The U.S. Mainstream Media and War

W.J. Astore

When it comes to war, mainstream media voices in the U.S. are almost always for it, even when it could conceivably escalate to a nuclear exchange.

That’s a disturbing lesson reinforced by recent U.S. media coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The basic narrative is that Putin’s Russia is the aggressor, the U.S. is the defender of democracy, and that U.S. actions are high-minded even when they involve weapons sales, troop deployments, and draconian economic sanctions.

You don’t get more mainstream than David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart on PBS, so I tuned in to watch their “debate” (2/18) on the issue. Both men expressed their approval of Democrats and Republicans coming together to support the Biden administration’s hardline against Russia. Bipartisan unity is to be celebrated when it comes to warmongering, I suppose. Especially revealing was David Brooks’s quick dismissal of left/right critics of the administration’s policies:

There will be some people who worry on the left that this is part of American imperialism to get involved in Europe. There are some people on the right who like Vladimir Putin. They see him as a manly, socially conservative, authoritarian kind of guy who they kind of like. So, I’m sure, on either end, there will be some [critics]. But, among the mainstream of both parties, I think, right now, there’s strong unity. The Biden administration has done an excellent job of rallying the Western alliance. It’s been a demonstration of why the world needs America to be a leader of the free world.

So, leftist critics are knee-jerk anti-imperialists; rightists critics are authoritarian Putin-lovers. But real Americans in the mainstream support Joe Biden and America as the “leader of the free world.”

What’s amazing about the “mainstream” in America is how narrow that stream is allowed to be. Of course, as Noam Chomsky famously wrote, it’s all about manufacturing consent. But imagine if true diversity of opinion was allowed on PBS. Imagine if someone like Jonathan Capehart said the following:

“The U.S. betrayed its promise not to expand NATO to the borders of Russia. Even worse, the U.S. meddled in Ukrainian politics in 2014, driving a coup and empowering neo-Nazi forces there. Sending weapons to Ukraine is making a bad situation worse, and constant threats are ratcheting up tensions that could lead to war. In war, mistakes are always possible, even common, which could lead to a wider and disastrous war between the world’s two leading nuclear powers. Measured diplomacy is what we need, even as the U.S. should take a step back in a region of the world that is not directly related to our national defense.”

Imagine that statement as a counter-narrative to the idea the U.S. is always in the right (as well as blameless), that more troops and weapons are always the answer, and that Russia has no national defense issues of its own, because NATO obviously poses no military threat to anyone. (Imagine, for one second, seeing the expansion of NATO and U.S. meddling in Ukraine from a Russian perspective, which we should be willing to do because you should always plumb the mindset of your rival or enemy.)

Truly, the lack of diversity of opinion on foreign relations and war is startling in U.S. media. It’s almost as if we have an official state media, isn’t it, comrade? I still remember Tass and Pravda from the days of the Soviet Union; who knew that today the U.S. would have its very own versions of them, while still applauding itself as the unbesmirched leader of the “free” world?

40 thoughts on “The U.S. Mainstream Media and War

  1. I understand DeptOfHomelandSecurity will be offering a new app for those bored with Fakebook, YouTube, et alia. The beta version is called DissentIsTreason, although I suspect the public will eventually create a new name that’s simpler. That name, with all it’s inclusive or dismissive inferences will determine what happens to us, or at least those of us who have less value, more questions and louder objections. Then the real mystery of who each of us actually is, individually and deep down where all the spin keeps the pain at bay and yet fully alive, will finally be known.


  2. A reminder?
    August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima: The sun was rising, only a few clouds; prospects for a good day ahead; but August in Japan — this was likely to be a hot day. With quiet thoughts to themselves and of family members living in Hawaii and on the American west coast, some, very hungry, were optimistically expecting the war to end soon.

    That Day: August 6, 1945, Monday, at 8:15 AM: In the center of Hiroshima, just above Shima Hospital, it seemed like the sun had descended to the earth, followed by the sky blasting down in a Richter-10-like cosmic quake from the gods, “rattling the earth’s axis,” scorching, searing, irradiating, blasting, and crushing everything and everyone below. The sun touched Hiroshima, ignited people’s clothing; the city became a blazing inferno with almost no escape. Nuclear radiation made people’s bones radioactive, and blast winds were in excess of 200 mph. The blast overpressure blew out ear drums and forced eyeballs out of their sockets (exophthalmos), hurled and slammed people into walls. Scorched blistered skin sloughed and peeled off their bodies, dragging on the ground as they tried to escape. The retinas of eyes looking up were burned. Stone and concrete buildings were fire-gutted to their cores, the blast-shattered glass window fragments sharply tearing into the bodies of those within, and without.

    This happened to Hiroshima citizens within seconds on August 6. Birds and butterflies never had a chance; nor did the children at 8:15 A.M., assembling outside in the many schoolyards of the city. On August 7 the Interim-Mayor Shigetada Morishita and whoever else he could find, had to deal with 70,000 dead and dying under their crushed burned homes and shops, and heaped and strewn all over the streets, bridges, and river banks of Hiroshima. Over the next two weeks more people would die, day and night, averaging about 160 per hour. Radioactivity was all over the center of the city. Thirteen square kilometers of homes, stores and shops destroyed. One small and primitive nuclear bomb, the equivalent explosive power of 16,000 tons of TNT detonated over the city of 350,000, emitted an enormous flood of nuclear radiation. By Dec 31, 1945 the death toll was about 140,000 and the counting could not stop then. It included the American and Allied military prisoners in Hiroshima (and in Nagasaki three days later). Hiroshima City was wiped off the earth. More than 140,000 people, mostly civilians, disposed of as ashes and smoke, while many others who sought relief in the seven rivers, sank, to be washed out into Hiroshima Bay.

    Three days later, August 9, 21,000 tons destroyed Nagasaki and its people, killing another 73,884 by year’s end. By hindsight and knowledge later gained from surviving Japanese government officials neither bomb was necessary to bring about the end of the war. Remember?

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    1. the poignancy, raymond wilson, of your recounting of the 1945 hiroshima/nagasaki, US-perpetrated atomic bomb horrors, shredded my viscera, and your profound words slashed my cortical connections to that surreal, nay demonic reality. what the US military machine did in our name on that ignominious day of 6th august 1945, my 4th birthday, then again, a repetend 3 days later on 9th august, can never be repeated. nor should the japanese ever forgive us.

      my mental dystopia was exacerbated beyond endurance 17 years later, when i arrived in japan on a 2-year teaching contract in 1962, and found the debilitating radiation-depredations still regnant cross japan. the aftermath of those atomic bombs was suffered by japanese citizens who had not even been birthed yet in 1945.

      who the hell were we? how did our parents elect such monsters to US govt ‘leadership’ positions? here we are in 2022, and the US war machine persists unabated. their evil is perpetuated by an equally vile generation of hegemonistic govt and military overlords. in what sewer did the US dump its putative xian values of stewardship and global concinnity? nothing has changed, nothing transformative; it remains naught but the bloated bleatings of stagecraft and the disingenuous histrionics of fear-mongering.

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      1. Jeanie, You might wish to consider the anger present in the U.S. against Japan in 1945. I believe John Dower used the expression, “total war”, destroy everyone and everything. Artillery captain and haberdasher Truman, I believe, did not fully understand what a nuclear weapon could do. And the racism didn’t help. But I have often thought that using politicians to lead (run, operate, spook, etc.) a nation is indeed most idiotic. And to turn over to them the decision to use nuclear weapons is beyond idiotic. No one is qualified for such a decision. Where are the statesmen . . . pardon, statespersons? But I believe there can be solutions just as there can be incentives. Much thanks for your understanding.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. mmm, just so, raymond. when everyone around me was cheering, and shouting, and high-fiving, i presumed it was b/c of my birthday. i slumped in disappointment to discover the high-jinx and celebratory atmosphere had nothing to do w/ my birthday; it was all about the atomic bombs. ahhh, the typical self-centred purlieu of a puerile child, eh?


        2. raymond, have an oeillade at chris hedges’ ON CONTACT blog, particularly what follows after 18′ 20″ of hedges’ interview of kai bird:


          1. There is a joint 1995 American-Canadian video called Hiroshima; directors = Koreyoshi Kurahara & Roger Spottiswoode; very well done. I don’t think it contains a portrayal of the Oppenheimer/Truman confrontation.
            I’ve done some writing using ideas advocated by J. Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, Philip Morrison & Kostas Tsipis, and James C. Warf, some very bright fellows. I was picking up where they left off. See:


  3. Yep, there’s all sorts of open inside secrets to journalism that don’t get talked about. Friend of my brother’s was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, and noted one day that all the stories were written before the reporters went out to the scene–going to the scene was mostly to gather good quotes if there were were any to be found. That and to get out of the office for a bit.

    You’ve stumbled across another out in the open dirty secret here, Bill. There is no honest discussion to be allowed on issues of war. The scriptbook for journos is quite clear on that. They vary from the scripts,which are all written out for them in the book, well they get fired. They all know that.

    There is proof of that aplenty for anyone, out in the open plainly. Local asswipe alt-weekly, the Austin Chronicle, recently had a big article by their politics editor interviewing the several Democratic congressional candidates for several seats in the upcoming primary election. Ummm, not a single word about our 20+ years now of endless wars was raised by either the candidates nor by the reporter. I suppose that is to be expected, as the alt-weekly hasn’t ever had one word in it ever about the wars in the entire of this 20+ year period. This is despite it being less than 100 miles from Fort Hood, the Army’s largest troop command, and 70 miles from San Antonio, still a major USAF site. Hell, all the wheels in that rag lived through the Vietnam War, and I reckon they all 2-S deferred their way out of it and didn’t pay any attention to things there then beyond that 2-S of theirs. The wars aren’t allowed to be an issue. Journos know that and they follow orders.

    I’ve got a big letter to send off to the Austin Comical that I might get finished up tonight. Taking them to task for some really gross stupidities of theirs, but will ask the editor if she’d be so kind as to have the politics editor call me about his article. If I get the chance, I will quiz him on his omission of the war as an electoral issue in his article. Will report back what he says.

    But I doubt I’ll get that chance. The grotesque absence of reportage, of questioning candidates for congressional office, about the wars is a matter that future sociologists and historians will have some good investigating into to do. Getting an answer will go far in explaining the how and why of our wars, and maybe even help prevent future ones–who knows? If there was any sort of honesty or professionalism in the journalism profession, well they’d be doing it by now themselves. They aren’t doing it, and they aren’t doing it out of yellow themselves, yellow where it counts, in the morals department.



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    1. First, mea culpa: I can’t remember where I saw this factoid. But it was printed yesterday that, of 100 progressive candidates for the U.S. House this year, not one had anything in his/her platform about the military or war. NOT a coincidence, methinks.

      Liked by 3 people

          1. I am shining cynical this morning, Denise, and suspect that many so-called Progressive candidates are too tied to what were once called “special interest groups” (which I define as anyone who places their interests above those of other citizens, demanding “rights” which would benefit them alone). They also recognize how the game is played: leave the military alone. But they have no center, aren’t organized, and pose no real threat to anyone. Finally, I think they also realize being a member of Congress is a pretty darn good gig. You certainly can’t beat the hours or the benefits.

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            1. I’m not feeling quite as cynical today, Bill. While I’m disappointed in the Progressives’ failure to act or to stand up to Biden in many cases (see: agreeing to the stripping of Build Back Better provisions and caving on the infrastructure vote), I still think they’re the only [slim] hope we have.

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  4. What exactly is “the free world” in this year of Grace?
    Also, it’s been my experience that people who campaign for a leadership position based on a “you need me” riff are usually the least qualified for the desired position.
    As far as I can tell, only two types of countries have an urgent need of the US: those who need military hardware and those who need a trade partner who will be on the bad side of a trade deficit in no time flat.
    Okay, a third type: unpopular, monomaniac despots who will let the US build “listening posts” and provide “security” from “insurgents.”
    I think that covers it.
    But the mainstream media got a mortal lock on the military “cheerleader” position with the Grenada invasion, and has never let go. It’s the stuff of Pulitzer Prizes and – in the case of Wolf Blitzer – near godhead. They have as much at stake as the arms manufacturers and mercenaries (I can’t bring myself to call them “contractors”).
    Finally, what was the last anti-war song you remember? It’s the same war, only the countries have changed.

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    1. Vietnam protest, what a heady time, but it all came to naught and the very people of that generation, my own, are now either in power or just retiring from it. The protest was minimal over the Iraq fiasco and with no draft and no white kids lives under threat, we’ve gone from war to war quite easily. There was a claim in the 60’s that the protesters were just self-centered kids who didn’t want to go to war. I’m afraid there was too much truth to that.


  5. Thanks for that appalling quote from PBS and for the map which I wish was presented on every article written about this mess. The MSM keeps saying Russia has Ukraine “surrounded”. What a crock! But you hear no disagreement because Americans have no clue regarding the geography of the situation.
    Here’s a Noam Chomsky quote to go with your comment about the lack of facts:”The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow a very lively debate within that spectrum…That gives people the sense there’s free thinking going on while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits on the range of debate.” Eliminating the words “nazi” and “Sevastopol” have greatly eliminated the range of debate. There were no Nazis in the Ukraine uprising and new government, and Sevastopol, Russia’s major warm water port for 200 years doesn’t exist in Crimea, and US and NATO were not eying it as something they could take. It’s amazing what eliminating two words can do to your understanding of a situation and to the discussion about it!

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    1. Seems to me, from an article I read last week or so (apologies, I can’t find the reference), that this map was used to show that Russia was surrounding NATO. Showing the map and saying the opposite of what it shows. Just another case of “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”
      Even if not the map, it remains a case of “your lying eyes” as opposed to what “we” tell you to record.

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  6. Apropos of the current topic, something from The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, by Stieg Larsson (third novel in the Millennium trilogy following The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Girl Who Played with Fire). The editor in chief of a mainstream Swedish newspaper explains things to his new replacement:

    “Today’s task is to write an editorial on the demonstrations. I could do it in my sleep. If the pinkos want to start a war with Denmark, then I have to explain why they’re wrong. If the pinkos want to avoid war with Denmark, I have to explain why they’re wrong.”


    “Correct. The message on May Day has to touch on the immigrant integration question. The pinkos, of course, no matter what they say, are wrong.”

    Somehow, I don’t see the Swedish corporate media as all that different from their American counterparts.

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  7. So far, 10 Senators replied to my Message ‘Signs Of The Times’ sent to all 100 the 1st week of this month re the Ukraine situation. I didn’t expect a reply from any of them, metaphorically entering Daniel’s Lion’s Den with my position it’s the US inciting for War, not Putin.

    It was not surprising they had the rare unanimous bi-partisanship that exists only for any issue concerning Israel and increasing the already bloated DoD Budget. There was no dissent from the US position Russia is 100% at fault and the US is 100% right and good opposing Russia.

    Senator Diane Feinstein had the most tempered almost open minded attitude but still anti-Russian/Putin.
    Her response to my Message and reply to her is here.
    There is nothing new for me to add, so to the 4 Senators who replied after her, I use the same reply.



  8. David Brooks’ comments in the debate are more of the same he’s written in recent opinion pieces, Bill. On Friday, he published an essay titled, “The Dark Century,” in which he gave his explanation for why things have been so ugly in this country for the last two decades. One statement stood out to me:

    “Today, across left and right, millions of Americans see U.S. efforts abroad as little more than imperialism, ‘endless wars’ and domination.” 

    I couldn’t help but respond that the people seeing those things are seeing clearly.

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  9. The US Empire Is Evil And You Should Want It To Fail: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

    To rule the world, make it rely on a single dominant financial system you control so anyone who disobeys you can be cut off from the economy you’ve made them dependent on for survival—whether they’re a nation, a protest movement, or an individual—without having to fire a shot.

    I don’t “support dictators”, as one will inevitably be accused of doing whenever scrutinizing imperial propaganda narratives. I do however always hope the US fails to accomplish its objectives against every government that it targets, because the US is far and away the single most tyrannical regime on this planet.

    I don’t support tyranny, I oppose it. It just happens that the major force of tyranny in this world isn’t where the TV tells you it is.

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  10. I think that using Ukraine as a example of how the media agitates for war may weaken your position. There are plenty of other examples which are quite egregious, such as invading Iraq under false pretexts (which is what the US is accusing Putin of planning in Ukraine). Just because our media has agitated for illegal wars in the past does not mean that it is always doing so.

    Countries closer to Russia seem to have a much greater concern about Russian aggression. Several articles on the international site of Der Spiegel touch on a far greater number of points than I see in the US media.

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  11. A few weeks ago the US claimed Russia was planning a FALSE FLAG attack on the Donetsk area to justify the invasion of Ukraine. The US has lots of experience in FALSE FLAGS.

    Last week, the US withdrew it’s observers from OSCE charged with monitoring cease fire violations by both Ukraine and Rebel forces. In the last few Days, ceasefire violations have increased dramatically.

    The latest OSCE Daily report was made Yesterday, the latest always the top link @
    Clicking on that leads to OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 39/2022 issued on 19 February 2022, changing Daily.
    On that page there is a link ‘see the table of ceasefire violations’ opening the detailed pdf report.

    There are way too many “undetermined” explosions in the ‘non-government’ controlled areas.
    According to RT, there are 100,000 Ukraine government forces on the dividing line between the separatist Russian speaking areas in East Ukraine US MSM never mention.

    While the Minsk Agreement, supported by a UN Resolution, calls on the Ukraine government to negotiate some form of Autonomy with the areas bordering Russia, Ukraine refuses to do so.


  12. HA HA — you can’t make this stuff up. From The Atlantic email sendoff:

    Putin Has Made America Great Again
    The Ukraine crisis has revealed that the U.S. can’t shed its “big brother” image on the world stage.

    Believe me, he doesn’t mean “Big Brother” in the Orwellian sense. He means “big brother” in the commanding and wise sense.

    America the Good is back, baby! So the MSM says! Stick it, Putin!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “….thrusting the battered old fasces of imperial authority back into the hands of the emperor in Washington.”

      Um….does anyone in Europe realize that those fasces were THRUST at the U.S.??? My friend the world traveler tells me that when she’s overseas, she never reveals she’s American if she can avoid it, ’cause there’s so much hostility.


  13. One can still hear or read praise, or conservatives’ scorn, heaped upon The New York Times for their supposed uncompromised integrity when it comes to humanitarianism and ethical journalism. Yet, did they not help create the Iraq War, through then-U.S.-VP Dick Cheney’s self-citing via the Times’ website? That would be the same Cheney who monetarily benefitted from the war via Iraqi oil fields — a war I consider to have been much more like a turkey shoot, considering the massive military might attacking the relatively weak country.

    I recall reading that The Times had essentially claimed honest-ignorance innocence on the grounds that it was its blogger’s overzealousness that was/is at fault. But is it really plausible that The Times did/does not insist upon securing the non-publishable yet accurate identity of its writers’ anonymous information sources — in this case, a devious Cheney — especially considering that Cheney himself would then use that anonymous source’s (i.e. his own) total BS about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify a declaration of war that inevitably resulted in genuine gratuitous mass suffering and slaughter?

    I believe that The Times may have jumped on this particular atrocity-prone bandwagon, perhaps due to the massive 9/11 blow the city took only a few years prior. There was plenty of that particularly bitter bandwagon going around in Western circles back then. Quite memorable was New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman’s appearance on Charlie Rose’s show (May 29, 2003), where he ranted about the war’s justification and supposed success. “… We needed to go to that part of the world; and what they needed to see [was that] American boys and girls going house to house, from Basrah to Baghdad, [and] simply saying, ‘suck on this’.”

    It’s as though they all decided: ‘Just to be on the safe side, let’s error in favor of militarily assaulting, invading and devastating Iraq’.
    … Every culture/nation has its own propaganda and core beliefs, true and false; though some culture/nations — usually the biggest, most powerful — are much more corrupt and brutal than the smaller, weaker ones. And western mainstream news-media are a significant part of this moral problem.

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  14. The US position with regard to Israel puts its position regarding Russia into proper perspective. Israel is the undeniable aggressor, has been since even before the 1948 founding of the state and continues the process today open for all to see because safely protected by the US veto in the UN. Nancy Pelosi and a group of Reps recently visited Israel, shaking hands, smiling and posing with the Naftali Bennett, the prime minister of Israel and a settler. There was the usual empty talk about a two state solution and everyone went home well fed. Keep this in mind as you hear Putin denounced as a bully with no hesitation to use force, might making right.

    As for MSM, did you know that two weeks after release not a word has been published in the New York Times about Amnesty International’s 268 page report documenting Israel as an apartheid state?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. When President Trump was serving beautiful chocolate cake to President Xi at Mar-a-Lago, for after Dinner entertainment in his typically gauche way, launched $100 MILLION Taxpayer cruise missiles at Syria to punish Assad for a chemical weapons attack in ISIS held territory a few days earlier.

    I distinctly took note even the anti-Trump MSN were gushing over Trump finally acting like a US President should. The American People put so many $TRILLIONS of Tax Dollars into their War Machine, sacrificing so many important Civilian and Social needs, there’s almost a National Orgasm every time they’re used.

    No proof was required. What proof was needed when ISIS was on the verge of accomplishing the Syrian goal in the 2001 US WAR PLAN brought out within 2 weeks of 9/11, to change the regimes of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, and at THE END, Iran. With the benefit of these 21 years hindsight, it’s obvious the US accomplished it’s goals except for Iran, as all the other Nations are now failed States as a result of those 2001 US WAR PLANS.
    The Economic War the US has waged on Iran to destroy their Economy supporting it’s 83 MILLION People since Trump followed Israel’s urging, has not succeeded yet, but the US is still trying.

    The US was in Syria in violation of SoS Blinken’s ‘Rules Based Order’ according to the existing Rules Based Order as represented by The United Nations Charter and International Law since WWII.
    The US rationalized it in their delusional belief the US is exceptional US Propaganda was telling us to fight ISIS.
    The US had no smart bombs in it’s inventory because obviously they missed the target since ISIS was on the verge of attaining the ultimate goal in the 2001 US WAR PLAN of changing the Assad regime in 2015.

    That’s when Putin entered the Syrian World War, the year after the US orchestrated the regime change of the Elected Russian friendly government the majority Russian speaking Ukrainians in the East and Crimea VOTED for, installing a proxy Neo-Nazi anti-Russian government in it’s place, setting in motion all the subsequent to that US regime change leading to the Perilous state this World is at Today.
    Putin really started bombing ISIS and didn’t miss, foiling that 2001 US WAR PLAN. Naturally the US hates Putin for that.

    US General Wesley Clark oversaw NATO engaged in the 1st European War since WWII, bombing Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, eliminating Yugoslavia in the process. I reminded Senator Feinstein of that episode she and American Leaders choose to forget.

    General Clark blew the whistle on the 2001 US WAR PLANS in 2007. The Syrian regime change phase of the 2001 US WAR PLAN started in 2011. I see him on CNN & MSNBC often as an expert witness, but he is not allowed to discuss the whistle he blew in 2007.

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  16. Professor: when you give your students an assignment, I am sure (I hope, anyway) that you remind them to assess and review their assumptions prior to reaching their conclusions. I am wondering if you do the same for yourself.

    Your primary assumption, at least I see it, is that there is a vast progressive movement in this country that goes uncounted, unheard, and is actively suppressed. Were it not for the machinations of “militarism,” the “mainstream media,” and “the military-industrial complex,” the nation’s natural peaceful thought and action would bloom. I believe you see yourself as a voice for this movement, a voice crying out for reason in a world torn by war madness.

    Is it possible that your assumption is unfounded? At the least, that the voices you purport to speak for aren’t as numerous as you believe? Let’s look at the one example you bring to your latest piece.

    Brooks, yes, he is a conservative. Yet apparently you felt his right-wing boogeyman credentials needed reinforcing with a misquote: he didn’t say America had to be “the leader of the free world,” as if presenting an all or nothing demand. He said America should be “a leader of the free world,” a clear endorsement of other countries taking on that mantle when appropriate.

    But Jonathan Capeheart is a full-throated anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist, who brings a Black American’s experience to bear on problems of international power. Just look at this Twitter feed. To call him a mainstream militarist is grossly unfair.

    Instead of labeling someone who disagrees with you, why not ask yourself what he might be seeing that you do not. Find out what led someone like Capeheart to support Biden’s position on Ukraine.

    I hope you don’t believe that an anti-interventionist, isolationist position is the only idea a true free-thinker can reach. Or do you feel that any view that conflicts with your own has been “manufactured” by the usual suspects?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bentonian: Could you share with us what you believe is the situation in contrast to what WJA has written that you think may be unfounded? Give us your take on what you believe is well founded? If you do so we readers can consider which is the more accurate view, maybe beginning a valuable debate.

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    2. Hello Bentonian: Always interesting to hear from you. Here are some answers:

      1. No, I don’t think there’s a “vast progressive movement” in the USA that is “actively suppressed.” But I do think the American people are being kept deliberately divided, distracted, and downtrodden, as I wrote about here.

      2. No, I don’t see myself as the “voice” of any movement. I’m just a writer, historian, and blogger.

      3. If you read David Brooks, and listen to him, he clearly believes and advocates that the U.S. is the leader of the “free world,” whatever that is. (Is America “free”?)

      4. If Capehart is a “full-throated anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist,” I haven’t seen it. Can you provide some examples of outspoken articles he’s written that place him clearly outside the mainstream?

      5. The answer to your last question is “no.”

      Finally, I’m not an “isolationist.” There are times when America may need to intervene — hopefully driven by humanitarian concerns, and transparently committed to democracy. Those concerns and commitments are rarely if ever advanced by weapons sales and troop deployments, and certainly not by endless wars.

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    3. One correction, Bentonian: I didn’t call Capehart a “mainstream militarist.” Those are your words. Yes, Capehart is mainstream, else he wouldn’t be on PBS. But nowhere did I accuse him of being a “militarist.” What I accused him of was conformity to the views of David Brooks even as he applauded the actions of the Biden administration and bipartisan unity on actions such as sending weapons to Ukraine as well as U.S. troops to the region.

      I find these actions to be (at best) counterproductive and potentially inflammatory and escalatory.

      Your challenge: “Find out what led someone like Capeheart [sic] to support Biden’s position on Ukraine” can be flipped. If he’s a full-throated anti-imperialist and anti-colonianist, as you claim, I am surprised he would support Biden’s position. Can you help explain this to me? Also, how does his experience as an African-American play here?

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  17. I have been reading Richard Falk’s autobiography and came across the following, his idea of the lesson of Vietnam…

    “It is a lesson that the American political class and the media refuse to learn, and so the mistakes of the 1960’s have been repeated over and over again, most notably in Iraq after 2003 and in the blood-soaked distant lands of Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Libya. To understand why this stubborn refusal persists in the face of so much contrary experience is to gain insight into the degree to which the United States has succumbed to an outmoded model of governance and security, with its political imagination locked within a militarist cage with the keys under the exclusive control of the American deep state and its private sector infrastructure embedded in the arms industry, think tanks and corporate media.”

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    1. Another lesson of Vietnam: the American public will forget anything – no matter how bad – shortly after (whatever it is) ends. They forgot about Vietnam in time for the 1980 election, but have gone above and beyond in forgetting about Afghanistan before the NFL playoffs began (if they ever cared about it to begin with).

      Liked by 2 people

  18. This is the crux of Historian Nial Ferguson’s long Opinion piece in Bloomberg this morning,
    “For speculators, by contrast, war scares are golden opportunities. Position yourself correctly, and you can make a killing if the dogs of war are unleashed — though if the hellhounds get sent back to their kennels, it’s you who gets killed and the guy who bet on peace gets the champagne.”

    It’s a very interesting article confirming General Butler’s belief War is a Racket.

    The long article can essentially be summed up as the spirit of these ancient words,
    Jesus said to his disciples, Verily I say to you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
    Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
    Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
    Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days.


  19. Another reasonable read by the US Ambassador to Russia 1987-1991
    Today we face an avoidable crisis that was predictable, actually predicted, willfully precipitated, but easily resolved by the application of common sense.

    We are being told each day that war may be imminent in Ukraine. Russian troops, we are told, are massing at Ukraine’s borders and could attack at any time. American citizens are being advised to leave Ukraine and dependents of the American Embassy staff are being evacuated. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president has advised against panic and made clear that he does not consider a Russian invasion imminent. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has denied that he has any intention of invading Ukraine. His demand is that the process of adding new members to NATO cease and that in particular, Russia has assurance that Ukraine and Georgia will never be members.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. My father taught me the saying: Never believe anything you read, and only half of what you see.

    Today I ran across these words from Thomas Jefferson: “The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”

    The point is to be skeptical, to insist on verifiable facts, to demand proof. We know from history that the first casualty of war is truth.

    All governments lie. Thus skepticism is healthy as well as necessary. This is especially applicable to corporate media sources, because they are self-interested, they are corrupted by money, and often they work to advance the interests of corporate/government agendas.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I like to ask myself a question about any source of news: How far removed are you and the life you live from the people who run this organization?

      Take for example the two Chicago newspapers. The Tribune is owned by a hedge fund. The Sun-Times was recently purchased by WBEZ, the public supported radio station in Chicago and is now a non-profit.

      To which one do you think my question would lead me to subscribe?

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m sure most regulars here know US, Canadian and other NATO pliant, obedient Vassal States of the US are castigating Putin’s speech yesterday.
    I searched it on YouTube and there was only 1 version. The translation was horrendous, making Putin sound like a babbling idiot. I knew Putin didn’t have a sudden bout of dementia, so something was wrong.
    I went to the Government of Russia website where Putin’s speech is there in proper English, not at all like the YouTube gibberish.

    It is a long 45 minute speech, but he candidly critiques the Soviet-Communist History including this honesty, “In the mid-1980s, the increasing socioeconomic problems and the apparent crisis of the planned economy aggravated the ethnic issue, which essentially was not based on any expectations or unfulfilled dreams of the Soviet peoples but primarily the growing appetites of the local elites.”
    Just like in the US and the West.

    Seeing we could be at the precipice, looking into the Abyss of the potential Armageddon/WWIII, I think it’s an affront to the American People the MSM has not make an issue, the President has to answer questions and not just walk away after announcing Economic Sanctions, which by the existing Rules Based Order as represented by the United Nations Charter and International Law since WWII, is an ACT of War.

    I posted a reference to the US withdrawing from OSCE 2 Days ago, before this move by Putin. OSCE reported a significant increase in number of explosions in the Russian separatist areas, drawing Putin into finally reacting.

    I also said it was mostly about Nordstream 2 as it turned out to be.

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