Category Archives: Against War

John W. Whitehead/The Rutherford Institute: “War is a Grisly Business, a Horror of Epic Proportions”

Re-posted with thanks from The Rutherford Institute, an opening excerpt from John Whitehead’s commentary on war for Memorial Day, reminding us about the horrors and many pointless deaths and injuries of war, and offering a list of war films to watch, exploring the psychological, surreal, social, managerial and other aspects of war. (Just commentary below, please visit there for the list.)

***

Memorializing the Horrors of War with 10 Must-See War Films

By John W. Whitehead
May 27, 2016

“The horror… the horror…”—Apocalypse Now (1979)

“You can’t show war as it really is on the screen, with all the blood and gore. Perhaps it would be better if you could fire real shots over the audience’s head every night, you know, and have actual casualties in the theater.”—Sam Fuller, film director and author

Hiroshima, 6 agosto 1945: lo scoppio della bomba atomicaNearly 71 years ago, the United States unleashed atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 200,000 individuals, many of whom were civilians.

Fast forward to the present day, and President Obama—the antiwar candidate and Nobel Peace Prize winner who has waged war longer than any American president and whose legacy includes targeted-drone killings and at least 1.3 million lives lost to the U.S.-led war on terror—is paying lip service to the victims of America’s nuclear carnage, all the while continuing to feed the war machine.

America has long had a penchant for endless wars that empty our national coffers while fattening those of the military industrial complex. Since 9/11, we’ve spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Adding in our military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion. Even now, the war drums are sounding as Obama prepares to deploy U.S. troops on a long-term mission to Libya and continues to police the rest of the world with more than 1.3 million U.S. troops being stationed at roughly 1000 military bases in over 150 countries.

To this end, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, Americans are fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda that keeps them content to wave flags with patriotic fervor and less inclined to look too closely at the mounting body counts, the ruined lives, the ravaged countries, the blowback arising from ill-advised targeted-drone killings and bombing campaigns in foreign lands, and the transformation of our own homeland into a warzone.

Nowhere is this double-edged irony more apparent than during military holidays such as Memorial Day, when we get treated to a generous serving of praise and grandstanding by politicians, corporations and others with similarly self-serving motives eager to go on record as being pro-military.

Yet war is a grisly business, a horror of epic proportions. In terms of human carnage alone, war’s devastation is staggering. For example, it is estimated that approximately 231 million people died worldwide during the wars of the 20th century. This figure does not take into account the walking wounded—both physically and psychologically—who “survive” war.

War drives the American police state. The military-industrial complex is the world’s largest employer. War sustains our way of life while killing us at the same time. As Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent and author Chris Hedges observes:

War is like a poison. And just as a cancer patient must at times ingest a poison to fight off a disease, so there are times in a society when we must ingest the poison of war to survive. But what we must understand is that just as the disease can kill us, so can the poison. If we don’t understand what war is, how it perverts us, how it corrupts us, how it dehumanizes us, how it ultimately invites us to our own self-annihilation, then we can become the victim of war itself.

War also entertains us with its carnage, its killing fields, its thrills and chills and bloodied battles set to music and memorialized in books, on television, in video games, and in superhero films and blockbuster Hollywood movies financed in part by the military.

War has become a centerpiece of American entertainment culture, most prevalent in war movies.

War movies deal in the extremes of human behavior. The best films address not only destruction on a vast scale but also plumb the depths of humanity’s response to the grotesque horror of war. They present human conflict in its most bizarre conditions—where men and women caught in the perilous straits of death perform feats of noble sacrifice or dig into the dark battalions of cowardice.

War films also provide viewers with a way to vicariously experience combat, but the great ones are not merely vehicles for escapism. Instead, they provide a source of inspiration, while touching upon the fundamental issues at work in wartime scenarios.”

Please continue reading at The Rutherford Institute.

Carl Herman/Washington’s Blog: Clintons, Bush, Obama stand on ~500 million innocent dead from intentional wars & poverty: a pile of bodies equal to 23 NYC ‘Freedom Towers,’ and adding another every year. Arrests are when now???

Re-posted from Washington’s Blog, with thanks. Please visit there on an ongoing basis for fearless investigative reportage with a focus on the real Truth of what is going on in the USA and the world.

I post this highly detailed and informative article with intent.  Did you know:

The everyday American knows that the face presented by a warring government to the world is not the real face of who we are, as Americans. We are an awakened, conscientious, and conscious people who cannot anymore condone acts of war and exploitation committed abroad—and at home—in our name, and in the false name of American “Freedom”.

We Must call for the arrest of criminals in high places who continue to commit crimes every day of exploitation, war, injustice, weapons-testing, and experimentation on us. We must call Crime Crime, and not commit it to oblivion, as mainstream media encourages us to do. We must report to the whole world that criminal actions committed by governments in our name and against us do NOT have our consent.

****

dollartower

“Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

▪ murder;

▪ extermination;

▪ enslavement;…

▪ the crime of apartheid;

▪ other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

This article documents that since Bill and Hillary Clinton occupied the White House over 23 years ago, ~500 million human beings have died from preventable poverty. So-called “developed nations” have promised to end global poverty since 1969; an accomplishment with technically easy solutions for sustainable human economic needs. These nations’ “leaders” have reneged on all promises to end poverty, public and private, despite an investment of just 0.7% of GNI for ten years that is overwhelmingly supported by those nations’ citizens.

We can calculate the physical volume of 500 million bodies. If we assume an average human dimension of 5 feet tall, average width of 1 foot, and average depth of .5 foot, this average is 2.5 cubic feet, with total of 1.25 billion cubic feet. The dimensions of NYC’s One World Trade Center, the “Freedom Tower,” is 200 x 200 feet with a roof 1,368 feet high. If we just calculate its volume as a rectangular prism, we have a volume of ~55 million cubic feet.

This means the pile of human bodies killed by ongoing preventable poverty is roughly equal in size to 23 “Freedom Towers.”

This is also roughly equal to a new “Freedom Tower” of dead bodies added to this “monument” every year.

Important to our essential question of when public demand for arrests will break through in an Emperor’s New Clothes relative moment, the related crime of creating what we use for money only and always as debt payable to the private banking system (think adding negative numbers forever) now adds a trillion dollars of US federal government debt every year. This physical volume of $100 bills is roughly equal to twice the size of the Statue of Liberty, as sharply visualized in this 2-minute video from Demonocracy:

The policy “developed” and “former” colonial nations deliver to humanity rather than ending poverty is war.

Among hundreds in alternative media, I document illegal US/UK/Israel lie-started and illegal Wars of Aggression that continue hundreds of years of psychopathic would-be empires, now focused on Syria.

We’ve documented and proven that US “officials” outrageously lie to demonize Russia (and here) acting at the request of Syria’s government for military operations within their own borders against rogue terrorists. These terrorists apparently are agents of the US/UK/Israel illegal Wars of Aggression for empire (also here, here, here).

Global polling proves demand for these “leaders’” arrests are near: the US is recognized as Earth’s greatest threat to peace; voted three times more dangerous than any other country.

The data confirm this recognition:

The categories of crime include:

  1. Wars of Aggression (the worst crime a nation can commit).
  2. Likely treason for lying to US military, ordering unlawful attack and invasions of foreign lands, and causing thousands of US military deaths.
  3. Crimes Against Humanity.

Such crimes OBVIOUSLY call for legal arrests of “leaders” in government and corporate media (for “covering” those crimes with easily verified outrageous lies).

An arrest lawfully stops a crime in commission. We do this to stop public harm now, and avoid further harm from more criminal acts.

In just 90 seconds, former US Marine Ken O’Keefe powerfully states how you may choose to voice “very obvious solutions”: arrest the criminal leaders (video starts at 20:51, then finishes this episode of Cross Talk):

**

Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.

**

Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu

Source: Washington’s Blog

Eva Bartlett/The Richie Allen Show: I’m Back From Syria, The Media Are Lying To You

Re-posting this video (link below) with thanks, from The Tap Blog. Thanks also to Jean of Co-Creating Our Future on Planet Earth for posting this link.

Terrific, must-listen witness testimony from an independent freelance journalist, Eva Bartlett, post long sojourns in Syria (her first visit was in April 2014), traveling, and speaking to people in various cities and areas devastated by bombing and terrorism. Her intention, she notes, was to listen to what the people in Syria had to say, as opposed to the corporate narrative promulgated by corporate Western media. “As you know the corporate narrative totally ignores the will of the Syrian people, and they take representatives from exile or Saudi-backed representatives as word of the Syrian people.”

“The people in Syria understand that what is happening in Syria is a foreign war (a NATO-alliance war) on Syria designed to topple their government and serve certain agendas, and the agendas of certain neighboring countries such as so-called Israel, and they adamantly support their government, their President, and their Syrian Arab Army.” She goes on to describe the devastation she has witnessed from the terrorism of car-bombings and rocket-launchings in civilian areas in Damascus, Aleppo, and other places, where she says residents are being “punished for not taking the corporate side of this foreign war on Syria.”

“My main intention is to bear witness and to transmit what Syrians tell me, what they want the world outside to know of what is actually happening here.” Later she notes that the Government of Syria is not starving civilian populations in various cities,  as reported in mainstream news, it is the terrorists who are doing so,  the Government is in fact making food and power supplies available to the people. She is aware that corporate media are spinning a completely different narrative, and reports what she has seen on the ground that contradicts this corporate media narrative. The Government is also not gunning down unarmed protesters, as has been reported in mainstream media, she says; she recommends news analysis by Professor Tim Anderson on this subject, which documents and refutes these reports as lies. 

In answering listeners’ queries, she also notes that human rights groups in the UK are being used as front groups to quite possibly send more arms to the terrorists who are waging war on the Syrian civilian population, and who are obtaining funds from deceived UK residents. She notes the manipulated death of Serena Shims, possibly by Turkish Intelligence; Serena Shims was  the young television journalist who was documenting the flow of weapons via Turkey into Syria–other reports since then, she says, have noted this flow of weapons into Syria, also across the large Iraq border. Additionally Western planes have, more than five times, “accidentally” dropped supplies into terrorist faction camps, who range beyond Daesh to many groups, she notes.

This is an absolutely eye-opening interview with information unavailable in current mainstream media news that makes its way to the US. You can find updates and information on Eva Bartlett’s blog, including links to more news resources at her post on this interview.

Much gratitude to Eva Bartlett for her unflinching reportage, her delivery of the truth of what she has witnessed, and her courage in letting the truth about Syrian reality stand against deceiving corporate Western narratives that seek to, as she notes,  reinforce and promote imperialist and Zionist, war-mongering agendas.  Her voice and conviction are inspiring, and will, I can only hope, ignite more of us to stand up and speak out in courage within our own fields of experience and influence, for what is right, for peace, and for justice.

Ken O’Keefe: The Cynic is the Tyrant’s Best Friend

Ken O’Keefe, former Marine now human rights activist and outspoken on all issues that count is vocal about how important it is for each of us to drop cynicism, world-weariness, apathy, resignation, and take a stand–the future of humanity and our planet depends on us transcending obstacles in our path and speaking out and taking action to expose and end it. He spells out how the news from mainstream media inundates us each day with such overwhelming amounts of bad news that we–especially the intelligent and educated among us, it seems–escape easily into disassociation from reality and cynicism, which unfortunately becomes consent to the reality that is presented to us–“to the insane cycle of destruction and more war.” Paraphrasing loosely, “Whereas it’s us, we dreamers–or whatever they want to call us–who represent the ultimate threat to those who control this reality.” He iterates how important it is to drop cynicism, to explore the news and the world for ourselves, to demand a better reality. “If we can envision it, we can make a better world.”

I was inspired, as are probably millions of others, watching him speak, because he expresses what many of us think today. It Is up to us. Those of us who have been entrained into obedience, passivity, quiet, and inaction–by not merely the norms of our society but by the current surveillance and police state we are living in, worldwide, and also by illegitimate gag orders or National Security Letters from an illegitimate state which is acting openly to suppress dissent and opening fraudulent investigations on thousands of innocent civilians and veterans and activists, in hopes of co-opting communities and dividing communities and silencing protest–especially may want to watch this. We are most definitely at a tipping point today.

We need to each of us see that we’re inexorably heading toward more militarization, more surveillance, more policing, and more stripping of rights and liberties, and that an attitude today of keeping your head down and doing what the “government” asks–whether via National Security Letter or community-policing or anything else they say is good for us– is only serving to 1) facilitate the oppressors and 2) hasten the onset of full-blown totalitarianism. Drawing back and “choosing” not to participate–while in actuality participating by acquiescence to State programs of societal control–is nothing but giving consent to oppression.

Are you witness today to corruption…? To over-reach and abuse of secrecy powers in an Intelligence agency…? Are you aware of systemic fraud in your industry–which affects the lives of other people..? Perhaps it’s time to speak out. Please watch Ken’s speech in this 7.5 minute video from World Citizens Solutions, which is prefaced by a run-down of where we are in the world today and why we need to take a stand.

Also please visit his WorldCitizen.Solutions fundraiser page on Indiegogo and read about/help fund his new campaign to make a better world. (Another brief video there on changing the world, ending war, with inspiring words from various activists, including Sacha Stone and Ole Dammegaard, Samantha Bachman, Max Igan.) From what they say, it sounds like this campaign is about creating a new paradigm for global existence where our taxes won’t go toward funding wars, death, and destruction. Wouldn’t that be a brave new world!

Excerpt from campaign page:

Ken O’Keefe and his team are currently developing a legal and social strategic initiative that will have profound effects on releasing humanity from its current paradigm. It’s time to stand up for what you know is right. It’s time for your voice to be heard. The time is now.

Stand for those who have no voice, for those who are set to inherit what we leave behind, for our children and their children. Make a stand for real peace and real transformation. Be part of this growing movement of change and ensure a peaceful future for those you love. 

David Swanson/Washington’s Blog: Non-French War Deaths Matter

We are all France. Apparently. Though we are never all Lebanon or Syria or Iraq for some reason. Or a long, long list of additional places.

We are led to believe that U.S. wars are not tolerated and cheered because of the color or culture of the people being bombed and occupied. But let a relatively tiny number of people be murdered in a white, Christian, Western-European land, with a pro-war government, and suddenly sympathy is the order of the day.

“This is not just an attack on the French people, it is an attack on human decency and all things that we hold dear,” says U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. I’m not sure I hold ALL the same things dear as the senator, but for the most part I think he’s exactly right and that sympathy damn well ought to be the order of the day following a horrific mass killing in France.

I just think the same should apply to everywhere else on earth as well. The majority of deaths in all recent wars are civilian. The majority of civilians are not hard to sympathize with once superficial barriers are overcome. Yet, the U.S. media never seems to declare deaths in Yemen or Pakistan or Palestine to be attacks on our common humanity.

I included “pro-war government” as a qualification above, because I can recall a time, way back in 2003, when I was the one shouting “We are all France,” and pro-war advocates in the United States were demonizing France for its refusal to support a looming and guaranteed to be catastrophic and counterproductive U.S. war. France sympathized with U.S. deaths on 911, but counseled sanity, decency, and honesty in response. The U.S. told France to go to hell and renamed french fries in Congressional office buildings.

Now, 14 years into a global war on terror that reliably produces more terror, France is an enthusiastic invader, plunderer, bomber, and propagator of hateful bigotry. France also sells billions of dollars of weaponry to lovely little bastions of equality and liberty like Saudi Arabia, carefully ignoring Saudis’ funding of anti-Western terrorist groups.

********************************

Please visit Washington’s Blog for the rest of this post.

David Swanson: Does the Pope Know a Boy Is About to Be Crucified?

Source: Does the Pope Know a Boy Is About to Be Crucified?

Please visit the source link above or the original source, Washington’s Blog, for the whole tragic story and commentary by the author, David Swanson.

Excerpt:

“Occasionally a particular variety of horror serves to catch people’s attention. The boy in the photo at right has been sentenced to be crucified. His crime wasboy participation in a pro-democracy rally. Now he will have done to him what the Pope’s religion says was done to Jesus Christ. He won’t be smiling blissfully like a Christ on a crucifix either. He will suffer immense pain and torment, and then die.

Who would do this? Why, Saudi Arabia, of course. And who is Saudi Arabia’s chief ally, weapons provider, and oil customer? Why, the United States Congress.”

Also:

“Saudi Arabia is dropping bombs, including U.S.-made cluster bombs, on Yemen, slaughtering children by the hundreds. Saudi Arabia is brutalizing the people of Bahrain, not to mention the people of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabians are funding ISIS and other murderers in the region. Are all of these murders acceptable even if the crucifixion isn’t? Or can we seize this opportunity to build opposition to all murder? Or might we if the Pope mentions it to Congress?

On Tuesday the Senate Armed Services Committee brought in David Petraeus to testify yet again on how to escalate more wars. Petraeus recently proposed arming al Qaeda. Senator John McCain gave Petraeus credit on Tuesday for extending the Iraq war from 2007 to 2011. Petraeus noted that the whole region is in horrible turmoil. Nobody made any connection between the U.S. wars on Iraq and Libya that have created that turmoil and the results. Nobody questioned the wisdom of using more war to try to repair the damage of war.

Well, a few of us did. The wonderful CodePink was there as always. I was there with a sign that said “Arm al Qaeda? Reagan tried that.”

The mad men who run the U.S. government have reached the point of re-arming the enemies of enemies whose blowback first drove them to radically escalate the global murder of innocent people in the name of opposing terrorism while increasing it.

The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance had an answer to this on Tuesday, taking a protest of endless war and environmental destruction to the gate of the White House.

The Secret Service arrested the people in the photo below rather than accept a letter from them articulating their opposition to policies of massive cruelty to the earth and its inhabitants.”

Source: Does the Pope Know a Boy Is About to Be Crucified?

Please visit the source link above or the original source, Washington’s Blog, for the whole tragic story and commentary by the author, David Swanson.

Helen Keller’s 1916 Advice to Soldiers: Strike Against War

In January, 1916, about a hundred years ago now, Helen Keller made a speech in Carnegie Hall, New York where she quite unabashedly called out the hypocrisy and manipulations of industry leaders and government who were pushing young people and working people into supporting the war (World War I). This is a remarkable speech, in which she spells out quite simply that all wars would end if people–soldiers–simply refused to fight, but put down their arms, a thought that might seem radical to some arms-manufacturers today, but makes perfect sense to most of us.

Worth reminding ourselves of, in this time of Endless War perpetrated round the globe by the US war machine, fruits of which we are seeing today in the overflowing refugee crisis situation–it’s a special call to soldiers, to those who bear arms for this or that “noble cause” of “protecting the homeland” or ensuring “national security,” including those who toil covertly to assault activists and ethical citizens in the “War of Terror”.  When soldiers lay down their arms-and today, their electronic weapons, the makers of arms and bombs–and electronic weapons, and the banksters behind them will be forced to find and fund more useful endeavor. Wouldn’t that be marvelous, a world where no government can go around declaring war and dropping bombs by commanding the actions of its military, where militaries wake up and listen to their consciences instead…

The text of the speech, published in the volume, Helen Keller: Her Socialist Years (International Publishers, 1967), can be found online at various places, including here at Gift of Speech. The video below offers excerpts, as also the text below.

“We are facing a grave crisis in our national life. The few who profit from the labor of the masses want to organize the workers into an army which will protect the interests of the capitalists. You are urged to add to the heavy burdens you already bear the burden of a larger army and many additional warships. It is in your power to refuse to carry the artillery and the dread-noughts and to shake off some of the burdens, too, such as limousines, steam yachts and country estates. You do not need to make a great noise about it. With the silence and dignity of creators you can end wars and the system of selfishness and exploitation that causes wars. All you need to do to bring about this stupendous revolution is to straighten up and fold your arms.

We are not free unless the men who frame and execute the laws represent the interests of the lives of the people and no other interest. The ballot does not make a free man out of a wage slave. there has never existed a truly free and democratic nation in the world. From time immemorial men have followed with blind loyalty the strong men who had the power of money and of armies. Even while battlefields were piled high with their own dead they have tilled the lands of the rulers and have been robbed of the fruits of their labor. “

Strike against all ordinances and laws and institutions that continue the slaughter of peace and the butcheries of war. Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings. Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.

Please visit Gift of Speech for the whole transcript of the speech. The American Federation for the Blind, where Helen Keller worked for 44 years, is seeking to digitize her archives and is looking for donations this month, if you would like to support them.