Wednesday, November 17, 2010

He is the problem

Hump day, hump day. I'm tired. I've been tired all week. It's the daylight savings time thing, I think. It's six o'clock, for exampe, and it look like 10:30 pm outside.

Scott Horton writes, "Since Barack Obama became president, the debate over torture in America has taken a morally corrupt turn." He should talk.

While a few of us held Barack accountable, peopl.e like Scott Horton (Harpers magazine, not the Scott Horton of didn't.

They provided him cover repeatedly and treated those of us expecting accountability as if we had a mental problems.

All of this wasn't "just predictable, it was "actually predictive."

This is from the Center for Contituional Rights:

November 17, 2010, New York – In reaction to the verdict in the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, convicted of one count of conspiracy for his role in the 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and acquitted of the remaining 284 counts, the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed an amicus brief in the case, issued the following statement:
CCR questions the ability of anyone who is Muslim to receive a truly fair trial in any American judicial forum post-9/11. Both the military commission system and federal criminal trials have serious flaws. However, on balance the Ghailani verdict shows that federal criminal trials are far superior to military commissions for the simple yet fundamental reason that they prohibit evidence obtained by torture. If anyone is unsatisfied with Ghailani's acquittal on 284 counts, they should blame the CIA agents who tortured him.
CCR filed an amicus brief in support of Ghailani's motion to dismiss his indictment because he was denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial while in secret CIA detention. That brief is available below.
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last eight years – sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with an individual transferred from CIA “ghost detention” to Guantanamo . CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantanamo , ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. In addition, CCR has been working to resettle the approximately 30 men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept nots violence against religious minorities, the stalemate continues in Iraq, a US general speaks of Iraq's (still not ready) Air Force and more.

Today in DC, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted (link has text and video) a new department report on religion:

Because we believe in religious freedom and because we are committed to the right of all people everywhere to live according to their beliefs without government interference and with government protection, we are troubled by what we see happening in many, many places. Religiou sfreedom is under threat from authoritarian regimes that abuse their own citizens. It is under threat from violent extremist groups that exploit and inflame sectarian tensions. It is under threat from the quiet but persistent harm caused by intolerance and mistrust which can leave minority religious groups vulnerable and marginalized. During the past year, al-Qaida issued calls for further violence against religious minorities in the Middle East. Sufi, Shia, and Ahmadiyya holy sites in Pakistan have been attacked. So was a Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad just a few weeks ago. We received reports from China of government harassment of Tibetan Buddhists, house church Christians, and Uighur Muslims. And several European countries have placed harsh restrictions on religious expression.

The new report is entitled "2010 Report on International Religious Freedom" and we'll note these basics on the Iraqi population from the report:

The country has an area of 168,754 square miles and a population of approximately 28.9 million. According to statistics provided by the government, 97 percent of the population is Muslim. Shi'a Muslims--predominantly Arabs but also Turkmen, Faili (Shi'a) Kurds, and other groups--constitute a 60 to 65 percent majority. Arab and Kurdish Sunni Muslims make up 32 to 37 percent of the population; of these 18 to 20 percent are Sunni Kurds, 12 to 16 percent are Sunni Arabs, and the remaining 1 to 2 percent are Sunni Turkmen. Approximately 3 percent of the population is composed of Christians, Yezidis, Sabean-Mandaeans, Baha'is, Shabaks, Kaka'is (sometimes referred to as Ahl-e Haqq), and a very small number of Jews. Shi'a, although predominantly located in the south and east, are also a majority in Baghdad and have communities in most parts of the country. Sunnis form the majority in the west, center, and the north of the country.
Reported estimates from leaders of the Christian population in 2003 ranged from 800,000 to 1.4 million. Current population estimates by Christian leaders range from 400,000 to 600,000. Approximately two-thirds of Christians are Chaldeans (an eastern rite of the Catholic Church), nearly one-fifth are Assyrians (Church of the East), and the remainder are Syriacs (Eastern Orthodox), Armenians (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox), Anglicans, and other Protestants. Most Assyrian Christians are in the north, and most Syriac Christians are split among the Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Ninewa Provinces. Christian leaders estimated that as much as 50 percent of the country's Christian population lives in Baghdad, and 30 to 40 percent lives in the north, with the largest Christian communities located in and around Mosul, Erbil, Dohuk, and Kirkuk. The archbishop of the Armenian Orthodox Diocese reported that 15,000 to 16,000 Armenian Christians remained in the country, primarily in the cities of Baghdad, Basrah, Kirkuk, and Mosul. Evangelical Christians reportedly number between 5,000 and 6,000. They can be found in the northern part of the country, as well as in Baghdad, with a small number residing in Basrah.
Yezidi leaders reported that most of the country's 500,000 to 600,000 Yezidis reside in the north, with 15 percent in Dohuk Province and the rest in Ninewa Province. Shabak leaders stated there are 400,000 to 500,000 Shabaks, who reside mainly in the north, near Mosul. Estimates of the size of the Sabean-Mandaean community vary widely; according to Sabean-Mandaean leaders, 3,500 to 7,000 remained in the country, reduced from an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 in 2003. The Baha'i leadership reported their members number fewer than 2,000 and are spread throughout the country in small groups. A sizable portion of the Jewish community, which once had a significant presence in the country, left in the years immediately following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Eight Jews remain in Baghdad, and none are known to live in other parts of the country.
As of March 2010, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported 223,000 active refugee cases for Iraqis living outside of the country and estimated that approximately 1.5 million Iraqis had fled and remain outside the country. In March 2010 the UNHCR reported that 58 percent of all registered Iraqi refugees (in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt) were Sunni, 21 percent were Shi'a, 4 percent were nonspecified Muslim, 13 percent were Christian, 3 percent were Sabean-Mandaean, and fewer than 1 percent were Yezidi. As of April 2010, the Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MDD) had registered 1.55 million internally displaced persons since 2006. In March 2010 the UNHCR, using the UNHCR, MDD, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as sources, estimated there were 2.8 million internally displaced persons in the country. An estimated 59 percent of the internally displaced are Shi'a Muslims, 35 percent are Sunni Muslims, 5 percent are Christians, and fewer than 1 percent are Yezidis, according to the IOM.

Alan Holdren (Catholic News Agency) observes, "The situation for Christians in Iraq is becoming bleaker. The violence directed against them is no longer limited to the captal city of Baghdad, but has been spreading throughout the country." Hadani Ditmars (Globe and Mail) reflects on the violence:

When I met Maryam last spring, she was desperate. "Please help me get out of here," she pleaded. She was continually harassed, she told me, by her new neighbours, rural Shia Muslims who had come to Karradeh from the south after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. "They tell me I'm a bad woman, and that I will go to hell."
But as Maryam tearfully blurted out her story of living alone as a virtual shut-in, terrorized by local militias and longing to join family members abroad, she already seemed to be in hell.

Ditmars explains Maryam had left Iraq for Syria due to the violence but money issues ("her meagre United Nations stipend") forced her to return to Baghdad where she found the violence had neither vanished nor merely diminished. AP reports that Berlin's Interior Minister Ehrhart Koerting issued a call today for Germany to provide refuge to 2,500 Iraqi Christians. The current wave of violence targeting Iraqi Christians -- one in a long line of waves -- appears to have begun with the October 31st assault on Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church. Father John Boyle (Caritas in Veritate) posts a letter from friends in Iraq who were in the church during the attack:

The terrorists were in the Church from about 5 pm until 11 pm when their weapons ran out and they began to blow themselves up. They Iraqi Security forces were all the while standing outside paralysed with fear and confusion but by about 10 pm the security forces attacked the Church with huge fire power and no one knows how many innocent people they killed when they stormed the Church but by then most of the terrorist were already dead and they had run out of weapons to use.
At about 1 am the army was sure that all of the terrorist were dead and that they had rescued any of the people who were still alive inside the Church.
One army officer described the scene as follows; "I entered the Church and can hear loud screams of women and children but I could not see them because of the intense smoke, I then slipped and noticed that I slipped in a pool of blood just then I was hit by the most awful smell, it was a smell that I had become familiar with but it was nevertheless awful it was the terrible stench of death. I saw body parts, limbs and many bodies piled up at the entrance. The people there looked like they had been dead for sometime as their bodies had become quite stiff when we tried to move them".

The link will also provide you with photos of the violence including the dead (and one of the two priests killed -- after he was killed; the one who was shot in the back of the head execution style).
The Underground debunks two popular rumors about the motivation for the attacks. Alan Holdren (Catholic News Agency) quotes Father Firas Benoka stating, "There is a climate of terror that fills the Christian homes not only in Mosul and Baghdad, but also those on the plain of Nineveh." Holdren explains, "The plain of Nineveh, where Mosul is located, is one of the ancient cradles of Catholicism. The towns and villages that dot the plain are home to some of the world's original Christian communities, dating back nearly 2,000 years to the dawn of Christianity." Meanwhile Asia News interviews Monsignor George Basile Casmoussa, the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, who notes that there is a "dangerous growth" in the attacks with people being assaulted "directly in their homes" and that Christians are first fleeing their own cities and some then take the step of fleeing Iraq. He states, "We are asking the United Nations to seriously discuss the issue of Iraqi Christians. To send a real commission for an inquiry. To put pressure on the Iraqi government to ensure attention and the highest security to churches and Christian villages. And to pursue the murderers, to the very end."

On Monday, Today (BBC Radio) spoke with the Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham William Kenny about the targeting of Iraqi Christians.

Evan Davis: One of the priests who was killed in Iraq was a friend of yours and I gather you are in touch now regularly with other Christians who fear for their lives there.

Bishop William Kenny: Yes, I am. I knew one of the priests quite well. I know his family. I've eaten dinner with them. I've been with them. They've been ringing me. It's a matter of sorrow.

Evan Davis: And what are you able to tell them? What are you asking them of our government?

Bishop William Kenny: What I'd ask of our government is a nuanced approach -- which is nearly always impossible. It's not as easy as saying, "Should the Christians leave or should they stay?" The situation -- as everything else in Iraq -- is terribly complicated. The sort of things I'd be looking for is -- as one of your interviewees said in the report -- alleviation of poverty, things to make it worthwhile to stay, even on an economic level. I would be looking for help for the many Christians who fled to Jordan and Syria because they are still on the borders. They will return should things better. And it must be in everybody's interest to make sure that they are not living in utter poverty -- otherwise, they will move.

Evan Davis: But it will get better presumably only if the government of Iraq -- such as it is -- I say "such as it is" because it hasn't effectively had a government for a very long time. It does have now but it isn't doing anything or it appears not to be doing anything to help these people.

Bishop William Kenny: Unfortunately I agree with you. Security is the major issue. Once people have got security, they can set about leading their own lives. At the moment that security doens't exist and the temptation must be enormous to flee.

Evan Davis: Isn't there an argument -- at least for this government -- offering some of them some sort of asylum?

Bishop William Kenny: I think there is. And I mean they're under perseuction, they are in need of protection. As I say, I don't think it's something where there's one element that will solve all cases. I think there needs to be a quite complicated package of the efforts put in to solve this problem.

Evan Davis: Indeed but given that there's a limited amount a government like this can do, you think asylum for some might be the answer? Will the Archbishop -- your own Archbishop [Bernard Longley] -- support you in that, do you think?

Bishop William Kenny: I think he would. I haven't spoken to him about the matter but I'm quite sure that that is quite possible. But also as I say help to keep the Christians where they are and to keep them in dignity.

Moving over to the issue of the government in Iraq, a power-sharing deal supposedly will result in a government being formed. Ahmed Habib (ZNet) shares some opinions on the politicians:

From Al Maliki and Allawi, one can also get a sense of the entire Iraqi political spectrum that is killing its way to power. Different variations of religious fundamentalism, ultranationalism, hyperactive capitalism, and incompetency define democracy in the country. And despite their differences in delivery, the outcome is still the same: greater suffering for the people of Iraq. Al Sadr, Al Chalabi, Talibani, Al Dulaimi, Al Hakim, Al Alousi and Al Jaafari are just some of the crooks that have terrorized Iraq for the better part of the last decade.

The solution to Iraq's woes goes beyond its borders, stretching from the impoverished streets of Cairo, over the Apartheid wall in Palestine, and all the way to the coalition killing fields near Kabul. Without an internationalist and radical awakening in the fields and factories of Iraq, the people will continue to be victims to the vote. Without a concerted central effort to rebuild the country's infrastructure, Iraqis will continue to live in near apocalyptic conditions, waiting hopelessly for their imminent death. Without control of the country's resources, Iraq will operate infinitely as a one stop shop for vultures vying for easy profits.

One could argue that choosing a government is a necessary precursor for all these things to take place, but the mechanisms that govern Iraq are far away from the hands of the government. Elected officials are nothing more than glorified pimps that are holding down Iraq's head while it is being violated by dozens of dollar driven demons. In the absence of a progressive, radical, grassroots political program, the death of Iraq will continue to evolve from one election booth to the next.

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. November 10th a power sharing deal resulted in the Parliament meeting for the second time and voting in a Speaker. And then Iraqiya felt double crossed on the deal and the bulk of their members stormed out of the Parliament. David Ignatius (Washington Post) explains, "The fragility of the coalition was dramatically obvious Thursday as members of the Iraqiya party, which represents Sunnis, walked out of Parliament, claiming that they were already being double-crossed by Maliki. Iraqi politics is always an exercise in brinkmanship, and the compromises unfortunately remain of the save-your-neck variety, rather than reflecting a deeper accord. " After that, Jalal Talabani was voted President of Iraq. Talabani then named Nouri as the prime minister-delegate. If Nouri can meet the conditions outlined in Article 76 of the Constitution (basically nominate ministers for each council and have Parliament vote to approve each one with a minimum of 163 votes each time and to vote for his council program) within thirty days, he becomes the prime minister. If not, Talabani must name another prime minister-delegate. . In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister-delegate. It took eight months and two days to name Nouri as prime minister-delegate. His first go-round, on April 22, 2006, his thirty day limit kicked in. May 20, 2006, he announced his cabinet -- sort of. Sort of because he didn't nominate a Minister of Defense, a Minister of Interior and a Minister of a Natioanl Security. This was accomplished, John F. Burns wrote in "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" (New York Times), only with via "muscular" assistance from the Bush White House. Nouri declared he would be the Interior Ministry temporarily. Temporarily lasted until June 8, 2006. This was when the US was able to strong-arm, when they'd knocked out the other choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) to install puppet Nouri and when they had over 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Nouri had no competition. That's very different from today. The Constitution is very clear and it is doubtful his opponents -- including within his own alliance -- will look the other way if he can't fill all the posts in 30 days. As Leila Fadel (Washington Post) observes, "With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) points out, "Maliki now has 30 days to decide on cabinet posts - some of which will likely go to Iraqiya - and put together a full government. His governing coalition owes part of its existence to followers of hard-line cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leading Sunnis and others to believe that his government will be indebted to Iran." The stalemate ends when the country has a prime minister. It is now eight months, ten days and counting.

Ned Parker's "Iraqi prime minister celebrates Eid holiday in palatial setting" (Los Angeles Times) paints Little Nouri as the "new Saddam." Excerpt:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki sat in a gilded chair Tuesday at the start of the three-day Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.
He rose to greet his guests in a newly furbished palace, built under the late dictator Saddam Hussein.
Politicians came in their elegant dark suits; sheiks approached in their brown robes; generals marched in crisp uniforms, emblazoned with swords and epaulets. All kissed him twice on both cheeks. And Maliki smiled and whispered into their ears, or chuckled.

Nouri and his crowd traffic in lies and, should you doubt that, Alusmaria TV reports, "National Alliance MP Hadi Al Amiri held the media responsible for creating tension over the government formation talks. The eight-month political debate in Iraq was normal and recurrent around the world, Al Amiri told Alsumaria News." It has set a new world record for longest time between an election and sitting a government -- but Amiri thinks he can lie and get away with it, he thinks can call it "normal" and it will be accepted as such -- probably accepted as such out of fear.

Meanwhile Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reports that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is stating, "I will not sign Tariq Aziz's death sentence. I will sign no death sentence at all, because as a social democrat, I'm against the death penalty." Talabani noted that Aziz is 70-years-old and an Iraqi Christian. Aziz was the Foreign Minister before the start of the US war. He grandstands very well; however, he didn't sign death warrants during his first term as president but that didn't stop the executions from taking place. Robert Dreyfuss (The Nation) pointed out at the end of last month, "The hanging judge in this particular kangaroo court is a former aide to Prime Minister Maliki, who ran for election on Maliki's misnamed State of Law coalition. It's clear that Maliki wants to use the execution of Tariq Aziz, a Roman Catholic, to build support for his party among the most extreme Shiite partisans. Like Maliki's support for the pre-election shenanigans in January, when Iran and Ahmed Chalabi maneuvered to exclude hundreds of legitimate candidates from running over charges of connections to the old Baath Party, Maliki wants to wave the bloody shirt of Tariq Aziz to rally his supporters. The fact that he's not a Muslim makes that even more popular among Shiite radicals." Vivian Salma (Bloomberg News) notes, "The Vatican asked the Iraqi government to spare Aziz, citing the Roman Catholic Church's objection to the death penalty."

In the United States, US House Rep Patrick Murphy's office has issued the following press release:

(Washington, DC) -- In response to an inquiry from Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is clarifying their official policy to ensure that veterans who serve in Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn receive the full range of benefits to which they should be entitled.
In September, Murphy sent a letter to the VA Secretary Eric Shinseki expressing his concern regarding the impact that the name change from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) to Operation New Dawn could have on our servicemembers and veterans' benefits. Murphy's concern stemmed from the fact that some benefits are tied directly to service in OIF but that the danger inherent in deploying to Iraq -- despite the official end of combat operations -- qualified New Dawn veterans for benefits equal to those who served in OIF. He called on Secretary Shinseki to ensure that veterans who serve in Operation New Dawn receive benefits that were previously tied directly to service in OIF.
"As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I am acutely aware of the dangers all soldiers face when deployed in theater. Therefore, I respectfully request clarification as to whether these remaining troops and others who deploy to complete operations in Iraq and Afghanistan after conclusion of OIF and OEF will still be eligible for veterans benefits that are attached to OIF or OEF service," Murphy wrote.
In response, Secretary Shinseki reviewed VA regulations and clarified that troops who serve in Operation New Dawn will be eligible for benefits that pertain to OIF, preventing any possible obstacles to veterans receiving the benefits that they have earned. Shinseki thanked Murphy for bringing their attention to this issue and for the Congressman's "distinguished service and continued work on behalf of our Nation's Veterans."

Back to Iraq, US Brig Gen Jeffrey Buchanan spoke with AFP, "Iraq, which has no combat aircraft, will be vulnerable to an air attack for at least a year after Amercian troops leave at the end of 2011, the spokesman for US forces in the country said on Wednesday." And what's he want to do about it? Since 2007 -- check the archives -- we've noted the Iraqi Air Force wouldn't be ready by the end of 2011 -- in fact, back then, it wouldn't be ready until at least 2014. From the June 14, 2007 snapshot:

Pentagon report has many sections and one of interest considering one of the 2007 developments may be this: "There are currently more than 900 personnel in the Iraqi Air Force. . . . The fielding of rotary-wing aircraft continued with the delivery to Taji of five modified UH II (Iroquois) helicopters, bringing the total delivered to ten. The final six are scheduled to arrive in June. Aircrews are currently conducting initial qualifications and tactics training. The Iroquois fleet is expected to reach initial operation capability by the end of June 2007." By the end of June 2007? One of the developments of 2007 was the (admission of) helicopter crashes. US helicopters. British helicopters. Some may find comfort in the fact that evacuations and mobility will be handled by Iraqis . . . whenever they are fully staffed and trained. Four years plus to deliver the equipment, training should be done in ten or twenty years, right?

Buchanan's idea of "ready" may simply mean combat planes purchased arrive. In July 2009, Elisabeth Bumiller wrote a major article on this subject "Iraq Can't Defend Its Skies by Pullout Date, U.S. Says" (New York Times):

The Iraqis will be unable to handle their own air defenses after all American troops withdraw from the country by the end of 2011, the top commander of American forces in Iraq said Tuesday.

Gareth Porter (go to Dissident Voice which won't try to hide the report) covered new ground with his scoop this week detailing how the White House has actively been working to decieve the US voters into believing the Iraq War would end when, in fact, it would not. NSC-er Puneet Talwar was dispatched to offer Iraq 15,000 US troops after the end of 2011 'withdrawal' and to explain that the would simply shove these 15,000 under the US Embassy to hide the remainders. From the article:

Talwar's remarks suggest the Obama administration was planning to adopt a ruse to keep combat troops in Iraq after the expiration of the U.S.-Iraq troop withdrawal agreement on December 31, 2011, while assuring the U.S. public that all U.S. troops had been pulled out by the deadline.

It's an important article about a War Hawk who attempted to put one over on the citizens. We'll note the article all week in the snapshots and that may include noting the one mistake Gareth Porter made in his report. (It's minor.) Here's another excerpt from the article:

When the Iraqi participants in the September 23 meeting asked how many troops might be left in Iraq, Talwar said preferably one brigade but that it could be two brigades. When asked how many soldiers that would mean per brigade, however, the NSC official said the number could be open-ended.
An Iraqi military official told Talwar the military understood the minimum number of troops needed for a self- contained U.S. combat force was 15,000 to 28,000. They asked Talwar whether the U.S. could keep at least 15,000 in the country, and Talwar answered that it was possible.
Each U.S. combat brigade team has 3,500 to 4,000 troops. Thus the 15,000 regular combat troops discussed as a possible post-2011 troop presence would represent between three and four brigades.

We'll close with a book plug:

David Swanson, author of "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," which rose to #1 among nonfiction books on the day it was published, will publish a new book called "War Is A Lie" on Monday, November 22nd and encourage readers to purchase it that day on Amazon.
More information as well as a variety of audio and eBooks, and bulk purchasing are available at
WAR IS A LIE is a thorough refutation of every major argument used to justify wars, drawing on evidence from numerous past wars, with a focus on those wars that have been most widely defended as just and good. This is a handbook of sorts, a manual to be used in debunking future lies before future wars have a chance to begin.
"David Swanson despises war and lying, and unmasks them both with rare intelligence. I learn something new on every page." — Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR and author of Cable News Confidential.
"While Americans elect leaders whom they trust are honest, truthful and really care about the kids they send to kill for our country, War Is A Lie reveals decade after decade the sordid side of our history — that our elected officials lie us into war with stunning and embarrassing regularity and are little concerned about the harm to innocent civilians, much less to members of our own military." — Colonel (retired) Ann Wright, author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.
Table of Contents
Introduction 7
1. Wars Are Not Fought Against Evil 15
2. Wars Are Not Launched in Defense 47
3. Wars Are Not Waged Out of Generosity 86
4. Wars Are Not Unavoidable 106
5. Warriors Are Not Heroes 131
6. War Makers Do Not Have Noble Motives 168
7. Wars Are Not Prolonged for the Good of Soldiers 196
8. Wars Are Not Fought on Battlefields 212
9. Wars Are Not Won, and Are Not Ended By Enlarging Them 235
10. War News Does Not Come From Disinterested Observers 250
11. War Does Not Bring Security and Is Not Sustainable 267
12. Wars Are Not Legal 291
13. Wars Cannot Be Both Planned and Avoided 312
14. War Is Over If You Want It 323
Notes 337
Index 352
Acknowledgments 369
About the Author 371
"This book is every American's best defense against the greatest danger we face as human beings: the threat of war. Swanson reveals how American leaders (from both major political parties) have confused the public to create the illusion of consent for endless destruction and slaughter. Behind the fear-mongering, flag-waving and lies of George W. Bush and the blandishments of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama lies the ugly reality that our leaders have been seduced by political ambition, delusions of military superiority, and the promise of secrecy and impunity to commit otherwise unthinkable crimes." — Nicolas J. S. Davies, Author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.
"David Swanson is an antidote to the toxins of complacency and evasion. He insists on rousing the sleepwalkers, confronting the deadly prevaricators and shining a bright light on possibilities for a truly better world." — Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.
"This book is revolutionary, and certainly truth-telling in a remarkable and brave way. The writing is so clear and easy-to-read, too. A pleasure to read, except that the content is so devastating, because it all means that not only are we utterly deceived but our entire reality is based on that deception. Swanson has gotten to the core of something. The only thing is I'm not sure he realizes how hopeless it is to expect a change -- and yet that is part of the appeal of his writing: his hopefulness in the face of lies and repression and denial." — Jennifer Van Bergen, author of The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America.
"War Is A Lie is an important and compelling book that arrives at a time when America is engaged in its longest running war to date. Swanson offers an incisive examination of the rationalizations, justifications, and outright lies that have led the United States, and other nations, into battle. And he shows the personal cost to the current generation of combatants returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." — Cynthia Wachtell, author of War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature 1861-1914.
"David Swanson has taken the mantle of AJ Muste, who had the guts and the audacity to declare World War II to have been unnecessary and wrong. Swanson takes Muste's argument further to make the audacious claim that all wars are not just unnecessary, but a crime. He is correct, of course. Just as no good outcome (whether the ouster of a tyrant or the freeing of captive nations) can compensate for the death of millions of innocents, which of course is the argument made in defense of calling World War II a 'good' war, no good (whether the ousting of a tyrant or the claimed improvement in the rights of oppressed women) can compensate for the death of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq or of tens of thousands of innocents in Afghanistan. This is a book that every American should read, especially those who think the United States is the good guy." — Dave Lindorff , journalist, author of The Case for Impeachment, and founder of the online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening!
Swanson is planning a very limited book tour, including an event in Los Angeles on December 9, 2010. For more information or to request a review copy or an interview, contact


David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie" and needs your help to make it #1 on Amazon on November 22:

the globe and mail
hadani ditmars
father john boyle
the washington post
leila fadel
the nation
robert dreyfuss

bbc news
the new york times
elisabeth bumiller