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War Scheduled to End Same Day as World

By David Swanson

Andrew Bacevich's new book, "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War," is a good summary of the past 65 years' worth of war thinking in Washington, D.C. "Prior to World War II," he writes, "Americans by and large viewed military power and institutions with skepticism, if not outright hostility. In the wake of World War II, that changed. An affinity for military might emerged as central to the American identity." For the past 65 years or so, Bacevich writes, these beliefs have been Washington's "sacred trinity":

"an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism."

Activist Advice: Ask Vinny

By David Swanson

Michael Pertschuk's new book "The DeMarco Factor" is a guide to political activism in the form of a chronicle of the work of one man, Vincent DeMarco. A lot of people may never have heard of him, especially if you're not from Maryland, but DeMarco led campaigns over the past 20 years that successfully passed legislation in Maryland strengthening gun control despite the opposition of the NRA, raising taxes on cigarettes despite the opposition of big tobacco, and providing more people with healthcare despite the vicious opposition to that agenda we should all be familiar with. The strategies employed are worth examining.

Back in September, Lots of Great Bloggers Here in the Meantime

If it's August, 2010, I'm writing a book. See you in September.

Six Generations of U.S. War Opposition

By David Swanson

The United States today may be the planet's greatest ever war maker, but the wars are fought, the bases maintained, and the weapons manufactured against the will of the majority of U.S. citizens. We express our opposition to wars openly in ways that could not be done at all until around 1880, and in so doing we almost certainly prevent more war making and limit the tactics our government can employ. In fact, if wars were still fought in the way the U.S. Civil War was fought, with armies on battlefields, we would probably have ended war forever some generations back. Instead, the progressive blogosphere, what passes for our anti-war fourth estate, just gathered in Las Vegas with little or no awareness or notice given to the fact that wars half-way around the world were being fought from drone control booths just down the road.

Wars and Congress: Now What?

By David Swanson

On Tuesday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill already passed by the Senate that funds a $33 billion, 30,000-troop escalation in Afghanistan. The vote was 308 to 114. What could the good news possibly be?

Six Facts No War Supporter Knows

By David Swanson

This coming week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on $33 billion for war. A majority of Americans opposes this, but a sizable minority of Americans supports it. No one who supports it can be aware of any of the following six facts.

An Honest Look at Obama's First Year

By David Swanson

Most commentary on President Barack Obama either beats him up unfairly because he's not a Republican or cuts him extra slack because he's not a Republican. If, in the privacy of your own home, you want to pause and review the main events of the first year or more of this presidency, as recorded by someone who obviously doesn't care about partisan boosting, I recommend Paul Street's new book "The Empire's New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power."

This is an excellent detailed analysis from a progressive writer willing to note the good, the bad, and the ugly, and to admit when the bad and the ugly seem to be dominating the scene. It's early, of course, for an overview of this presidency. And it's still early for a lot of potential readers to be able to handle the truth. But this book lays out the highlights and lowlights in a way that should advance readers' understanding.

Replace Rangel With Tasini Right Now

By David Swanson

Well this is helpful. The best candidate for Congress I know of, Jonathan Tasini, is now running against an incumbent, Charlie Rangel, who is going to be put on trial in Congress for all sorts of alleged corruption.


Newsletter No.1164   
22 July 2010   
Tel: 020 7801 2768   



On Monday 26 July, Joe Glenton, the soldier who said no to the    

The Storm Before the Calm

After this weekend, dear beloved world, I'm not ignoring you, I'm writing a book for you. Talk 2 me in next few days please.

Blood on Our Hands

By David Swanson

The most massive and brutal crime committed on this planet during the past decade has been the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And we're seeking to wash the blood off our hands without so much as an "Out, damn spot!" Nowadays "looking forward, not backward" is supposed to take care of everything, even as the crimes continue. What that takes care of is the leading perpetrators who begin to sense that the coast is clear and creep out of their holes to declare, as did Karl Rove this week, that their biggest mistake was not more aggressively attacking those who pointed out their crimes.

One Candidate in Virginia's Fifth Opposes War Escalation Spending

By David Swanson

In an interview I recorded on Tuesday with Jeff Clark, an independent candidate for Congress in Virginia's Fifth District, and the father of a Marine currently in Afghanistan, Clark told me he was opposed to putting another $33 billion into escalating the war in Afghanistan. Clark comes from the right on many issues and is often billed as the Tea Party candidate. The Virginia Independent Green Party supports him, despite his distance from them on most issues, possibly because his role is understood to be a spoiler benefitting incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello. Clark is a member of the Tea Party in Danville, but says the Tea Party is backing Robert Hurt, the Republican candidate.

Perriello has refused for months to take a position on the war escalation funding. On July 1st, the House moved the funding forward in a bizarre maneuver that avoided an actual vote on it. The vote on the Rule that created that unusual procedure was opposed by Perriello, but his explanation for voting No focused on matters unrelated to the war. If, however, the Senate now insists that the House pass the Senate's version of the war funding, Perriello may be compelled to take a position after all. If he votes in favor of the $33 billion, he will be outflanked on both peace and fiscal responsibility by Clark, someone Perriello thinks he wants in the race and in the debates in order to split the Republican vote.

In an hour-long interview Clark presented a different, or at least more nuanced picture of himself than has appeared on his website or in the media. On the one hand Clark is a global warming denier, unconcerned about the BP oil spill, believes the United States possesses large quantities of oil, thinks corporations are superior to government, denies that it is even possible to tax corporations, and frames his opposition to any government policy as opposition to government even while proposing other government policies. But Clark would cut off funding, not only for an escalation in Afghanistan, but for continuing that war at all. He doesn't buy into the nonsensical and predictable criticism of failing to "support the troops." He supports his son and doesn't want his son's life lost in a war that is not actually defending our country. Clark would reduce military spending apart from war spending as well. He supports renewable energy, opposes corporate corruption of government, wants the tax burden lifted off the poor, and is not a fan of where the Republican Party has gone. He's not a fan of the current Democratic Party either. Asked if he would mind if his candidacy benefitted Perriello, Clark replied that he would rather have Perriello for two more years than replace him with the wrong Republican, and that he thinks he'll take voters away from both Perriello and his Republican challenger.

Audio of the interview is available here:

Howard Zinn's the Bomb

By David Swanson

The late Howard Zinn's new book "The Bomb" is a brilliant little dissection of some of the central myths of our militarized society. Those who've read "A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments," by H.P. Albarelli Jr. know that this is a year for publishing the stories of horrible things that the United States has done to French towns. In that case, Albarelli, describes the CIA administering LSD to an entire town, with deadly results. In "The Bomb," Zinn describes the U.S. military making its first use of napalm by dropping it all over another French town, burning anyone and anything it touched. Zinn was in one of the planes, taking part in this horrendous crime.

$5 Friday: Move To Amend .org

For today's $5 Friday I gave my $5 to the cause of getting money out of politics, dollars out of protected speech, and corporations out of the list of being who get to have human rights at Go forth and do likewise.

Republican Senator Protests Overseas Base Construction, Army Times Reports, Progressive Bloggers Expected to Defend President

Senator wants to cut overseas base construction
By Rick Maze, Army Times

On the eve of the first efforts in Congress to write a 2011 military construction funding bill, a key Republican claims that the Obama administration seems to be shifting priorities to spend scarce construction money on improving facilities overseas instead of in the U.S.

“We are looking at $1 billion in foreign construction that we do not need,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, ranking Republican on the Senate appropriations subcommittee responsible for military construction funding.

Hutchison cited decisions to spend money in Europe, Korea and Guam, and vowed to try to get that money stripped from the construction budget.

She is not talking about shifting the money to construction on military bases in the U.S., but simply cutting the overall budget.

Give Rove What He Wants: A Chance to Prove Bush Innocent in Court

By David Swanson

Karl Rove's first mistake in his article about his biggest mistake is this:

"Seven years ago today, in a speech on the Iraq war, Sen. Ted Kennedy fired the first shot in an all-out assault on President George W. Bush's integrity."

First shot? What do you call this? Rove is pretending that claims Bush lied about Iraq came only after the invasion, which is of course a lie of mammoth proportions.

Rove's supposed greatest mistake was failing to push back against the supposedly absurd claims that Bush had lied us into a war. Marcy Wheeler points out that part of the pushback was the outing of Valerie Plame the very next day after Kennedy's "first shot." (Wasn't one of Kennedy's earlier shots his vote against the war?)

The Crematorium of Empires

By David Swanson

On Wednesday U.S. senators from both political parties asked the president's representative to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke what in the world the goal could be for the ongoing war. He had no answer.

Senator Russ Feingold pointed out that our ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, opposed the escalation (at least until he agreed to oppose his own views). Holbrooke had no response.

Senator John Kerry noted that Taliban assassinations in Kandahar began when the United States announced a coming assault there. How then could the assault stop the killings? Holbrooke had no explanation.

I was reminded of General Stanley McChrystal's comment at a press conference in Washington together with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. A reporter asked if those who helped the US forces tended to get their heads sliced off. McChrystal replied that they did but that this was only to be expected.

When Teachers Unions Back War Escalations

By David Swanson, special to the International Labor Communications Association

On July 12th I received an Email from the American Federation of Teachers with a soft pink headline and an image of a heart. It said: "Pink Hearts. Not Pink Slips." That sounded nice. The text continued:

"Now is the time to tell the Senate to put our children first. The House of Representatives approved an emergency spending bill that included $10 billion to save educator jobs and $5 billion for Pell Grants. It is now up to the Senate to do its part and approve the same level of assistance when it returns to Washington, D.C., this week."

$5 Friday: David Segal for Congress

If you missed my interview with David Segal, read it here and you'll understand why I'm sending him $5 for $5 Friday. You can do the same here:

Do People Die in War So That Professors Can Read Poetry About It?

By David Swanson

The latest hardcopy newsletter from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities opens with an article about poetry about war, which opens with this line: "Many of my favorite poets are soldiers." The author begins with a poet who "has served in the current war in Iraq." Served what we are not told. Then she jumps to Virgil and declares:

"Neither Virgil nor Turner gives us answers to war: they know the questions are more important, and likely answerable only by each of us alone."

So we should each enlist right away in order to answer "the questions"? Or we should all read lots of ambiguous war poetry? Who knows, because this follows:

"What is my responsibility as the gears of human perfidy and greatness grind together?"

Another question that is more important than the answer, no doubt. And yet, what could be more important or - by now - more obvious than the answer?

Ending War Funding Before It Ends Us

By David Swanson

The U.S. corporate media pronounces our nation a "democracy" so frequently that sometimes its spokespeople stumble. They can't be unaware that virtually every act of Congress diverges significantly from what the majority of Americans favor. Yet the assumption that somehow the government must follow public opinion creeps in, creating this sort of comedy:

"Inside Out" Tells It Like It Might Be

By David Swanson

It's quite a pleasure to spend a morning sitting in Charlottesville, Va., where all the bookstores display thrillers by local boy John Grisham, and read a thriller as good or better than any of Grisham's and written by one of us -- a blogger who supports what is now a strictly leftwing concept: the rule of law.

"Inside Out" by Barry Eisler is written, as are Grisham's novels, like a movie, complete with gratuitous sex interest and predictable plot twists. The illumination it shines on the nature of torture and the politics of torture could be removed. The political analysis of the last 50 pages could be deleted. And 90 percent of the book could be turned into a mindless Hollywood thriller.

The Peace Movement's Progress

By David Swanson

The peace movement has made significant progress in the United States since its low point of late 2008, and just about everything anyone in it has done has been a contribution. If everyone keeps doing what they're doing, and more of it, we might just end some wars, eventually. But I think some techniques are working better than others, and that pursuing the most strategic approaches would make victory likelier sooner and longer-lasting when it comes.

The Nonbinding Resolution of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the fifty united States of America, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, Guantanamo Bay, Assorted Offshore Oil Rigs, and the U.S. Servicemen and Women serving the Homeland in 177 nations around the globe, as drafted by the President

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to bomb the bejesus out of another people and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and hegemonic station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's Christian God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to employ the most awesome military force the poor corrupt Muslim bastards have ever seen.

War Opposition Grows

By David Swanson

Among the many national organizations opposing further war funding are these: AfterDowningStreet /, Alternet, The American Friends Service Committee, American Homeless Society, The Backbone Campaign, Brave New Films / Rethink Afghanistan, BuzzFlash, Calitics, Campaign Corner: A Home for Progressive Populist Candidates, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, CODE PINK, Consumers for Peace,, The Democratic Activist, Down With Tyranny, End US Wars, FireDogLake, Global Exchange, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Global Peace, Green Change, Iraq Veterans Against the War, JobsForAfghans, Just Foreign Policy, Justice Through Music, Liberty Tree,, Military Families Speak Out, Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), The Nation, National Education Association Peace and Justice Caucus, Peace Action, Peace Majority Report, Progressive America Rising, Progressive Democrats of America, Progressive Push, Proposition One Campaign, The Rag Blog,, TruthDig, United for Peace and Justice, US Labor Against the War, Velvet Revolution, Veterans for Peace, Voters for Peace, Win Without War, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Can't Wait, and the Young Turks.

House Democrats Plan Split Vote on War Supplemental

"The leadership has not yet determined exactly how the votes will be structured — whether a bifurcated vote will send a single bill back to the Senate, or whether the House will vote on two separate pieces of legislation."

This quote from the following article leave more questions than answers. If it's not separate bills, what is it? Are these phony votes followed by a real one on the whole package? Or do they pass the war escalation funding and then vote on the other things as an amendment, or vice versa?


June 29, 2010 – 1:44 p.m.
House Democrats Plan Split Vote on War Supplemental

House Republican leaders made it clear Tuesday that they won’t support a supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if it includes billions of dollars in added domestic spending.

Petraeus Puckers Up for the Senate

As we watch General David Petraeus's Senate confirmation hearing this morning to become Quagmire Commander, check out this background info:
1. Why Petraeus Won't Salvage This War
2. Gen. Petraeus and the 'Surge' Myth
3. Petraeus: Withdrawal timeline does not mean "switching off the lights"
4. Petraeus for President 2012


Pelosi and Hoyer Trying to Pass War Escalation Funding By Thursday

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who will openly tell you he does whatever President Obama and Speaker Pelosi instruct, can bring the war escalation funding to the House floor despite the opposition of Appropriations Chairman David Obey.  This is because the House passed the bill without the war escalation funding and sent it to the Senate, which has now sent it back to the House. 

The current plan is to pass a single bill that includes both the war money and some lipstick (disaster relief, etc.).  This will require keeping the lipstick thin enough to win some Republican votes and slathering it on thick enough to win a lot of Democratic votes (which can also be won through campaign funding, earmarks, committee positions, PR stunts, etc.). 

One trick that will apparrently be used to win Democrats' support is the inclusion of extra, meaningless votes, just for show, on the two components of the bill.  They'll vote on the war escalation funding, and lots of Democrats will vote No.  And they'll vote on the disaster relief, etc., and lots of Republicans will vote No.  Both elements will pass, but nothing will have been done.  Then they'll hold a meaningful vote on the whole bill, and lots of the Democrats who just moments before pretended to oppose war escalation will vote for the bill that funds it.

This can only work if Nancy Pelosi is correct in her belief that we're all a bunch of morons.

You'll be told that they've scaled back the war funding.  What they've just done is remove the few crumbs that were intended for potentially useful civilian aid in Afghanistan.  Meanwhile they've increased the military funding, which is all for escalating the war and therefore cannot plausible be squeezed into the same sentence with "scaled back."

You'll be told that separate votes were held and that your representative opposed the war funding.  This is nonsense.  The only way to oppose war funding is to try to stop it, which means voting against it no matter what else is included.

Call your Representative through the Capitol Hill switchboard: (202) 224-3121 and send them an Email here.

They've just been asked by the House Majority Whip how they will vote in the pretend vote on the war funding alone and how they will vote on the actual bill with everything that's in it.  Demand to know what answers they gave.  Report those answers at

If we can stop this thing through Thursday, we'll have a break over which to continue building opposition, a break during which more news (always bad) will keep coming in from Afghanistan, a July 4th break during which we will celebrate opposition to another foreign occupation.

Bruce Fein Schools Henry Kissinger

By David Swanson

Bruce Fein concludes his new book, "American Empire: Before the Fall," by demolishing the worldview of Henry Kissinger as expressed in a Washington Post column last year. Of course it's also the worldview of the Washington Post and most of its readers. We must continue wars to save face. We must imagine we can win wars because facing defeat is too painful. We must talk about winning hearts and minds while increasing the bombings. We must plow ahead at full speed to demonstrate our determination, regardless of what it is we've determined to do.

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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