Peace and War

May
27

Obama in Hiroshima Paints a Peace Sign on a Bomb

Tag: Peace and War

President Obama went to Hiroshima, did not apologize, did not state the facts of the matter (that there was no justification for the bombings there and in Nagasaki), and did not announce any steps to reverse his pro-nuke policies (building more nukes, putting more nukes in Europe, defying the nonproliferation treaty, opposing a ban treaty, upholding a first-strike policy, spreading nuclear energy far and wide, demonizing Iran and North Korea, antagonizing Russia, etc.).

Where Obama is usually credited -- and the reason he's usually given a pass on his actual actions -- is in the area of rhetoric. But in Hiroshima, as in Prague, his rhetoric did more harm than good. He claimed to want to eliminate nukes, but he declared that such a thing could not happen for decades (probably not in his lifetime) and he announced that humanity has always waged war (before later quietly claiming that this need not continue).

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
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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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.

Obama meets with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin fd60d
May
19

United States Wants War With Russia

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

After provoking Russia for decades, the United States government has apparently concluded that the Russians are all saints and decided to escalate the provocations with confidence that nothing will go wrong, or go nuclear. Either that or the U.S. government truly wants World War III.

I wouldn't treat a diseased rat the way the United States treats Russia. The Russian government has exercised such incredible restraint that the United States has apparently decided it can get away with being even nastier, a move that is now openly described by Washington insiders as being driven by weapons profiteering:

"'This is the "Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling" set in the Army,' the senior Pentagon officer said. 'These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There's a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock.'"

In fact, the United States spends well over 8 times what Russia does on militarism, not counting "Homeland Security" or Energy or State or Veterans, etc. The world still contains enough nuclear weapons to destroy human life if just a small fraction of them are used, and 93 percent of them belong to Russia and the United States.

Why aren't the nukes gone, when Gorbachev was willing to give them up?

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