Peace and War

Nov
02

Of Veterans and Black Mirror Roaches

Tag: Book and Movie Reviews, Media, Peace and War, Political Ideas

If you're a fan of the Netflix show Black Mirror, go watch the episode called "Men Against Fire" before reading this. It's the one about war.

In this 60-minute science fiction show, soldiers have been (somehow) programed so that when they look at certain people they see them as freaky monsters with pointed teeth and bizarre faces. These people look frightening and non-human. They are thought of as objects, not as people at all. In reality they are themselves terrified, unarmed, ordinary looking people. And they have a tool with which to protect themselves, a stick with a green light. It doesn't kill or injure. The stick deprograms a soldier so that when he looks at someone he sees them as they really are without the monstrous distortion.

Of course a deprogramed soldier is of no use to the military. In "Men Against Fire" the military offers a deprogramed soldier two choices. He can re-experience on an endless loop a recent reality in which he murdered helpless human beings, but this time experience it while seeing them as human beings instead of as "roaches" (what the military calls the intended victims made to appear monstrous), or he can be reprogramed and get back to the untroubled work of extermination.

Nov
01

Talk Nation Radio: James Marc Leas on Canceling the F-35

Tag: Peace and War, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-james-marc-leas-on-canceling-the-f-35

James Marc Leas is a founding member of the Stop the F-35 Coalition in Burlington Vermont. He has published some two dozen articles on the F-35 and F-35 basing. To highlight the F-35 issue statewide, he ran for the office of Vermont Adjutant General, the leader of the Vermont National Guard, in 2013, which is elected by the legislature.

Before becoming a patent attorney James was an engineer at IBM, and he holds over 40 patents for his inventions. While an IBM employee he led a vigorous campaign among employees to end IBM sales to South Africa. He also served as a staff physicist for the Union of Concerned Scientists in its Washington, DC office for a year in the aftermath of the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant. He is a graduate of MIT and completed all but the dissertation toward a PhD in physics from the University of Massachusetts. He is a member of the Vermont Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Lawyers Guild.

Sign the petition to cancel the F-35:https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12514

Learn more:http://stopthef35.com

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Oct
31

What Keeps the F-35 Alive

Tag: Peace and War

Imagine if a local business in your town invented a brand new tool that was intended to have an almost magical effect thousands of miles away. However, where the tool was kept and used locally became an area unsafe for children. Children who got near this tool tended to have increased blood pressure and increased stress hormones, lower reading skills, poorer memories, impaired auditory and speech perception, and impaired academic performance.

Most of us would find this situation at least a little concerning, unless the new invention was designed to murder lots of people. Then it'd be just fine.

Now, imagine if this same new tool ruined neighborhoods because people couldn't safely live near it. Imagine if the government had to compensate people but kick them out of living near the location of this tool. Again, I think, we might find that troubling if mass murder were not the mission.

Oct
28

Disobey or Die

Back in the winter of 1982, Air Florida flight 90 took off from National Airport. The first officer noticed dangerous readings on some instruments and pointed them out to the captain. The captain told him he was wrong, and he accepted the captain's authority. He did nothing. Thirty seconds later the plane crashed into the 14th Street Bridge. Everyone on board died except for four passengers rescued out of the icy river.

Oct
27

Public vs. Media on War

Tag: Media, Peace and War

A new poll from an unlikely source suggests that the U.S. public and the U.S. media have very little in common when it comes to matters of war and peace.

This poll was commissioned by that notorious leftwing hotbed of peaceniks, the Charles Koch Institute, along with the Center for the National Interest (previously the Nixon Center, and before that the humorously named Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom). The poll was conducted by Survey Sampling International.

They polled 1,000 registered voters from across the U.S. and across the political spectrum but slanted slightly toward older age groups. They asked:

"Over the last 15 years, do you think U.S. foreign policy has made Americans more or less safe?"

Oct
27

The U.S. National Bird Is Now a Drone

Tag: Book and Movie Reviews, Media, Peace and War

Officially, of course, the national bird of the United States is that half-a-peace-sign that Philadelphia sports fans like to hold up at opposing teams. But unofficially, the film National Bird has it right: the national bird is a killer drone.

Finally, finally, finally, somebody allowed me to see this movie. And finally somebody made this movie. There have been several drone movies worth seeing, most of them fictional drama, and one very much worth avoiding (Eye in the Sky). But National Bird is raw truth, not entirely unlike what you might fantasize media news reports would be in a magical world in which media outlets gave a damn about human life.

The first half of National Bird is the stories of three participants in the U.S. military's drone murder program, as told by them. And then, just as you're starting to think you'll have to write that old familiar review that praises how well the stories of the victims among the aggressors were told but asks in exasperation whether any of the victims of the actual missiles have any stories, National Bird expands to include just what is so often missing, and even to combine the two narratives in a powerful way.

Oct
25

Slavery Was Abolished

Tag: Civil Rights, Peace and War, Prison Industry, Race Relations

By David Swanson, World Beyond War

I recently debated a pro-war professor on the topic “Is war ever necessary?” (video). I argued for abolishing war. And because people like to see successes before doing something, no matter how indisputably possible that thing is, I gave examples of other institutions that have been abolished in the past. One might include such practices as human sacrifice, polygamy, cannibalism, trial by ordeal, blood feuds, dueling, or the death penalty in a list of human institutions that have been largely abolished in some parts of the earth or which people have at least come to understand could be abolished.

Of course, an important example is slavery. But when I claimed that slavery had been abolished, my debate opponent quickly announced that there are more slaves in the world today than there were before foolish activists imagined they were abolishing slavery. This stunning factoid was meant as a lesson to me: Do not try to improve the world. It cannot be done. In fact, it may be counter-productive.

But let’s examine this claim for the 2 minutes necessary to reject it. Let’s look at it globally and then with the inevitable U.S. focus.

David Swanson: “We need to unite globally around opposition to the entire institution of war”
Oct
24

David Swanson: “We need to unite globally around opposition to the entire institution of war”

Tag: Peace and War

By Anna Polo, PRESSENZA

This post is also available in: Italian

(Image by Ragesoss, Wikimedia Commons)

In your website http://worldbeyondwar.org/ you say: “We strive to replace a culture of war with one of peace, in which nonviolent means of conflict resolution take the place of bloodshed”. So which role and value can nonviolence have in building such a culture?

Nonviolent action can play at least three roles here.

It can demonstrate a superior means of resisting tyranny that causes less suffering, is more likely to succeed, and is likely to have a longer lasting success. While most of the examples, such as Tunisia 2011, are of overcoming domestic tyranny, there is a growing list of successful nonviolent resistance actions against foreign invasion and occupation as well — and a growing understanding of how to apply the lessons of domestic nonviolence to resistance to foreign attack. It can model a world that has outgrown war. Nations can lead by example, by joining international bodies and treaties, abiding by the rule of law and enforcing it. The International Criminal Court could indict a non-African. The United States which has stopped manufacturing cluster bombs could join the ban on them. Truth and reconciliation commissions could be expanded. Disarmament talks, humanitarian aid on a new scale, and the closure of foreign bases could be the change we want to see. Nonviolent protest and resistance tools can be used by activists to resist bases, weapons manufacture, military recruitment, and new wars. We didn’t stop Dal Molin in Vicenza, but we don’t have to accept it. The U.S. military should not be permitted to use facilities in Sicily to murder with drones in Asia and Africa. A year’s service to one’s country should not involve participating in a military.  Public and private funds must be divested from weapons companies. Et cetera.

Oct
23

Of All the Opinions I've Heard on Syria

Tag: Peace and War

It's all Assad's fault and the U.S., ISIS, al Nusra, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and anybody who will help should overthrow him come what may.

It's all a U.S. crime, and Syria, Russia, and Iran should fix it with bombs.

It's all an ISIS problem that should be solved with U.S. and Russian bombs plus lots more arms for the moderate murderers.

The whole thing is Russia's fault and it should go home or fight an ever more heavily armed collection of moderate, extremist, and ultra-extremist killers.

If people keep killing each other, it's good for U.S. arms sales, and eventually whoever's left will be totally peaceful.

A No-Fly zone would create safety and security by blowing lots of people up and creating a staging area from which to overthrow another government on the admirable model of Iraq and Libya.

If all the foreigners would get the hell out, Syria would be just fine, thank you -- but wait, we didn't mean stop the weapons shipments!

The thing to do is to leave the government of Syria alone but destroy ISIS by arming people against ISIS whose goal is to overthrow the government of Syria.

ISIS must be destroyed by bombing it, because there is a chance that the resulting terror groups will use some name other than "ISIS."

If the United States is going to start a war with Russia it damn well ought to just start a war with Russia and stop dillydallying. They asked for it by being Russia.

Let drones handle it.

What good are 7,000 nuclear bombs if you're never going to use one?

*****

To figure out which of the above views is the correct one, you can follow these simple rules:

1. If you oppose U.S. war making, you are in love with Bashar al Assad and must begin worshiping him every morning.

2. If you oppose Syrian war making, you are in favor of the United States overthrowing Syria and must do whatever Hillary Clinton says.

3. If you oppose Russian war making, you are in favor of ISIS killing your family, and you must turn yourself in at the nearest Republican campaign office.

4. If you oppose regional support for war making in Syria, you are in favor of the United States paying for everything, and you must donate your house to Goldman Sachs.

and most importantly . . .

5. If you oppose arming anybody, bombing anybody, shooting anybody, or slitting anybody's throat, if you want the arms shipments halted, if you want actual aid delivered on a massive scale, if you want withdrawal of foreign forces and the opening of serious negotiations for disarmament and peace, then you have just claimed that every crime committed by anyone in Syria is exactly identical to every other crime committed by anyone else in Syria. As punishment for this absurdity, you must worship Assad while holding hands with Hillary Clinton in a Republican campaign office while leaking Goldman Sachs' emails to Putin.

Oct
21

Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn't

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson, originally published by the Fairbanks Alaska Daily Miner

I would not rank Vladimir Putin high on a list of leaders. If I lived in Russia I'd be working for major reforms in my government, just as I'm doing where I do live, in the United States. I regularly go on Russian media and criticize the Russian government. Russia is illegally and immorally bombing people in Syria, just as the United States is doing in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

But there are Putin Halloween masks for sale in U.S. stores. Time magazine has Putin on the cover accusing him of trying to damage U.S. elections. A Google search for "Hitler Putin" brings back 11 million results. This demonization of a foreign leader should frighten us more than that leader himself.

Wars do not only kill, if they kill at all, a foreign leader. But they do kill large numbers of children, grandparents, mothers, and fathers. They enrage people, endanger us, damage the natural environment, justify the removal of our rights, and divert unfathomable resources from areas where they could have done a world of good.

World Beyond War

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