Tag: David Swanson

What’s North Korea Afraid of?

DAVID SWANSON – “Peace” clubs in U.S. schools are likely to teach that a local bully is afraid and in need of help. They are much less likely to teach that about entities involved in the actual subject of peace (meaning the absence of war), such as — to take the example momentarily most prominent in U.S. propaganda — North Korea.

The Unifying Force of War Abolition

DAVID SWANSON – It’s not unusual for an activist, focused on one of the millions of worthy causes out there, to try to recruit other activists to that particular cause. That’s not exactly what I want to do. For one thing, if we are going to succeed we are going to have to recruit millions of new people into activism who are not now active at all.

Gorbachev: It Was Worse Than This, and We Fixed It

DAVID SWANSON – On Friday, May 12, in Moscow I and a group from the United States met with former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. He said the current relationship between Washington and Moscow alarmed him. But, he said, it is possible to rebuild trust. “We had a situation that was worse, but we were able to rebuild trust. And people-to-people contacts helped to rebuild trust.”

U.S. Out of Korea

DAVID SWANSON – My biggest concern is not the embarrassment of a U.S. public afraid of the tiny impoverished nation of North Korea. If that embarrassed me, how would I survive what U.S. culture makes of ISIS, or — for that matter — the election of Donald Trump? My biggest concern is that U.S. war profiteers may end up using Korea to get us all killed.

Our Causes Are Connected, Our Movements Should Be Too

DAVID SWANSON – In my view, not only was Thomas Jefferson right to list all of King George’s wrongs, not only was Martin Luther King Jr. right to propose taking on militarism, racism, and extreme materialism all together, but the way to an effective movement — not just a larger movement, but a coherent movement with a vision for a better future — is to go multi-issue, big-tent, cross-border, and otherwise “intersectional.”

Yes, Dubya, Now I Miss You

DAVID SWANSON – When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith. Those standards are gone.

Another $11.6 Billion for Obama/Trump Wars? Hell No!

DAVID SWANSON – President Obama waited until after the election last week to propose an unpopular idea. He asked Congress for $11.6 billion extra — outside the huge existing military budget — for wars. Here’s his letter including all the gory details. Please read it yourself when you begin to hope that I’m making up some of what follows.

This Is Our Lucky Day

DAVID SWANSON – This is our lucky day for quite a few reasons. We haven’t yet rendered the climate of this planet uninhabitable for our species. For those of us who are not in prison: we’re not in prison — and not because of some significant difference between us and many who are. For those of us not hungry or scared . . . (see note above re prisons). But there’s another big reason that this is our lucky day — a reason that is different in kind from these.

U.S. Plans to Saturate Globe With Weapons

DAVID SWANSON – As the United States and NATO antagonize Russia, and pressure NATO members to buy more weapons, and showcase U.S. weapons in numerous wars, and use every carrot and stick in the State Department to market U.S. weapons, an “official” who happens to have been located at a giant weapons trade show predicts that of its own accord “demand” for weaponry is going to grow. Here’s Reuters’ first sentence: “International demand for U.S. weapons systems is expected to continue growing in coming years, a senior U.S. Air Force official said on Sunday, citing strong interest in unmanned systems, munitions and fighter jets.”

Former OPW Director on Peace Mission to Russia

PETER BERGEL – As some of you know, I’ll leave on June 15 to join a citizen diplomacy peace delegation to Russia for two weeks. I will take with me a peace message from the mayor and mayor-elect of Salem, OR and will, I hope, bring back peace messages from Russian citizens, decision-makers, academicians and journalists. I will also listen carefully to the Russians’ concerns, especially those that concern our own country.

DAVID SWANSON – In the early 1980s almost nobody from the United States traveled to the Soviet Union or vice versa. The Soviets wouldn’t let anybody out, and good Americans were disinclined to visit the Evil Empire. But a woman in California named Sharon Tennison took the threat of nuclear war with the seriousness it deserved and still deserves. She got a group of friends together and asked the Russian consulate for permission to visit Russia, make friends, and learn.

Obama in Hiroshima Paints a Peace Sign on a Bomb

DAVID SWANSON – 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).

How to Counter Recruitment and De-Militarize Schools

DAVID SWANSON – U.S. military recruiters are teaching in public school classrooms, making presentations at school career days, coordinating with JROTC units in high schools and middle schools, volunteering as sports coaches and tutors and lunch buddies in high, middle, and elementary schools, showing up in humvees with $9,000 stereos, bringing fifth-graders to military bases for hands-on science instruction, and generally pursuing what they call “total market penetration” and “school ownership.” But counter-recruiters all over the United States are making their own presentations in schools, distributing their own information, picketing recruiting stations, and working through courts and legislatures to reduce military access to students and to prevent military testing or the sharing of test results with the military without students’ permission. This struggle for hearts and minds has had major successes and could spread if more follow the counter-recruiters’ example.

More U.S. Troops Killed by Halliburton than by Iraqis

DAVID SWANSON – The geniuses running the U.S. military set up U.S. bases in Iraq at the sites of old chemical weapons piles, dug giant burn pits into the ground, and began burning the military’s trash — monumental quantities of trash, something like The Story of Stuff on steroids. They burned hundreds of tons of trash every day, including everything you can think of: oil, rubber, tires, treated wood, medicines, pesticides, asbestos, plastic, explosives, paint, human body parts, and . . . (wait for it) . . . nuclear, biological, and chemical decontamination materials.

A Peace Activist Leads the Labour Party

DAVID SWANSON – I wonder if people in the United States understand what it means that the Labour Party in London now has a peace activist in charge of it. Jeremy Corbyn does not resemble any U.S. politicians. He doesn’t favor “only the smart wars” or prefer drone murders to massive invasions. Corbyn opposes wars, and he works to end militarism.

Tell Your Senator to Oppose War on Iran

DAVID SWANSON – If both proponents and opponents of the nuclear agreement with Iran depict Iran falsely as a nuclear threat, the danger of a U.S. war on Iran is going to continue, with or without the deal. The deal could end with the election of a new president or Congress. Ending the agreement could be the first act of a Republican president or a Schumerian Democratic Leader. So, don’t just urge the right vote while pushing the propaganda. Oppose the propaganda as well.

NBC Dares Mention Climate in Spread of Lyme Disease, But Not Who Created Lyme Disease

DAVID SWANSON – Climate change is apparently encouraging the spread of Lyme disease, and a report by NBC News dares to say so. This may seem like a fresh breath of honest sanity in a media context in which even the weather reports usually avoid the topic of human global destruction. However, another topic is clearly still off limits: the topic of who created Lyme disease.

If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level

DAVID SWANSON – The House of Representatives has headed out of town to memorialize wars without managing to achieve agreement with the Senate on reauthorizing some of the most abusive “temporary” measures of the PATRIOT Act. Three cheers for Congressional vacations! What if not just our civil liberties but our budget got a little bit of 2001 back?

Costa Rica Abolished its Military, Never Regretted it

DAVID SWANSON – The forthcoming film, A Bold Peace: Costa Rica’s Path of Demilitarization, should be given every possible means of support and promotion. After all, it documents the blatant violation of laws of physics, human nature, and economics, as understood in the United States — and the violators seem positively gleeful about it. In 1948 Costa Rica abolished its military, something widely deemed impossible in the United States. This film documents how that was done and what the results have been. I don’t want to give away the ending but let me just say this: there has not been a hostile Muslim takeover of Costa Rica, the Costa Rican economy has not collapsed, and Costa Rican women still seem to find a certain attraction in Costa Rican men.

U.S. Bill of Rights Rewritten to Match Today’s Reality

DAVID SWANSON – There just might be a big boost in government honesty soon, as both houses of Congress have now passed with two-thirds votes and sent to the states for ratification a potential 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution bearing the unofficial title “The Truth in Advertising Amendment.” This is the text as passed by Congress: Amendment 28.

TV Ad Airing in Las Vegas Asks Drone Pilots to Refuse to Fly

DAVID SWANSON – This advertisement does a number of things in 15 seconds that U.S. television has not done before. It presents a moral case against drone murders (the U.S. government’s terminology, and strictly accurate). It opposes drone murders as illegal. It shows victims. It provides the name and website of an organization opposing drone murders. And it directly asks drone “pilots” to refuse to continue. It also makes the Nuremberg argument that an illegal order need not (in fact must not) be obeyed.

Intervention in Civil Wars ‘Far More Likely in Oil-rich Nations’

DAVID SWANSON – Conspiracy theorists have long insisted that modern wars revolve around oil. Now research suggests hydrocarbons play an even bigger role in conflicts than they had suspected. According to academics from the Universities of Portsmouth, Warwick and Essex, foreign intervention in a civil war is 100 times more likely when the afflicted country has high oil reserves than if it has none.

Reject Endless, Worldwide War

DAVID SWANSON – We strongly reject President Obama’s request for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) of the U.S.-led war on ISIS. We urge Congress to oppose the request for a war which is endless, not the last resort, illegal by national and international standards, geographically unlimited, and unwinnable. The resultant costs of endless wars are too high and will not lead to the expected outcome. We know that the use of military force in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen has been a failure and has increased violent extremism and recruited volunteers for Al Qaeda and ISIS. There is no reason to believe that further military action will have any different result.

Militarism in the Air We Breathe

DAVID SWANSON – If there is a group of Americans to whom Iraqis struggling with the health effects of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and all the various poisons of war can relate, it might be the mostly black and largely poor residents of Gibsland, in northern Louisiana.

CIA on Trial in Virginia for Planting Nuke Evidence in Iran

DAVID SWANSON – Since Tuesday and continuing for the coming three weeks, an amazing trial is happening in U.S. District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, Va. The trial is open to the public, and among the upcoming witnesses is Condoleezza Rice, but — unlike the Chelsea Manning trial — most of the seats at this somewhat similar event are empty. The media is mostly MIA, and during lunch break the two tables at the cafe across the street are occupied, one by the defendant and his lawyers, the other by a small group of activists, including former CIA officer Ray McGovern, blogger Marcy Wheeler (follow her report of every detail at ExposeFacts.org), and Norman Solomon who has organized a petition at DropTheCharges.org — the name of which speaks for itself.

Germany Does Something the U.S. Hasn’t for Peace

DAVID SWANSON – Imagine a letter co-signed by former presidents, former representatives from both sides of the aisle, House speakers, former governors, attorneys general, cabinet members, ambassadors, CEOs, movie stars and directors, writers, astronauts, religious leaders, mayors, academics, mainstream media correspondents, and more — all united in stating “Nobody wants war.” Imagine the New York Times publishing this letter. The equivalent happened in Germany just a few days ago.

What Would a Paradigm for Peace Look Like?

DAVID SWANSON – Raise your hand if you weren’t surprised when fancy films of beheadings resulted in bombings? Keep your hand up if you weren’t shocked when bombings resulted in more brutality and beheadings? Is it possible we need a radically different way of thinking about how to solve violence?

A Good End Date for the New War Is Today

DAVID SWANSON – Here’s my basic contention: Congress knows how to compromise. We don’t have to pre-compromise for them. (How’d that work out on healthcare?) (How’d that ever work out?) And when we do pre-compromise for them (such as the time AFSCME banned “single-payer” signs from “public option” rallies, so as to simulate public demand for what “progressive” Congress members were pretending to already want) we give significant support and respectability to some serious outrages (such as privatized for-profit health insurance, but also such as bombing Iraq yet again and bombing the opposite side in Syria that was to be bombed a year ago and while arming that same side, which — if we’re honest about it — is madness.

Warning to War Supporters

DAVID SWANSON – I know you mean well. I know you think you’ve found a bargain that nobody else noticed hidden in a back corner of the used car lot. Let me warn you: it’s a clunker. Here, I’ll list the defects. You can have your own mechanic check them out:

Recalling the Lessons of Wisconsin

DAVID SWANSON – A new film called Wisconsin Rising is screening around the country, the subject, of course, being the activism surrounding the mass occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol in 2011. I recommend attending a planned screening or setting up a new one, and discussing the film collectively upon its conclusion. For all the flaws in Wisconsin’s activism in 2011 and since, other states haven’t even come close — most have a great deal to learn.

Planning for a Day of Peace

DAVID SWANSON – We need our governments to begin planning for a day of peace. Instead of investing everything in planning for war, preparing for war, and proliferating enough weapons to fuel plenty of wars, governments could invest in alternatives to war, nonviolent means of conflict resolution, moves toward justice that reduce conflict, international standards of law that make negotiations and diplomacy effective.

The Climate Is Invading the Earth!

DAVID SWANSON – If an alien invader with a face were attacking the earth, the difficulties that governments have getting populations to support wars on other humans would be multiplied a thousand fold. The most common response to officials calling some petty foreign despot “a new Hitler” would shift from “yeah, right” to “who cares?” The people of the world would unite in common defense against the hostile alien.

The Art of Satyagraha (Gandhian Nonviolence)

David Swanson – Michael Nagler has just published The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action, a quick book to read and a long one to digest, a book that’s rich in a way that people of a very different inclination bizarrely imagine Sun Tzu’s to be. That is, rather than a collection of misguided platitudes, this book proposes what still remains a radically different way of thinking, a habit of living that is not in our air. In fact, Nagler’s first piece of advice is to avoid the airwaves, turn off the television, opt out of the relentless normalization of violence.

If War Was Funded Like College Tuition

DAVID SWANSON – If wisdom about the counter-productive results of militarism spread, if nonviolent alternatives were learned, if free college had a positive impact on our collective intellect, and if the fact that we could end global poverty or halt global warming for a fraction of current military spending leaked out, who knows? Maybe militarism would fail in the free market.

What Do World’s Two Biggest Dangers Have in Common?

DAVID SWANSON – War and environmental destruction don’t just overlap in how they’re thought and talked about. They don’t just promote each other through mutually reinforcing notions of machismo and domination. The connection is much deeper and more direct. War and preparations for war, including weapons testing, are themselves among the greatest destroyers of our environment.

Taking the War Activists to Task

DAVID SWANSON – War activists, like peace activists, push for an agenda. We don’t think of them as activists because they rotate in and out of government positions, receive huge amounts of funding, have access to big media, and get meetings with top officials just by asking — without having to generate a protest first.