He’s a ‘Wartime’ President!

How about words of praise for "peacetime" presidents?

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Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

I caught only a couple of minutes of mainstream media coverage of the Zelensky visit, and I suppose that makes me lucky. In that brief period, I heard Zelensky described twice in positive terms as a “wartime” president. As if it’s a great thing to be the leader of Ukraine during a devastating war.

Remember when George W. Bush took a fancy to being described as a “wartime” president in the aftermath of 9/11? The mainstream media seems to fancy the term as well. What a wonderful, praiseworthy thing it is to be a wartime president! Look at how Zelensky dresses so simply, in olive drab, as if he just stepped out of a command post. What a guy.

When I caught that media coverage yesterday of Zelensky’s visit, which included a quick meet and greet with Joe and Jill Biden with Marine Corps guards saluting in the background, I was with my brother. My brother Stevie is mentally ill. But as I watched the coverage on TV, in my brother’s room, I reflected that he’s far saner than those media types gushing about war, and a far wiser and more honest soul than the so-called leaders I was watching at the White House.

There’s nothing like being a “wartime” leader that makes certain people gush. Obviously, many leaders love it too, since wartime grants them far more authority in the cause of waging and “winning” the war. And all this is treated as the height of sobriety and sanity within our war-crazed society.

When is the mainstream media going to praise our leaders for being peacetime presidents? Jesus Christ, after all, was the Prince of Peace. We need some princes of peace today. Then again, look what they did to Jesus.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools. He writes at Bracing Views.

43 thoughts on “He’s a ‘Wartime’ President!”

  1. We are the greatest source of war in the world. Every president in my lifetime have started a war or two somewhere. They are ALL “wartime” presidents. Hooray!

    1. I’m no fan of Trump, but I don’t think he started any wars. (If he actually cared about anything beside his money and his ego, he might have been able to accomplish some great things, like peace with North Korea and getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and Syria.)

      Jimmy Carter seems like a decent human being, and the crap he let that evil pig Zbigniew Brzeziński pull in Afghanistan and the crap he let the CIA pull in Iran (supporting the religious fanatics over the socialists in determining who would take over from the Shah) seem contrary to who he is. I think this shows that the president isn’t really in control, the deep state and the ruling class are.

      1. “I’m no fan of Trump, but I don’t think he started any wars.”

        Trump was simply “controlled opposition.” He gave some people (not me) a reason to believe that he might be something different in a substantial way, all the while being perfectly acceptable to the people actually running the show.

        He certainly had nothing against, nor made any efforts to dismantle, the major power structures and the institutions supporting them.

        He had no objection to the concept of the deep state at all, he just wanted it to work for him, and not against him.

        He technically didn’t start any shooting wars, but came very, very, close to doing so with Iran, which would have been the end of prosperity in America.

        He didn’t end any existing wars, escalated some, and waged crippling economic warfare against a host of countries, including Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. The results of his sanctions and protections probably caused the premature deaths of at least hundreds of thousands of people. When your loved ones are dead, it is of lesser importance whether they died of bombing, shooting, or starvation or disease, except perhaps that the latter two are the most painful and slow.

        Trump was no force for peace, freedom, or prosperity. He supported war, tyranny, and economic ruin. We have yet to fully reap the bitter harvest from Trump’s and Biden’s economic destruction, but it is coming soon.

          1. He signed the instrument of surrender. At that time a date was set for full withdrawal by our troops. He had months to plan and execute the withdrawal. He left that detail for Biden. At the time of the withdrawal, we had exceeded the date set. Biden got us out of Afghanistan.

        1. I never said that Trump was a force for peace. You totally mischaracterized what I wrote, which was a response that Trump didn’t start any wars. Nor did you write anything that contradicts my statement.

          1. Chill out. You are correct, you did not say anything else. I simply had a knee jerk reaction to the statement that “Trump didn’t start any wars,” because virtually everyone on this site other than you says that in attempt to characterize Trump as a peacenick.

            Sorry, my bad.

      2. Taking on board everything you say above and below in response to others, I would point out that the act of barbaric aggression “taking out” Iran’s beloved general (and erstwhile US ally against ISIS) as well as up to two dozen other bystanders (Iranians and Iraqis both?) with a drone was arguably an act of war, not just an assasination–it just didn’t lead to an actual war. On the other hand, the US was no longer welcome in Iraq for having commited the above naked aggression and was basically ordered to leave by the Iraqi parliament, only it didn’t, which technically means the US was now in occupation mode, again. It may not have been a new shooting war, but that, too, is an act of war in all but name. But you know, the US is getting better at waging war without anyone even knowing (well, acknowledging) it’s doing so. Before that was the Syrian attack. We could even get into whether DJT went to war (literally, not figuratively) with the nation’s representiatves on January 6. Say what you will about his predecessors, none of them blatantly encouraged others who were known to be armed and angry to march on the Capitol and fight like hell.

    2. Good post and most folks have no clue much less are paying attention.

      Oct 29, 2020 Robert O’Brien – Trump’s Foreign Policy

      Donald Trump is the first American president since Ronald Reagan not to initiate a foreign war. Moreover, peace is breaking out in the Middle East. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien explains the Trump approach.



  2. What is the different between a “wartime” USA president who do not get authorization from the USA Congress and a dictator? Is the USA democracy now a dictator/democracy?

    1. Neither. The U.S. is an oligarchy, as shown by the Princeton study from 2014. Not sure if this site allows posting links in the comments, but you can easily find the study and the BBC article about it online.

      1. “Not sure if this site allows posting links in the comments”

        I have successfully posted links in comments here before. An href anchor tag is one of the allowed HTML tags.

        Be that as it may, disqus and/or antiwar.com may, repeat, may filter out a comment if there are multiple links in it or if including links is not your normal posting behavior. If that happens and your comment is not visible, contact Thomas Knapp and he can probably restore it for you. Also, I believe there may be copyright issues with some links, but I don’t really know, as I am not an expert.

        1. Not seeing any comments in spam that resemble what Jeff is talking about, but yeah:

          If you post a link, Disqus may think the comment is spam.

          If it ISN’T spam, then when I notice it I’ll approve it and it will become visible.

          We go through periods where we get dozens or even hundreds of “see my nekkid pictures” or “bad grades? Hire us to write your term paper” links a day, and Disqus does its best to catch those. Sometimes it catches good comments along with the spam.

    2. “Is the USA democracy now a dictator/democracy?”

      I believe the reason Biden (or any other “wartime” president) is not considered a “dictator” in the way Putin is, even though Biden holds and exercises dictatorial powers, is because the media proclaims that we still have free elections. Whether or not we have free elections, the elections never significantly change policy, and someone who can unilaterally move to engage in a war halfway around the globe is, in my book, a full scale dictator.

      1. The U.S. and U.K. are the only supposed democracies in the world that don’t have proportional representation. That alone prevents elections from having any substantial meaning (not to mention the buying of elections by the rich via private campaign contributions), but nobody even talks about it. In fact, I’ve had people argue that we have to get 3d party candidates elected in order to get proportional representation (totally false, it could be done by ballot initiative), and that we’d need a constitutional amendment in order to effect this change (also totally false, there’s nothing in the constitution mandating winner-take-all elections). (the Supreme Court justices who ruled that money is speech in the Buckley v. Valeo decision in the 1970s should have all been immediately impeached and removed from the bench).

        1. “Buckley v. Valeo”

          We’ll have to agree to disagree. The only alternative to money being speech, is for the state to determine what is acceptable political speech, and for the state to determine how political speech is funded. That is a deal with the Devil, and one I am not willing to make.

          If we really wanted corporations to not have so much power, we would simply abolish the state, and by doing so, abolish corporations, which are creations of the state in the first place. No state ==> no corporations.

          1. That’s not the only way, that’s ridiculous. There’s no reason that political campaigns can’t be publicly funded, with all candidates getting equal amounts and equal TV time. What you support is one-dollar-one-vote, in which case voting has no chance to do anything good and there’s no point in bothering to vote.

          2. “with all candidates getting equal amounts and equal TV time.”

            And who determines what “all candidates,” “equal amounts,” and “equal TV time,” mean? You guessed it, the federal government. I am not raising these points frivolously. The fact is, if you were an unknown independent candidate, or the candidate of a new party, you would stand absolutely no chance of getting anywhere, probably even to the point of not being considered a qualified candidate at all.

            Trust me, I was a Libertarian Party activist for 46 years, and between ballot access restrictions, blatant debate inclusion discrimination, media blackouts, and a thousand other factors, there was simply no chance to get our intended message out. The federal government, which is owned lock, stock and barrel by wealthy corporations, particularly the MIC, has no interest whatsoever in doing these things fairly.

            Calling government funding “public funding,” confuses the difference between the people, and the government. Each person voluntarily contributing either their own money or their own in kind efforts or resources is properly labeled as “public funding.” The financial contributions of the government, an institution of organized violence, is not.

          3. I see what your problem is: you’re a Libertarian. Therefore, you have this brain-dead, unthinking hatred of government, even though government means all of us. I realize that this government has become totally corrupted, and that politicians work for their donors and the ruling class, not for their constituents as they should, but it’s the only viable way to fix these problems. You advocate continuing the corrupt system of one-dollar-one-vote, which will never lead to anything good. We must have public funding of candidates, in addition to the other changes I mentioned, in order to give all candidates an equal chance to get their messages out. Your system of private funding simply doesn’t work to accomplish anything except for allowing even more rule by the rich.

            Whether it’s because of frivolity or ignorance, you’re dead wrong. Every democracy in the world beside the U.S. and U.K. has proportional representation, so determining candidate qualifications is not rocket science (it’s generally anyone who shows that they can get 5% of votes). And anyone who’s qualified gets equal TV time and campaign funding, simple as that. “Equal” means the same number of minutes on the same channels, pretty simple really.

          4. “even though government means all of us.”

            I guess, again, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I definitely do not consider the state to be “all of us.” The state, as an institution, is simply centralized violence. It is definitely not the same as “the people.” If you have the ability to murder and steal without any legal sanctions, you are part of the state; if you do not, you are not.

            You talk about the corruption of government as if this corruption were some sort of mysterious force from outer space, like it were an aberration.. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps it’s the nature of the state itself, that is as an institution which has a monopoly on the definition of legal violence, that guarantees that it will become corrupt? What states, in human history, have not ultimately become rampantly corrupt?

            We reap what we sow. if we initiate violence against others, or we delegate to an institution of violence, such as the state, the initiation of violence against others, it will surely come back to us, and it is has come and is coming back to us is spades.

            I do not expect to persuade you that I am correct about this. I was a limited government libertarian for 30 years before realizing that even a minimal state is unstable, that it always becomes corrupt and tyrannical.

            My “hatred” is not toward the state per se, it is directed at arbitrary violence in general. I am not an absolute pacifist. I believe that in some cases retaliatory or defensive violence may be justified. But we better darn well think twice anytime we choose to use violence, even if we think it is justified. Violence has a habit of becoming uncontrollable.

          5. The only positive alternative to having a representative government running things is to lower our population to the point where people in each community all know each other. Then you can have a wise, ethical, moral leader who will do what’s best for the Earth, the environment, and the community. But with the gross human overpopulation that now exists, representative government is the only way to go. What I’ve been advocating is to make the government as representative as possible, which you don’t seem to want.

          6. “which you don’t seem to want.”

            It’s not so much that I don’t want it, it’s just that the idea of the government being more representative as time progresses would seem to be theoretically impossible to me. Recent historical evidence would point to the opposite being the case, that as time goes on, governments would tend to become less representative.

          7. Pierre Lemieux on Anthony de Jasay:

            “In practice, the state is who happens to run it, what de Jasay calls its tenants. One can view the tenants of the state as the inner circle of political and security rulers. The interests of these people are primarily what the state maximizes; but to stay in power, it must also promote the interests of those whose support it needs to stay in power.”

            The idea of “public” funding/regulation of campaigns, in the context of a state, means state funding/regulation of campaigns, for the purpose of maximizing the power of the state and of the political class which operates and benefits from the state. Any benefit to the “public” is just the incidental necessary kow-towing required to manufacture an illusory “consent.”

          8. Your comment does not at all reply to what I wrote. Stating broad generalizations in response to advocacy of a specific goal is meaningless, and same for your theories about the state and who controls it. The fact is that if all candidates got equal money, elections would be a lot more fair and representative. If you have a good alternative, I’m all ears. If you have a specific rebuttal, I’m all ears for that too. What I’m not interested in is an irrelevant diatribe.

          9. Your comment does not at all reply to what I wrote. Stating broad generalizations in response to advocacy of a specific goal is meaningless, and same for your theories about the state and who controls it. The fact is that if all candidates got equal money, elections would be a lot more fair and representative. If you have a good alternative, I’m all ears. If you have a specific rebuttal, I’m all ears for that too. What I’m not interested in is an irrelevant diatribe.

          10. Points of order, the US / UK thing. No. Lots of democracies including Canada don’t have proportional representation, not that I am against it, but it alone does not guarantee peace either (viz. Israel). As far as dollar-for-votes, if you at least had spending limits (scrap the PACs and SuperPACs) on campaigns you could achieve at least some of what you want in terms of a truly representative democracy. More generally, the US has more serious foundational problems with its democratic system, namely anti-democratic features (not bugs) like the Electoral College which is there precisely to prevent “those (city) people” from “swamping us (country folk)”, and more and more blatant cases of vote suppression in the south. And a presidential campaign that lasts for two years–how can that not be a major distraction from governing?

          11. I strongly disagree with everything you wrote, though it looks like you’re right about Canada. So a whole three democracies in the world don’t have proportional representation!

            Your comments are a typical response whenever someone proposes something out-of-the-ordinary and more conservative people like you feel threatened. No one, including me, ever said that proportional representation is perfect, nor that it alone would cure all the electoral problems in this country. But without it, there’s no point in voting because the system is totally rigged, and the only two choices are both pro-war, pro-Wall Street, neoliberal parties.

            As to what’s are more fundamental problems, you’ve got it backward. If the system is rigged and you can’t vote for anyone who’s aligned with your principles, what difference does it make whether your vote is suppressed? And when you have both that and a president with tyrannical powers like veto power, instead of a prime minister and a parliamentary system, which is far more representative, what difference does the existence of the illegitimate electoral college make? (And BTW, we need to abolish the Senate also, we don’t need a damn House of Lords.)

          12. Your glib response to being shown to be wrong about something is worrying. People can’t take you seriously if you yourself don’t take things seriously. The only reason you thought there were only two democracies who didn’t use PR is because an article referred to nuclear power democracies (US and UK) neither of whom had PR. You took this to be representative of world democracies. I pointed out you were wrong about this and used Canada as one example. I have not researched the subject, but I’m not the one making off the cuff claims in support of my position–you are.

            I’m neither conservative nor typical in my thinking, I have nothing against PR but I would and I believe did point out that it’s not a panacea–in point of fact it has nothing whatsoever to do with a country’s foreign and / or military policy, or any others like environment, i.e., we don’t live in a universe where one tool solves problems as if by magic.

            The rest of your diatribe is a mad rant that makes no sense: “As to what’s are more fundamental problems, you’ve got it backward. If the system is rigged and you can’t vote for anyone who’s aligned with your principles, what difference does it make whether your vote is suppressed?” Oh, I don’t know, maybe voter suppression makes a bit of a difference to those whose votes are suppressed, maybe people actually do vote according to someone aligned to ideas not yours and matter just as much as you. Maybe you try to solve any problems you can at the local level, because the local is as important as the national, and indeed is the basis of the national. Maybe take real problems seriously, whether you care about them or not.

            Having taken my point of order and correction as a personal attack against yourself perhaps, you’ve decided I must be wrong about everything else, a notion so absurdly binary that you just run your mouth without reason. You say it’s rigged (I’d avoided Trump’s language at this point), so pointing out something that’s wrong with it, like the anti-democratic E.C. is–what? Pointless? Just because it’s not included in your own idea of reform, it’s somehow useless? You sound very insecure.

            You say you’d be better off with a parliamentary system like the one in the UK but sans the Lords. Why? It’s more stable, sure, but when one Party has most of the power over a dozen years, you get the disaster the UK has undergone, or haven’t you been paying attention to the UK since 2012? You don’t seem to grasp why a constitutional monarchy is less democratic than what you’ve got, and would be even more so without a Lords or Senate (Canada’s non-Peer, non-Church version of the Lords). There needs to be something that occasionally checks the power of those elected during a 4 or 5 year reign with an opposition that has no power unless you get a minority government (a “hung parliament” in UK parlance). Typically what it does is make sure new legislation is consistent with constitutional law and fundamental rights. Parliamentary version of your more overt system of checks and balances (exec. vs. congress and senate). At least yours are elected. Ours are appointed for life. By the way if President having a veto is “dictatorial” in your view, how about Senate Majority Leader being able to rush or deny hearings on a Supreme Court nominee purely on partisanship?

            I am sorry to expose your ignorance but you display it with such arrogance. When you calm down, take this as a moment to learn. It helps to persuade other people if you take your topics as seriously as you take yourself. Or stick to the things you actually know about. I don’t even fundamentally disagree with your own proposal for your own system. It’s what we have too, there’s some funding for parties but they have to reach a certain threshold of seats to get it. We have our own version of the UK’s Monster Raving Lunatic Party in Canada, the Rhinoceros party. We all enjoy a good laugh, but giving them our money would not be very funny.

          13. You only responded to a minor point I made, and the rest was just childish name-calling. I’m not going to continue this discussion unless you address my points directly, without name-calling, as I did yours.


            1. Let’s start with what you propose instead of proportional representation. Saying you have nothing against it but don’t give it any priority is like saying you have nothing against civil rights, but don’t think they’re worth fighting for.

            2. If you think that voter suppression is more important than lack of proportional representation, address my point: where one’s only choice is one of two parties with which one doesn’t agree, why would it matter more that one’s vote is suppressed? In your response, consider that most Americans don’t support Democrats or Republicans (see my more detailed discussion of this below).

            BTW, you’re clearly dead wrong about at least couple of things:

            I began learning about proportional representation around 30 years ago, and have always been told that the U.S. and U.K. are the only democracies without it. But this is relevant only to show that proportional representation is not some pipe dream; it’s irrelevant how many countries have or don’t have it; it’s only relevant that it’s a representative form of voting that produces a more representative government, whereas our winner-take-all system isn’t.

            Also, it doesn’t matter what your or my political views are. The fact is that most Americans don’t identify as Democrats or Republicans, so most Americans have no representation in this system. In a country with 330 million people, we probably need 15 or 20 parties in Congress in order to adequately represent all points of view. If you don’t want the most representative government possible (in this grossly overpopulated society, which is a big limiting factor), you don’t want democracy or whatever you call a representative form of government, and we have nothing further to discuss on this issue.

            Finally, you repeated the BS of saying that proportional representation isn’t a panacea. Again, no one ever said it is, and I have a list of electoral reforms that are needed, including abolition of the electoral college that we agree is undemocratic.

          14. How can I be wrong about things I never said? Nice straw manning there, entire first paragraph is about your experience and then an attempt at reading my mind and reading into what I said. I have nothing against PR because I have never experienced it. There are lots of different versions of it, so I can’t take a strong stand on the particular version of PR you espouse without knowing which one you would promote–which you do not bother to establish. And I couldn’t give a rat’s ass because I don’t live in the US nor will I ever because it’s a violent mess of a country.

            Remind me what the part of this rambling paragraph I was the one wrong about? If it’s “irrelevant” how many countries have or don’t have it, why did YOU make such a big deal about US and UK being the “only” countries that don’t have it? Because YOU were engaging in a logical fallacy that if most others do something it must be better. Your second logical fallacy is that a different political system must be better or more democratic than the one you have (Westminster model). I demonstrated this was false, but instead of acknowledging that, your wounded ego forces you to try to make yourself feel better by proving me wrong about something, anything. Having found nothing, you present a list of shit I didn’t say.

            Again, I never said your country is doing just fine with ONLY two main political parties. That’s YOU reading into things. Canada (where I live, and therefore my primary frame of reference; I also lived in the UK for 13 years) has three major national political parties, another two that only exist in Quebec and Alberta, respectively, etc. The UK has 3 major political parties but only two ever make national governments (same is true in Canada). People have been saying the US has been crying out for a third party (never mind 20) for a very long time. I think I first heard Mark Shields say that on McNeil-Lehrer, oh about 30 years ago. I think it would do you a lot of good in as much asit would help people get past their binary thinking–including you.

            So how am I “dead wrong” on this issue? Oh, because I said voter suppression is bad, whereas as far you are concerned it’s not relevant? Why do you think you only have two major parties, actually? You don’t think those things are related in some way? Still scratching my head on that one. But no, both parties bad so who cares if one of them is objectively worse (sign of the times is we may all agree, but fail to agree which one, hm)? Maybe if you worked hard enough against the worse one something better would arise in its place? Ever considered that tactic?

            By the way your country is NOT grossly overpopulated by any stretch of the imagination. I wonder where you’re getting that idea from. That’s enough for me to not take you seriously. You’ve never lived anywhere else where people actually feel crowded occasionally, have you. Not India, not China, not the UK (where some people have a similar idea).

            All your if’s are so much projection. Maybe if you took the time to listen to what people say and not pull stuff out of your ass, you could engage in a constructive dialogue instead of attempted point scoring, during which, your entire argument goes down a deep dark well, never to be seen again.

            “Finally, you repeated the BS of saying that proportional representation isn’t a panacea. Again, no one ever said it is.” Um, actually, it’s not BS if you agree that it’s not a panacea. Only as presented by you, it bloody well was. And you want the government to pay for 15 to 20 political parties for … some reason. Let’s just say that’s not going to get any traction on a libertarian website. Just saying, read the room. Or at any rate, walk before you can run. I mean three would be great, and four excellent, compared to what you have.

            Look, Jeff, all I did was try to be helpful by correcting a single mistake in your original post and offer some thoughts. You could have left it there. Or you could have taken it on board and been constructive with it. You chose to do the opposite. I might have ignored it, but one of my own personal failings is that I don’t suffer fools. Get you trying to “threaten” me with not responding. I wish you would, to stop embarrassing yourself. I do not give two shits what you do with your time. It’s yours to waste, as is mine.

            I’m not invested in your PR project (I don’t live there), but I encourage you in your pursuit. But realistically? It only makes sense once there actually is a viable third, fourth, and perhaps more parties.

          15. One more thing, we can’t actually have a coherent discussion if you can’t establish what you agree and disagree with in the first place. You said you disagreed with “everything” I originally wrote, and yet you conclude with agreeing with me with the EC being undemocratic, which was practically the first and main thing I suggested. This is pointless.

        2. “but nobody even talks about [proportional representation]”

          The political movements I have been working with have been talking about and advocating for proportional representation for years. I think what you meant is that the leadership of the Democratic Party and The Republican Party do not talk about it, but why should they? It would not, to put it mildly, be in their best interests to do so.

          1. That statement was about our electoral system being corrupted by money in the form of “campaign contributions,” not proportional representation. That’s a totally false and dishonest misrepresentation of what I wrote.

            I’ve never heard or read about it on any of the sites or podcasts that I read or listen to (this one, Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, Glenn Greenwald, Grey Zone, etc.).

          2. “That alone prevents elections from having any substantial meaning (not to mention the buying of elections by the rich via private campaign contributions), but nobody even talks about it.”

            Note that the main statement there, “That [the lack of proportional representation] alone prevents elections from having any substantial meaning” was then followed by a statement in parentheses “(not to mention the buying of elections by the rich via private campaign contributions)” which was then followed by the statement, “but nobody even talks about it.”

            I don’t believe it was unreasonable for me to conclude that the last statement applied to the first, and not the statement in parenthesis. I was certainly not trying to misrepresent your statements. Which is exactly why I left two comments, one for each topic you brought up. There was absolutely no intent to misrepresent what you said.

  3. We keep getting one wartime president after another. Every president continues the wars of their predecessor. The Western Media keeps talking about what a warmonger Putin is but the US Presidents during Putin’s term in office are far bigger warmongers than Putin. Obama was issued a peace prize and I hope Zelensky is not issued one.

  4. This lust for war is a total perversion of the warrior concept. True warriors don’t fight with industrial weapons, and never kill anyone except other combatants, and fight themselves; they don’t urge others to fight. These chicken hawks are just mind-dead immoral murderers, with some insane lust for killing, and a totally perverted sense of tribal unity and support.

    Humans have gone so far off the rails that it will be very difficult to get back on track. Not impossible, but very difficult.

    1. Those who would send others to war have not tasted the fear, stench of death images of dead and mangled bodies, that war brings.

      1. Several US presidents both fought in wars, and later sent others to war. Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman, and George HW Bush come to mind.

        The experience of war brings out the best in some and the worst in others.

        1. For that matter, Woodrow Wilson, who took the US into World War One, was seven years old when his father’s church was used as a hospital for the Confederates wounded at Chickamauga, so he certainly saw mangled bodies.

  5. Dec 22, 2022 A Grand Unified Theory of Corruption and Treachery

    How did our CIA become so immensely powerful and so immensely corrupt? This book tells a story that feels essentially relevant to me. Nevertheless, it is a story that has not been incorporated into narratives of any of the skeptical and well-informed independent journalists whom I most respect. It is 20 years old now, and the book is as exceedingly readable as it is meticulously documented.



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