distrust But Verify

What the U.S. government does openly is many times worse than anything it can be doing secretly, and yet the secrets fascinate us. If you compare polling on majority views on most political topics with actual U.S. policy, there’s little … Continue reading

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Militarism in the Air We Breathe

If there is a group of Americans to whom Iraqis struggling with the health effects of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and all the various poisons of war can relate, it might be the mostly black and largely poor … Continue reading

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Beyond Vietghanistan

By Martin Luther Obama Jr., as dictated to David Swanson Text of “Beyond Vietghanistan: A Time To Break Treaties” By Rev. Martin Luther Obama Jr. – January 19, 2015 Speech delivered at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at … Continue reading

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Nuclear Madness and Resistance

The Jeffrey Sterling trial is a bit disheartening for anyone who’d rather humanity paid a bit of attention to avoiding nuclear apocalypse, even though Sterling exposed the CIA’s crime to Congress, and Sterling or someone else (at least 90 people … Continue reading

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Study Finds People Assume War Is Only Last Resort

A scholarly study has found that the U.S. public believes that whenever the U.S. government proposes a war, it has already exhausted all other possibilities. When a sample group was asked if they supported a particular war, and a second … Continue reading

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CIA on Trial in Virginia for Planting Nuke Evidence in Iran

Since Tuesday and continuing for the coming three weeks, an amazing trial is happening in U.S. District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, Va. The trial is open to the public, and among the upcoming witnesses is Condoleezza Rice, … Continue reading

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If Paris Killers Had Western Media on Their Side

Some killings are reported on in a slightly different manner from how the Charlie Hebdo killings have been. Rewriting a drone killing as a gun killing (changing just a few words) would produce something like this: Freedom Fighters Gun Strike … Continue reading

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Do Americans Hate Children?

Yes, I know you love your children, as I love mine. That’s not in doubt. But do you love mine and I yours? Because collectively there seems to be a problem. Ferguson may have awakened a few people to some … Continue reading

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Presidents Are Gods

A former Governor of Virginia is expected to be sentenced to a long stay in prison. The same fate has befallen governors in states across the United States, including in nearby Maryland, Tennessee, and West Virginia. A former governor of … Continue reading

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The Atlantic Can’t Figure Out Why U.S. Loses Wars

The cover of the January-February 2015 The Atlantic asks “Why Do The Best Soldiers in the World Keep Losing?” which leads to this article, which fails to answer the question. The main focus of the article is the by now … Continue reading

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War Is So 2014

By Joan Brunwasser, OpEdNews President Obama has been credited with “ending” and “drawing down” this war [in Afghanistan] not only while expanding it to triple the size but also for a longer period of time than various other major wars … Continue reading

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Renaming Afghan War, Renaming Murder

The U.S.-led NATO war on Afghanistan has lasted so long they’ve decided to rename it, declare the old war over, and announce a brand new war they’re just sure you’re going to love. The war thus far has lasted as … Continue reading

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Resolved: To Stop Imagining that Anything’s Been Resolved

Things that humans are probably stuck with: eating, drinking, breathing, sex, love, friendship, anger, fear, joy, death, hope and change. Things that some humans used to commonly claim humanity was permanently and inevitably stuck with (but have stopped thinking about … Continue reading

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No More Khirbet Khizehs

“Fields that would never be harvested, plantations that would never be irrigated, paths that would become desolate. A sense of destruction and worthlessness. An image of thistles and brambles everywhere, a desolate tawniness, a braying wilderness. And already from those … Continue reading

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Putin Shot Down a Plane! Putin Shot Down a … What? Never Mind

Search for “Malaysian Airlines Flight 17″ on the New York Times website and you’ll find a page promoting three articles from July, two hyping the idea that Russia did it and one just focused on the horror of it. Below … Continue reading

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The Case Against Re-Banning Torture Yet Again

Senator Ron Wyden has a petition up at MoveOn.org that reads “Right now, torture is banned because of President Obama’s executive order. It’s time for Congress to pass a law banning torture, by all agencies, so that a future president … Continue reading

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We’re Not Exceptional, We’re Isolated

This weekend I participated in an interesting exercise. A group of activists staged a debate in which some of us argued that peace and environmental and economic justice are possible, while another group argued against us. The latter group professed … Continue reading

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Torture “Architect” Mistaken in Claim Nobody’s Punished for Drone Murders

A psychologist who played a key role in a U.S. torture program said on a video yesterday that torture was excusable because blowing up families with a drone is worse (and nobody’s punished for that). Well, of course the existence … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Warren Could Use Some Elizabeth Peacen

Why people want to become fans of a senator rather than pushing senators to serve the public is beyond me. Why people want to distract and drain away two years of activism, with the planet in such peril, fantasizing about … Continue reading

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Plutocrats for Peace: The Nobel-Carnegie Model

“Dear Fredrik, Last Friday I went to an event organized by the Carnegie Corporation on the anniversary of the end of WWI. I was struck by how similar Andrew Carnegie’s ideas, as well as his philanthropy, were to Alfred Nobel’s. … Continue reading

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Rand Paul Declares a Non-War War

Senator Rand Paul wants Congress to Declare war on ISIS. Some, like Bruce Fein, are willing to ignore the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact, and write as if a war would be legal if Congress would just declare … Continue reading

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Silver Linings in Rolling Stone Rape Fiasco

Rolling Stone alleged a gang rape at UVA and now doubts its own report. I have no knowledge of the matter. Maybe the victim was completely honest. Maybe she was largely honest but too drunk, or just too traumatized, to … Continue reading

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Golden Age of Pearl Harbor

As we read Ulysses on Bloomsday every June 16th (or we should if we don’t) I think that every December 7th should not only commemorate the Great Law of 1682 that banned war in Pennsylvania but also mark Pearl Harbor, … Continue reading

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Israel’s Secret

Here in Virginia, U.S.A., I’m aware that the native people were murdered, driven out, and moved westward. But my personal connection to that crime is weak, and frankly I’m too busy trying to rein in my government’s current abuses to … Continue reading

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There Goes Virginia’s Climate

A snowstorm is the ideal time to write about climate disruption, as it allows us to immediately set-aside the cartoonish claim that if any spot on earth isn’t warmer than it was yesterday then all is well. The following things … Continue reading

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Mark Udall and the Unspeakable

President Obama, who is just now un-ending again the ending of the endless war on Afghanistan, has never made a secret of taking direction from the military, CIA, and NSA. He’s escalated wars that generals had publicly insisted he escalate. … Continue reading

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Torturer on the Ballot

Michigan’s First Congressional District is cold enough to freeze spit. Half of it is disconnected from the rest of Michigan and tacked onto the top of Wisconsin. A bit of it is further north than that, but rumored to be … Continue reading

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Who Says Ferguson Can’t End Well

Just as a police officer in a heightened state of panic surrounded by the comfort of impunity will shoot an innocent person, the Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency preemptively, thus justifying violence in response to something … Continue reading

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No Anti-War Voices on TV — Well, Sort of

Here’s FAIR’s excellent report on pro-war bias in the corporate media, and here’s Peter Hart describing it well on Democracy Now: I’d love to see a complete report of all the corporate media coverage for the whole lead-up to Iraq … Continue reading

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Watch Schooling the World, Stop Schooling the World

It’s becoming slightly more common in the Western industrialized world to propose radical cultural change away from consumerism and environmental destruction. It’s not hard to find people making the case that in fact nothing else can save us. But we … Continue reading

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Okinawa Elects All Anti-U.S.-Bases Candidates

Some news of more resistance in Okinawa from Hiroshi Taka: “I am writing this email to all the friends who have sent warm messages of solidarity to the people of Okinawa, who fought for a military base-free, peaceful Okinawa in … Continue reading

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Watchers of the Sky Falls in a Pit

The United States is a society incapable of producing a major documentary film opposing the institution of war and explicitly advocating its abolition. If it did so, the major corporate media outlets would not sing such a film’s praises. Yet … Continue reading

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The World Gets the Wars Americans Deserve

Having been on the road, I have two brilliant insights to report. 1. No matter what sort of fascist state were ever established in this part of the world, Amtrak would never get the trains to run on time. 2. … Continue reading

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How Is a Prison Like a War?

The similarities between mass incarceration and mass murder have been haunting me for a while, and I now find myself inspired by Maya Schenwar’s excellent new book Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do … Continue reading

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No to Republibama Government

A case can be made that democracy worked in this month’s U.S. midterm elections, while representative democracy failed miserably. On ballot initiatives all across the country, people in so-called red and blue states voted for raising the minimum wage, banning … Continue reading

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We Must Always Have War Because Magic

This advertisement for permanent war appeared in my local newspaper today. By pointing out this fact I am neither opposing working with religious groups that favor peace nor asserting that Martin Luther King Jr. was a warmonger. But religious peace … Continue reading

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Valor, Remembrance, and Complicity

November 11th in the United States is marked and marred by a holiday that relatively recently had its name changed to “Veterans Day” and its purpose converted and perverted into celebrating war. This year a “Concert for Valor” will be … Continue reading

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Free College or Another New War?

Noting that U.S. college costs have gone up 500% since 1985, the Washington Post recommends seven countries where U.S. students can go to college for free without bothering to learn the language of the natives or anything so primitive. These … Continue reading

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Things, Not People, You Can Vote For

“Vote. It’s the American thing to do!” read an email I received yesterday. Actually it’s the just-about-anywhere-else thing to do. U.S. voters lead the world in staying home and not bothering. There are three schools of thought as to why, … Continue reading

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Which Is Worse, a Libertarian or a Humanitarian-Warrior?

Is it worse to put into Congress or the White House someone who wants to end wars and dismantle much of the military but also wants to abolish Social Security and Medicare and the Department of Education and several other … Continue reading

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57 Candidates and Nothing On

I was lucky to attend a debate among the candidates for Congress from Virginia’s Fifth District just before game 7 of the world series. This was the kind of event you can write about while drinking beer and yelling at … Continue reading

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No More Wars on Anything

Searching new articles on ye olde internets the past couple of days for the word “war,” I turned up roughly equal uses of “war” to refer to wars and to refer to other things entirely. Apparently there is a war … Continue reading

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U.S. Sends Planes Armed With Depleted Uranium to Middle East

The U.S. Air Force says it is not halting its use of Depleted Uranium weapons, has recently sent them to the Middle East, and is prepared to use them. A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the … Continue reading

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Israeli Chooses “Honorable Life” Over Joining Military

Danielle Yaor is 19, Israeli, and refusing to take part in the Israeli military. She is one of 150 who have committed themselves, thus far, to this position: We, citizens of the state of Israel, are designated for army service. … Continue reading

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The Conscience of a Moderate

Angels by the River: A Memoir by James Gustave Speth is pleasantly written but painful to read. Speth knew about the dangers of global warming before the majority of today’s climate change deniers were born. He was an advisor to … Continue reading

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War Culture

According to a book by George Williston called This Tribe of Mine: A Story of Anglo Saxon Viking Culture in America, the United States wages eternal war because of its cultural roots in the Germanic tribes that invaded, conquered, ethnically … Continue reading

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Everything Wrong With Liberalism in One Image Found on FaceBook

Here’s a fairly typical image of a sort that constantly clogs up my FaceBook page. I take it to be the full and open expression of someone or some group’s honest outlook. I don’t think they’d identify themselves at the … Continue reading

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Public Says No to Silencing Prisoners’ Speech

I would not have guessed that people cared so much and so well about U.S. prisoners. The Governor of Pennsylvania is expected to sign into law a dangerous precedent that we all need to speak out against and put a … Continue reading

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On Killing Trayvons

This Wednesday is a day of action that some are calling a national day of action against police brutality, with others adding “and mass incarceration,” and I’d like to add “and war” and make it global rather than national. This … Continue reading

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Shadow Facts About Shadow Government

Tom Engelhardt keeps churning out great books by collecting his posts from TomDispatch.com. His latest book, Shadow Government, is essential reading. Of the ten essays included, eight are on basically the same topic, resulting in some repetition and even some … Continue reading

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A Different War-Is-Good-For-Us Argument

It seems like we just got through dealing with the argument that war is good for us because it brings peace. And along comes a very different twist, combined with some interesting insights. Here’s a blog post by Joshua Holland … Continue reading

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Pranking the CIA: The New Get-Rich-Quick Story

When New York Times reporter James Risen published his previous book, State of War, the Times ended its delay of over a year and published his article on warrantless spying rather than be scooped by the book. The Times claimed … Continue reading

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Again the Peace Prize Not for Peace

The Nobel Peace Prize is required by Alfred Nobel’s will, which created it, to go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies … Continue reading

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Urgent: Right-Left Alliance Needed to Stop This War!

By David Swanson, originally published by Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Last year, public pressure played a big role in stopping US missile strikes on Syria. The biggest difference between then and now was that televisions weren’t telling … Continue reading

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Thoughts of a Beheaded Head

Dostoievski once had a character imagine what a head would think if for some seconds it were aware of having been cut off by an executioner’s guillotine, or if somehow it were aware for a full minute, or even for … Continue reading

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Operation Odysseus’ Butcher Shop

The phrase “war myths” these days is generally taken to mean such nonsense as that war will make us safe, or civilians won’t be killed, or surgical strikes will kill more enemies than they produce, or prosperity and freedom will … Continue reading

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Beyond 935 Lies

Charles Lewis’ book, 935 Lies, would make a fine introduction to reality for anyone who believes the U.S. government usually means well or corporations tend to tell the truth in the free market. And it would make an excellent introduction … Continue reading

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First 13 Years in Afghanistan Big Success, Next 10 Promise Joy and Prosperity

Here comes another October 7th, time once again for celebrating the International Day of Wars-Start-Easy-But-They’re-a-Bitch-to-End. That is, if we can spare a few moments away from celebrating the new wars we’re starting. On this date 13 years ago, the United … Continue reading

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The New War, the Forever War, and a World Beyond War

October 3, 2014 — A statement on the current and enduring crisis, by the coordinating committee of WorldBeyondWar.org This statement as PDF.   SUMMARY The following is an assessment of the current ISIS crisis. The statement examines: (1) the social … Continue reading

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Imagine There’re No Countries

A serious case has been made repeatedly by unknown scholars and globally celebrated geniuses for well over a century that a likely step toward abolishing war would be instituting some form of global government. Yet the peace movement barely mentions … Continue reading

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A Good End Date for the New War: Today

What I’ve seen of public events, demonstrations, and protests of the latest U.S. war — just like the larger and more immediately effective public resistance 12 months ago — has been aimed, remarkably enough, at ending the war and opposing … Continue reading

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When We’re All Musteites

We won’t necessarily know what a Musteite is, but I’m inclined to think it would help if we did. I’m using the word to mean “having a certain affinity for the politics of A.J. Muste.” I had people tell me … Continue reading

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Parliament and Congress Have No Power to Legalize War

Congress has fled town to avoid voting for or against a new war. Many of the big donors to Congressional campaigns would want Yes votes. Many voters would want No votes, if not immediately, then as soon as the panic … Continue reading

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A National Call: Save Civilian Education

SaveCivilianEducation.org Signers listed at bottom Over the last several decades, the Pentagon,conservative forces, and corporations have been systematically working to expand their presence in the K-12 learning environment and in public universities. The combined impact of the military, conservative think … Continue reading

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I Was Surprised to Find Myself on MSNBC Talking Peace

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ISIS, Weapons Makers, Thugs Benefit from Bombing

President Obama is bombing the opposite side in Syria from the side he swore we needed to attack one year ago, and those pleased by this declare that he is “doing something.” U.S. polls suggest that the same people recognize … Continue reading

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ISIS: Bush Was Right

Finally, somebody commenting on the state of Iraq thinks George W. Bush got something right. Turns out it’s ISIS. In the new hour-long ISIS-produced film about how nice it is to die for ISIS — Flames of War: Fighting Has … Continue reading

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Turn Left for Earth

I appreciate that there’s more happening than just a march for the climate today on the International Day of Peace, and I get the idea that keeping the safe and obedient march-to-nowhere separate from protests actually at the United Nations … Continue reading

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House Bans War Powers Resolution Actions

The U.S. House of Representatives has not just left town, but prior to leaving passed a rule preventing any member from using the War Powers Resolution to force Congress to return and vote on war. Here’s a video of Congressman … Continue reading

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Killed by Congressional Cowardice

We tend to think of war as resulting from an excess of aggression or disorderliness or rebellion. Western academics hunt in the genes of foreigners and study chimpanzees to find the root of the nastiness. But one would be hard … Continue reading

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If ISIS Were Really a Movie

ISIS has created a movie preview for the coming war, a war it eagerly wants Washington to take part in. The White House and Congress would like to oblige, as long as the movie can be a short one, on … Continue reading

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43 Million People Kicked Out of Their Homes

War, our leaders tell us, is needed to make the world a better place. Well, maybe not so much for the 43 million people who’ve been driven out of their homes and remain in a precarious state as internally displaced … Continue reading

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