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Do Politicians Lie to us about war?

Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 10 months ago to Politics
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In his book “War is a Lie,” second edition (April 2016), David Swanson claims he presents a thorough refutation of every major argument used to justify wars, drawing on evidence from numerous past wars, with a focus on those that have been most widely defended as just and good. In essence, in his well-documented book, he says the people in power lie to us about why we should go to war, then change the lie during the war, and change it yet again after the war, all to justify the war in question. He illustrates how politicians provoke wars and why.

The United States now has a military presence in more than 140 countries, with more than 900 bases, and has had its military involved in military operations in 174 countries within the last few years.

Assuming all this to be true for the purposes of discussion, what should the Objectivist response be when questioned about the presence of the United States military in foreign lands (for example, in the South China Sea, in the Baltic Sea, and off the coast of Iran where two of our vessels went more than 20 miles inside Iranian waters) which appear to act as a provocation to other countries to go to war with the US?


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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 10 months ago
    … and you are surprised why?

    You cannot buy anything from or sell anything to someone you have killed, especially if he kills you first.

    War is counter-productive.

    Every bullet, every bomb represents lost capital. An unsold refrigerator has more value than a bullet.

    It does happen that the world can be a dangerous place; and people do exist who will hurt you because perpetration and aggression is their nature. That said, we have yet to instantiate an intelligent, rational, and real alternative to war.

    It is a truism that the greatest period of relative peace and prosperity was the Capitalist Century 1815-1914.
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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 4 years, 10 months ago
    Of course, they lie to us about war. It is in their best interest, particularly considering how much the defense contractors contribute to politicians' campaign war chests.
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 10 months ago
    I certainly think they lie to us about war.

    Just a couple days ago I was listening to an interview of Simon Black (Michael Covel podcast). It was the first I've heard of the man. But, his story about going into Iraq based on that lie and how it forced him to really start questioning everything the government lies about - very powerful. They lie to us about everything: medicine, science, zika virus, the environment, global warming, fish counts (there's a random one I know something about)...all kinds of things. It's almost as though we're all living in a big Truman Show. I'm not even angry about it, anymore. I get a kick out of it now. Unfortunately, most just stomp around like zombies.

    Strange stuff...
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  • Posted by mia767ca 4 years, 10 months ago
    we would be better off with just a solid anti-missle defense and leak-proof border...beyond that, we should leave the rest of the world alone..our nation freed millions of people all over the world when Lincoln declared all slaves in the U.S. were free...we cannot go door-to-door around the world and clean up their mess...if we can create a capitalist society here,we can be the best beacon of freedom and liberty to those who seek that reality...it is most benevolent way to spread liberty and freedom around the world...it will cost a fraction of what we currently spend and will cost the least suffering to U.S. military men and women...and people around the world.
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 10 months ago
      I'm feeling you on the desire to not police the world. We would save a lot of money with that adjustment. It's the creation of the capitalist society...While I am all for it I'm not convinced Americans are equipped for it anymore. Ugh...
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      • Posted by mia767ca 4 years, 10 months ago
        that is the result of the govt educational system to produce "good citizens" who cannot reason or think for themselves...i was a judge for high school debate club for all three of my children as they went thru high school...these kids only represented a very small percentage of high school students...my last son made it to the national finals in 2015 in dallas...i could not judge debates with students from his high school, but usually there were 20+ school represented on a saturday...it was a great experience
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      • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
        We were probably never equiped to police the world. Too bad we just did not mind our own business and do it well to be the model and shining light.. But power and the desire for power seems to dominate politics --- even politics from the start of the U.S. Pity.
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        • Posted by mia767ca 4 years, 10 months ago
          with Obama doubling the national debt in 8 years and over 200 trillion dollars in entitlement debt, the future is not looking very positive...over 50% of those supporting HillaryBeast want a continuation of Obama's policies...i am aligned with a survivalist group in florida should things fall apart quickly...
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    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
      I think you are wrong about Lincoln. I suggest reading books by DiLorenzo for a history of Lincoln (there are other books, but his are more pointed and not overrun with footnotes). But, I think you are right overall that we should mind our own business and be the beacon (by example) to the world.
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  • Posted by term2 4 years, 10 months ago
    The politicians lie to us about everything. Its best not to believe them at all, investigate all claims they make for factual basis, and translate their speeches in terms of their hidden agendas.
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  • Posted by jsw225 4 years, 10 months ago
    Interesting thoughts. The odd thing is that they did NOT lie about the Iraq War. They were truthful. Oddly enough, they did find WMD's, but only much later in the war AFTER they had conceded that there were none.

    Then they went on to lie about finding WMD's because they believed they had already lost the argument.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 10 months ago
      "hey did find WMD's, but only much later in the war AFTER they had conceded that there were none."
      What did they find? I thought they only found some missiles that could exceed the range allowed by an agreement Iraq had entered and some UAVs that could potentially be used to deploy biological or chemical weapons if they had any, which they did not. Can you find a link to an article showing evidence bona fide WMDs in Iraq just prior to the '03 invasion and occupation?
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      • Posted by jsw225 4 years, 10 months ago
        Various chemicals, including Mustard Shells, and Nerve Agents: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20... Furthermore, we witnessed many 18 wheelers travel into Syria, never to return, and suddenly Assad now has Chemical Weapons himself, when he didn't before?

        Anyway, it's interesting to me that they decided they were losing the argument about WMD's, and started lying in order to keep the war going.
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        • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
          Whether Saddam had chemical weapons was never in dispute, we gave them to him, he used them against Iran and the Kurds. He had only shipped them off, buried, them, sold them, or whatever.

          The shelf-life of that stuff isn't great though, so the argument was needed that he was 'manufacturing chemical weapons', of which we never found any real evidence to my knowledge. That being said, a noble military leader may actually fall on their sword in front of the media in order to rendition that stuff out before a bad-actor could snatch it.

          For example, if they had 50 sites in an area the size of Texas, we might act dumb & stupid until we managed to get it all out of there.
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        • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 10 months ago
          It's fascinating. I never heard about it. It says because the weapons were manufactured prior to '91, they didn't fall into the narrative that Iraq had an active WMD program, and so the gov't actually downplayed and covered up the WMDs they found. For political reasons, if the weapons had been made more recently, they would have highlighted them.

          Thanks for sharing it.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
      From the information I have read, there were no WMD in Iraq. But, assuming for the moment there were, does that (under Objectivist principles) justify starting a war?
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      • Posted by jsw225 4 years, 10 months ago
        See the reply above to Circuit Guy regarding WMD's.

        Was there justification for the Strikers to go and rescue John Galt? Or should the proper objectivist only rescue himself?

        Don't think on it too hard, it's only a point made half in jest. Ultimately there's good and evil in the world. And the good people don't always have the means to beat evil. While we can and should offer help, if the people are unwilling to help themselves, we'll get nowhere. For example, in Vietnam I believe that the South Vietnamese truly did want to be free (ignoring the bungling of the war on the Politician's fault). In Iraq, most of the people only want to force their view of Islam on others. I.E. They didn't want to be totally free, only free from sunni, shiite, or kurdish control / views on themselves.
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      • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
        As I said in another post, whether they were still there after the war is obviously a question. Saddam had the weapons, we gave them to him and his use of them against Iran and the Kurds was well-documented and photographed. It's a convenient liberal campaign propaganda slogan to push the counter-argument.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
          To downgrade something because of its source is an error. I am not sure what Swanson's political leanings are, but his infomration is well documented.
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          • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CgqX...

            Film footage if you prefer.
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            • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
              Horrible. I agree. I don't know the source of the film, but who supplied the chemicals?
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              • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
                We did (the CIA), the French probably, probably the Germans, probably the Russians. We were heavily backing the Iraqis in their war against Iran, that lasted from 1980 to 1988, started during the 444 days that US Embassy employees (60+) were seized and held by Iranian students and revolutionaries when they invaded our embassy (an obvious act of war).

                Carter, being the wimp he was (and I would argue Obama's hero with his dithering), failed to act, and those 60 diplomats were imprisoned only for being Americans and employees of our government. When I was about 10, everywhere you went, or looked, yellow ribbons were tied around trees in remembrance and solidarity with the hostages. The "Hostages" were the only topic of the news. 444 days, and Carter had eroded the military to the point that we had no idea where they were, no idea how to extract them, and no willingness to fight the Iranians like we should have. We avoided their gunboats with a 'stand off' posture in the Gulf, our only rescue attempt involved a C-130 dropping a fuel bladder in the middle of the desert for a couple of helicopters to refuel at on their way to and from Tehran from aircraft carriers. The plan failed miserably. We were cowering before the Soviets with our hat in our hand.

                The hostages were on a plane flying back to the US and touched down on European soil while Reagan was taking the oath of office. Carter likes to take credit, but it is well-known that the Reagan administration made it clear to the Iranians during transition that his first action would be to order an invasion of Iran if they were not released. Wow! It worked! But the libs and media like to show pictures of Carter hammering nails into a Habitat for Humanity home and we are supposed to believe he is an ambassador to the world or something.

                It would be intelligence malpractice to NOT arm the Iraqis to a level to completely defend themselves, and potentially take the fight to the Iranians and overthrow their revolutionary government.

                We also backed the Shaw of Iran for decades before he was overthrown in 1979... and they had chemical weapons being used against the Iraqis.

                It's also possible both were home-grown efforts, both had been sending students to our universities for years and this isn't rocket science, but developing into a weaponized component takes some rudimentary skills. I also build AR-15s, sporting, and black powder rifles in my workshop - yet Hillary thinks that if you can't "buy" a gun, none would ever exist... so having access to American defense contractors, or not, doesn't make or break a chemical weapons program. WWI in Europe was practically medieval from a technology perspective yet they still managed to figure it out pretty efficiently. Nonetheless, the idea that Iran could constitute a weapons program in the middle of a religious zealot's civil war and a fight with its mortal enemy (Iraq) makes the argument a little phony. Hussein may have been able to do so during that time frame, but considerably easier if we gave it to him.

                Biological weapons are much more complex, and without advanced western resources, if used, it would almost certainly come from the US+allies or the Russians. There is no evidence those were used though.

                The idea that they didn't exist in Iraq though is just left-wing propaganda. It was definitely there. I would doubt there was ever any real threat to the US, and that's a different issue. Whether they existed though is definitely not in question. It's only the Anti-Bush ilk trying to drum up opposition from the Millennials, since the stuff doesn't exist in our grade school text books either, their youngster's "I wanna protest" mentality is easily swayed to that belief.
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                • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
                  Suppose, just for sake of discussion, all this was done for different purposes than those stated. Suppose it was to make millions of $ and maintain power.
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                  • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
                    I don't have a problem with that at all, better to be the one that makes the rules, than one to follow them. I've served in 7 overseas engagements in harm's way, mostly in Africa and Bosnia and the former Soviet republics. The leftist notion that there is nobility in poverty, or that we should respect other peoples, etc... is ignorant to the fact that 90% of the United Nations is run by dictators, oligarchs, and religious zealots.

                    The world literally is on fire now, because we are not leading. In the absence of America, the 90% that are dictators, oligarchs, and zealots go on the march to increase their territory.

                    We hold our sphere of influence for many reasons, but rule over those peoples is not one of them. We go out of our way to respect their elections and right to self-government, even when it disappoints us to see the bad choices they sometimes make.

                    If we were doing it for monopolistic access by US corporations to their markets, we wouldn't have tremendous trade imbalances to our deficit. We wouldn't have been shipping grain to the Soviet Union all the way up until Reagan said "No" and was really the hair that broke the camel's back of the Soviet Union. Socialism is terrible for productivity, since the farmer gets paid the same whether they work in the field or not, so why not get a paycheck for doing nothing versus working your ass off all day? Its the same argument for the "Occupy" movement of being the '99%'... 'Occupy a Job' instead of the sidewalk and you will dig your way out of your poverty...

                    In the absence of American leadership, we have seen what happens. China is building islands in the South China Sea because they don't really do a good job of building aircraft carriers, and that makes the Japanese, Vietnamese, and everyone else very nervous as they are militarizing trade routes and areas where their oil companies are exploring the seabed for future resources. The Russians go it alone in Syria and defend Assad while basically helping ISIS because they don't care what ISIS is doing in Europe. All of the Middle East is basically on fire and will be generations before peace returns.

                    We're the indispensable country. The world needs a stabilizing force to counter that 90%, and if we stand down, no one else seems willing to 'stand up'.

                    If you really want to live in poverty... plenty of options outside of US borders...
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                    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
                      To me it seems you still accept what both of us were told and I only recently learned was wrong. The problem is cognitive dissonance. For most people there are some beliefs are not amendable to change. In fact, most ideological beliefs are not changeable.

                      The most difficult beliefs for people to examine are those beliefs which have been
                      (1) held for a long time,
                      (2) adopted before age of reason, and
                      (3) most often repeated.

                      Which explains why it is impossible to have a conversation on the two subjects one should never discuss socially: Religious and political beliefs. Both of these belief sets are indoctrinated by parents, teachers, religious leaders, and other adults, almost from birth, many years before the age of reason, and they are the most often repeatedly “drummed” into them. People will kill based upon their beliefs, but they will not examine whether the belief is true or false.

                      The more I learn about why any particular war was fought, the more dissillusioned I am about what I am told.
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                      • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
                        Maybe you shouldn't pick an argument with someone that has actually been there doing the fighting, saw first hand how most governments around the world treat their own people, and how little life seems to matter in terms of value to non-westernized countries. In other words, join the Bernie camp, as none of those followers are military veterans I'm sure.
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                        • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
                          First of all, I am not picking a fight. Like Schopenhauer, I am more concerned with why people believe what they do than in picking a fight. But your personal experiences do not convince me the US should initiate or provoke wars. As to the details you name, Swanson’s book, that I mentioned originally in this post, deals with each of your statements in detail and shows how we (you and me) were lied to. We believed the lies enough to (in your case) go to war. As a mental exercise, think about what it would take for you to believe you were lied to and your position on the wars is wrong. This is what an open mind does, and I assume the fact you are in the Gulch demonstrates an open mind.
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                          • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
                            We do these things as a lesson from WW2... that if we don't remain vigilant, the world descends into chaos and it eventually comes to our shores. Nowhere in your argument do you say that we should have turned the other cheek at Pearl Harbor... instead, it cost us 300,000 lives and millions of wounded casualties.

                            You see, the world doesn't go after Haiti to steal some of their stupid bananas. If you are a despot looking to conquer territory, you look for the largest and weakest landmass with the most population to enslave. Fortunately, we don't lose very often, and the indisputable fact that we are the leading military force in the world, and the strongest combat capability the world has ever seen, keeps them away. We can project and deploy more force thousands of miles from our shores than 95% of the world can within their home towns.

                            This isn't a new phenomenon by any means, we were born in blood and we have more or less been at war since the day of our independence..

                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...

                            I would also challenge you to identify more than 1 or 2 other countries (out of about 250) that have ever given blood and treasure for the freedom of another people.
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                          • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
                            That is where you make an incorrect assumption again. The US deploys troops more often to keep the peace by separating combatants, than it does for 'going to war'. When I was in Kigali, Rwanda, people were butchering each other with machetes because someone on the radio told them it was time to cleanse their otherwise harmonious inter-tribal marrying & society. Overnight, husbands started butchering their own wives & kids and then went out after the neighbors they had lived next to for generations. There is no more perfect example of what the world is really like, than that. We were there to provide safe transport for UN food convoys to the 1 million+ refugees that had taken up shelter along the Zaire border, and while making food flights with C-130's, we were being shot at by small arms fire from the ground, before, and after it was obvious we were only flying in rice & fresh water. Starving the civilians was a strategy.

                            In Bosnia, we were pretty much the pin cushion between 3 warring factions and stupidly took sides with some that we probably wouldn't have post-9/11.

                            In Addis Ababa, one of the soldiers gave a kid $5.00 for shining his boots and we watched as 2 thugs murdered him for his $5.00 in an alley.

                            I don't care about the 'optics' of the political motivations or whatever, quite frankly, my default solution for most of those shit-holes would be to nuke it from orbit and let God sort it out. The fact is, small regional conflicts have a nasty habit of expanding into larger conflicts, then drawing in the French or someone, and pretty soon its a bloodbath and we're in their helping our allies (which is exactly what happened in Vietnam by the way). Diffusing the situation quickly and quietly on the onset has proven tremendously more advantageous to us than the wait and see. Obama just bumped up the Syrian presence to like 500.. by later in the year it will be 1000, and if we don't actually do something, we'll be up to our eyeballs in it with another 4000 casualties when a strategic & sustained air campaign at the onset would have driven ISIS to the point that her own enemies would have taken her out and preserved the honor of the Americans that died in Iraq.

                            There are a lot of undeniable evils that we have done, but on average, the scale has always tipped in our favor. if you think that some leftist authors with their own agenda to push and doing their research on the left-wing websites are going to have full knowledge of what the President of the United States has as far as information provided to them, that can probably never be made public, then you are mistaken. I have zero love for Obama, but I trust that any American in that position makes the hard choices with the information provided to them.

                            If we had gone to Iraq for oil, we would have kept the oil fields... would seem pretty obvious. The fact is, we really should have just finished the job in 1990 and never went back.

                            Let's see the post about the conspiracy theories that the CIA orchestrated 9/11... I'm sure you have that in there somewhere....
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          • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
            http://www.ibtimes.com/25-years-after...

            Although, there is some debate over whether it was Iraqi or Iranian mustard agents that actually attacked Halabja, they were already swapping chemical artillery barrages nearby in the preceding days. The Kurds were trying to break away from Saddam's rule though, so he is the most-likely suspect. http://www.informationclearinghouse.i...

            I was in Desert Storm, we were trained that it was better to be in the carbon-lined 30 lb chemical suit all day in 135 degree Saudi Arabian heat, than to die a horrible death from mustard, blister, neural, or blood agents.

            The "lie" was that Saddam posed any kind of a material threat against the US after the Persian Gulf War, we had pounded them literally into the stone age. To think that only 10 years later he was able to mount any kind of a military force was ludicrous. The actual cause we had (and not much of one at that) was the continued combat engagement we had on a daily basis enforcing the no-fly zone in Southern Iraq. On any typical day, our patrols would fly over the Southern half of the country, Iraqi air defenses would lock on and normally fire at the jets, they would miss, and we would destroy the radar site. A day or two later it would happen again and had been for years. Kind of a very low-intensity skirmish war, but nonetheless he was well-contained at low cost. We should have just starved them out with sanctions.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 years, 10 months ago
    Have we been attacked? Or not? Were we at-
    tacked on 11 Sept 2001? Or not? Was this coun-
    try attacked on 7 Dec 1941? Or not?
    Is Israel a decent ally? Or not?

    Do we need the freedom of the seas to trade
    with allies? Or not?

    I do not approve of the way the Viet Nam
    War was conducted, nor am I in favor of
    the military draft. It might have made
    more sense either to attack Cuba, or
    just leave both alone, as Ayn Rand seemed
    to imply, in an article she wrote in the '60's.
    But that does not mean we should never
    go to war.

    That said, I think politicians certainly
    do lie. And American young men should
    not be used as cannon fodder.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
      Well, regarding the three attacks named, to get the answers must look at what the US did to provoke what is portrayed as vicious attacks by "the enemy" on each occassion. 9/11 is interesting because Bush the Lesser had been planning to invade Iraq for almost a year before 9/11 and 9/11 served just the excuse he needed to do so---Although he does say he did it because God told him to.

      Is Isreal a decent ally? I don't know. But decent or not their fight is not our fight and we should not be involved. The freedom of the seas is not the issue in the South China sea, the issue is around artificial islands built by China.

      I never said we should never go to war. I said Swanson presents an excellent case that the public has been lied to as to why the US went to war and the same reasons (updated) have been given since President Adams (our 2nd president) because the lies work. the populace believes the lies. Interestsingly, the lise change from those given before the wars, those given during rthe wars, and those given after the wars. Swanson writes an excellent book.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 years, 10 months ago
    War is the ultimate expression of politics. A graphic example that jumps out is what happened with the breakup of Yugoslavia. When Serbia decided it was their duty to replace the amalgamated state with "Greater Serbia" by conquering all of its neighbors, Europe stood by, wringing its collective hands, wailing that the U.S. was obligated to intervene. Even though there were prominent figures in the U.S. who pointed out that the conflict involved no national interests, President Bush 41 let himself be talked into interfering.

    I'm often reminded of Chayefsky's script for "The Americanization of Emily," outstandingly delivered by the late James Garner:
    "You American-haters bore me to tears, Miss Barham. I've dealt with Europeans all my life. I know all about us parvenus from the States who come over here and race around your old cathedral towns with our cameras and Coca-Cola bottles... Brawl in your pubs, paw your women, and act like we own the world. We over-tip. We talk too loud. We think we can buy anything with a Hershey bar.

    I've had Germans and Italians tell me how politically ingenuous we are. And perhaps so. But we haven't managed a Hitler or Mussolini yet. I've had Frenchmen call me a savage because I only took half an hour for lunch. Hell, Miss Barham, the only reason the French take two hours for lunch is because the service in their restaurants is lousy. The most tedious lot are you British. We crass Americans didn't introduce war into your little island. This war, Miss Barham, to which we Americans are so insensitive, is the result of 2,000 years of European greed, barbarism, superstition, and stupidity. Don't blame it on our Coca-Cola bottles. Europe was a going brothel long before we came to town."
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    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
      Actually, we have "managed a Hitler or Mussolini" in the form of many of our residents. The history of the Imperial States of America well demonstrate this. As to French restaurants, it seems to me your anti-French bias trumps the experience of I have had of often going to France for the past 40 years. Perhaps we go to different restaurants.

      All this aside, an open mind must constantly ask itself: “Could I be wrong?” And, contrary to what we were all taught in school, is it possible the US is the great instigator of war, not peace?
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 years, 10 months ago
        First, I'm not anti-French. The quote is from Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay. Second, while some American Presidents have stretched the constitutional limits of the office (Woodrow Wilson comes to mind), none have come near to the dominating control and destruction of a Mussolini or Hitler against their own citizens.

        Has the U.S. stumbled into conflicts that could have been avoided? Unquestionably. The 1846 war with Mexico is a prime example of deliberate aggressive land acquisition. The American Civil War could have been avoided with a buyout of slaveowners that would have cost a small fraction of the cost of the war. The Vietnam conflict was inherited from our wartime ally, France, out of Eisenhower's misguided loyalty.

        Most wars are the result of the failure of diplomacy (read The Guns of August) or greed, and are continued out of an overblown sense of national pride. Even the first Gulf conflict, brought on by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, can be attributed to a slip by a U.S. diplomat that gave Hussein the idea we would not oppose his invasion.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
          As to your first Paragraph, try any of Preseidents Adams, Lincoln, and both Roosevelts for starters. All have worked against their own citizens and beaten the war drums to send innocents (domestic and foreign) to their deaths solely for then own entertainment.

          U wish I had more time regarding the other two paragraphs, but I commend Swanson's book "War is a Lie" for a lot of detail on the very subjects you name.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 10 months ago
    The old way of thinking was that all those other nations just want to destroy the United States. I'd argue that we're doing a pretty good job of it without their help.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 10 months ago
    I know that FDR knew about Japan's plans to attack Pearl Harbor 10 months beforehand, but did nothing to prevent it in order to get us into WW2. Knowing that, it makes it hard to believe that all the other conflicts were legitimate. Politicians are supposed to work for us as a republic. However, like an untrained animal, we have allowed them free rein so that they are no longer controllable. As a result, what was unthinkable 50 years ago is now the norm. We have allowed them to poison the country slowly, but irrevocably. For the last 100 years, we have fought to save everybody's ass except out own.
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  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 10 months ago
    How far behind the times playing catch up is Mr. Swanson. Let's see. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Now let's look at those started by Republicans. And then look at the death ratios between those started by the left those started by the right and those started by the other side. And then look at those supported by the left for -mmmmm ...let' say six months --- before they joined the other side leaving our troops stranded?l That punctuation is called interrabang.
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    • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
      I hadn't thought of the liberal vs. conservative element of starting a war. You have a good point, democrat-orchestrated wars tend to be in the 100's of thousands to millions of casualties.. Conservatives in the 0 to 5,000 range.
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      • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
        Depends who you include as "conservative" (Lincoln?) and whether you count deaths and wounded on both sides of the war.
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        • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
          I was actually thinking when I posted, you would have to go back to Lincoln to find significant casualties - though he didn't start the battle either and went through a number of generals looking for one willing to 'fight'. The reluctance of northern generals to wage an open war against the south early in the conflict probably (greatly) prolonged the Civil War.
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          • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
            Lincoln provoked the war. Just as we are currently provoking war in the Baltic Sea (among other places). There was and is no legal justification for the War for Southern Indpendence or for the way manner in which it was fought by the North. Have you read such books as "The South Was Right" or any of DiLorenzo's books on the subject?
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            • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
              I'm not taking any agreement position with slavery, or their right to issue their own currency, or establish their own trade agreements, or any other topic. Membership in the United States is not something that can be 'dropped' if the political winds blow a different direction.

              As a state senator in Illinois, the only 'grievance' the south really had with him was his membership in the newly-formed Republican party and its anti-slavery positions. This wasn't the era of mass-media and social networking, travel to the south from Illinois was about 2 weeks on horseback. They wouldn't have been able to pick him out of a police lineup and they attacked Fort Sumpter promptly after he took office, basically 90 days later - about the time it would take the pony express to move some messaging around for war planning.
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              • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
                Actually, the history of the US was that any state could withdraw at any time. States such as VA and tX joined the union only with the express agreement they could leave. Mass threatened to leave when Jefferson illegally proposed the Louisana Purchase.

                The South's main grievances were the crony capitalism practiced by the North which required the crony's to get their mordida in order to allow goods to flow to the South.
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      • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 10 months ago
        Now there's a definition of liberal and conservative that fits the picture except... they ain't conservative any more they joined the dark side. Call them Neo Cons or right wing of the left or Rinos or Cinos.

        But that is the way it was back in the old plural days when it took more than a day to gain bragging rights.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 10 months ago
    It's staggering. We have all those foreign bases, and then when sometime happens we're tempted to intervene, and it often ends up a thankless effort. A few years ago, I think in relation to Syria, President Obama even stated aloud that it's up to us and everyone's looking to us to solve the problem b/c we're the one with the military resources in place to act. I'm surprised he said it aloud I don't think it's something we should aim.
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  • Posted by KCLiberty 4 years, 10 months ago
    Hi Johnson. The most basic answer is that nowhere in the Constitution allows for our treasure or our troops (they belong to the service of US citizens) to be used for other nations. Our Reps can declare war on another sovereign nation, they can issue letters of Marque and Reprisal (which is what should have been done after 9/11 instead of nation building), or according to the War Powers Act the CIC can repell an attack or use force against an imminent attack overseas on our military, embassies, etc...

    If you want to go stop crazed Africans from slaughtering each other you can do it on your own. Or, put money together and pay Blackwater to do it. But Congress, and definitely not the CIC, is authorized to spend my money helping other people in other nations. Is it awful? Sure. But the other problem is we are inconsistent to the extreme. If we were equitable about these interventions we would have turned Saudi Arabia to glass by now. (note the missing 28 pages redacted from the 9/11 report, plus they terrorize their people and kill thousands).

    I am a noninterventionist because of that reason, and every time we do this stuff "unexpected consequences" happen. We bomb innocent people and hire ISIS to topple Gaddafi, and it is now a hellhole of Christians being beheaded and mass rapes. It never works out.

    If you are working and living for the benefit of other people in other nations, that is non-objectivist.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
      Bless you, my son, for thou sayest things so many graspeth not. In short, you are saying (as do I) "If you like war, go fight and do not use my tax money to do it." Swanson's book completely turned my viewpoint on war.
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  • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
    How did we suddenly get to dogging the American Empire? Aside from the cost of doing so, essentially dictating terms to the rest of the world as the price for America bailing everyone out in WWII is not a bad thing.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
      Suppose we were lied to about WWII. Then what?
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      • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
        You are assuming a lot of conspiracy among government employees that can't figure out how to book a meeting in Outlook.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
          Between DiLorenzo, Ron Paul and Swanson, I do not get the impression of a conspiracy as much as people who are power hungary and simply cooperate. Conspiracies never last long, and rarely work out. The wars appear to me to be much more sinister and driven by the power lust more than anything else. Take a look at Swanson's book, or at least the summary as it is shown on Amazon. These books completely reversed my understanding of history.
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  • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
    The actual number is 668 bases in 38 foreign countries and includes domestic bases. The '900' number was a Ron Paul speech... he's a little 'out there' on many fronts, I would probably believe the US budget office and the base realignment commission before Ron Paul on a campaign stump speech.

    That being said, there are probably a few not in that count... Groom Lake Weapons Range, CIA Black Sites, etc., but not enough to come up with an extra 250.

    Additionally, those may not represent what you think of as a military base, some may just be depots, an embassy marine detachment, etc.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
      I was given the number of about one thousand from Jon Kyl when he was a senator. Times may have changed the number, but I bet Ron Paul is closer than the US Budge Office.

      Embassy detachments are not counted, if they were all countries would be in all other recognized countries and they are far from "bases" as that term is commony used.
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      • Posted by scojohnson 4 years, 10 months ago
        Not necessarily, we have 294 diplomatic locations around the world, most of those are consulate offices with relatively few real embassies with a large permanent civilian presence and fewer still with military elements beyond a couple of door guards.

        Between 1988 and 2005, through 5 subsequent rounds of a base selection process, 350 military bases, depots, and installations were selected and subsequently closed through what can sometimes be a lengthy redeployment process. We lost 2 Air Force Bases and at least 1 Army Depot here in Sacramento alone.

        Closing a base is not an easy decision, the government is 'on the hook' in many different directions, it's not as simple as just appeasing a bunch of leftist doves. It decimated the Sacramento economy of 1.5 million people for over a decade. The same entity (the federal government) is suddenly paying extended unemployment benefits and retraining costs for the elimination of the workforce, so its not an immediate or linear savings.

        Buying military supplies and weapons equals jobs & taxes paid by US citizens, is it a 100% trade off? No, of course not, but it's not 0 either... it's probably 50 or 60 cents on the dollar coming back in taxation at some level.

        Military veterans are also some of the most productive members of society after their service. Education, training, and income are all markedly higher for veterans versus the general population, so the investment in that service turns into a lifetime of higher productivity and subsequent taxes collected.

        Arguing the basing strategy overseas is just a Millennial generational thing. They were only a glimmer in their daddy's eye when we were faced-off against the Soviets in literally every corner of the world. We didn't 'twist arms' to acquire those bases, the hosting countries normally begged us to, and to base a strong nuclear deterrent within their borders to dissuade further Soviet expansion. Within a few years after WWII, the Soviets had pretty much conquered and ruled almost 50% of the earth.
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  • Posted by $ Susanne 4 years, 10 months ago
    Of course they do... they have to, otherwise they could never sell us on the idea of war. Very few of the wars we have been engaged in were for truly good and righteous causes...

    And think on this - while there is a reason for classifying documents, a valid reason is NOT (a) to bury the truth, (b) to mislead the American people, or (c) prevent embarrassment to a politician. Yet, that type of classification is becoming more and more common...
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  • Posted by fosterj717 4 years, 10 months ago
    Great question! Politicians lie as part of their daily routine, Statesmen and Women do not as a rule. That is the difference between politicians (95% in DC) and Statesmen! For what its worth!
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  • Posted by NealS 4 years, 10 months ago
    Do politicians lie to us about war, of course they do. But when that little Vietnamese lady, perhaps in her late 80's looked up at me and took my hand in front of the Traveling Wall and said with big tears in her eyes, "Thank you for helping us", you just gotta believe we did the right thing. Period.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 10 months ago
      I am sure there were many acts of kindness, just as there were many atrocities such as Mai Lai massacre. But, that was not my point about the war itself.

      “The war on Vietnam may have killed 4 million civilians or more, plus 1.1 million North Vietnamese troops, 40,000 South Vietnamese troops, and 58,000 U.S. forces.” Swanson, David (2016-04-05). War Is A Lie (Kindle Locations 3515-3516). Just World Books. Kindle Edition.

      I do not think it was worth it even if we were not lied to. But my point was more directed toward the question if we the people had not been lied to, do Objectivists think we should have been in the war in the first place?
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