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Christians at War, by John F. Kendrick, 1916

Onward, Christian soldiers! Duty's way is plain;
Slay your Christian neighbors, or by them be slain,
Pulpiteers are spouting effervescent swill,
God above is calling you to rob and rape and kill,
All your acts are sanctified by the Lamb on high;
If you love the Holy Ghost, go murder, pray and die.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Rip and tear and smite!
Let the gentle Jesus bless your dynamite.
Splinter skulls with shrapnel, fertilize the sod;
Folks who do not speak your tongue deserve the curse of God.
Smash the doors of every home, pretty maidens seize;
Use your might and sacred right to treat them as you please.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Eat and drink your fill;
Rob with bloody fingers, Christ okays the bill,
Steal the farmers' savings, take their grain and meat;
Even though the children starve, the Saviour's bums must eat,
Burn the peasants' cottages, orphans leave bereft;
In Jehovah's holy name, wreak ruin right and left.

In New York City on Tuesday to Do GRIT TV, United Nations TV, and Public Event with Mark Crispin Miller

Join us to talk about "War Is A Lie"

Jan. 4, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince St. (b/t Lafayette & Mulberry), NYC.

With Mark Crispin Miller.

What Do Afghans Think of the War? Ask Them!

By David Swanson

Americans are down to 35% supporting the war on Afghanistan. The trouble is that our government officials, media pundits, and newspaper editors are part of the 35% and feel no particular obligation to represent the rest of us. And they repeat the same nonsensical justifications for the war so often that we imagine they're 90% instead of the 35% they are or the 20% they should be pretty soon if current trends continue. And one of their main arguments is that the war is good for the people of Afghanistan.

It's Gonna Be A Real Peace Gathering in Baltimore

Here's a poster/flyer: PDF

David Swanson to Discuss, Sign Copies of "War Is A Lie" in Baltimore, Md.
January 10, 2011
7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Johns Hopkins Bookstore
3330 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410) 662-5850

Special guests:
Andy Worthington, author of "Guantanamo Files"
Debra Sweet, director of The World Can't Wait
Cindy Sheehan, the Peace Mom
and other surprises!

Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
Chesapeake Citizens
Voters for Peace
Progressive Democrats of America/Maryland
Generations for Peace and Democracy
Indypendent Reader

"David Swanson’s War Is A Lie may be the most comprehensive antiwar statement available in the English language." — Kevin Young

Identifying the Districts the Peace Movement Should Focus On

Here's a post by Robert Naiman that provides a useful list of the most Democratic congressional districts in which the incumbent has supported wars, and a list of districts where the incumbent showed some very minimal pretense of interest in peace but was defeated last month.

Naiman's analysis, in my opinion, needs tweaking, but is nonetheless a great place to start. It needs tweaking because, rather than looking at the list of congressmembers who have voted against funding war or escalation, he looks at the list of those who have supported toothless deferential requests to the royal throne to consider ending the war in Afghanistan at any unspecified time in the future. This may give us the list of those who need the least pressure from the peace movement, or it may not. Moving some of these people from a position that defers to the president to one that asserts power may be harder than moving others from war support to real war opposition. In any case, neither the list Naiman uses nor the one I suggest as superior gives us a list of congress members who need no pressure at all. (The most recent funding vote involved no White House pressure for yes votes and no likelihood of defeat.) Our energy might be better spent firming up some of those who are closer to backing peace than trying to convert some of the militarists. But the existence of anything that might be called "our energy" is a wonderful thing in iteself, wherever it is to be found, and it cannot necessarily be moved around to suit our priorities, and it is not a finite substance.

Planet Green Takes on Planetary War: Mickey Z. Interviews David Swanson

By Mickey Z., Planet Green

David Swanson

David Swanson, blogger and author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, has a compelling and timely new book out called War is a Lie. A thorough refutation of every major argument used to justify wars, Swanson calls War is a Lie "a handbook of sorts, a manual to be used in debunking future lies before future wars have a chance to begin."

Rob Kall of OpEd News, goes further, calling Swanson's latest, "an intellectual accomplishment that lays out the truths about war and the lies that support in a way that every peace activist, every anti-war organization and group must digest and frankly, use as the tools to take the arguments against war to a new more effective level."

I recently spoke with David Swanson about his book and related issues. Our conversation is below.

WATCH VIDEO: Somehow, the good guys are now called "terrorists"


David Swanson on War and Peace


My Conversation With David Swanson

Planet Green: What is it about the way war is portrayed in mainstream culture that led you to write this book?

David Swanson: War is portrayed as good and glorious, as a crusade against the gravest dangers, as something that makes us safer rather than increasing our risk, as defensive rather than aggressive, as humanitarian and a question of our responsibility to the people we are terrorizing whether they want us in their countries or not, and as unavoidable. If war lies are exposed, they are treated as an exception. If one war is viewed as a mistake, it is as a mistake rather than a crime, and as an exception rather than the norm. I was tired of the Iraq War being treated as somehow unique when all wars are based on lies, and when authors like you have documented the lies told about World War II, the single most glorified and defended war.

PG: Has anything substantial changed about war-related propaganda in this post-9/11 world?

DS: There are always variations on the themes that have supported wars for 10,000 years or so. The threat of the Soviet Union or communism was, within a dozen years of its elimination, replaced with the threat of al Qaeda or terrorism. I write in the book:

"Wars against an empire and an ideology would become wars against a small terrorist group and a tactic. The change had some advantages. While the Soviet Union could publicly collapse, a secretive and widely dispersed collection of terrorist cells to which we could apply the name al Qaeda could never be proven to have gone away. An ideology could fall out of favor, but anywhere we fought wars or imposed unwelcome control, people would fight back, and their fighting would be 'terrorism' because it was directed against us. This was a new justification for never-ending war. But the motivation was the war, not the crusade to eliminate terrorism which crusade would, of course, produce more terrorism. The motivation was U.S. control over areas of 'vital interest,' namely profitable natural resources and markets and strategic positions for military bases from which to extend power over yet more resources and markets, and from which to deny any imaginable 'rivals' anything resembling 'American self-confidence.' This is, of course, aided and abetted by the motivations of those who profit financially from the war making itself."

PG: For many of the more mainstream readers, your Table of Contents alone is a wake-up call:

  1. Wars Are Not Fought Against Evil
  2. Wars Are Not Launched in Defense
  3. Wars Are Not Waged Out of Generosity
  4. Wars Are Not Unavoidable
  5. Warriors Are Not Heroes
  6. War Makers Do Not Have Noble Motives
  7. Wars Are Not Prolonged for the Good of Soldiers
  8. Wars Are Not Fought on Battlefields
  9. Wars Are Not Won, and Are Not Ended By Enlarging Them
  10. War News Does Not Come From Disinterested Observers
  11. War Does Not Bring Security and Is Not Sustainable
  12. Wars Are Not Legal
  13. Wars Cannot Be Both Planned and Avoided
  14. War Is Over If You Want It

DS: I intend through the course of this argument to demonstrate that all of the claims used to launch specific wars are false, and all of the beliefs that support the war economy and dangerous presidential war powers are based on fundamental lies. Not only were specific documented lies used to launch each war the United States has entered, but new lies have been told to keep them going and to defend them after the fact. And the lie that our nation and the world can survive the course we're on, environmentally, economically, or while maintaining representative government, is the largest lie there is. Through the argument of Chapter 4 against the inevitability of war, and through the proposals in Chapter 14 for a different approach to foreign relations, I intend to suggest that another world is possible and that seeing through deeply entrenched lies can help us get there—lies of the sort that allow us to utter such phrases as "military aid" or "department of defense" or "preemptive war."

PG: Absolutely another world is possible—a world in which the War Department being renamed the Department of Defense would be greeted with derision and outrage. But—and here’s the one million taxpayer dollars per minute question—how do we wean the public off its addiction to all things military?

DS: As much as I think the public needs enlightenment, I think the blame here goes first to our misrepresentatives in Congress. The public backs wars when they're new, but then turns against them and says they should never have been launched and should be ended. And Congress does not end them. When asked how they would alter the federal budget, a majority of Americans says we should significantly cut the military and invest in useful things. So, one answer is that we need the sort of reforms described in my earlier book, Daybreak, reforms to restrain the corrupting influence of money and party as well as propaganda.

That being said, the goal of my new book is to move people to the point where we don't support wars even when they're new. A little consideration of the past suggests that we've been fooled more than enough times. It's not just the incidents invented, manufactured, or seized upon to initiate wars that are lies. The stories we are told to keep wars going once begun and to whitewash them once they're over, as well as the pretenses that they're over when they are not, are likewise based on lies. A web of long-accepted lies supports the destruction of our economy through diversion of our wealth into wars, into preparation for wars, and into a network of military bases around the globe. The idea that we can survive this war machine environmentally, economically, or with a representative government intact is built on pure lies. And the secret, unaccountable war-making powers established by deeply entrenched lies about what endangers us and what protects us enables the rising threat of small and secret and proxy and even unmanned wars, wars that can be launched without any specific lies required.

PG: What would you like people to do immediately after reading your book?

DS: The easy answer is: buy more copies for your friends and libraries and congress members, and to hand out at recruiting stations; post your comments on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Powell's and my website, and call television producers to tell them about the book. The harder answer is what to do for a longer period. What each person can best do is going to vary with where they are and what they're good at and interested in. Everyone should sign up at my site and join the campaigns at Defund War. We have to push for cuts to the military machine as a key part of the answer to the economic crisis, without letting up on the central moral argument against the evil of war. Beyond that, should you work on counter-recruitment or media, lobbying or nonviolent protest, education or web design? I think it depends on what you find most rewarding, because it all needs to be done.

Helena Cobban Publishes Terrific Review of "War Is A Lie"

By Helena Cobban, Just World News

My neighbor and friend, the antiwar activist David Swanson, recently published a terrific book that takes on, one by one, all the main myths/lies that warmongers use to try to persuade people that wars are effective, moral, and necessary. The book's title 'War is a Lie' is a subtle reference to (and its contents a good complement to) Smedley Butler's 1935 classic study 'War is a Racket'.

Here are some of David's chapter titles:

Charlottesville--Right Now: Rick Sincere and David Swanson join Coy Barefoot

12.28.10 Former Chair of the Libertarian Party of Virginia Rick Sincere and Author David Swanson join Coy to recap 2010. Two well known voices in Central Virginia, Swanson and Sincere touch on what they view to be the most significant national political stories from the almost finished year- including the financial state of our country, American military involvement abroad, and the growing sense of “Big Brother” in the United States. Be sure to check out David’s newest book War is a Lie.


There's a simple reason why the Democrats in Washington, D.C., can't end the wars or shrink the military or close Guantanamo or legalize union organizing or create a real health coverage system or repeal NAFTA or tax carbon or (fill in the blank).

But the simple reason keeps changing.

In 2005 and 2006 it was that they were in a minority in the House and Senate.

In 2007 and 2008 it was that they lacked the White House.

In 2009 and 2010 it was the filibuster.

In 2011 and 2012 it will be that they are a minority in the House.

The 2005-2006 reason was credible, even if Republicans seem to have no trouble passing tax bills in the minority.

A Year of Fall and Decline

By David Swanson

The fall and decline of an empire can take many years, but certain "benchmarks" (as imperial courts have been known to call them) can measure the progress in one year alone. Take, for example, the year 2010.

This year opened with the United States Supreme Court claiming further power to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, specifically by further opening up elections to the highest bidder. The year closed with congressional elections that cost more than before and in which money spent by third parties to influence the elections was more decisive than before. Election advertisements, in the view of myself and many others, also became uglier, baser, and more hateful than before, while the positions advertised moved a big step rightward. These were all trends that could be measured in previous years as well, and which we will probably see advance further in years to come, barring a change of course.

NYC - Baltimore - DC - "War Is A Lie" Tour

David Swanson to Discuss, Sign Copies of "War Is A Lie" in NYC, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

"David Swanson’s War Is A Lie may be the most comprehensive antiwar statement available in the English language." — Kevin Young

"Not since General Smedley Butler's War is a Racket has a simpler, more brilliant, or truer book been published." — Geoffrey Millard

“David Swanson despises war and lying, and unmasks them both with rare intelligence. I learn something new on every page.” — Jeff Cohen


Jan. 4
7:00 p.m.
McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince St. (b/t Lafayette & Mulberry), NYC.
With Mark Crispin Miller.



Jan. 10
7:00 p.m.
Johns Hopkins Barnes & Noble, 3330 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, (410) 662-5850
Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
Chesapeake Citizens
Voters for Peace
Progressive Democrats of America/Maryland
Generations for Peace and Democracy



Jan. 18
6:30 p.m.
Busboys and Poets, 5th and K Streets NW
Chesapeake Citizens
Democracy for Montgomery County
Global Exchange
Marc Steiner Show
Montgomery County Progressive Alliance
Progressive Democrats of America
PDA - Maryland
PDA - Virginia
Washington Peace Center
VFP Prosecute War Criminals Working Group
Peace Action Montgomery

On the 25th Day of Wikileaks, My Government Gave to Me

On the first day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: the military in every embassy.

On the second day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: two criminal presidents.

On the third day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: three  illegal wars.

Be the Peace You Want to See on Earth

By David Swanson

"And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liar's word worth
And what happened to peace on earth"
--Willie Nelson

When President Barack Obama joined the ranks of Henry Kissinger and the other gentle souls who have received Nobel Peace Prizes, he did something that I don't think anyone else had previously done in a Peace Prize acceptance speech. He argued for war:

2011: Year of Resistance

By David Swanson

You say protests are outmoded because the corporate media ignores them (unless they're corporate sponsored). I say the corporate media is outmoded because it ignores protests.

The coming year is going to see intense resistance to the plutopentagonocracy from volunteer representatives of that majority of Americans that opposes its agenda. We are not going to ask for the media cartel's approval or permission. We are going to continue developing our own communications systems, which are already working well.

If we abandon the work of protest and resistance, those acts will soon be criminalized. If we abandon the work of self-communication we will each come to believe that the rest of us support that criminalization. There is another way.

VIDEO: David Swanson, Lila Garrett, Jason Leopold, Brad Friedman - 7 Parts

Los Angeles, Mimi Kennedy's House, David Swanson's "War Is A Lie" Book Tour, December 19, 2010. Sponsored by KPFK.
Video by Lionel Heredia
Editing by Joe Keating

"War Is A Lie" Book Tour Coming to Baltimore

Here's a poster/flyer: PDF

David Swanson to Discuss, Sign Copies of "War Is A Lie" in Baltimore, Md.
January 10, 2011
7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Johns Hopkins Bookstore
3330 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410) 662-5850

Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
Chesapeake Citizens
Voters for Peace
Progressive Democrats of America/Maryland
Generations for Peace and Democracy

"David Swanson’s War Is A Lie may be the most comprehensive antiwar statement available in the English language." — Kevin Young

"Not since General Smedley Butler's War is a Racket has a simpler, more brilliant, or truer book been published." — Geoffrey Millard

Is Warmaking Irrational?

Black Agenda Report

by David Swanson

Sex, Espionage, Bail, and Oh Yeah: War Crimes

If the U.S. press corpse ever lets up on the let's-lynch-the-whistleblower angle, here are some leads it could start looking into on the what's-this-all-about angle (via The Guardian):

The British government promised to protect US interests during the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war.

• The president of Yemen secretly offered US forces unrestricted access to his territory to conduct unilateral strikes against al-Qaida terrorist targets [and anyone nearby].

Saudi Arabia put pressure on the US to attack Iran. Other Arab allies also secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.

Richard Holbrooke's Deathbed Conversion

For all the talk of strategic counterinsurgency that oozes out of Washington, and all the manuals explaining that 80% of our investment in a nation-building operation should be civilian, we've been investing about 3% of our efforts in Afghanistan into a civilian project the leader of which has described it as a way to support the military. That leader was, until he died yesterday, Richard Holbrooke.

Asked at a U.S. Senate hearing earlier this year what in the world he was doing and toward what end in Afghanistan, Holbrooke repeatedly failed to produce an answer. That could explain his deathbed conversion and his final words to his surgeon: "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." As if his doctor could do what he refused to play any role in.

Audio: Mark Thompson With David Swanson on "War Is A Lie"

Here's a good radio show: mp3.

Get "War Is A Lie," But Boycott Amazon

Thank you for making "War Is A Lie" a top seller on  Please do not buy the book there anymore.  Not only does Amazon falsely claim the book is unavailable for weeks.  Amazon has answered threats from the U.S. government by attempting to prevent the U.S. public from accessing Wikileaks.

Wikileaks has found a way around Amazon and so can we. will sell you "War Is A Lie" at the lowest price and ship it to you quickly.  Buying from avoids supporting corporate quasi-monopolies like Amazon and helps limit their dominance.

"David Swanson’s War Is A Lie may be the most comprehensive antiwar statement available in the English language." — Kevin Young, ZNet

"Not since General Smedley Butler's War Is A Racket has a simpler, more brilliant, or truer book been published." — Geoffrey Millard, Iraq Veterans Against the War

"David Swanson despises war and lying, and unmasks them both with rare intelligence.  I learn something new on every page." — Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR and author of Cable News Confidential


Buy 10 at Half Price as Holiday Gifts!

You can get "War Is A Lie" at half-price with free and immediate shipping if you buy 10 or more.  Or you can pick up the audio book or Ebook.  Just visit:


Book Tour Starts Next Week

David Swanson will discuss and sign his new book "War Is A Lie."

Charlottesville 12/15
Berkeley 12/17
Santa Cruz 12/18
Los Angeles 12/19
New York 1/4
Washington DC 1/18





Stop These Wars in DC at 10 a.m. 12/16

We're going to the White House on Thursday, December 16th at 10 a.m.

Join us!



Note: We are looking for an alternative to Paypal.  Please make recommendations.

Short Guide to Political Salvation

By popular demand in response to a lengthy blog on war-to-peace economic conversion, here's the attention-span-adjusted introductory version.

Our main industry is weapons. The U.S. is far and away the world's leading exporter of weapons. We fight wars with and against weapons we've produced. Our largest public expense, eating up over half of every tax dollar, is also weapons and wars -- including wars in which we fund both sides, as in Afghanistan where our payoffs are the largest source of income for the Taliban.

In addition to all the non-economic negative consequences of our wars, wars drain our economy. Even domestic spending on the military machine hurts the economy in that it drains public resources that could have produced many more jobs and better paying jobs if invested elsewhere.

Conversion Is the Way

While economists have shown that investing our public dollars in the military hurts our economy, because investing in other industries would produce more jobs, the fact remains that millions of Americans who have jobs have them through the military and the privatized war machine. How do we keep those people at work while employing more people for the same investment, and while avoiding all the other negative consequences brought on by the war economy?

Wars Are Not Prolonged For the Good of Soldiers

Mike & Friends Blog

David Swanson

David Swanson is a longtime peace and justice activist and author of 'War Is a Lie'

An excerpt from David Swanson's new book War Is A Lie.

We learn a lot about the real motives for wars when whistleblowers leak the minutes of secret meetings, or when congressional committees publish the records of hearings decades later. War planners write books. They make movies. They face investigations. Eventually the beans tend to get spilled. But I have never ever, not even once, heard of a private meeting in which top war makers discussed the need to keep a war going in order to benefit the soldiers fighting in it.

Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

Find more events here.


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