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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.
The Catfood Commission has produced its proposal (PDF) for making a bad situation worse. The proposal would cut a bit out of the bloated military, but match it dollar for dollar with cuts to useful programs and services. Then it would allow the military to get every dollar back and more through war spending, with meaningless caps set on that by the president, and through a separate category for especially illegal wars or "Overseas Contingency Operations." The proposal would also cut taxes, especially on corporations -- even while vaguely gesturing about tax progressivity. It would go after healthcare, social security, student loans. It would not invest in jobs or green energy or education or infrastructure. It would not tax corporations, investors, inheritance, or accumulated billions. It would not strengthen Social Security by requiring those with large incomes to pay at the same rate as those with smaller ones. The best proposal here is the clear demand that we never waste another dollar on a commission like this one.
By David Swanson
Here's an easy question: would you rather go to jail for a few hours with a bunch of friends or die?
Here's a poorly kept secret: the wars that a majority of Americans want ended are not ending, and the war machine that a majority of Americans want cut back is growing.
Here's a situation that is not secret at all but too horrifying for us to acknowledge: if the war machine continues on its current course, we will not survive it economically, environmentally, or with any civil liberties or representative government intact. If we do not reach those catastrophes it will be because blowback or nuclear proliferation takes us out first.
You may not die for the Pentagon, but if you do not it will be your children or grandchildren. Would you rather go to jail for a few hours with a bunch of friends or see your grandchildren killed? Is the question getting easier?
War Is A Lie, just published by David Swanson, is topping the charts and being translated for publication in other countries. Thank you, if you've purchased it!
To understand just how bad the 112th Congress, elected on November 2nd and taking office on January 3rd, is likely to be for peace on Earth, one has to understand how incredibly awful the 110th and 111th Congresses have been during the past four years and then measure the ways in which things are likely to become even worse.
Oddly enough, doing so brings some surprising silver linings into view.
"Not a single thing that we commonly believe about wars that helps keep them around is true. Wars cannot be good or glorious. Nor can they be justified as a means of achieving peace or anything else of value. The reasons given for wars, before, during, and after them (often three very different sets of reasons for the same war) are all false."
The reviews of War Is A Lie already are phenomenal. Rob Kall of OpEdNews calls it "an important, destined to be classic book." He adds, "If there are awards for brilliant books that explode new ways to oppose the evils of this world, then David should sweep the field this year."
Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy, says "David Swanson is an antidote to the toxins of complacency and evasion. He insists on rousing the sleepwalkers, confronting the deadly prevaricators and shining a bright light on possibilities for a truly better world."
And Geoff Millard of Iraq Veterans Against the War concludes, "Not since General Smedley Butler's War is a Racket has a simpler, more brilliant, or truer book been published."
Right now, George W. Bush has the topselling book on Amazon, while Glenn Beck is at the top in nonfiction. Replacing them with War Is A Lie will be quite a change, and we can do it right now if you buy the book at Amazon, in paperback or ebook, and forward this email to everyone you know.
And do more than buy the book for yourself. Buy it as a holiday present for loved ones and elected representatives. Buy it for friends who support wars or who aren't sure what to think about them. Buy it for your local library. And forward this email everywhere.
At http://warisalie.org you'll find the audio book plus animated graphics, videos, and articles to post on your website, including a new article by David Swanson just out on TomDispatch and a new video interview of Swanson just posted by TheRealNews.com. You can also catch Swanson on Monday on KPFK, Radio or Not, and RT.
But first, please help open the door to many more people by buying the book on Amazon.
Thanks for all you do!
"Activist David Swanson is well respected in the anti-war community as a man who walks his talk in a bold, committed, solid way, that he is a principled leader. Now we must add to that list of credentials authorship of an important, destined to be classic book. 'War Is A Lie' addresses the web of lies, the taboo subjects, the false claims, the mythic messages that are hollow and empty and it lays waste to them. Swanson's book is a (I've never used the term to describe a book before) Tour de Force, 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. If there are awards for brilliant books that explode new ways to oppose the evils of this world, then David should sweep the field this year. One more thing. It is an exceptional accomplishment to present a book with such important ideas. It is another thing to write extraordinarily well, so, on page after page, the words are quotable, rising off the page with vivacity." — Rob Kall, creator of http://opednews.com.
11.15.10 Best-selling non-fiction author David Swanson talks with Coy about his upcoming book War is a Lie. The coversation covers a range of topics including the history of war in America, the alleged lies of the Bush Presidency, and what President Obama needs to do to handle today’s ongoing wars. Swanson’s book will be available Monday, November 22nd.
(Scroll page for issues - latest at top)
64 Pages: COVER STORY – ON THE BEACH: Photo-Essay on the aftermath of the Gulf Oil Disaster by Jess Hurd. Plus: We’re Heading To Intolerance (Michael I. Niman), Things That Won’t Go Away (William Blum), Bush’d Again (Greg Palast), A Speech For Endless War (Norman Solomon), Towering Lunacy (George Monbiot), Flying The Flag, Faking The News (John Pilger), A Perfect Storm For Propaganda (Jeff Nygaard), Spy Vs Spy (John Feffer), Reading Harry Potter At Guantanamo (Andy Worthington), The Generals Box In Obama On Afghanistan (Ray McGovern), The Secrets In Israel’s Archives (Jonathan Cook), Ground Zero: Ours And Theirs (Kathy Kelly), Red And Green (Uri Avnery), Why The Wars Can’t Be Won (John Kozy), The Strange World Of Steve Forbes (David Michael Green), Rebranding Iraq (Ramzy Baroud), Freedom And Illusion (Fred Reed), Who’s Talking About What Matters? (Danny Schechter), Ecocide In Paradise (Michael Meacher)
By David Swanson
At 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, make a toast to Armistice Day, the official end of World War I, a war the United States fought in for less time than President Obama and the 111th Congress have kept the fighting going in Afghanistan and Iraq. Armistice Day is a better name for the day than Veterans Day because it honors both veterans and peace, our primary duty being to cease producing more veterans, a policy that would make us better able to provide a decent life for veterans and everyone else.
You made my last book, Daybreak, a big success, including by making it #1 in nonfiction books on Amazon.com the day it appeared there. I hope you'll help do the same with this new book War Is A Lie when Amazon.com posts it. I'm tentatively hoping to make November 22nd the big day to bump Glenn Beck and George W. Bush off the charts, but I'll let you know and hope you can help by emailing your list. The book will be available in print, kindle, Ebook, and audio from stores, online sellers, and at http://warisalie.org
A Way for You to Make Money and Advance the Movement
I've turned down three publishers, including the publisher of my last book, in order to publish this year (instead of 2011 or 2012). This also allows me to make money off the book instead of the publisher making most of it. So, I'm able to sell the book at close to cost. This means that peace and justice groups and activists can buy the book at $10 or less, with free shipping, and resell it at events or online for the list price of $20 -- or give it out in front of recruiting stations and invite me to come help you. You can even start selling it now, before anyone else has it.
The book is available now at half-price for orders of 10 or more at http://warisalie.org
You can also buy holiday presents for all your friends and your congress member to help prevent an attack on Iran, as well as to correct the lies in Bush's new book. The arguments to refute the case for attacking Iran, not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and hundreds of other nations, are in this book.
Liberal Activist David Swanson and Conservative Libertarian Rick Sincere joined Coy Barefoot to discuss yesterday’s mid-term elections.
You may have heard that our center-right nation got enthusiastic, formed a grassroots movement called a tea party, and overwhelmingly voted in a more rightwing party, sending hordes of nasty socialists packing as a result of their overly progressive performance, meaning gridlock between the righteous Congress and the infidel president for the next two years. There are some problems with this story, beginning with the fact that it's completely false.
Let's get a little perspective. The Democrats have the White House, where almost all power sits now. The Democrats have the Senate, which they've chosen not to use for two years and can choose to use now if they toss out the filibuster rule. In fact they could do that this month and pass hundreds of bills that the House has passed this year that the Senate hasn't acted on. Gridlock is nothing new, it will just look different with Republicans writing the House bills that the Senate ignores.
The contractors don't seem to care about the people they kill. It's just a part of their business. These kinds of incidents occur on a regular basis, but no one seems to be concerned. -Paul Wolf, attorney
By Kathy Kelly
Kabul-- Khamad Jan, age 22, remembers that, as a youngster, he was a good student who enjoyed studying. “Now, I can’t seem to think,” he said sadly, looking at the ground. There was a long pause. “War does this to your mind.”
He and his family fled their village when Taliban forces began to attack the area. Bamiyan Province is home to a great number of Hazara families, and Khamad Jan's is one of them. Traditionally, other Afghan ethnic groups have discriminated against Hazaras, regarding them as descendants of Mongolian tribes and therefore inferior.
During the Taliban attacks, Khamad Jan’s father was captured and killed. As the eldest, Khamad Jan bore responsibility to help provide for his mother, two brothers and two sisters. But he struggled with debilitating depression, so much so that villagers, anxious to help, talked of exorcism. One day, he said he felt ready to give up on life. Fortunately, community members and his friends in a local youth group, the "Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers," have helped him come to terms with the pain he feels, assuring him that he can find a meaningful future.
Khamad Jan’s village is a particularly hard place in which to build houses, roads or farms. He and his family own a small plot of land which produces potatoes and wheat. The family works hard, but they only grow enough to feed themselves for seven months of the year. For a few months of every year, they must depend heavily on bread and potatoes, a carbo-diet which leads to malnutrition. Like other women in the village, Khamad Jan’s mother and sisters are chronically anemic, suffering from headaches and leg cramps.
Assisted by an interest-free loan from a private corporation called Zenda, Khamad Jan has taken the risk of starting a small business producing potato crisps.
By David Swanson
The House Judiciary Committee has some new members: Conor Boylan, David Swanson, Andrea Miller, and Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America:
The impeachments start later this afternoon.
The truth is that PDA is using the House Judiciary Committee's hearing room as headquarters today, It was packed this morning with congress members, staffers, and activists. We're passing out posters for tomorrow's rally too.
Now everybody is out lobbying on both sides of the hill for an end to wars, investment in jobs, and commitments not to cut, weaken, or privatize Social Security.
By David Swanson
The Pentagon spent $50,000 of our money to buy up the first edition of "Operation Dark Heart" by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and destroy every copy. The second printing has lots of words blacked out. Wikileaks claims to have a first edition, but hasn't shared it. However, reading the bleeped-through version reveals plenty.
Shaffer and others in the military-spying complex knew about U.S. al Qaeda cells and leaders before 9-11 and were prevented from pursuing the matter. Shaffer believes they could have prevented 9-11. He so informed the 9-11 Commission, which ignored him. The Defense Intelligence Agency retaliated against Shaffer for having spoken up. We knew this, but the book adds context and details, and names names.
By David Swanson
Remarks at George Mason University, Fall for the Book, September 23, 2010. (Video available 9-24-2010 at http://warisacrime.org)
Thank you for being here and skipping the Pledge to America event in Sterling.
I'm going to try to be brief because I tend to be very long-winded answering questions, so I've learned to leave time for that. It may sound, as I speak, like I'm giving an overview of a lot of topics, so please keep in mind any that you want to ask questions about or raise concerns about.
I want to thank GMU and Dave Kuebrich for setting this event up and another event this evening set up with the George Mason Progressive Democrats of America and the College Democrats. If there's anything we don't have time to discuss here, we can continue it there. I'm assuming non-Democrats with the capital D are welcome, since I'm going.
By David Swanson
It's over a decade since I last heard Ralph Nader speak in Charlottesville, Va., and I was curious to see what kind of crowd would greet him Monday evening. The answer was one of the biggest rooms on campus packed, and mostly with students, enthusiastic students who gave standing ovations, and laughed and responded throughout a 90-minute speech.
There are not many -- if any -- other speakers who can get young people in the United States to turn out for a political speech like this. And they didn't just turn out. They enjoyed being called slackers and given a swift kick in the butt. Nader was advertised as speaking on energy policy, but he opened with an ancient Chinese saying: "To know and not to do is not to know," and he never let go of that theme even when he finally did touch on energy policy.
By David Swanson
FACT CHECK: Is Iraq combat really over for US?
By CALVIN WOODWARD and ROBERT BURNS (AP)
WASHINGTON — Despite President Barack Obama's declaration Tuesday of an end to the combat mission in Iraq, combat almost certainly lies ahead. And in asserting the U.S. has met its responsibilities in Iraq, the president opened the door wide to a debate about the meaning of success in the muddle that most — but not all — American troops are leaving behind. A look at some of the statements Obama made in his Oval Office speech and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: "Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended."
By David Swanson
Lies aren't used just to start wars, but also to escalate them, continue them, and even reduce or end them. And we got a pile of war lies from the president Tuesday evening.
Obama claimed the war on Iraq was initially a war to disarm a state. Really? And then "terrorist" Iraqis attacked our troops in their country. Yet if they had done that in our country, I suspect they would still be the terrorists. And then it became a civil war which we were innocently caught up in. Uh huh.
U.S. participants in this crime are heroes, always and everywhere. That's sacred. The troops' mission has involved protecting the Iraqi people, and by golly they've done a superb job, as long as we don't mention the complete devastation of Iraq, the million dead, the millions of refugees, and the intense resentment of those remaining toward our country for what we've done to theirs.
By David Swanson
This coming March 19th we'll have two occasions to mark. One will be the start of the ninth year of occupying Iraq. And, if my math is correct, within a few days of that anniversary we'll reach the point at which the Democratic House of Representatives and Senate have funded more days of occupying Iraq than those chambers did when they had a Republican majority. In funding days of occupying Afghanistan, the Democrats already have a big lead in the Senate but trail far behind in the House.
Here's something I wrote in December 2008, with an update below:
By David Swanson
Trying to squeeze any sort of peace on earth out of our government in Washington has been a steep uphill climb for years. For the most part we no longer have representatives in Congress, because of the corruption of money, the weakness of the media, and the strength of parties. There are not 535 opinions on Capitol Hill on truly important matters, but 2. Our supposed representatives work for their party leaders, not for us. Luckily, one of the two parties claims to want to work for us.
By David Swanson
As news stories are leading those still aware of the war on Iraq to believe it's over, it was encouraging to see Busboys and Poets restaurant in Washington, D.C., packed Sunday evening for a four-hour forum on actions needed to actually end that war, make reparations, and deter future wars of aggression. The event was advertised with the following description:
"Is the U.S. military really leaving Iraq or just rebranding? What is the toll of seven years of occupation on Iraqis, U.S. soldiers and our economies? What is the status of Iraqi refugees around the world? Is it still possible to hold accountable those who dragged us into the war or committed crimes such as torture? What role did Congress and the media play in facilitating the invasion/occupation? We'll also look at the role of the peace movement -- its strengths and weaknesses -- and draw key lessons to make our work for peace, including in Afghanistan, more effective."
By David Swanson
Pretending to end a war and occupation, while stationing 50,000 soldiers, 18,000 mercenaries, and 84,000 support contractors in massive and permanent military bases in Iraq is a far cry from what candidate Barack Obama described as ending "the mind-set that got us into war in the first place." It fits better with Nobel Peace laureate Obama's description of war as "not only necessary but morally justified."
By David Swanson
I expected to be disappointed by "Green Zone". I mean the movie, not the chunk of Baghdad we've spent seven years and trillions of dollars killing over a million people to steal for an "embassy" containing 21 buildings on 104 acres. I'd been told that this movie was Matt Damon actually following the guidance of his teacher Howard Zinn. I'd been told this was a movie to expose the war lies. I remained dubious.
And then I finally got a chance to see it.
Have you ever fantasized about what it would be like if popular culture wasn't devoted to making our world a worse place, more hateful, more violent, more stupid and petty, more greedy and acquisitive? "Green Zone" is it. This is a movie that looks and feels exactly like a truly stupid, meaningless, or revenge- and greed-based Hollywood movie. But it isn't.