Pasting Over Vacuity With Identity in U.S. Politics

I’m very, very strange. I think democracy would actually be a good thing, not just grounds for bombing other countries. As long as we’re stuck with electing supposed representatives, I want to make that system approximate as closely as possible actual democracy. This attitude results in some bizarre positions. For example, I want candidates to lay out a detailed policy platform with hard commitments to particular actions. Even weirder, I don’t really care what a candidate looks read more

Early Challenges to the War System

The Collapse of the War System is the hopeful and predictive title of a 2007 book by John Jacob English, who’s actually Irish, and it may prove a valuable stepping stone for many trying to partially back their way out of support for endless war yet not prepared to acknowledge the more coherent and empirically substantiated wisdom of complete abolition. Whether any of the authors of the following books which I routinely recommend to people had read English’s book I do not know, read more

Is War Alcohol?

War is a self-perpetuating habit that harms its users and can provide a certain momentary high. At a peace conference in Canada recently I heard a number of people refer to themselves as “recovering Americans.” The degree to which many people imagine wars are launched and continued for rational reasons is a major misunderstanding; war cannot be explained without irrationality.

But any metaphor can be taken in a misleading direction, and I think that has been done with war and alcohol.

What? read more

Delusion Upon Fantasy Upon Lie Based on Propaganda

Read this headline: “To Avoid Repeating Catastrophic Mistake of Iraq Invasion, Senate Bill Would Forbid Attack on Iran Without Congressional Approval.”

Consider these facts:

The Senate voted to let Bush attack Iraq.

So did the House.

The pair of them continue to fund the U.S. military occupation of Iraq to this day.

The pair of them have repeated the same catastrophic mistake — on different scales but indisputably catastrophic — in, among other places, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, read more

17 Years of Getting Afghanistan Completely Wrong

We expect 17-year-olds to have learned a great deal starting from infancy, and yet full-grown adults have proven incapable of knowing anything about Afghanistan during the course of 17 years of U.S.-NATO war. Despite war famously being the means of Americans learning geography, few can even identify Afghanistan on a map. What else have we failed to learn?

The war has not ended.

There are, as far as I know, no polls on the percentage of people in the United States who know that the war is still read more

The Democratic Party Comes Out Against Foreign Military Bases

I confess that the idea of fighting for “the soul of the Democratic Party” has always sounded as sensible to my ear as fighting for the soul of a cow plop, and plans to improve the world through the Democratic Party about as strategic as a preemptive compromise. The following statement from the Democratic Party has given me second thoughts:

“We declare again that all governments instituted among men derive their just powers from the consent of the governed; that any government read more

100th Anniversary of the Dumbest Parade Ever

September 28, 2018, marks 100 years since the stupidest parade I’ve ever heard of. And this is a world awash in stupid. Donald Trump wanted to hold an insane weapons parade in Washington this November. That was dumb. But so was, on a far lesser scale, the move by various peace groups to de-prioritize going ahead with a massive celebration of having helped get the parade cancelled. I suppose the thinking is that we have got just too many victories for peace to be bothered with inspiring people read more