Ukraine and UNSC: Spread of Total Lies

 

Alexander MEZYAEV
The March 6 session of the United Nations Security Council devoted to Ukraine shows that the information war against Russia is in full swing. The weapon used by Russia’s adversaries is total lie.

The Ukraine’s media outlets inform that the Russian troops continue to advance attacking Ukrainian security forces. Residential areas and state buildings come under sporadic shelling. (1) Yuriy Sergeyev, the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, said Debaltseve was attacked not by «insurgents», but rather by Russia-supported mercenaries and Russian troops. The current Ukrainian government never even tried to explain why it outright violated or not fully complied with the Minsk agreements. How to answer the question why Ukraine hampers humanitarian supplies coming from Russia?

Yuriy Sergeev sounded ridiculous saying the Russian aid was… an international crime. Then he switched over into attacking mode to avoid explanations. According to him, rescuers wanted to save Donbass miners but were prevented by merciless rebels. (2) Ukraine simply creates a parallel reality. The West also resorts to lies. Heidi Tagliavini, the special envoy of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that the cease-fire came into effect to be violated by rebels to capture Debaltseve what led to further bloodshed and devastation. (3) Ertugrul Apakan, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, says the same thing. Addressing the United Nations Security Council he said the rebels advanced near Debaltseve after the cease-fire came into effect in violation of spirit and letter of Minsk agreements. (4)

The notorious Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, once again acted as a US puppet. (5) He nibbled on the issue of civilian casualties and then focused on something else. For instance, he is concerned over the fate of Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko detained in Russia. For a few minutes he touchingly spoke about her saying she had to be freed. Of course, nobody can be called a criminal before a ruling handed down by a court, but let me remind that she is charged with a military crime and there is no ground for setting her free. Neither has Šimonović the right to demand her release. He failed to reasonably explain why Russia should free Savchenko. The Lithuanian Ambassador to the United Nations Security Council made fun of herself saying all civilians had to be freed including pilot Savchenko. (6) Even the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg confirmed the fact that there was no legal ground for putting forward the demands to free Savchenko. It decided not to use the «provisional measures in Accordance with article 39 of the rules of court, according to a press release of the court. Rule 39 of the rules of court reads about the fact that provisional measures are applied by the Court regarding the defendant indicate that he is obliged to refrain from actions that could harm the consideration of the applicant’s complaint. Actually it proves her arrest is legal. (7)

Šimonović is also very much concerned over the fate of Akhtem Chiigoz, deputy head of the mejlis (the Tatar representative assembly) who is under on trial at present. He never said what caused his protest. Simply Russia had to release Chiigoz just because Šimonović wants it to be that way.

The Šimonović speech at the United Nations Security Council on March 6 sounded like part of United States-controlled propaganda campaign before starting lethal arms supplies to Ukraine. The Crimea is part of Russia’s territory. Šimonović has no authority to interfere and make comments on what happens there, as well as discuss who is on trial in Russia and why. He also has no right to offer his assessments of the March referendum in the Crimea (8), no matter he tried to do it. Taking part in the information war Šimonović blamed…Russia for the poor human rights record in Ukraine. He said that Russia was «allegedly» continuing to supply weapons and send military to Ukraine. It’s not clear why Šimonović took part in the work of the United Nations Security Council meeting at all. The United Nations Security Council never created any special missions to monitor the human rights situation in Ukraine and never expected any reports! So Šimonović acted as an instrument of United States-orchestrated military propagandas campaign. (9)

No matter how hard they tried to conceal the truth, the facts surfaced at the United Nations Security Council meeting. The Council had to recognize that by March 5 the death toll in Ukraine neared 5820 people, there were over nine and a half residential buildings destroyed and 150 thousand Donetsk residents had no water, gas and electricity. The United Nations Security Council had to admit that schools and kindergartens were shelled. (10)

International observers sympathized with Ukraine. They constantly talked about one million of displaced people in Ukraine and shy away to mention that the same number of refugees flew to Russia. According to the recent data, 640 thousand of them want a special status in the Russian Federation. It’s not what interests the West. Kiev has raised hue and cry over the need to send international peacekeepers to Ukraine. But as of March 6, it had not asked the United Nations to do so. Russian UN Ambassador Vitaliy Churkin was frustrated over the meeting results as the observation of the Minsk agreements was discussed. He thinks that it was not as effective as it could have been. Total lies were voiced during the meeting of the main international body responsible for peace and security.

Footnotes:
(2) The United Nations SDecurity Council meting, March 6, 2015
(3) Transcript, the United Nations Security Council meeting, February 27, 2015. United Nations document: S/PV.7395
(5) The Šimonović report on Ukraine: purposeful bias
(6) The United Nations Security Council meeting, March 6, 2015.
(7) Rule 39 – Interim measures.
1.The Chamber or, where appropriate, the President of the Section or a duty judge appointed pursuant to paragraph 4 of this Rule may, at the request of a party or of any other person concerned, or of their own motion, indicate to the parties any interim measure which they consider should be adopted in the interests of the parties or of the proper conduct of the proceedings.
(8) Statement to the Security Council by Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, at the meeting on Ukraine, 6 March 2015 // The official website of the Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights
(9) Russia has already done its assessment of the Šimonović report that he submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 2, 2015.
Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the ninth report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
The statement says «Unfortunately, not all observer assessments seem to be objective and unbiased. They continue using information from less than reliable sources and drawing unjustified conclusions from it.
We would like to note that the OHCHR mission’s goal is to give truthful and unbiased assessments that should promote the country’s stabilisation. In this connection, we would like to remind again that the Republic of Crimea is a constituent part of the Russian Federation following a free and legitimate expression of the residents’ will, and is not part of the mandate of the UN Mission in Ukraine».
(10) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein provided more detailed statistics, «From mid-April 2014 to 28 February 2015, 5,809 people were documented as killed and 14,740 wounded in the east of Ukraine. Of these, 1,012 were killed and 3,793 wounded between 1 December 2014 and 15 February 2015. Given that full reports on casualties, especially near Donetsk airport and in the Debaltseve area, are still pending, the UN Human Rights Office estimates that the total number of people killed in eastern Ukraine by 2 March has almost certainly exceeded 6,000
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People With ‘Invisible Disabilities’ Fight For Understanding

Audio for this story from All Things Considered will be available at approximately 7:00 p.m. ET.

Carly Medosch has conditions that cause intense fatigue and chronic pain. She took part in a 2014 Stanford Medicine X conference that included discussion of "invisible" illnesses.

Carly Medosch has conditions that cause intense fatigue and chronic pain. She took part in a 2014 Stanford Medicine X conference that included discussion of “invisible” illnesses.

Yuto Watanabe/Stanford Medicine X

Some disabilities are more obvious than others. Many are immediately apparent, especially if someone relies on a wheelchair or cane. But others — known as “invisible” disabilities — are not. People who live with them face particular challenges in the workplace and in their communities.

Carly Medosch, 33, seems like any other young professional in the Washington, D.C. area — busy, with a light laugh and a quick smile. She doesn’t look sick. But she has suffered from Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel condition, since she was 13. There have been times, she says, when she’s “been laying on the floor in the bathroom, kind of thinking, ‘Am I going to die? Should I jump out in front of traffic so that I candie?’ Because you’re just in so much pain.”

More recently, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that leaves her in a state of full-body chronic pain and intense fatigue.

For Medosch and others who struggle with an invisible disability, occasional hospital stays and surgeries are not the hard part. Mundane, everyday activities can be more difficult.

“Washing my hair, blow-drying my hair, putting on makeup — those kind of activities can exhaust me very quickly,” says Medosch. “So you kind of blow-dry your hair and then you sort of sit down for a little bit.”

Walking to the subway or even bending down to pick something up can take a lot out of her. But that isn’t apparent from the outside.

“I kind of call it being able to pass,” she says. “So I can pass as a normal, healthy, average person, which is great and definitely helps ease my everyday life — especially in interactions with strangers, getting your foot in the door in a situation like a job interview.”

It is hard to pinpoint the number of Americans with an invisible disability, but it’s estimated there are millions. Their conditions may range from lupus to bipolar disorder or diabetes. The severity of each person’s condition varies, and the fear of stigma means that people often prefer not to talk about their illnesses.

But in employment disability discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2005 and 2010, the most commonly cited conditions were invisible ones, according to analysis by researchers at Cornell University’sEmployment and Disability Institute.

“You know, it’s that invisible nature of an illness that people don’t understand,” says Wayne Connell, the founder and head of the Invisible Disabilities Association. He started the group after his wife was diagnosed with Lyme disease and multiple sclerosis.

“We’d park in disabled parking and she didn’t use a wheelchair or a cane, and so people would always give us dirty looks and scream at us,” he recalls.

“When they see someone in a wheelchair, OK, they get that they’re in a wheelchair. But what if they have chronic pain, what if they have PTSD — anything from cancer to peripheral neuropathy to autism?”

Medosch has had similar experiences with her handicapped parking tags. She also says that she faced challenges obtaining accommodations from a prospective employer.

Joyce Smithey, a lawyer who specializes in labor and employment, says that’s not uncommon. When people with invisible disabilities request accommodations, Smithey says, some employers respond, “We don’t do that as a policy.”

“And that’s a problem,” Smithey says. “Because that person is not asking to partake of a benefit that’s offered in a policy; that person is asking for an accommodation they’re entitled to under the law.”

When a disability isn’t immediately obvious, others — at work, school or even at home — sometimes doubt it exists and accuse those who suffer from invisible conditions of simply angling for special treatment.

Medosch says she’s comfortable being vocal about her disability now because she’s well protected at her current job. She hopes discussing her own experience will help boost understanding, but acknowledges invisible disability can be hard to fathom — especially when so many people who live with it seem, outwardly, at least, to be just like everyone else.

Why UK politicians could learn a lot from the Pirate party

The electorate is debating global issues on social media – so why do mainstream politicians only ever tweet about local policies?

Supporters of the Pirate party in Germany.
Supporters of the Pirate party in Germany. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Politics with a small p is, of course, on fire. My social media feeds sizzle with the anger of people from across the globe: over the racism of cops in Ferguson, US, over the destruction of antiquities by Isis, over Jihadi John, over Netanyahu’s 26 standing ovations and, above all, over the alleged criminal behaviour of bankers.

Yet the average mainstream politician runs a Twitter feed sublimely indifferent to the issues that excite the world. “Glad to be on the doorstep in Acme-shire, where we had a good discussion about local nursery provision,” is typical MP’s tweet. It is often accompanied by a photograph of the said meeting, in which nobody at all looks glad, nor indeed involved in any kind of discussion.

The social media output of MPs looks even more unhinged when you see it in the context of the debates raging among their constituents online. In fact, if you look closely at people in a party political hustings these days, you will find many of the punters and all the journalists glued to their phones, discussing almost everything except what the meeting is about.

In this context, the decision by the UK’s newly founded Pirate party to crowdsource its manifesto looks interesting. The Pirate party phenomenon started in Sweden in 2006 and spread to 20 EU countries including Germany, where it secured its one MEP in the 2014 elections.

Up to now, its obsessions have been grouped around the issues of internet freedom, state surveillance and the monopolisation of intellectual property and communications. But a glance at the Reddit page where the crowdsourced UK manifesto is being assembled reveals a much wider agenda. If you discount the pure techie stuff, the top five policies being discussed right now are publication of all government documents; removal of CCTV from public places; exempting small businesses from EU VAT rules; scaling all fines against a convicted person’s wealth; and – as with the Greens – paying everybody a basic income from taxation.

If you interrogate the subtext of these discussions, it is possible to come up with quite an accurate picture of what this part of the UK electorate is worried about. Namely, the size and unaccountable power of the state; criminality and tax evasion among corporations; and the venality and powerlessness of official politics. And though the Pirate party’s membership is small, my online life tells me these are indeed the political worries of a generation.

Right now, there is a campaign under way to get young people to register to vote. But when you look at the mismatch between official politics and online politics, the power of the “don’t vote” argument, as promoted by Russell Brand, becomes more understandable.

MPs – of all parties – tend to stick to an agenda they can control. So they convene meetings in Acme-shire about nurseries, or traffic noise, or policing priorities, because these are things that fall under the heading “policy”. The deeper you get into the generation of politicians formed in the Major-Blair era, the more you encounter the conviction that politics is primarily about local service provision plus one or two areas of special interest.

But the electorate – and I am not just talking about the young – is now engaged via social media in a filthy, heart-thumping, expletive-generating debate about everything else. Above all, the debates on social media centre on principles, and the conflict between them. If you doubt me, just try following the hashtags #GamerGate, #JeNeSuisPasCharlie and #TERF for a few hours.

Where mainstream politicians have collided with issues such as GamerGate – which promotes and justifies the violent harassment of women in the computer games industry – there are always “policy” answers: you can outlaw online harassment, refocus police priorities to protect the victims, etc. But to most politicians, these visceral debates are a foreign country.

It is not just distaste that makes politicians bodyswerve most of the debates being had on Twitter, Reddit and the like. It is the conviction that these issues are somehow “not local”, and therefore not electoral. But they are deeply local, in the sense that the ideological conflict is probably going on before every politically engaged eyeball in the room. Those politicians who do pile in – I am thinking of @Tom_Watson for Labour and @DanHannanMEP for the Conservatives – tend to be mavericks beyond control of their parties’ online thought police. But they are currently the exception – and it is making mainstream politics look more disengaged, even as it tries to demonstrate its relevance.

It was the US journalist Byron Price who coined the term “all politics is local” in the 1930s, and the US congressman Tip O’Neill who revived it as a nostrum for modern statecraft. But understood properly, it means, today, that all politics is internet politics. On social media, every adult with a phone – from the builder in the greasy spoon to the City boy on his foreign exchange terminal – is engaged with global issues of principle: mass executions, drone warfare, surveillance, betrayal and the love lives of celebrities jostle alongside the in-play betting odds for the football, or the amusing exploits of somebody’s dog.

That is the “new local”, and social media offers – for those politicians prepared to take it – route one into its street corners. As I crack my finger joints and prepare for this, the most digital of any election, my advice to politicians is: tweet about the real; tweet about the giant issues; and tweet about what the whole world is talking about, not the party hacks of Acme-shire.

New York’s 200-Year Conspiracy for Peace

As a scholarly specialist on the American peace movement, I am sometimes telephoned for background information by journalists writing articles about current demonstrations against war or against nuclear weapons. Almost invariably, they have no idea that the American peace movement has a rich history. Or, if they realize that it does have such a history, they have no idea that that history goes back further than the Vietnam War. This is a very big and unfortunate gap in their knowledge. Actually, the American peace movement dates back two centuries and has involved millions of people (among them prominent figures like John Quincy Adams, Charles Sumner, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Jane Addams, Robert La Follette, John Dewey, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr.). Another relatively unknown fact is the importance of New York State―and particularly New York City―in that movement’s history.

Of course, even before there was an organized peace movement in the United States, there were individual pacifists and peace-oriented Americans. The pacifists, especially, came mostly from three small groups that sprang from the Protestant Reformation―the Society of Friends (better known as Quakers), the Mennonites, and the Brethren. They originally settled primarily in Pennsylvania, where the Quakers established a colony run on pacifist principles. But they eventually fanned out across the northern colonies and states, including New York, where they were joined by another Christian religious pacifist group, the Shakers.

But the first formal peace organization in the United States―and probably in the world―was not established until 1815. This was the New York Peace Society, founded by David Low Dodge, a New York merchant, in August of that year. Dodge was a Presbyterian who, like many other Americans, was horrified by the bloodshed of the Napoleonic Wars, which reached the United States in the form of the War of 1812. In 1815, Dodge published a small book, War Inconsistent with the Religion of Jesus Christ. In it, he not only catalogued the inhumane aspects of war, but contended that “all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity cannot but ardently desire that wars may cease.” Thus, they should “immediately renounce everything that leads to wars . . . and embrace everything which would promote that glorious reign of righteousness and peace.” With this in mind, Dodge and his friends founded the New York Peace Society, an organization largely confined to New York City and open to both pacifists and non-pacifists, although the executive committee was limited to pacifists. Of the 30 original members, some were clergy and others were philanthropic businessmen.

In subsequent months and years, other local peace societies were established in the United States, mostly in the northern states. In 1828, they drew together to form the American Peace Society, with the New York Peace Society as a local branch.

Much of this early American peace movement faded with the approach of the Civil War. The major reason was that most of the movement’s Northern supporters―people like William Lloyd Garrison, the famed abolitionist leader―rallied behind the Union cause thanks to their keen desire to end slavery.

In New York City, however, the Northern cause was considerably less popular. Not only was New York City never an abolitionist stronghold, but the large number of poor, Irish-American workers living there deeply resented the draft, which conscripted them for service in the Union army while enabling the wealthy to escape military service through a $300 payment to a substitute. Eventually, this situation erupted into three days of very violent anti-draft riots. Naturally, the small New York peace movement had nothing to do with this violence, which ended only after the rioters were suppressed by federal troops. But the confrontation did indicate the widespread unpopularity of military service in circles that went beyond the rather elite, Protestant-dominated peace movement of the time.

For the most part, the leadership of the American peace movement from the mid to the late nineteenth century came from New England. This included: William Ladd, a former sea captain from Maine who became the first president of the American Peace Society; William Lloyd Garrison, the great abolitionist leader from New England who founded the New England Non-Resistance Society; Elihu Burritt, a remarkably learned blacksmith from Connecticut who founded the League of Universal Brotherhood; and the cluster of late nineteenth century anti-imperialists, with their greatest strength in Massachusetts, who opposed the U.S. conquest and annexation of the Philippines.

But, in the last years of the nineteenth century, the pendulum began swinging back to New York. International arbitration was a key demand of peace proponents, and this idea was taken up by two Quaker brothers, Alfred and Albert Smiley. Beginning in 1895 and continuing for a total of 22 summers, they brought leaders from the ranks of government, business, religion, education, and reform to their resort at Lake Mohonk, New York to discuss international affairs. Here they fostered discussions of international arbitration, international law, and the creation of an international court. Although the New York Peace Society had long ago gone defunct, in 1906 it was re-established and became one of the most powerful branches of the American Peace Society. In 1907, when a National Arbitration and Peace Congress convened in New York City, it was the largest peace gathering in the history of the United States. Its 1,200 delegates included cabinet officers, supreme court justices, senators, the governor of New York, and prominent figures in business and in the labor movement.

The onset of World War I, in 1914, led to a great upsurge of the peace movement, especially in New York City. Although the United States was at that time neutral in the conflict, a group of editors, social workers, and religious leaders began meeting at Lillian Wald’s Henry Street Settlement to consider the war and its dangers for social reform. Amid a rising call for U.S. military intervention in the conflict and President Woodrow Wilson’s pressure for a U.S. military buildup, they organized the Anti-Preparedness Committee, headed by Crystal Eastman, in 1915. By 1916, the New York City-based organization had 15,000 members, had distributed over half a million pieces of antiwar literature, and had renamed itself the American Union Against Militarism (AAUM).

The new AAUM quickly became the key organization in the nationwide drive to prevent American entry into the world war. In April 1916, it held a mass antiwar meeting in Carnegie Hall, where Lillian Wald was flanked by representatives of the labor movement, social workers, the National Grange, and church organizations. This New York City peace rally was followed by others in over half a dozen other large cities. Although President Wilson ran for re-election that fall, employing the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War,” his actions in early 1917 seemed to be moving the nation toward military intervention. In response to this, the AAUM stepped up its activities, expanded its staff, filled Madison Square Garden with a mass protest meeting, and sponsored antiwar rallies all across the country. But, in April 1917, Wilson called upon Congress for a declaration of war, and most of Congress complied.

With the United States now plunged into the conflict, the AAUM crumbled rapidly. In part, this reflected the belief of some of its leaders that, with the Congressional declaration of war, their opposition to the conflict should stop. But it also reflected the fact that the federal and state government now launched a massive crackdown on dissenters that imprisoned thousands of individuals, shut down organizations, censored newspapers, deported critics, imprisoned, tortured, and sometimes killed conscientious objectors, and encouraged vigilante action. At Columbia University and at other educational institutions, faculty members critical of the war were fired. Some of this repression actually had a positive outcome. Faculty organized the American Association of University Professors to safeguard academic freedom through the establishment of tenure. And the new secretary of the AAUM, Roger Baldwin, formed a Civil Liberties Bureau, which became the American Civil Liberties Union.

Other peace groups managed to survive the war. Perhaps the largest of them was the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Organized as the Woman’s Peace Party in January 1915 at a meeting of 3,000 women called by Jane Addams (the nation’s settlement house pioneer) and Carrie Chapman Catt (a leader of the women’s suffrage movement), the new organization argued that neutral countries should serve as mediators in the world war. That April, it dispatched a U.S. delegation to the Hague for an International Congress of Women that endorsed the idea of neutral mediation and elected Addams president of an International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace. For a time, Addams and other leaders hoped that President Wilson would implement the idea, and Addams did meet with Wilson to urge this course upon him.

After the war, the name of this international organization was changed to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Addams was elected its first president, and the U.S. branch, initially headquartered in New York City, became its strongest. Both Addams and a later WILPF president, Emily Greene Balch, received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work, and the international organization, including the U.S. branch, remains an active part of today’s peace movement.

Another long-term peace group formed during the world war was the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which provided a haven for religious pacifists. Its origin, in 1914, lay in the decision of two friends―one British and the other German―not to be divided from one another by their countries’ murderous military conflict. Launched in Britain, the FOR developed an American counterpart, in Garden City, New York, in November 1915. It members included Quakers, leaders in the YMCA, and social gospel clergymen. Although the Americans did not intend to create an action organization, some of its leaders worked in the broader campaigns against military preparedness and, later, against U.S. intervention in the world war. As the movement spread to other nations, the International FORwas born, with the American branch settling down in New York City. The FOR went on to become the leading voice for religious pacifism in the United States, attracting prominent figures that ranged from Reinhold Niebuhr, to A.J. Muste, to Martin Luther King, Jr. Decades later, the FOR moved a bit upstate to Nyack, New York, where it shed its exclusively Protestant orientation by creating peace fellowships among Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and other religious groups.

In 1923, yet another pacifist organization emerged in the United States: the War Resisters League (WRL). Founded by Jessie Wallace Hughan, a New York City schoolteacher and socialist, the WRL was designed to unite political, humanitarian, and philosophical objectors to war. It was developed as the secular counterpart to the FOR, and sought to enroll conscientious objectors with the credo: “War is a crime against humanity. We therefore are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.” The WRL was particularly popular among Socialists, anarchists, and independent radicals, and established its headquarters in Lower Manhattan, where it is still located. Like WILPF and the FOR, it became the U.S. branch of a worldwide organization―in this case, the War Resisters’ International. Over the years, many prominent figures have given their public support to the WRL, including Albert Einstein, Bayard Rustin, and Daniel Ellsberg. It has been particularly effective in developing and popularizing the tactics of nonviolent resistance.

In 1933, Peter Maurin (an itinerant French peasant philosopher) and Dorothy Day (a longtime writer and leftwing activist) launched the Catholic Worker movement on New York City’s Lower East Side. Although the Catholic Worker movement focused primarily on aiding the downtrodden through the creation of Houses of Hospitality for the poor in the nation’s cities and through the establishment of farming communes in rural regions, it also commenced an unrelenting Catholic critique of war and conscription, heavily publicized through its inexpensive newspaper, the Catholic Worker. In the following decades, America’s Catholic church hierarchy was never quite comfortable with the Catholic Worker movement, particularly its staunch pacifism (which challenged the church’s rather elastic “just war” theory), and a very uneasy relationship usually prevailed between the two. In the meantime, though, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement helped spark the development of what is often referred to as the Catholic Left. Its best-known adherents are probably Daniel and Philip Berrigan, but it also attracted many radical pacifist priests and nuns. Michael Harrington also drew his inspiration, as the nation’s foremost Socialist and anti-poverty crusader, from employment at the Catholic Worker’s House of Hospitality on the Lower East Side.

Of course, there were other peace and peace-oriented organizations―including the American Friends Service Committee, the Committee on Militarism in Education, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation―formed during the first half of the twentieth century. But those discussed here at length were certainly among the most important ones, and they were all closely associated with New York City.

Although the American peace movement largely collapsed with the advent of World War II, it experienced a small-scale revival in the war’s aftermath. The Second World War was the most devastating military conflict in world history, slaughtering more than 50 million people and leaving large portions of the globe in ruins. Moreover, it ended with the U.S. government’s use of the atomic bomb to annihilate two Japanese cities―a clear indication that, if nations continued their ages-old practice of settling their disputes through war, the world was headed for catastrophe.

These developments not only gave new relevance to groups like the WILPF, the FOR, the WRL, and the Catholic Worker, but served as the backdrop for the dramatic growth of the world government movement. United World Federalists (UWF), founded in 1947, was the largest of the new world government organizations, and, within a few years, it had some 50,000 members in the United States. Calling for transforming the United Nations into a genuine world federation, UWF―headquartered in New York City―had the support of numerous prominent writers, politicians, businessmen, and labor leaders and, for a brief time, had significant clout in state governments and in Congress. But, with the intensification of the Cold War, it experienced a serious decline in membership and influence, as did the smaller pacifist groups.

Even so, the nuclear arms race―and particularly its clearest manifestation, the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons―sparked the peace movement’s revival in the late 1950s. In June 1957, a group of prominent Americans, called together by Norman Cousins (publisher of the Saturday Review of Literature) and Clarence Pickett (the long-time secretary of the American Friends Service Committee), met in New York City’s Overseas Press Club to discuss what should be done about the nuclear menace. They decided to begin with a campaign to end nuclear weapons testing, and they adopted, as their name, the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. The name was suggested by Erich Fromm, a prominent New York City psychoanalyst and critic of militarism. “The normal drive for survival has been put out of action by present propaganda,” Fromm declared. “We must try to bring the voice of sanity to the people.”

SANE, as it was soon called, launched its antinuclear campaign in November 1957, with a full-page advertisement in the New York Times, headed: “We Are Facing a Danger Unlike Any Danger That Has Ever Existed.” Calling for the immediate suspension of nuclear weapons testing, SANE’s ad declared that the “challenge of the age is to develop the concept of a higher loyalty”―a loyalty “to the human community.” Although SANE was intended by its founders to serve a temporary, educational purpose, the response to the advertisement was so widespread that SANE became a permanent organization, headquartered in midtown Manhattan. By the summer of 1958, SANE had about 130 chapters (about half of them in the New York City metropolitan area) representing 25,000 Americans. Ultimately, President Kennedy called upon Cousins, as the co-chair of SANE, the largest peace group in the United States, to smooth the path for a nuclear test ban treaty with Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union. This effort came to fruition with the negotiation and signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

Given the widespread dismay with the prospect of nuclear war in the late 1950s and early 1960s, other antinuclear campaigns also arose. One of them, in New York City, developed in opposition to civil defense drills, which peace activists criticized as providing no more than an illusion of safety. In 1955, activists from New York City’s pacifist groups began publicly resisting participation in the city’s annual civil defense drill by refusing to take shelter. By 1960, this civil disobedience campaign had been broadened to the extent that approximately 2,000 people resisted the yearly drill. Some 500 gathered in City Hall Park in a standoff with police, while students at City College, Queens College, Brooklyn College, and New York high schools also defied authorities by refusing participation. Faced with this kind of public resistance, the New York City government simply abandoned its civil defense drills.

As most Americans know, protest against the Vietnam War was widespread in the United States, and was certainly not confined to New York City. Nevertheless, New York played a central role in the protest campaign. One of the first antiwar demonstrations in the nation occurred in December 1964 in Greenwich Village, when three grand old men of the American peace movement―pacifist leader A.J. Muste, Socialist leader Norman Thomas, and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph―denounced the war before a rally of 1,500 people. After the Johnson administration escalated the war by dispatching U.S. combat forces in February 1965, there were demonstrations at the United Nations, on New York college campuses, and elsewhere. Defying Congressional legislation that imposed a five-year prison term on anyone who burned a draft card, young men burned them publicly that November in Union Square. Leading peace activists organized the Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade Committee, which began staging mass antiwar marches through the center of Manhattan. In April 1967, an estimated 125,000 peace demonstrators in New York City surged through the driving rain to the United Nations. Denouncing the war, Martin Luther King, Jr. declared:

This madness must cease. . . . I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

The massive protest campaign against the Vietnam War finally forced U.S. withdrawal from the conflict and an end to the war in 1973. And this, in turn, enabled the American peace movement to redirect its energies toward an issue that had deeply troubled it ever since 1945: the nuclear arms race and the threat of global annihilation. This return to the nuclear weapons issue was accelerated by the revival of the Cold War and the accession to power of hawkish politicians, especially Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the United States. Assailing the nuclear arms control and disarmament measures of the past, the Reaganites promised a major nuclear weapons buildup, depicted the Soviet Union as the source of all evil in the world, and talked glibly of waging and winning a nuclear war. The result was the eruption of the largest, most widespread peace movement in world history.

In the United States, older organizations like SANE―as well as newer ones like Physicians for Social Responsibility―grew rapidly. In June 1982, nearly a million Americans turned out for a rally against the nuclear arms race, the largest demonstration of any kind up to that point in American history. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, designed to stop the nuclear arms race through a Soviet-American agreement to halt the testing, development, and deployment of nuclear weapons, drew the backing of most peace groups, major unions, and mainstream religious bodies. Despite efforts by the Reagan administration to discredit the Freeze movement, polls found that it drew the support of 70 to 80 percent of the public. In the fall of 1982, a majority of voters backed the Freeze in nine of the ten states where it appeared on the ballot. In 1984, it was made part of the Democratic Party’s presidential campaign platform. Ultimately, the movement, in the United States and abroad, was powerful enough to transform public policy. Not only was nuclear war averted, but Soviet and American officials, turning from confrontation to an unprecedented love fest, began signing the first nuclear disarmament agreements in world history. Ronald Reagan, who entered office roaring like a belligerent lion, ended his presidency bleating like a pacifist lamb.

For a number of reasons, the peace movement uprising of the late 1970s and 1980s was less centered in New York than were previous peace movement campaigns. This decline of New York’s central role reflected, in part, the fact that the movement against nuclear weapons had such widespread appeal that it took root in cities and states around the country. But the movement’s ubiquity also reflected a very conscious decision by the leaders of the most powerful new peace movement organization, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, to set up their organizational headquarters in the nation’s “heartland,” rather than in more traditional places, such as New York City. Thus, for public relations purposes, the Freeze campaign established its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis had never been a peace movement stronghold, but it could now serve as a symbol that the peace movement had transcended its New York provincialism to become an all-American phenomenon.

Although there was some truth to the symbolism, the fact remains that New York―particularly New York City―has continued to serve as a key player in the American peace movement. After all, that record-breaking June 1982 antinuclear demonstration of nearly a million people took place not in Missouri, or South Dakota, or Mississippi, or Wyoming but in New York, and specifically in New York City’s Central Park. New York City also invariably provided the site of the peace movement’s largest, nationwide demonstrations against the Iraq War, as well as other large demonstrations championing nuclear disarmament. Moreover, today, New York City, supplemented by other parts of New York State, continues to house the headquarters of numerous peace organizations, including United for Peace and Justice, the FOR, the Catholic Worker, the WRL, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. National peace organizations establishing their headquarters elsewhere often maintain branch offices in New York City. These include Peace Action, the largest peace organization in the United States, which has its headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland (just outside of Washington, DC), but whose second largest affiliate, Peace Action of New York State, is headquartered in Lower Manhattan. And, by the way, Peace Action of New York State not only has chapters in New York City, but throughout New York State, from Long Island right on out to Buffalo.

All of this brings us to an interesting question: Why has New York played a central role in the American peace movement?

Could it be the case that New York State is disproportionately peace-minded because it is the home of a large number of members of two traditionally peace-minded religious groups, the Quakers and the Unitarians? The evidence fails to support this hypothesis. A 1990 study found that only 4,346 Quakers lived in the State of New York, and that they comprised only about .02 percent of the state’s population. Quakers in Indiana, a state with a much smaller population, were far more numerous, but Indiana has never been a center of peace movement agitation. The same study found that Unitarians were more numerous than Quakers in New York State, numbering 13,648. But this still meant that they only comprised about .08 percent of the population, and that New York placed far down on the list of states with a high percentage of Unitarians.

A more significant factor is probably New York’s cosmopolitanism. New York has always had a relatively large immigrant population, and the international values such immigrants have brought with them to the United States have probably cooled the nationalist fervor that has so often undergirded wars against other nations. New York City, of course, with its Statue of Liberty, has long provided a particular haven to people from other lands. And, even today, New York and California are the two states in the nation with the largest percentage of immigrants in their population.

The location of the United Nations in New York City reinforces the city’s cosmopolitanism and, also, provides a focal point for demonstrations against wars and in support of disarmament. The UN special sessions on disarmament of the past, as well as the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conferences, have inspired mass meetings and major demonstrations in New York City calling for nuclear disarmament.

Another explanation for New York’s importance is its large population. New York City has long been the nation’s most populous urban center, while, until fairly recently, New York State has had the largest population of any state. It is not surprising, then, that peace organizations would set up their headquarters in New York City or that they would choose that city for their nationwide peace and nuclear disarmament rallies.

Nevertheless, population is clearly not the only factor behind New York’s prominence in the peace movement. Other large American cities―including Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, and Dallas―have never been hubs of peace movement activism. Also, when it comes to states, California now has twice the population of New York, while Texas is more populous and Florida has roughly the same population. If population explained everything, then peace activism in Texas and Florida would rival or surpass that of New York. But that is not the case.

Yet another factor behind New York’s prominence in the American peace movement is its large educated middle class. Scholars who have studied the peace movement in the United States and elsewhere have often called attention to that movement’s disproportionately large educated middle class constituency, particularly in what are called the helping professions. And, in fact, teachers, students, social workers, librarians, clergy, artists, writers, scientists, lawyers, healthcare workers, and civil servants have provided the backbone of the American peace movement. New York State, especially New York City, is blessed with a very large number of educational institutions. In addition to the many fine private colleges and universities in New York, the State University of New York is the largest higher educational institution in the United States, while the City University of New York also employs and educates very large numbers of New Yorkers. As a result, New York has an unusually large educated middle class, the key constituency of the American peace movement.

Finally, New York’s relatively liberal values and politics also help to explain the state’s prominence in the peace movement. Peace movement membership and activism in the United States have for many years roughly correlated with the progressivism of the region. Thus, not surprisingly, the peace movement has been weak to non-existent in the reactionary states of the Old Confederacy and strong in the Northeast, the Middle West, and on the West Coast. Those areas of strength are pretty much where Peace Action, the largest peace organization in the United States, has its state and regional affiliates today. In fact, the two largest Peace Action affiliates are in California and New York. New York State, of course, is one of the most liberal states in the nation (as is California), and New York City provides the core of the state’s progressive politics. Indeed, New York City has long been a center of dissident groups and ideas, with organizations championing socialism, anarchism, unions, women’s liberation, racial equality, gay and lesbian rights, and other causes. Peace activists fit rather nicely into this reformist milieu.

What, then, can we conclude? First, it seems clear that New York State―particularly its largest city―has played a central role in the long history of the American peace movement. Of course, peace activism has emerged throughout the United States. But it has never been distributed equally. Second, New York’s prominence in the American peace movement seems to reflect a variety of factors, most notably its cosmopolitanism, its large population, its educated middle class, and its relatively liberal political culture.

So watch out, all you Americans out there in the provinces! As you always feared, New Yorkers are engaged in a great conspiracy―a 200-year conspiracy to create a more peaceful world.

Our First Unwashington President

by Thomas Fleming

This article was adapted from Thomas Fleming’s new book, “The Great Divide, the Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined A Nation.” It will be published by Da Capo Press on March 15, 2015.

Why do I call Thomas Jefferson our first Unwashington president? Because he had secretly vowed to do everything and (almost) anything as president differently from the way George Washington did them. This included a summary description of the Jefferson administration that revealed in the starkest possible terms his consuming envy of our first president — The Revolution of 1800.

The friendship and mutual respect that had marked Jefferson’s first days as Washington’s secretary of state in 1790 had slowly vanished as the two men realized the depth and intensity of their disagreements. The Revolution of 1800 was Jefferson’s way of announcing that he had no intention of changing his mind about any of the issues that had led to their mutual alienation.

He seemed to be saying: So you’re famous for winning the American Revolution – eight wearisome years of living dangerously? I intend to be even more famous for a revolution that does not shed any blood, that settles once and for all the spiritual and political superiority of my Republican party to the mean-spirited arrogant secret king worshippers who flaunted the name Federalist with your secret approval. That is the real meaning of the Revolution of 1800.

Instead of riding to his inauguration in a splendid carriage drawn by prancing horses like Presidents Washington and Adams, President Jefferson walked. Artillery boomed as he entered the Senate wing of the new Capitol, the only part that had been completed. There was no cheering crowd. The population of the new federal capital, the District of Columbia, aka Washington DC was so sparse, it would have been difficult to assemble one.

Symbolism aside, walking was the only sensible option. Jefferson had been staying at a boarding house a few hundred yards from the Capitol. Riding in a carriage would have looked pretentious, even silly. But Democratic-Republican newspapers, the same chorus of Jefferson worshippers that had made him president, seized on this stroll to prove his Unwashington-like identification with the average American, No aristocrat he, this man who lived in a splendid mansion on a mountaintop in Virginia. This was a man of the people!

In the Senate chamber President Jefferson gave his inaugural address in a voice so low, few of the nearly one thousand people jammed into the room could hear him. But he had already distributed printed copies to newsmen and congressmen. He began with a tribute to George Washington, calling him “our first and greatest revolutionary character, whose preeminent services…entitled him to the first place in his country’s love.” It was praise that at first glance seemed beyond criticism. It took time for thoughtful men to realize that not a word was said about President Washington. In the coming years a reiteration of this tribute would result in the virtual disappearance of Washington’s presidency.

Meanwhile, President Jefferson was preaching reconciliation. “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists,” he assured his listeners. It was time to “restore to our social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life are dreary things.” It was – or seemed to be – a call for political peace. Listening to these words was a Jefferson cousin who knew they were nonsense — Chief Justice John Marshall, who had administered the oath of office. He described Jefferson’s political party as an uneasy compound of “speculative theorists” and “absolute terrorists” who wanted revenge for the years of political defeats under Presidents Washington and Adams. Jefferson would have to satisfy both branches of the party or he would soon be in trouble, Marshall predicted.

Meanwhile, the UnWashington president abandoned weekly levees and receptions that had given hundreds of people a chance to meet the first two presidents face to face. They were too formal – too king-like for his democratic taste. Jefferson also declared an end to presidential proclamations, a “monarchical” custom that was equally unacceptable. These changes also drew praise from the newspaper chorus. Even more popular was the cancellation of all internal taxes and the reduction of appropriations – and salaries – for the army and the navy. The goal was a shrinkage of federal power

The Unwashington president saw Congress, the supposed voice of the people, as the central force in the federal government. A small but important step in this direction was the abandonment of the annual presidential address to Congress. Instead, Jefferson sent a written message which was read aloud by a droning clerk. It was an example that would be imitated by every president for a century further guaranteeing the disappearance of Washington’s presidency.

Simultaneously, President Jefferson confirmed Chief Justice Marshall’s prediction that he would have to satisfy the terrorist branch of his party. He secretly sought revenge against a man he disliked almost as much as George Washington — Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson ordered his treasury secretary, Albert Gallatin, to exhume the records of Hamilton’s era and discover evidence that he was a crook. The UnWashington President was hoping to junk the whole Hamilton financial system, including his bête noir, the Bank of the United States.

Gallatin scrutinized the former treasury secretary’s records until his eyes grew bleary and his long nose drooped. In an accent that was further thickened by exhaustion, the man from Geneva, Switzerland informed the dismayed president he had not found an iota of corruption. Worse, Gallatin’s economist’s head told his Jeffersonian heart that the bank of the United States and its funded debt and thriving stock market were vital to the stability of the republic. The bank, he wearily informed Jefferson, “had been wisely and skillfully managed.”

It was the first but by no means the last disappointment the UnWashington president would experience in the nation’s highest office.

Wellington Doesn’t Deserve the Credit for Winning Waterloo

Brendan Simms is Professor of the History of European International Relations at the University of Cambridge and the author of The Longest Afternoon. The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle Of Waterloo” (Basic Books, 2015).

The battle for the battle of Waterloo began almost as soon as the smoke had cleared. In his famous ‘Waterloo Dispatch’ the allied commander, the Duke of Wellington, paid relatively handsome tribute to the contribution of his allies, particularly the Prussians under Marshal Bluecher whose belated arrival had saved the day. Soon after, however, the Duke seems to have become increasingly possessive of his victory. He even tried to block efforts by William Siborne, who had made a minute study of the day, to recognize the presence of the Prussians at an earlier stage of the proceedings than comported with the Duke’s recollection. Prolonged and acrimonious correspondence between the protagonists followed.

All this has prompted some to argue that Waterloo was a “German victory.” There is something in this view. About forty-five percent of the men with whom Wellington started the battle spoke German one sort or another, and the proportion increased with every Prussian formation reaching the scene. By the end, a clear majority of allied combatants were German; to that extent Waterloo was indeed a German victory. It would be more accurate and more helpful, however, to describe Wellington’s army as European: 36 percent were British (that is English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish), 10 percent were Nassauers (who fought at both La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont), 8 percent were Brunswickers, 27 percent were Hanoverians serving George III in his capacity of King of England and of Hanover, 13 percent were Dutch and 6 percent ‘Belgian’ (Walloons and Flemings).

No formation epitomizes this aspect of the battle more than the King’s German Legion. They were founded in 1803 as a unit of the British Army to mobilize George III’s Hanoverian subjects against Napoleon after he had over-run their North German homeland. They recruited from across Germany as well though, and had officers from Britain and other parts of Europe, making them in 1815 a multinational unit, in a multinational army sent by an international coalition.

At Waterloo, the Second Light Battalion of the Legion defended the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte against the onrushing French hordes — a kind of German Rorke’s Drift. So long as Napoleon did not control that crucial outpost astride the main road, he could not advance northwards on Brussels. The garrison under Major George Baring were heavily outnumbered, but using their accurate Baker rifles to deadly effect, they held off the French for nearly five hours, long enough to give Bluecher’s Prussians time to arrive in strength. I commemorate their epic desperate fight in The Longest Afternoon. The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle Of Waterloo, the first account devoted primarily to the defence of La Haye Sainte.

It describes the countless little acts of heroism which sustained the defence in the face of daunting odds, and the carnage of thousands of men grappling in a confined space. There is the unfortunate Captain Holtzermann, felled by an artillery round at the start of the engagement who was progressively trampled into the mud as the battle raged. There is the mischievous private Lindau, scornful of danger, who reacted to a serious head wound by pouring rum on it. There are the men who ran to and from the little pond in the courtyard to tech water to put out the fire which threatened to engulf the entire garrison and who paid for their courage with their lives.

Presiding over it all is the larger than life figure of Major Baring himself, setting an example to his men on horseback, knowing full well that he was exposed to enemy sharpshooters, inspiring his men, cajoling them and ultimately – in the case of men from another less robust formation – cutting them down as they attempted to bolt. Miraculously despite his horse’s bridle shattering from French bullets, and three beasts shot from under him, and being pinned by a falling mount, he suffered no more than a bruised leg.

Nor does the book neglect the Frenchmen, whose courage was deserving of a better cause, who attempted again and again to break into the farm at great cost to themselves. Those who stand out are the engineer lieutenant Vieux, a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, who hacked at the main gate to the farm despite his wounds, and the anonymous sapper captain who responded to an order to charge, which he did not expect to survive, by handing over his card with the request to be remembered. We tend to think of them as vast undifferentiated mass, but they too were flesh and blood.

The Germans were able to resist for so long against such terrible odds because they were motivated by a profound ideological hostility to Napoleon, the despoiler of their homeland. They were also devoted to their commander Major Baring, whose solicitude for the welfare persuaded them that they would not be needlessly sacrificed. By the end of the day, when they were finally forced out, the 380 or so men of the original garrison, plus their reinforcements, had killed or injured more than 2000 Frenchmen. Though they suffered heavy casualties themselves most of the defenders survived.

Baring’s achievement stands out in another respect. The heroism of the King’s German Legion was rational, not suicidal. Baring did not recklessly sacrifice his men on a point of honor, or in a spirit of death-defying hubris. He held on as long as he could, and then withdrew on his own initiative. Fighting to the last bullet rather than the last man, Baring’s men won the battle for Wellington without losing more lives than was absolutely necessary to achieve it.

Time to End the “Special Relationship”

 

As expected, reaction to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Washington DC Congressional address broke pretty much  along party lines, both in Israel and the United States.  Those already susceptible to Netanyahu’s war fever heard a compelling, irrefutable case against any nuclear deal with Iran.  Those familiar with Netanyahu’s “boy who cried wolf” routine weren’t persuaded. In Israel, Netanyahu’s expected election numbers remained virtually unchanged following the speech, while in the United States, the bipartisan neocon cabal in Washington and its media claimed “leadership envy” (Elisabeth Hasselbeck, R-Fox News), using the speech as a tool with which to bludgeon their supposedly weak President.

Most sane Americans knew what Netanyahu’s US tour was all about even before he arrived: More war. That’s why they largely opposed it. Americans didn’t need Netanyahu in Washington to explain his position — they’re already well aware of it because he’s been trumpeting the same dire warnings for decades. Americans also have their own Netanyahu worker bees scattered throughout Congress, a sizeable bunch of US-based Zionists who adopt Netanyahu’s murderous ideology wholesale. It is an ideology that sees diplomacy as a last resort and is well-funded by the strong-arm of AIPAC — the Israeli war propaganda machine operating in Washington. One need only look to their work to learn what Israeli warmongers want.

So while more discussion and new information are normally welcomed before war is waged, Netanyahu’s antics gave us neither. His Congressional hosts will use his address to bolster their calls for the continued American war state, which is waged as much by the Israeli state as the American one. Yes, Israeli foreign policy is regarded throughout the world as an extension of America’s, and rightfully so. Stolen taxpayer loot funds Israel to the tune of several billion dollars annually. For a small country, Israel is both armed to the teeth and simultaneously able to lock down an entire Palestinian-Arab population. This is what American foreign aid, paid for by you, spent by Washington, achieves.

The growing disconnect between the US government’s staunch support of Israel and the American public’s disagreement with that support is best explained by Lysander Spooner’s No Treason No. 6, in which Spooner says of Congress, “these pretended agents of the people are really the agents of nobody.” For if members of Congress were legitimately acting as our agents, we would be “responsible for all acts done within the limits of the power entrusted to [Congress].” That constituents are not held legally responsible for the actions of their Congressional “representatives” says much about the purported agency, or lack thereof.

Applying a Spoonerite analysis to the American-Israeli “special relationship” exposes their respective governments’ war machines as classes unto themselves, entities separate and apart from their populations, on their own quest for financial and political power. As with all large, bureaucratic institutions, be they governments or corporations, they exist purely for the people running the institutions. The sooner we treat them as such, the more likely we are to lessen their body counts.