Video of Debate on Is War Ever Justifiable?

On February 12, 2018, I debated Pete Kilner on the topic of “Is War Ever Justifiable?” (Location: Radford University; Moderator Glen Martin; videographer Zachary Lyman). Here is video:



The two speakers’ bios:

Pete Kilner is a writer and military ethicist who served more than 28 years in the Army as an infantryman and professor at the U.S. Military Academy. He deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan to conduct research on combat leadership. A graduate of West Point, he holds an MA in Philosophy from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Education from Penn State.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie and War Is Never Just. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. He holds an MA in philosophy from UVA.

Who won?

Prior to the debate, people in the room were asked to indicate in an online system that displayed the results on a screen whether they thought the answer to “Is War Ever Justifiable?” was yes, no, or they were not sure. Twenty-five people voted: 68% yes, 20% no, 12% not sure. After the debate the question was posed again. Twenty people voted: 40% yes, 45% no, 15% not sure. Please use the comments below to indicate whether this debate moved you in one direction or the other.
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The Washington Post’s Shoddy Defense of the Russiagate Investigation

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at

An editorial in the February 2nd Washington Post headlined “The Nunes memo shows the opposite of what Trump hoped it would prove”, and its first argument was that “the memo reveals that there were preexisting [i.e., prior to the FBI’s investigation into the DNC’s infamous Steele dossier, which even Steele himself acknowledged was probably 10% to 30% false] grounds to investigate, based on information about a different Trump associate. So the president cannot construe this memo as offering evidence that the Russia probe began corruptly.”

However, the Nunes Memo wasn’t alleging “that the Russia probe began corruptly.” It instead argued that when the FBI’s follow-on investigation reached the point where they would need permission from the FISA (or “FISC”) court in order to obtain evidence that might possibly implicate U.S. President Trump in impeachable offenses, the FBI resorted to an ilegal tactic to win the court’s okay: hiding crucial material information from the FISA court. That’s the case the Nunes Memo actually summarizes.

The FBI began its investigation into the Steele dossier after it had already begun its investigation — based upon then-credible grounds to investigate — regarding George Papadopoulos (a supporter of Trump and aspirant for a position in his Administration if Trump would win).

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The Problem with Conspiracy Theories

People today spend a lot of time talking about conspiracy theories. These theories often do harm because they divert attention away from the facts and thereby allow real crimes and other harmful effects to continue. Such conspiracy theories can be spotted based on three basic characteristics.

  1. They lack evidence.
  2. They spread widely before the facts are examined.
  3. Much simpler alternatives are not considered.

For example, take the most popular conspiracy theory of recent times—the official account for the crimes of 9/11.

  1. This theory was produced by mythologist Philip Zelikow, who, before the investigation began, created an outline that was kept secret from his own Commission staff. Zelikow’s outline determined the outcome of the investigation before any facts were examined. Moreover, the 9/11 Commission claimed sixty-three times in its report that it could find “no evidence” related to important aspects of the crimes. Evidence that the Commission did rely on, as a basis for its report, was later found to be false. Similarly, the evidence collected and held secret by World Trade Center investigating agency NIST was later found to contradict the agency’s conclusions. Much of that evidence is still being held secret including the computer model data that NIST was forced to substitute for physical testing that contradicted its conclusions.
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What U.S. News Reports on Syria’s War Hide

Eric Zuesse

What’s being hidden from the public by the U.S. news-media’s reports on Syria’s war is that, ever since 2012, the U.S. Government has been trying to overthrow Syria’s Government by supporting, training and arming, in Syria, the many jihadist groups who were being led by Al Qaeda in Syria — jihadist groups which unanimously accept Al Qaeda’s leadership there. Without Al Qaeda in Syria, the U.S. effort to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad (who was elected in 2014 to a new Presidential term in an internationally monitored democratic election, winning 89% of the vote) wouldn’t have come anywhere close to succeeding; but, with Al Qaeda’s help, it almost did succeed. America, even as late as late 2016, was demanding Russia to stop its bombing of Al Qaeda and of their allied jihadist groups in Syria, but Russia refused; this was a major hang-up in the years-long Kerry-Lavrov (U.S.-Russia) negotiations for a ceasefire in Syria. Kerry couldn’t get President Obama to go along with Russia’s (Putin’s) insistence upon continued bombing both of ISIS and of Al Qaeda; Obama insisted: No bombing of Al Qaeda.

More recently, after the effort to overthrow Syria’s Government failed during 2016, the U.S. goal (since nearly the very end of Obama’s Administration) has become assisting Kurds in Syria’s northeast who want to establish there a Kurdistan, which would be beholden to Washington and would cooperate with U.S. oil companies and their contractors such as Halliburton to extract Syria’s oil and to construct pipelines for both oil and gas from mainly three U.S. allies — Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar — into the world’s largest energy-market, the EU, to enable the U.S. and those fundamentalist-Sunni allies to displace Russia from that market, where Russia currently is the largest energy-supplier.

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Why is U.S. not globally condemned for its military occupation of Syria?

Eric Zuesse

On February 8th, at the U.N., the Russian Government, through its U.N. Representative Vasily Nebenzia, said against the U.S. Government’s forces in Syria, “They are in fact illegally in Syria, nobody called them there, they constantly assert that they are fighting there against international terrorism, but we see that they go beyond this framework.”

No public response has yet been issued by the U.S. Government.

Furthermore, the U.N. Security Council was presented on February 8th with a resolution condemning the bombing on February 6th of the Russian trade mission in Syria’s capital of Damascus, and this condemnation was blocked by the U.S. and UK delegations, which said that there wasn’t enough “information” about the event to condemn it.

Russia and Syria say that the attack had been done by jihadists, “terrorists,” by a shell fired by armed groups who were deployed in the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus, as part of repeated attacks on the Russian Embassy in Damascus, but the U.S. and UK refused to condemn the attack, regardless. Consequently, the U.N. Security Council’s press office was blocked from issuing a statement to the press saying that the Council condemned the attack on the Russian facility in Damascus.

Not only is the U.S. trying to take over part of sovereign Syrian territory (using Al Qaeda and Kurdish forces as their boots-on-the-ground to do it), but the U.S. and its UK ally are, essentially, supporting Al Qaeda allied jihadists who shell the Russian trade mission in Damascus.

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What ‘News’Media in U.S. and Allied Countries Never Report

Eric Zuesse

Newsmedia effectively ban reporting corruptness of newsmedia — even of media that stand on the opposite side of the political divide.

The ‘news’media in the U.S. and allied countries never report the corruption (including lying) perpetrated by any except the very few non-mainstream media that are authentically pro-democracy (or “anti-Establishment” or “anti-elitist” — which doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as “anti-elite”) in those countries — and these few pro-democracy sites are the least-corrupt newsmedia, the few ones that are careful to report only truths — no lies, no propaganda at all. They do it even if all the others call such news sites ‘fake news’ — because they are committed, above all, to conveying the truth, and nothing but the truth.

Each of the mainstream ‘news’media is funded by (and advertises) the corporations of billionaires and centi-millionaires (the people who control all of the large corporations and virtually all of the media). These people’s corporations advertise in, and donate to those media, and those mega-business-owners don’t want the public to know that all of the mainstream (and many even of the non-mainstream) ‘news’media are actually propaganda-agencies for what those super-rich want to happen (their governmental agendas). They not only advertise so that you will buy their products and services, but they also report — and exclude from reporting — so that you will vote for their politicians who will impose their governmental agenda in this ‘democracy’, and will vote against their opponents. This is the governmental control-system (which is proven and explained — and shown to function in the U.S.A., by that link to ‘democracy’).

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Before You “Buy the Dip,” Look at This One Chart

There’s a place for fancy technical interpretations, but sometimes a basic chart tells us quite a lot. Here is a basic chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the DJIA. It displays basic information: price candlesticks, volume, the 50-week and 200-week moving averages, RSI (relative strength), MACD (moving average convergence-divergence), stochastics and the MACD histogram. These kinds of charts are free (in this case, from

This is an ugly chart.It’s ugly because the decline to date is still far above support levels (the 50-week and 200-week moving averages) and the indicators have only just started registering sell signals. This means that price will have to decline a lot more to test previous support and send the indicators to levels that signal reasonably low-risk entries.

In other words, there’s nothing suggesting this is a buying opportunity in this chart. Rather, it suggests a decline of another couple thousand points would be perfectly normal in a weekly chart with a big fat MACD sell cross and sinking RSI and stochastics.

Even a decline of 6,000 points to 18,900 would be technically very typical of an over-stretched asset snapping back to long-term support.

Buying the dip is a good way to experience churning whipsaws. Up 350 points, then down 450. Nice if you can second-guess the trading bots, not so nice if you assume every dip should be bought because the market always rallies from every dip. Maybe, maybe not.
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