What a terrific advocate you were for the abolition of war at the St.
Michael’s College debate I’ve just seen on video! To my ears, you made a
convincing case that traditional conscientious objection to an unjust war
is no deterrent to war and has at best only a small symbolic effect. It
seems apparent that nations or groups that believe they can secure
strategic interests by going to war, and are confident they can prevail in
doing so, will always find reasons to justify such an action even when
their true purpose is transparently unjust. At all times, moreover, only a
very few conscripts and ordinary citizens will refuse to support war for
reasons of conscience: most of the population will always back a given war
as a result of the consensus in favor of it that is inevitably shaped by
the interlacing interests of the existing
political/economic/social/cultural system. In America that consensus is
characterized by a self-arrogated notion of exceptionalism that, given the
country’s overwhelming military power, expresses itself in a soulless,
libidinous will to dominate other nations in its own strategic
self-interest. Obviously, your own argument at the debate for a complete
revamping of the existing power structure to support the abolition of war
as a tool of political power represents the only way by which either
nation-states, including the U.S., or militant factions within
nation-states, will come to regularly seek the resolution of conflict by
peaceful rather than violent means.
I was struck by your comments during the Q & A at the end of the debate
concerning the collusion of the mainstream media in America with the
appetite for war maintained by the system within which it operates. You
expressed your surprise that older people, accustomed to both trusting and
relying on those sources for information on what its government is up to,
could even contemplate an alternative to war in resolving armed conflicts.
That was an excellent point. I myself am now an
I'd seen the unadorned speech earlier on YouTube and couldn't believe what
I was hearing. As given voice here by the Army Chief of Staff, this is
America's foreign policy--which reminds me that a potential next executor
of that policy, who in today's polls still trails his chief competitor by
only a few percentage points, is none other than Donald Trump. You're
certainly right that war is a lie, and, as reflected by its brazen touting
in this video and the latest revelations about Trump, it's clear again,
too, as Chris Hedges so persuasively illustrates, that American culture is
itself a lie. Thanks for sharing this riveting piece of evidence.
David C.N. Swanson is an author, blogger, and radio host.
Swanson's books include:
Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union (2009)1
War Is A Lie (2010)2
When the World Outlawed War (2011)3
The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012)4
Swanson hosts a weekly program syndicated by Pacifica Network called Talk Nation Radio.5
Swanson earned a Master's in Philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.
Swanson is employed as Campaign Coordinator for RootsAction.org. He is cofounder and editor of the blog WarIsACrime.org formerly known as AfterDowningStreet.org
From 2000 to 2003, Swanson was the communications coordinator for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
He served as press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign.
In May 2005, Swanson was instrumental in making the Downing Street Memo known in the United States and discussed in Congress. He co-founded AfterDowningStreet.org and campaigned unsuccessfully for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
In January 2012 Swanson offered a "peace lily" to the Charlottesville City Council after it passed its "anti-Iran war" resolution (which he helped to author).
In January 2013 Swanson successfully lobbied the Charlottesville City Council to become the first jurisdiction in the nation to pass a resolution against the unrestricted use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).
When the World Outlawed War is an account of the movement behind the Kellogg Briand Pact of 1928. The book received a Going For A Global Truce Peace award. Ralph Nader put the book on a list of 11 books everyone should read.6 Former U.S. Congress member Elizabeth Holtzman said, "David Swanson has written a fascinating account of how peace once became the law of the land, through the Kellogg-Briand Pact. It is particularly pertinent in the era of the Endless War, by giving encouragement and suggestions of a path forward to those who want to give peace a chance." Kathy Kelly said, "David Swanson predicates his belief that nonviolence can change the world on careful research and historical analysis. This compelling and wonderfully readable narrative examines pacifist developments in the U.S., dating back to the 1920s. Swanson then examines contemporary anti-war efforts. He writes from a particularly advantageous perspective because he is firmly rooted in plans and actions designed to put an end to war. Drawing from historical examples of success and failure, he help readers imagine achieving the U.N.’s eloquent mandate: 'to eliminate the scourge of war.'" Ben Davis said, "In an era of what sometimes seems like Orwellian permanent war, David Swanson’s Outlawing War reminds us of those in earlier periods who attempted the unthinkable for many of outlawing war. It is a timely reminder that nothing is inevitable in the way things are, that extraordinary things can be done, and that movements are not inexorably doomed to fail."
War Is a Lie has been published in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. "David Swanson's War Is A Lie may be the most comprehensive antiwar statement available in the English language," according to Kevin Young, in ZNet. Coleen Rowley, former FBI special agent, whistleblower, and Time magazine person of the year, remarked, "There are three insightful books I've read that explain how and why no good can come of the current U.S. reliance on military force and war in seeking its desired 'Pax Americana': War Is A Racket by General Smedley Butler; War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges, and War Is A Lie by David Swanson."
Daybreak is described by journalist Glenn Greenwald: "There have now been many books written which chronicle the imperial, lawless presidency of the Bush era, but Swanson's superb new book -- Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union -- is one of the very few to examine how we can recover from it and reverse its pernicious trends. Many Bush books, given the horrific subject matter, have been dark and gloomy, even somewhat depressing. To be sure, there are parts of Swanson's book that documents in gruesome detail all of the liberties abridged and damage done during the last eight years. This book also does not shy away from highlighting those areas in which the Obama presidency has, much to the dismay of many, come to replicate some (though by no means all) of the worst Bush abuses. But Daybreak is far more uplifting and inspiring than virtually any other book in its genre, as it devotes itself to laying out a detailed plan for how American citizens -- through the activism to which he has devoted himself -- can bring about a rejuvenation of our political values."
1 Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union http://davidswanson.org/book
2 War Is A Lie http://davidswanson.org/warisalie
3 When the World Outlawed War http://davidswanson.org/outlawry
4 The Military Industrial Complex at 50 http://mic50.org
5 Talk Nation Radio http://davidswanson.org/taxonomy/term/41
6 "Jolting the Mind for Action," by Ralph Nader http://nader.org/2012/07/11/jolting-the-mind-for-action/
- University of VirginiaPhilosophy, 1994 - 1997
- Pratt InstituteArchitecture
- University of North Carolina at CharlotteArchitecture