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A boy looks at a huge photograph showing Hiroshima city after the 1945 atomic bombing, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Japan August 6, 2007.
May
26

"Looking Forward" Comes to Hiroshima

Tag: Peace and War

Never mind an apology, Obama should admit the truth

By David Swanson, TeleSUR

Since before he entered the White House, Barack Obama has proposed handling past crimes by powerful people and entities through a policy called "looking forward" -- in other words, by ignoring them. While President Obama has targeted whistleblowers with retribution and more prosecutions than his predecessors, deported more immigrants, and kept the lights on in Guantanamo, anyone responsible for war or assassination or torture or lawless imprisonment or most major Wall Street scams (or sharing military secrets with one's mistress) has been given a total pass. Why shouldn't Harry Truman receive the same privilege?

May
25

Will You Join Me in Voting for Neither Trump Nor Clinton?

Tag: Elections

I'm committing to not vote for Clinton or Trump, and you can do the same.

The Democratic Party's undemocratic primaries are not over, and nobody has won them. It is entirely possible that Hillary Clinton will not be nominated for any office. That doesn't prevent us from going ahead and committing to never vote for either her or Donald Trump for president of the United States.

Making this commitment could send a badly needed message to the world: There are people in the United States with some minimal level of decency. It could also kickstart the movement that will be needed to resist the regime of whichever of them wins. It could also alert Californian Democrats to the need to vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary.

There's a cartoon floating around at which a Muslim U.S. voter tries to choose between "Ban my relatives from entering country" and "Bomb the s--- out of my relatives." Not much of a choice, is it? Especially when the bomber is following the model of our current president with his record deportations, and the banner is a loose cannon who's proposed to kill the families of designated enemies in the Middle East.

This is the essence of the problem. Whichever of these two you were to vote for, you'd get wars, nasty policies toward immigrants, plutocratic policies toward wealth, and destructive policies toward the natural environment -- barring the arising of a powerful popular movement to bring the government under control.

Sure, one candidate is a comically ill-informed jackass who hates women, while the other is a woman whose comically jackassy policies will come with great scholarly volumns of ill information. But where does either of those really get us?

Lesser evilism predictably produces a pair of candidates each cycle who are both worse than was the more evil candidate last time. This cannot go on forever, and has already gone too far. We need a nonviolent movement to reform our election system -- something not done through elections. But there are plenty of good candidates, such as Jill Stein, to check or write in. We should vote for those good candidates and get right back to work on improving the world.

Will you click here and join me?

Here are a few reminders of who the "progressive" candidate of the "Democratic" Party is:

"For this former Republican, and perhaps for others, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be." —Robert Kagan

"I have a sense that she's one of the more competent members of the current administration and it would be interesting to speculate about how she might perform were she to be president." —Dick Cheney

"I've known her for many years now, and I respect her intellect. And she ran the State Department in the most effective way that I've ever seen." —Henry Kissinger

Nobody Beats This Record

She says President Obama was wrong not to launch missile strikes on Syria in 2013. She pushed hard for the overthrow of Qadaffi in 2011. She supported the coup government in Honduras in 2009. She has backed escalation and prolongation of war in Afghanistan. She voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She skillfully promoted the White House justification for the war on Iraq. She does not hesitate to back the use of drones for targeted killing. She has consistently backed the military initiatives of Israel. She was not ashamed to laugh at the killing of Qadaffi. She has not hesitated to warn that she could obliterate Iran. She is not afraid to antagonize Russia. She helped facilitate a military coup in Ukraine. She has the financial support of the arms makers and many of their foreign customers. She waived restrictions at the State Department on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar, all states wise enough to donate to the Clinton Foundation. She supported President Bill Clinton's wars and the power of the president to make war without Congress. She has advocated for arming fighters in Syria. She supported a surge in Iraq even before President Bush did.

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May
24

Building a War Abolition / Peace Movement

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson for Peace Fresno

At least ninety percent of humanity is represented by governments that wage war much less than the U.S. government. Over ninety-nine percent of people in the United States are not in the military. There has never been a single case of PTSD from war deprivation. The largest cause of death in members of the U.S. military is suicide. War supporters can try to claim that hunter-gatherers waged wars despite the lack of evidence, or that chimpanzees wage wars despite the lack of either evidence or relevance. But the very idea that humans all wage war or that it comes naturally is ridiculous on its face.

But people in the United States imagine themselves at war. Over 40% say that they “would” join a war (what’s stopping them?). Troops are thanked for their so-called service and allowed to board airplanes first. Troops are thanked for watching the Super Bowl from 175 nations. President Obama has bragged about having bombed seven nations, and at most events where I speak nobody can name all seven. War has been so normalized that we pay it no attention. The arms trade, led by the United States, has been normalized further beyond that.

Welcome Ceremony in Japan 33962
May
24

Top 12 Reasons the Good War Was Bad: Hiroshima in Context

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

Consider this a friendly reminder to President Obama on his way to Hiroshima.

No matter how many years one writes books, does interviews, publishes columns, and speaks at events, it remains virtually impossible to make it out the door of an event in the United States at which you've advocated abolishing war without somebody hitting you with the what-about-the-good-war question.

Of course this belief that there was a good war 75 years ago is what moves the U.S. public to tolerate dumping a trillion dollars a year into preparing in case there's a good war next year, even in the face of so many dozens of wars during the past 70 years on which there's general consensus that they were not good. Without rich, well-established myths about World War II, current propaganda about Russia or Syria or Iraq would sound as crazy to most people as it sounds to me.

And of course the funding generated by the Good War legend leads to more bad wars, rather than preventing them.

I've written on this topic at great length in many articles and books, especially this one. But perhaps it would be helpful to provide a column-length list of the top reasons that the good war was not good.

1. World War II could not have happened without World War I, without the stupid manner of starting World War I and the even stupider manner of ending World War I which led numerous wise people to predict World War II on the spot, without Wall Street's funding of Nazi Germany for decades (as preferable to commies), and without the arms race and numerous bad decisions that do not need to be repeated in the future.

2. The U.S. government was not hit with a surprise attack. President Franklin Roosevelt had committed to Churchill to provoking Japan and worked hard to provoke Japan, and knew the attack was coming, and initially drafted a declaration of war against both Germany and Japan on the evening of Pearl Harbor -- before which time, FDR had built up bases in the U.S. and multiple oceans, traded weapons to the Brits for bases, started the draft, created a list of every Japanese American person in the country, provided planes, trainers, and pilots to China, imposed harsh sanctions on Japan, and advised the U.S. military that a war with Japan was beginning.

3. The war was not humanitarian and was not even marketed as such until after it was over. There was no poster asking you to help Uncle Sam save the Jews. A ship of Jewish refugees was chased away from Miami by the Coast Guard. The U.S. and other nations would not allow Jewish refugees in, and the majority of the U.S. public supported that position. Peace groups that questioned Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his foreign secretary about shipping Jews out of Germany to save them were told that Hitler might very well agree to that but it would be too much trouble and require too many ships. The U.S. engaged in no diplomatic or military effort to save the victims in the camps. Anne Frank was denied a U.S. visa.

May
23

Let's Back All Moderates in Syria and the World

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas

I've come around in favor of backing all moderates. The question appeared to me for a long time as a difficult one. Should one give anti-aircraft weaponry, for example, to al Qaeda fighters in Syria in order to better combat ISIS (which could some day develop the airplane)?

The answer is yes, if, and only if, those fighters are moderates.

Now, who's a moderate? Some people get confused on this part, but it's not really that difficult to get straight. Fighters who want to blow up buildings and airplanes and cars and pedestrians and playgrounds can be either moderates or extremists, since war has nothing to do with their categorization. After all, we're picking which people to arm in the war.

May
23

Talk Nation Radio: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: U.S. Was Always at War

Tag: Peace and War, Talk Nation Radio

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-roxanne-dunbar-ortiz-us-was-always-at-war

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has taught in the Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Dunbar-Ortiz is the author or editor of seven other books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico, and including An Indigenous People's History of the United States.

She discusses the idea that President Obama is the longest serving war president.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete athttp://TalkNationRadio.org

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

May
23

Obama is not first president at permanent war

Tag: Peace and War

The New York Times recently claimed, and peace advocates repeated, that President Barack Obama will be the first U.S. president to have been at war for two complete four-year terms. It's also become common to refer to the current U.S. war on Afghanistan as the longest U.S. war ever. These ideas fit well with the universal activist demand that we return to the time of peace or the age of justice or the wisdom of the Founding Fathers or the era before superdelegates.

This is all based on a fundamental misunderstanding of history, and of its uses and abuses for life. You cannot "take back our country!" because you never had it. There is no age of peace or justice to be returned to. The United States has been at war since before it was a United States, and formed itself as such in part in order to expand its western wars.

May
23

Hey Kids! Try Collateral Damage at Home

Tag: Peace and War, Philosophy, Political Ideas

One day a couple of weeks ago I was reading Saint Augustine while driving to the local convenience store, and I accidentally drove right through the front glass wall of the store, smashing up some shelves of junk food. After I'd made my purchases, a police officer stopped me and asked if I'd intended to drive into the store. "Oh, not at all," I replied. "I intended to get here as quickly as possible while also educating myself as quickly as possible. I knew I might crash, of course, but that wasn't part of my intention."

"Well," the cop replied. "Where should we send the check for your car repair?"

"I'll let you know," I replied, a bit annoyed by the hassle.

My brother in law repaired my car for not much more than $100,000, and all it still needed was to be repainted. So, I took a giant paint sprayer with me. I parked the car in front of my neighbor's house, the one with the loud dog. When I'd finished painting the car, there was a rough shape of its profile on the front of my neighbor's house, surrounded by fresh purple paint. I pinned a note to the door letting him know that my intention had been only to paint the car and not his house.

World Beyond War

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Peace is the way.

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