Ten Commonsense Suggestions for Making Peace, Not War

President Trump’s first year in office brought an escalation of military aggression abroad as he built on the interventions of previous administrations, but there are steps America can take to move towards a more peaceful future, writes retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel William J. Astore at TomDispatch.

By William J. Astore

Whether the rationale is the need to wage a war on terror involving 76 countries or renewed preparations for a struggle against peer competitors Russia and China (as Defense Secretary James Mattis suggested recently while introducing America’s new National Defense Strategy), the U.S. military is engaged globally.  A network of 800 military bases spread across 172 countries helps enable its wars and interventions.  By the count of the Pentagon, at the end of the last fiscal year about 291,000 personnel (including reserves and Department of Defense civilians) were deployed in 183 countries worldwide, which is the functional definition of a military uncontained.  Lady Liberty may temporarily close when the U.S. government grinds to a halt, but the country’s foreign military commitments, especially its wars, just keep humming along.

Soldiers fire the main weapon of an M1A2 Abrams tank during a gunnery qualification event at the Rodriguez live fire complex in South Korea, Nov. 28, 2017. (Army photo by Sgt. Patrick Eakin)

As a student of history, I was warned to avoid the notion of inevitability.  Still, given such data points and others like them, is there anything more predictable in this country’s future than incessant warfare without a true victory in sight?  Indeed, the last clear-cut American victory, the last true “mission accomplished” moment in a war of any significance, came in 1945 with the end of World War II.

Yet the lack of clear victories since then seems to faze no one in Washington.  In this century, presidents have regularly boasted that the U.S. military is the finest fighting force in human history, while no less regularly demanding that the most powerful military in today’s world be “rebuilt” and funded at ever more staggering levels.  Indeed, while on the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised he’d invest so much in the military that it would become “so big and so strong and so great, and it will be so powerful that I don’t think we’re ever going to have to use it.”

As soon as he took office, however, he promptly appointed a set of generals to key positions in his government, stored the mothballs, and went back to war.  Here, then, is a brief rundown of the first year of his presidency in war terms.

Trump’s First Year of War-Making

In 2017, Afghanistan saw a mini-surge of roughly 4,000 additional U.S. troops (with more to come), a major spike in air strikes, and an onslaught of munitions of all sorts, including MOAB (the mother of all bombs), the never-before-used largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal, as well as precision weapons fired by B-52s against suspected Taliban drug laboratories.  By the Air Force’s own count, 4,361 weapons were “released” in Afghanistan in 2017 compared to 1,337 in 2016.  Despite this commitment of warriors and weapons, the Afghan war remains — according to American commanders putting the best possible light on the situation — “stalemated,” with that country’s capital Kabul currently under siege.

How about Operation Inherent Resolve against the Islamic State?  U.S.-led coalition forces have launched more than 10,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since Donald Trump became president, unleashing 39,577 weapons in 2017. (The figure for 2016 was 30,743.)  The “caliphate” is now gone and ISIS deflated but not defeated, since you can’t extinguish an ideology solely with bombs.  Meanwhile, along the Syrian-Turkish border a new conflict seems to be heating up between American-backed Kurdish forces and NATO ally Turkey.

Yet another strife-riven country, Yemen, witnessed a sixfold increase in U.S. airstrikes against al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (from 21 in 2016 to more than 131 in 2017).  In Somalia, which has also seen a rise in such strikes against al-Shabaab militants, U.S. forces on the ground have reached numbers not seen since the Black Hawk Down incident of 1993.  In each of these countries, there are yet more ruins, yet more civilian casualties, and yet more displaced people.

Finally, we come to North Korea.  Though no real shots have yet been fired, rhetorical shots by two less-than-stable leaders, “Little Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un and “dotard” Donald Trump, raise the possibility of a regional bloodbath.  Trump, seemingly favoring military solutions to North Korea’s nuclear program even as his administration touts a new generation of more usable nuclear warheads, has been remarkably successful in moving the world’s doomsday clock ever closer to midnight.

Clearly, his “great” and “powerful” military has hardly been standing idly on the sidelines looking “big” and “strong.”  More than ever, in fact, it seems to be lashing out across the Greater Middle East and Africa.  Seventeen years after the 9/11 attacks began the Global War on Terror, all of this represents an eerily familiar attempt by the U.S. military to kill its way to victory, whether against the Taliban, ISIS, or other terrorist organizations.

This kinetic reality should surprise no one.  Once you invest so much in your military — not just financially but also culturally (by continually celebrating it in a fashion which has come to seem like a quasi-faith) — it’s natural to want to put it to use.  This has been true of all recent administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, as reflected in the infamous question Madeleine Albright posed to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell in 1992: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

With the very word “peace” rarely in Washington’s political vocabulary, America’s never-ending version of war seems as inevitable as anything is likely to be in history.  Significant contingents of U.S. troops and contractors remain an enduring presence in Iraq and there are now 2,000 U.S. Special Operations forces and other personnel in Syria for the long haul.  They are ostensibly engaged in training and stability operations.  In Washington, however, the urge for regime change in both Syria and Iran remains strong — in the case of Iran implacably so.  If past is prologue, then considering previous regime-change operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the future looks grim indeed.

Despite the dismal record of the last decade and a half, our civilian leaders continue to insist that this country must have a military not only second to none but globally dominant.  And few here wonder what such a quest for total dominance, the desire for absolute power, could do to this country.  Two centuries ago, however, writing to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams couldn’t have been clearer on the subject.  Power, he said, “must never be trusted without a check.”

President Donald Trump describing his policy toward the Afghan War, at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, on Aug. 21, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

The question today for the American people: How is the dominant military power of which U.S. leaders so casually boast to be checked? How is the country’s almost total reliance on the military in foreign affairs to be reined in? How can the plans of the profiteers and arms makers to keep the good times rolling be brought under control?

As a start, consider one of Donald Trump’s favorite generals, Douglas MacArthur, speaking to the Sperry Rand Corporation in 1957:

“Our swollen budgets constantly have been misrepresented to the public. Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear — kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor — with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”

No peacenik MacArthur.  Other famed generals like Smedley Butler and Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke out with far more vigor against the corruptions of war and the perils to a democracy of an ever more powerful military, though such sentiments are seldom heard in this country today.  Instead, America’s leaders insist that other people judge us by our words, our stated good intentions, not our murderous deeds and their results.

Perpetual Warfare Whistles Through Washington

Whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere in the war on terror, the U.S. is now engaged in generational conflicts that are costing us trillions of dollars, driving up the national debt while weakening the underpinnings of our democracy.  They have led to foreign casualties by the hundreds of thousands and created refugees in the millions, while turning cities like Iraq’s Mosul into wastelands.

In today’s climate of budget-busting “defense” appropriations, isn’t it finally time for Americans to apply a little commonsense to our disastrous pattern of war-making?  To prime the pump for such a conversation, here are 10 suggestions for ways to focus on, limit, or possibly change Washington’s now eternal war-making and profligate war spending:

  1. Abandon the notion of perfect security.  You can’t have it.   It doesn’t exist.  And abandon as well the idea that a huge military establishment translates into national safety.  James Madison didn’t think so and neither did Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  2. Who could have anything against calling the Pentagon a “defense” department, if defense were truly its focus?  But let’s face it: the Pentagon is actually a war department.  So let’s label it what it really is.  After all, how can you deal with a problem if you can’t even name it accurately?
  3. Isn’t it about time to start following the Constitution when it comes to our “wars”?  Isn’t it time for Congress to finally step up to its constitutional duties?  Whatever the Pentagon is called, this country should no longer be able to pursue its many conflicts without a formal congressional declaration of war.  If we had followed that rule, the U.S. wouldn’t have fought any of its wars since the end of World War II.

    U.S. Army soldier takes a defensive fighting position while training as a member of a quick reaction force on Jalalabad Airfield in Afghanistan, June 7, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class John D. Brown)

  4. Generational wars — ones, that is, that never end — should not be considered a measure of American resolve, but of American stupidity.  If you wage war long, you wage it wrong, especially if you want to protect democratic institutions in this country.
  5. Generals generally like to wage war.  Don’t blame them.  It’s their profession.  But for heaven’s sake, don’t put them in charge of the Department of “Defense” (James Mattis) or the National Security Council (H.R. McMaster) either — and above all, don’t let one of them (John Kelly) become the gatekeeper for a volatile, vain president.  In our country, civilians should be in charge of the war makers, end of story.
  6. You can’t win wars you never should have begun in the first place.  America’s leaders failed to learn that lesson from Vietnam.  Since then they have continued to wage wars for less-than-vital interests with predictably dismal results. Following the Vietnam example, America will only truly win its Afghan War when it chooses to rein in its pride and vanity — and leave.
  7. The serious people in Washington snickered when, as a presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008, Congressman Dennis Kucinich called for a Department of Peace. Remind me, though, 17 years into our latest set of wars, what was so funny about that suggestion? Isn’t it better to wage peace than war? If you don’t believe me, ask a wounded veteran or a Gold Star family.
  8. Want to invest in American jobs? Good idea! But stop making the military-industrial complex the preferred path to job creation. That’s a loser of a way to go. It’s proven that investments in “butter” create double or triple the number of jobs as those in “guns.” In other words, invest in education, health care, and civilian infrastructure, not more weaponry.
  9. Get rid of the very idea behind the infamous Pottery Barn rule — the warning Secretary of State Colin Powell offered George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that if the U.S. military “breaks” a country, somehow we’ve “bought” it and so have to take ownership of the resulting mess. Whether stated or not, it’s continued to be the basis for this century’s unending wars. Honestly, if somebody broke something valuable you owned, would you trust that person to put it back together? Folly doesn’t decrease by persisting in it.
  10. I was an officer in the Air Force. When I entered that service, the ideal of the citizen-soldier still held sway. But during my career I witnessed a slow, insidious change. A citizen-soldier military morphed into a professional ethos of “warriors” and “warfighters,” a military that saw itself as better than the rest of us. It’s time to think about how to return to that citizen-soldier tradition, which made it harder to fight those generational wars.

Consider retired General John Kelly, who, while defending the president in a controversy over the president’s words to the mother of a dead Green Beret, refused to take questions from reporters unless they had a personal connection to fallen troops or to a Gold Star family. Consider as well the way that U.S. politicians like Vice President Mike Pence are always so keen to exalt those in uniform, to speak of them as above the citizenry. (“You are the best of us.”)

Isn’t it time to stop praising our troops to the rooftops and thanking them endlessly for what they’ve done for us — for fighting those wars without end — and to start listening to them instead?  Isn’t it time to try to understand them not as “heroes” in another universe, but as people like us in all their frailty and complexity? We’re never encouraged to see them as our neighbors, or as teenagers who struggled through high school, or as harried moms and dads.

Our troops are, of course, human and vulnerable and imperfect.  We don’t help them when we put them on pedestals, give them flags to hold in the breeze, and salute them as icons of a feel-good brand of patriotism.  Talk of warrior-heroes is worse than cheap: it enables our state of permanent war, elevates the Pentagon, ennobles the national security state, and silences dissent.  That’s why it’s both dangerous and universally supported in rare bipartisan fashion by politicians in Washington.

So here’s my final point.  Think of it as a bonus 11th suggestion: don’t make our troops into heroes, even when they’re in harm’s way.  It would be so much better to make ourselves into heroes by getting them out of harm’s way.

Be exceptional, America.  Make peace, not war.

William Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and history professor, is a TomDispatch regular. He blogs at Bracing Views. [This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com and is republished with permission.]

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67 comments for “Ten Commonsense Suggestions for Making Peace, Not War

  1. old observer
    February 14, 2018 at 12:57 am

    They don’t want to make peace – my observation. They grab every opportunity to fan the flames of a conflict, intensify it, extend it, and bring it to another country. I’d love to be proven wrong.

  2. Zachary Smith
    February 11, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    A current news story has this as the headline:

    Israel Says U.S. Not in Syrian ‘Game’ as Russia Seen Dominant

    Here are the second and third paragraphs of that piece.

    “The American part of the equation is to back us up,” but the U.S. currently “has almost no leverage on the ground,” Michael Oren, Netanyahu’s deputy minister for public diplomacy and a former ambassador to Washington, said in a phone interview Sunday. “America did not ante up in Syria. It’s not in the game.”

    Oren’s criticism reflects Israel’s view that Washington isn’t doing enough to curb Iran’s military ambitions in southern Syria, which borders the Israeli-held Golan Heights, as seven years of fighting wind down and actors consolidate gains.

    That’s how the thieving and murderous little apartheid state sees the big dumb “wag the dog” nation it nearly owns. Anybody who thinks the little pug-ugly state doesn’t yearn for President Pence needs their head examined.

    So I’m going to volunteer a #11 suggestion – stop ‘backing up’ the criminal little cesspool no matter what it does. Also, stop smashing Muslim nations for Holy Israel. Needless Wars For Israel are an enormous component in the downfall of the US.

  3. Sandy
    February 9, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Will share your perspectives with everyone, but when Congress passes a massive budget with the military as a priority, and no one can EVER solve Afghanistan, and that you have a “non-leader” into military parades being held in his honor, well, the idea of a common sense gov’t has been put on hold. Maybe write about electable politicians with an understanding of negotiating change and platforms aligned with your suggestions.

  4. Bill Goldman
    February 8, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Good article factually, but too long. The author could have accomplished as much or even more if he quoted Generals Butler and Eisenhower more often. I carry a bumper sticker on Butler. It reads “ Major General Smedley D. Butler-(1882-1940)-The soldiers’ General-‘We were racketeers for capitalism; hit men for imperialism (1935)””. Unfamiliar readers should know that Butler was the most decorated Marine ever, including 2 Congressional Medals of Honor and 2 battle field Brevest medals.

  5. Bob Maginnis
    February 8, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    The writer Astore wrote: “….. and an onslaught of munitions of all sorts, including MOAB (the mother of all bombs), the never-before-used largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal, as well as precision weapons fired by B-52s ….”

    but, I recall the use of at least one of them in Afghanistan shortly after WTC 911, Only once on TV, a roaring explosion and very black smoke. I can imagine why the war party propagandists didn’t want it to be seen again

  6. Janet Zampieri
    February 8, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Lyndon Johnson, when grilled to end the Vietnam War, said that he couldn’t because all his friends were making tons of money. How can we take the profit-making out of war?

  7. Steve Hill
    February 8, 2018 at 11:58 am

    JEEZ!!! Common sense in THESE troubled times!!! Who would THUNK it??!!

  8. Robert Landbeck
    February 7, 2018 at 7:16 am

    Tragically for both our country and the rest of the world, turning swords into plough shares isn’t and never has been on the agenda of empire or nation states. So thinking in conventional terms will never realize any useful progress, just a lot of empty hot air rhetoric. But there is one very uncommon idea that could very well break the deadlock. And looking for something that might shift the balance towards peace, I found something on the web that just might do the job!

    “For individuals prepared to think for themselves, with the intellectual integrity to shake off their existing prejudices, who will explore outside the cultural box of history and able to stand against the tides of tribal, peer, group think, and all fashionable thought and spin, with the humility to accept correction and the moral courage to learn something new, who will TEST, discover and confirm this new insight for themselves, an intellectual, spiritual and moral revolution is under way; where the once impossible becomes inevitable, by the most potent, political, progressive, Non Violent Direct Action never imagined. One able to advance the highest ideals of human aspiration and which entrenched elites and the modern corporate/national security, surveillance state can neither stop nor
    interfere with.” More at http://www.energon.org.uk

  9. Joe L.
    February 6, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    I think passing the “Stop Funding & Arming Terrorists Bill” would have been a good first step. The fact that the country that was attacked on 9/11 cannot pass such a bill speaks volumes in my mind.

    • Sam F
      February 7, 2018 at 10:12 am

      01/23/2017 H.R.608 – Stop Arming Terrorists Act
      Sponsor: Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2] (Introduced 01/23/2017
      Referred to House Intelligence

      See https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/608

      • Joe L.
        February 8, 2018 at 12:09 am

        Sam F… I believe that I read that only 13 out of 535 members of Congress supported the bill, that is ridiculous.

  10. jose
    February 6, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    All the points raised are very valid: Nonetheless, I will focus my commentary on point 3. I blame primarely the American people for letting any president to commit an act of war without a congressional declaration of war first, as required by the supreme law of the land. If the people did not rise in protest, this violation of the constitution will continue. The power to declare war rests solely on congress stipulated clearly on article1, section 8, clause 11. If the people had the spine to demand from their 535 representatives the application of article 1, no president would dare to abrogate for fear of impeachment.

  11. February 6, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Great piece for peace. I agree with everything. Mr. Astore deserves praise for putting it all together but it reflects of views of a large number of people in America and around the world. Cynics might say not enough but I am optimistic enough to think that the number of people with Mr Astore’s views are growing and someday in the future it will mean something. And it helps to know that there is at least one, that we are not alone.

  12. Babyl-on
    February 6, 2018 at 8:47 am

    The “common sense” of the Imperial US is: “Global full spectrum domination.” only then can there be peace. Except other alien enemies will then be concocted and the dominate psychopathology will continue to be praised and rewarded.

    The fact is that Western civilization rewards psychopathological behavior with great riches and power. Few if any Western leaders would disagree with Theresa May when she said she was willing to launch nuclear weapons which would kill a hundred million innocent people to preserve what exactly? Civilization could not survive such an event yet she and Trump and Macron and all the rest proclaim their willingness to do so. Like I say, they are dangerously pathological and that is why they are admired ad feared.

  13. Silly Me
    February 6, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Do not fall for ideologies.

    Follow the money.

  14. john wilson
    February 6, 2018 at 5:57 am

    The problem I have with this article is the use of the phrase “common sense” . If the human race together with the war gangsters which pollute the USA used their collective common sense, planet earth could be a paradise, instead its the sh!thole of the universe.

  15. February 6, 2018 at 12:20 am

    Don’t forget Trump outdoing Obama on drone killings.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 6, 2018 at 12:32 am

      SocraticGadfly – do you have a link for that “outdoing”? I’d be interested to see it. How many sovereign leaders has Trump taken out? It seems to me Obama took out Gaddafi, who was then viciously sodomized with a knife, tried to take out Assad, and overthrew the President of the Ukraine.

  16. Curious
    February 6, 2018 at 12:12 am

    A fine article Mr. Astore,
    I have mentioned, or fumbled around, in the comment section before saying that creating a mythology, or ideology, of heros and warriors dilutes the very concept of heroism. If everyone is a hero than nobody is. But I like your concept a whole lot better than my fumbling around.
    “It would be so much better to make ourselves into heroes by getting them out of harm’s way.”
    What a glorious concept that would be if we could make it true! And really, “peace” should not be a dirty word.

  17. Zachary Smith
    February 5, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    I’m not very happy that I’ve got to write a post where I appear to reject most of what the author has written Take this:

    It’s time to think about how to return to that citizen-soldier tradition, which made it harder to fight those generational wars.

    Change “think” to “dream” and that would be about right. So far as I can tell, the rich vampires who now control the nation have things pretty well wrapped up. They control who runs for important elective office. These days we usually have Neocan (R) running against Neocrat (D) and either one is acceptable to the vampires. The Supreme Court is now firmly right-wing, and the “Citizens United” ruling isn’t going to tinkered with unless Corporations (they’re People, My Friend!) are somehow given even more leeway. If throwing unlimited money at an election appears to be faltering, they’ll simply roll out the Diebold-Type Electronic Voting Machines. If by some odd miracle THAT fails, impeach the guy – or worse.

    The example of MacArthur was vexing. I dug out most of that 1957 speech, and “some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up” was a throwaway line – the remaining several pages were a rightwingnut rant about Evil Taxes in general. MacArthur hated the thought of anybody except the likes of Sperry Rand getting any benefits from the Government. Ditto for Eisenhower. That former General presided over the first ballooning of the Military Industrial Complex. When he became President the US had about 1,000 nukes, but when he left office the number had grown to 23,000. At the time of that MIC speech he was in failing health with a number of strokes under his belt. The bit about the MIC was something his speechwriters tossed in. There is no evidence I know of that Eisenhower spoke of the subject before the speech or after it. Smedley Butler is far more likely to be the real McCoy, but the man was kept out of WW1 as too “unreliable” and wasn’t permitted to become commander of the Marine Corps.

    It’s not that I disagree with the rest of the essay, but the stuff is simply not what The Powers That Be want to happen.

    Take that #1: Abandon the notion of perfect security. You can’t have it. It doesn’t exist. And abandon as well the idea that a huge military establishment translates into national safety. James Madison didn’t think so and neither did Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    This is obviously true, but as a way of tightening the screws of the Police State and the associated Surveillance Society with zero privacy for all, an unending rein of terror is very useful. Those Powers That Be had the Patriot Act all ready to go right after 9/11. If you want to gin up some more money for the wonderful “DEFENSE” Department, just arrange something to scare the hell out of the citizens. The latest suspect is of course the ‘accidental’ Hawaii “you’re going to die in 25 minutes” alert.

    Before any of these ideals have a chance of taking place, we’ve first got to take back the voting mechanism. Paper ballots marked by indelible ink which are placed in closely guarded boxes, then counted in the open by many people who are watched by many video cameras. The step after that is to curb corporate/billionaire money. Good luck with that one, too.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 6, 2018 at 12:27 am

      Zachary Smith – totally agree with you. Bring back the draft; that’ll end the warmongering yesterday. Protect your own borders and stay out of other people’s business.

      Yeah, there is no way a few A-rabs with box cutters hijacked some planes, and then those planes took down those World Trade Center buildings. No way. Physics says it didn’t happen.

      But, you’re right about Hawaii – just another scare tactic to worry the people. Makes it easier to increase your budget. The American people have got more to worry about from their own government than any terrorists. Many of these rinky-dink terrorist acts (like Times Square) are where some loner, who doesn’t know one end of a bomb from the other, is somehow set up with a homemade bomb that amounts to nothing, except more fear.

      And corporate entities as persons? That should end tomorrow. No money should be allowed to enter politics. Any politician taking a bribe should know that they’re going to jail for ten years at least. Both Republicans and Democrats are happy with corporate personhood. People have to let them know that that practice needs to end.

    • godenich
      February 6, 2018 at 3:29 am

      Here’s are some oldies, but goodies, on corporations[1]. *

      [1] How Stuff Works Level: Corporations | Youtube
      [2] How Corporations Became so Powerful in 6 Minutes | Youtube
      [3] Private prisons: How US corporations make money out of locking you up | Youtube
      [4] James B. Glattfelder: Who controls the world? | Youtube
      [5] Other people’s money : and how the bankers use it | Louis Brandeis | Internet Archives | 1914

      * I found that adding many links may add to the workloads of webmasters to verify the safe content of the links and delay or disqualify the publishing of a comment, depending on the website.(In answer to a past inquiry of why I don’t post all links)

      • February 8, 2018 at 1:58 pm

        Thanks for these! Excellent…

    • February 7, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      I agree! We HAVE to take back the voting mechanism. I had a few ideas I commented on a week or so ago. I was just brainstorming, because as I see it, things have to change dramatically or we’re doomed. We have to TRY SOMETHING. Here’s part of what I said:

      This is nuts! In western European countries, among others, there are a number of political parties on the ballot, and everyone gets a fair shake at running for office. Campaigns are short, publicly funded, and everyone gets the same air time. So billionaires and well-funded industries can’t buy elections and candidates, like they do here. We have the LEAST democratic country of the developed world, and our elections are a sad corrupt farce, like our two main political parties.

      Let’s figure out what we need to do to stop the D&Rs from keeping any other candidates out of debates and off the ballots, and seriously work at developing an alternative party or at least an alternative candidate. Some people say that it can’t work without public campaign financing, and maybe that’s true, but it’s worth a try. We haven’t tried a genuine totally ground-up unified effort before.

      If leftist types could actually find some unity for a change, get behind a truly progressive, populist-type candidate (issue-focused, not label-focused) and promote that candidate through the word of mouth, social media, house parties, handing out materials in public places, etc., then we could, if need be, WRITE IN THAT CANDIDATE on the ballot. It’s an option in most states. Again this would take some real unity, and a lot of personal effort. If nothing else, it would shake up the system seriously IF enough Americans would do it. Even a serious attempt would generate awareness, publicity, and maybe even force some changes from the duopoly.

      Clearly we need to do something very different – allowing ourselves to be trapped by this duopoly over and over is insane. Trying to make oneself vote for the “lesser of two evils” is insane. (So is listening to the naysayers who claim that additional parties and candidates are just “spoilers” – as if this mess now is the only possible system).

      The dim leadership as it currently stands is going to keep running candidates like Clinton. They have stated as much. Candidates who will keep the wars goings, keep the oligarchy going, oppose Medicare for all, keep refusing to fight for working people, etc. So 2020 is going to be just like 2016, unless WE choose to get off our butts, and do something other than bitch on comment boards and social media. We HAVE TO RISK trying something ELSE, or we will have trump again or someone almost as bad.

      If you think this idea sucks, that’s fine – help think of something else! Abdicating the responsibility of a citizen and just staying home is a cop-out. It’s not “making a statement”, it’s just letting someone else choose, and the wingnuts don’t stay home.

      Besides, this planet can’t afford any more people making statements!

      (At this point, I don’t even know if the planet will survive the trump nightmare until 2020 – it is certain many vulnerable species won’t)

      • Sam F
        February 8, 2018 at 5:05 pm

        Yes, alternative action is essential, and the only question is how to proceed.
        Many predict that only future violence will bring down the tyrants who have destroyed our democracy.
        I am slowly working toward a National College of Policy Debate, merely to make all views on all issues available to all.
        Most schemes of action incorrectly rely upon persuasion of the tyrant dictators of the wealthy.
        Some suggest infiltration of police and national guard to deny enforcement to the rich.
        Others suggest actual attacks on mass media facilities.
        What we need are well-reasoned ideas and detailed proposals for change.

      • David A Hart
        February 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        It starts at the primary level–which is a certified mess. There are different rules for EACH STATE PRIMARY, and some states don’t even hold primary votes for president. For a large percentage of voters who do not identify as Republican or Democrat, their vote is totally meaningless, as they are barred from voting in the primary election.

        Take just one large state–New York. In the last election, there were approximately 2 million votes in the Democratic primary, held on April 19th. New York holds a closed primary, meaning only registered Democrats and registered Republicans can vote in the two major parties. If you were a registered independent, you could not vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. Bernie Sanders lost the vote by 313.000 votes.

        The total number of registered Democrats in New York in April 2016 was nearly 5,800.000. That means that New York selected Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders on the votes of 50.8% of registered Democrats. Only registered Democrats were able to vote for those on the Democratic ballot in New York. But here’s the kicker–the last day for anyone to change their registration, say from Independent to Democratic, was six months prior to the primary election–October 19, 2015. On that date, Clinton was polling at 50% and Sanders at 26%. Few independents, non-registered voters and sympathetic Republicans gave Sanders much of a chance in October of 2015, yet that was their final opportunity to change their registration. Six months later, the polls showed that Bernie trailed in the national polls at 48.3% to 43.8%, or 4.5%. As many as 3 million registered voters were ineligible to vote in the New York primaries–WHICH HELP DETERMINE WHO THE CANDIDATE WILL BE. Other states allow open voting, and some states determine their nominee via the caucus system. How is this representative of all Americans?

        • David A Hart
          February 8, 2018 at 5:50 pm

          Sorry, I inflated the votes for the Democratic primary when I was tabulating the percentage–the Democratic turnout was 33% of total registration, not 50.8%. One million nine-hundred and fifty thousand Democrats voted on April 19, 2016 out of a total Democratic party registration of 5,800,000.

  18. godenich
    February 5, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    12. Replace the war tax (income tax) with a satisfactory form of apt tax[1,2] that will allow Wall Street to share more in the glory(expense) of war, the kudos(expense) for rebuilding the infrastructure, the sincere thanks from businesses that may sell more goods & services at a lower price here and abroad, as well as the gratitude of working taxpayers and consumers for lessening their tax burden of funding the government and enabling them to save and spend more for themselves and their families.

    [1] Taxation for the 21ST Century: The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax | SSRN
    [2] Alternative Proposals Reform, May 11 2005 | Video | C-SPAN

  19. irina
    February 5, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    I would like to elaborate on suggestion #3. Isn’t it also (far past) time for the
    taxpaying public to step up to its responsibilities by refusing to fund our illegal
    wars ?

    Why absolutely no mention in the above article of the simple but powerful
    potential for redirecting taxes into a Peace Tax Fund ? This would not be an
    avoidance of taxes but rather a way to ‘earmark’ them for non-military pur-
    poses. As a country, we accept and honor the need to make allowances for
    Conscientious Objector status when it comes to military service, but no such
    allowance when it comes to actually funding the military. (And, as the article
    above illustrates, such an option is not even part of the conversation).

    It’s important to recognize that a person does not, themselves, need to be
    opposed to paying taxes to support the military in order to support the concept.
    Just as a person does not have to be opposed to military service for themselves
    yet still understands and honors the concept of Conscientious Objection for others.

    In 1972, the Peace Tax Fund Bill was first introduced in Congress. It was re-
    introduced in 2017 : http://peacetaxfund.org/about-the-bill/

    Imagine how differently our society might be structured if such a bill had been
    passed in 1972 ! There is also an international movement towards war tax
    redirection, with active efforts being made in at least 16 countries.

    According to Wikipedia, last year the budget for the Peace Tax Fund Campaign
    totaled $140,000. This is enough to maintain their informative website, which
    is well worth exploring, but not enough for much outreach. If each of us made
    the effort to contact our Congress people about this bill, that would be a useful
    ‘commonsense response’ to this article.

    • Sam F
      February 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      The link to the Peace Tax Fund Bill of 2017 is interesting, but the bill has a flaw in that it is titled and limited to a Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund, that is, one must be a conscientious objector or certify a religious belief to direct taxes one has paid to non-military uses.

      The restriction to those holding a religious belief is not necessary. Alternate (non-military service) in case of a draft is permitted only to conscientious objectors such as the Quaker sponsors of the bill. But political preference should be sufficient to direct taxes, and removing the religious requirement would make the bill more effective. The present bill (H.R.1947) is hung up in the House Ways and Means Committee where it will likely expire.

      It may be that the sponsors thought that they could not get around the “wartime” requirement of a religious objection, due to the now-permanent AUMFs that Congress keeps passing, despite the fact that foreign wars are not within the federal powers under the Constitution (only repelling invasions and suppressing insurrections), and NATO was intended to be solely defensive. A lawsuit against the US for passing AUMFs not within the federal powers is another option; campaigning against NATO might also be effective.

      • irina
        February 7, 2018 at 1:44 pm

        I agree that the ‘religious freedom’ name is problematic and as you say, probably a holdover from when it was first introduced
        in 1972 (the year I graduated from high school ! not much progress made since then . . .) However, Conscientious Objector status has been broadly interpreted and is addressed in one of the drop-down links on the peace tax fund website.

        I disagree that ‘political preference should be sufficient to direct taxes’ as that way lies chaos. Conscience should be the guide. But nothing will happen unless and until taxpayers become proactive by re-directing their taxes ahead of the passage of a bill allowing them to do so. The best way to do this is to divert taxes due into an escrow account. The model for this tactic was the Con$cience and Military Tax Campaign — US, an archived information page can be accessed by googling that name. The advantage of an escrow account is that the taxes are being ‘paid’ (as opposed to simply being withheld by the taxpayer).

        Escrow accounts are also scaleable, from municipal to state and tribal to national to even international levels. At present,
        sixteen countries have active advocates for Peace Tax Funds. Imagine if we could deposit our taxes into an international
        Peace Tax Fund escrow account !

        • February 7, 2018 at 8:02 pm

          This is a great idea, thanks for sharing this info! I hadn’t heard of this before.

      • Virginia
        February 8, 2018 at 9:37 am

        Sam and Irina, Let’s all do as Irina suggested: “If each of us made the effort to contact our Congress people about this bill, that would be a useful commonsense response’ to this article.” We can argue for fixing the H.R. 1947 bill to include anyone, based on conscience not religion. While at it, could we also let our representatives know that we are — at least most of us here must be — AGAINST SANCTIONS. Our government isn’t asking the people what we want on either wars, military build-up, nuclear heads on small missiles, sanctions or much of anything else. We must be vigilant in insisting that they represent us — “We the People.”

        • Sam F
          February 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm

          Done.

    • Jose
      February 8, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Dear Irina: I concur with your assessment. I would add to your post that the constitution, under article 1, section 8, clause 11, states unequivocally that the power to declare war rests solely on Congress. Hence, any war act coming from the executive isn’t definition illegal.

  20. backwardsevolution
    February 5, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    One commonsense suggestion: get rid of a small group of conspirators, the neoconservatives.

    “President Trump is being blamed for the aggressive US nuclear posture announced today. However, the document is a neoconservative product. Trump, perhaps, could have prevented the document’s release, but under pressure as he is by the accusation that he conspired with Putin to steal the US presidential election from Hillary, Trump cannot afford to antagonize the neoconized Pentagon.

    The neoconservatives are a small group of conspirators. Most of the neoconservatives are Jews allied with Israel. Some are dual-citizens. They created an ideology of American world hegemony, specifying that the chief goal of US foreign policy is to prevent the rise of any other power that could serve as a constraint on US unilateralism. As neoconservatives control US foreign policy, this explains US hostility toward Russia and China and also the neoconservatives’ use of the US military to remove governments in the Middle East regarded by Israel as obstacles to Israeli expansion.

    For two decades the US has been fighting wars for Israel in the Middle East. This fact proves the power and influence of the insane neoconservatives. It is certain that people as insane as the neoconservatives would launch a nuclear attack on Russia and China. The Russian and Chinese governments seem to be completely unaware of the threat that the neoconservatives pose to them. I have never experienced in my interviews with Russians and Chinese any awareness of the neoconservative ideology. Possibly, it is too insane for them to grasp. […]

    It is clear enough that without the utterly corrupt Obama Department of Justice (sic) and FBI, the utterly corrupt Clinton-controlled Democratic National Committee, and the utterly corrupt American and European presstitute media working to destroy Trump’s presidency by framing him up as “a Russian agent,” President Trump, understanding that the Pentagon’s posture review would worsen, not normalize, relations with Russia, would have deep-sixed the demonic document that threatens all life on earth.

    Thanks to the American liberal/progressive/left, the entirety of the world is faced with a far more likely nuclear demise than ever threatened us during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.”

    • backwardsevolution
      February 5, 2018 at 8:36 pm
    • Joe B
      February 5, 2018 at 10:22 pm

      Yes, the problem is that money power controls elections and mass media, and the MIC/zionists control most of the money power.

      Mr. Astore wisely scorns the propaganda of our dictatorship of the rich: “Talk of warrior-heroes is worse than cheap: it enables our state of permanent war… and silences dissent.”

      His remark that we must “make ourselves into heroes by getting them out of harm’s way” calls for the heroism of revolution rather than mere understanding, for that is the only path left to end the warmongering MIC/zionist dictatorship, the only path to restoration of democracy. That is the only true heroism under a dictatprship.

    • February 6, 2018 at 12:22 am

      Sigh.

      Many neocons, including two vice presidents ago, are not Jews.

      The Obama Admin was not neocon, but didn’t sufficiently separate itself from eocons.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 6, 2018 at 12:42 am

        SocraticGadfly – “Many neocons…are not Jews.” Just most.

        AIPAC should be registered as a foreign agent. Any dual-citizen Israelis sitting in think tanks or top positions in government ought to be given a choice: you’re either American, in which case Israel becomes just another country on the map, or get out.

        • geeyp
          February 6, 2018 at 1:41 am

          You are either with us, or against us. Exactly.

          • Sam F
            February 6, 2018 at 6:18 am

            The zionist “neocons” are certainly led by Jews, and unfortunately only a small minority of Jews openly oppose them. They are supported by many non-jewish zionist opportunists hoping for money or promotion by other zionists.

    • February 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      Oh right. trump is just a victim of the “left”….sounds like the kind of stupid shit one would see on Breitbart. Someone mentions trump (and the nearly countless ugly actions of his ilk), and right on cue….Oh but Obama! Oh but Hillary! What complete and utter dreck. What’s going on now is the fault of trump and his appointed minions. Period. It is not the fault of the left/progressives or whatever else you mean by “liberal” – a nearly meaningless term these days.

      Nothing and NO ONE is more corrupt than the conservative element IN OFFICE NOW, and the international banksters who fund them. The corrupted dims are LIGHTWEIGHTS compared to these tools. And if you think these loons are somehow better, you have serious processing issues.

      People like you who clearly don’t work in human services or care about the environment may not notice the daily reality, but those of us in the trenches do. It’s trump, with the help of his minions, who is stealing public lands, gutting national monuments, reversing every bit of environmental progress over the past 40 years, gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and aiming to destroy Social Security, eliminating every health and safety and workplace protection imaginable, cutting services for the poor and disabled, trying his best to take healthcare coverage away from many millions of Americans, threatening to stop funding for community health centers nationwide (who serve MILLIONS of low-income people), reversing the endangered species act and protections for threatened species, destroying the oceans with unprecedented oil and gas drilling, etc, etc. Pristine wilderness and precious lives destroyed so his cronies and donors can make a fast buck. And millions of struggling working people worse off than ever now. And to top it off, he is now trying to start a war – a nuclear war at that. Is Obama making him do that??

      The trump tax scam saw the biggest transfer of wealth in history to the very richest: 83% of the total tax change goes to the top 1% After the bill was signed he bragged to his friends at a private club that “I’ve just made you all a LOT richer.” And this is Obama’s fault, how exactly? Was he making Trump act and talk? In fact, most of what the repugs are doing is simply to reverse everything Obama did, whether it was good for American citizens or not.

      The dims have done little to nothing to stop these travesties and they are to blame for that, but it’s the repugs who are actively and aggressively destroying every single good thing that has benefited the non-1%.

      So I suggest you spend less time memorizing PCR and more time noticing what the fuck is actually going on. Trump is a stupid, vicious, soul-less megalomaniac. He is also seriously mentally ill, and he needs no help in “destroying his presidency”. His “presidency” is sick, sad joke, just like his low-information supporters.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 8, 2018 at 6:29 am

        Anna Van Z – “The trump tax scam saw the biggest transfer of wealth in history to the very richest: 83% of the total tax change goes to the top 1%.”

        The transfer of wealth has been going on steadily for decades now; inequality is growing. Obama didn’t jail one banker after the 2008 financial crisis. In fact, he bailed them out! It was during Obama’s tenure that inequality really took off. The Federal Reserve’s policies have been disastrous. Unless you follow economics, you wouldn’t understand what’s really occurred.

        And during Obama’s term the U.S. orchestrated a coup in Ukraine, murdered a sovereign leader in Libya, and almost took out Assad in Syria. Thousands upon thousands have been killed.

        And during Obama’s term, Hillary Clinton, the DNC, the FBI and perhaps the Department of Justice plotted to exonerate Hillary Clinton for her email scandal, and then spy on Trump and his team in order to win an election. Failing that, they then plotted to continue spying (while lying to the FISA Court) in order to impeach Trump. They invented Russiagate (the Steele dossier was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC) in order to overthrow a duly-elected President.

        The useful idiots on the Left, completely immersed in identity politics, have been duped. There is no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, but there is evidence of collusion between Clinton and Russia (Uranium One). The investigation into this is just beginning.

        Trump is far from perfect, but he did not send millions of jobs overseas, he did not allow illegals to flood into the country, and he did not cause the current inequality.

        • February 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          “It was during Obama’s tenure that inequality really took off. The Federal Reserve’s policies have been disastrous. Unless you follow economics, you wouldn’t understand what’s really occurred.”

          Nope – during the Bush years – all the economic stats bear that out. And the Federal Reserve policies and practices have been problematic for many decades, LONG before Obama.

          Furthermore, nothing you’ve stated invalidates what I’ve said above. What is going on NOW is unprecedented and disastrous, on every conceivable dimension – unless you are in the .1%, which I doubt you are.

          The wholesale wreckage to the country and to the planet is UNPRECEDENTED – get it??? This is NOW, and it is not obama or shillary or anyone else but trump and his ilk who are committed the carnage.

          And stop making the left and democrats analogous – it’s insulting. If there’s any useful idiots here, it’s people like you who ignore what’s happening right under their noses so you all can continue your neurotic, moronic tirades about obama and hillary, none of whom are in power.

          • Gregory Herr
            February 8, 2018 at 7:46 pm

            I’ll tell you quite simply why “the left” (actually just left of far right) is “analogous”. Instead of being an opposition party with the courage of some conviction on all the issues you are correctly concerned with, and spending their time and efforts bringing all these to the attention of the electorate and fighting against Republican proposals with “better” ones of their own…they bullshit about Russia. Had the Dems used their power wisely when they had it and had this country running on single-payer and public banking and strong environmental protections, etc., we wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation.

            Moreover, the “tirades” on this site about what Clinton and Obama have done are not moronic. They are war criminals and the effects of their policies and endeavors abroad are still relevant with badly lingering effects.

          • backwardsevolution
            February 8, 2018 at 7:49 pm

            Anna Van Z – of course Obama didn’t start inequality. I never said that. But inequality really took off during his tenure, right after he bailed the banks out.

            After the dot.com bubble burst, the old fool, Greenspan, lowered interest rates in order to get another bubble started. Bush told everybody to go shopping. The banks got greedy; everybody got greedy. Speculation was rampant. People who could barely mark an “X” were getting mortgages. Hey, that’s sustainable (not!).

            The whole thing came down around Obama’s ankles. He had a choice: nationalize the banks, split them up, sell them off to waiting investors, bring back Glass-Steagall – OR – bail them out. He took the easy way out and bailed them. He was going to lever up and leave the mess for the next President.

            Bernanke took interest rates right down, the wealthy went to town with M&A, leverage, stock buybacks, dividends, high frequency trading, and the rest is history. I mean, the wealthy were dripping in assets of every conceivable description. And now here we are, saturated in debt (household and government), and it’s dumped on Trump’s lap.

            Obama is every bit as narcissistic as Trump. He’s just slicker at it and fools people who don’t know what to look for. He was smooth, wore a nice suit, read well from a teleprompter, and proceeded to add on more debt than any President had.

            Obama also did his fair share of warmongering. Take a look at Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine – all on Obama’s shift. Are you crying over the dead in these countries? Do you want to talk about their environment, the lives ruined, the depleted uranium saturating their ground?

            Trump wanted to end the wars, end NATO, but did the Left help him out? No, the Left joined hands with the neocons and rallied around the fake “Trump colluded with Putin” narrative and hogtied him. Trump either goes along, or his head is blown to pieces like Kennedy’s. Had the Left put down their soothers and their identity politics for one minute, we might have had peace.

            And Trump is mentally ill? Trump said that he was being spied on and everybody laughed at him. Well, they’re not laughing now, are they? It’s all coming out that the FBI and the Department of Justice colluded to get FISA warrants to spy on Trump and his team. They wanted to end his election chances or, failing that, impeach him on something – anything – if he won.

            And Russiagate is a pack of lies, again to tie Trump up. Mustn’t allow peace; the military industrial complex can’t make profits when that happens. They can taste Russia’s resources, and they won’t stop until they get them.

            And the phony Steele dossier (paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign)…..well, the lies are being revealed now.

            Trump is trying to bring jobs back. Globalization has been a lose-lose proposition for the U.S. Imagine the pollution and the damage to the environment from those ships, planes, trains, trucks transporting goods halfway around the world! To save the environment, products should be made locally.

            Trump said he might have considered signing the Paris agreement re climate change, but said he wouldn’t so long as China gets to continue spewing pollution 24/7. Same with Indonesia. Look it up. If memory serves me, Indonesia alone is adding a ton of pollution because it can’t clear land fast enough, probably for U.S. multinational corporations.

            Everybody keeps screaming that we’ve got to have more growth. Immigration? Yeah, come on in, all one million something per year. And you’re worried about the environment?

            Either growth is stopped so that the world can heal, or there will be a disaster in the not too distant future and we all will be to blame. But the whole world must join in, not just the West.

          • Gregory Herr
            February 8, 2018 at 8:22 pm

            I misconstrued…obviously the Democrats are not analogous to what would properly be called the “left”. For some stupid reason I thought you meant analogous to the Republicans…which was my point. As draconian as things are in terms of domestic policy under Trump, the Democrats are enablers and thus just as guilty…hence D & R are analogous.

          • backwardsevolution
            February 8, 2018 at 8:52 pm

            Gregory Herr – good post. Here is what Trump talked about during his election campaign: stopping the wars in order to cooperate and trade, ending NATO or at least severely cutting it back, stopping illegal immigration and courting the best legal immigrants, bringing jobs back by adding tariffs and reducing taxes, balancing the trade deficit, infrastructure rebuilding, raising interest rates so the elderly who saved their whole lives could have some income, and he even mentioned single-payer healthcare.

            It probably would take cuts in military spending before he could implement a lot of these things. I know I sound like a broken record when I say that Trump has been hogtied, and maybe I’m totally wrong about this, but IF he had have been given free rein, maybe things would be different.

            I’ve read a few articles re healthcare (of course single-payer should be instituted) and what Trump was looking at and the lobbies he was fighting against. One article said that there are 20 administrators and paper pushers for every nurse and doctor. That is so totally wrong, but these “clipboards” (I call them) make a lot of money, and this group pays a lot of the taxes.

            I think the elite were terrified of Trump (Democrats AND Republicans). They’re all so bought-and-paid-for by corporations and vested interests. Trump is not an insider. They invented Russiagate to shut Trump down. They elicited help from the Left in order to do it, kept them busy with identity politics, thinking Trump was a traitor. Had the Left got behind Trump and rejected Russiagate, had Trump felt the weight of the people behind him, there’s no telling what he could have accomplished.

    • February 8, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      I do disagree with one statement. “The Russian and Chinese governments seem to be completely unaware of the threat that the neoconservatives pose to them. I have never experienced in my interviews with Russians and Chinese any awareness of the neoconservative ideology. Possibly, it is too insane for them to grasp. […]”. I believe President Putin and Xi are well aware of the neo-con threat but also are very strategic thinkers who have learned from the mistakes of the past in their own nations. So far their strategies (Putin – helping to destroy ISIS in Syria, Xi – Belt & road initiative for development of Africa and Latin America) seem to be working while the USA continues to become more and more isolated. Just a matter of time until the cabal in Washington DC is defeated. Hopefully the rest of us good American citizens won’t go down with them.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 8, 2018 at 8:00 pm

        freedom lover – I agree with your points. I think Putin and Xi are well aware. I know Paul Craig Roberts has said several times that Putin “should have acted”, but easier said than done. He said Putin is too trusting, going along with the various accords re Syria, only to be double-crossed. That’s true, but they’re baiting him, hoping he will take the first shot and he knows this. Still, I guess there does come a time when you need to fight back because they keep biting at his ankles. Putin probably knows that if it starts, it’s on!

        But the whole world is watching, and those with any sense can see that Putin has been the saner participant. Maybe he’s hoping the ridiculous Russiagate nonsense will end and then Trump will have more leeway. I don’t know.

        Fingers crossed here too, freedom lover.

  21. geeyp
    February 5, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    At least it was more truthful when it was called the War Department. Seems so long ago now. Once upon a time there was education with grade school students reading the classics from the required reading list: Arrowsmith, Ivanhoe, The Count of Monte Cristo, Don Quixote, The Good Earth, e.g.. No video games with war mentality hovering in the minds of the new recruits, making them interested in operating killer drone computer programs. War existed. It wasn’t taken for granted as an everyday occurrence. History was taught and not stopped if it wasn’t exactly politically correct. Getting mired in political correctness stops the actual learning process of history. Ignoring recent history as our last President did at the outset, fails us as it does not hold villains to account. This is an act itself of rewriting history, something I find horrific. These were/are villains who were involved with the lies and politicalspeak of the “DEFENSE Department”.

    • geeyp
      February 5, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      The Department of War vs. the Department of Defense. Dennis Kucinich’s The Department of Peace. I have in my hand the House Congressional record where Rep. Kucinich read into the record the 35 articles of impeachment of W. on June 9, 2008. These two proposals alone are enough for me to desire Dennis Kucinich as President of the United States. Perhaps after he wins the governorship of Ohio, there is hope.

      • Realist
        February 6, 2018 at 4:51 am

        George Orwell first used the term “Ministry of Peace” to describe the War Department of Oceania in the novel “1984.” His “Ministry of Truth,” which specialized in lies and propaganda, would probably be the counterpart to the White House Press Secretary. The CIA, which carried out most of the extraordinary renditions, along with the domestic intelligence agencies to keep the population pacified, would likely be counterpart to the “Ministry of Love.” “Ministry of Plenty” = some amalgam of the IRS, the Federal Reserve and the MIC (whatever most effectively squanders the nation’s resources on the 1%). All other government functions can be dispensed with in the name of financial parsimony. The handbook is already published and widely disseminated. It just needs to be fully implemented. That and Machiavelli’s magnus opus, “The Prince.” That done, America will be great again.

    • David A Hart
      February 8, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      I have a part-time job at a local grocery story in the very small town I live in up in Northern Wisconsin. One of the stock crew in my department is a high school kid who is continually getting calls from Navy recruiters. These military recruiters prey on kids with promises of great adventure, world travel and help with college when their term of service is up. If university tuition were free or greatly reduced, we might see less of this constant harassment of high school students who feel that somehow their only viable option is military service. And they still are willing to take just about anyone who breathes and can hold a gun.

  22. February 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    [The casualties of war at link below]

    “Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died.”
    http://www.wired.com/2013/02/cost-of-war/

    • Sfomarco
      February 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      How many suicides?

      • February 7, 2018 at 7:00 pm

        It seems to vary by source, but I’ve seen 20 a day reported. Not to mention the 40,000+ vets living on the streets.

  23. February 5, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Perhaps it’s time the elites were sent to war.
    —————————————————————
    August 20, 2016
    Come Join Us

    Come join us, and we will give you a free uniform
    We will teach you to kill and you will be transformed
    We will teach you to obey, and carry out orders
    Even if they are wrong, and could be called murder

    Come join us, as we kill children with drones
    Kill their parents too and destroy their homes
    The “rule of law and human rights,” does not apply
    When we send corporate made hellfire, down from the sky

    We will train you to bomb and invade other countries
    Destroying them completely, as corporate cannibals make money
    You will help them make their obscene bloodstained profits
    As you fight and perhaps die, amidst exploding rockets

    War is a game and it needs you to participate
    You are the “boots on the ground” the servants of the state
    You will help create refugees and hell upon earth
    Conditioned to obey: for all that is bloody “worth”!

    You will “own the podium” in these “games of war”
    While others get baubles on the Olympic shores
    The masses need “bread and circuses” to divert their attention
    As you kill, bomb and maim in other directions

    Still, orders are orders and you are willing to serve
    As the think tanks, the politicians and the corporations observe
    Like the people you kill, you are disposable too
    Are you in the hands of a sick hellish crew?

    They have been known to finance both sides in war
    But they don’t take part in all the atrocities and gore
    They need you to do their dirty work without any fuss
    So please, please hurry, and come and join us…

    more info at link below

    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/08/come-join-us.html

    • Sam F
      February 6, 2018 at 6:06 am

      Well done; reminds me of an old song “Pied Pier” of the Vietnam era, which was perhaps too ambiguous.

      • Sam F
        February 6, 2018 at 6:48 am

        Typo: “Pied Piper” it was.

  24. Joanntours
    February 5, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    AMEN!

    • Sam F
      February 6, 2018 at 6:39 am

      Simply re-purposing 80 percent of our military to construction would leave us the most powerful nation, accomplish reparations to the nations we have destroyed, and eliminate extreme poverty, with no immediate change in much of the military budget or personnel. This is much easier to sell to militarists than cutting them 80% and then creating a vast foreign aid program from scratch. They keep their ranks, homes, pensions, and so would not rebel outright.

      The military industries have to make a fast switch to other equipment over two years. Restructure the agencies after two years so that most facilities and staff are not officially military but with perhaps some military reserve functions. Then adjust things after another two years so that they are aid agencies with no military ranks or training. The chickenhawks can rest easy at first that remobilization is possible during those first four years, then more slowly thereafter, should any real threat emerge.

      If the US had spent the trillions wasted on war since WWII, on building the roads, schools, and hospitals of the developing nations, we would have eliminated poverty for the poorest half of humanity, a true American century, and we would have no enemies. Instead we have willfully killed over six million innocents for nothing, have destroyed democracies and replaced them with dictators, and have allowed the MIC/Israel/WallSt oligarchy to control our former democracy with campaign bribes, control of mass media to promote violence as patriotism, promiscuous surveillance, and militarized police. They have destroyed America and have spent all we could borrow on destruction for their personal gain. We have the lowest per capita foreign aid of all developed nations, almost all of it military “aid,” a total of less than one meal a year for the world’s poorest.

      Americans must destroy the oligarchy that controls elections and mass media, for such tyrants speak and respond only to force. Their only concession since WWII was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because they were afraid of the riots in the cities, so they pretended to be persuaded by the likes of MLK. But now they have militarized the police and ignore all protest. There will be no progress until the poorest rise in rebellion to terrorize the rich, and infiltrate police and national guard to deny force to oligarchy.

      • freedom lover
        February 7, 2018 at 5:25 pm

        Well said. Actually we now have a great opportunity to collaborate with Russia and China on the one belt one road initiative and to join the AIIB. It has the duel benefit of reducing poverty in the developing world and rebuilding our own manufacturing and public infrastructure which is the only way we can ensure a future for the great middle class and allow the poor to join it. Let the wealthy die on the vine.

    • Virginia
      February 8, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Yes, AMEN!

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