Saturday, November 18, 2023

Any war is always a criminal act

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for October 15, 2023)

"War is a racket."
-- Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler.

I'm not a good subject for war propaganda. I see the atrocities committed on all sides, going back through history. I also can't ignore or accept civilian casualties-- "collateral damage"-- under any circumstances. It's non-negotiable. One innocent person harmed means you've done wrong, no matter what justification you use. Blame politicians, not populations.

I condemn any new attack, but there's no such thing as an "unprovoked" attack. Every government, or group that acts like a government, is guilty of provoking attacks back and forth. It's an eternal pendulum of revenge.

In war, there's no "right side"; only two or more wrong sides. Every politician and every military pawn sent onto someone else's property is guilty. Even when one side seems more barbaric in the current situation than others. The blood of war is on the hands of those who govern and those who obey orders.

War is always a criminal act.

There are lessons to be learned from this greatest of all crimes.

The idea that there are "rules" in war is infantile. War is a complete breakdown of rules. To expect people who are murdering and destroying property to abide by rules is worse than insanity. You'll get more of what you tolerate, and imagining militaries will follow rules makes war more tolerable. Governments hope you fall for this useful lie. Recognizing that in war there are no rules can let you see what governments are doing to people.

While war is criminal, individuals defending their homes and neighborhoods from invaders isn't war. Shooting enemy troops coming down your street is self-defense against a criminal gang. You'll need the right tools for the job. It won't stop bombs and missiles, but it will make occupying your town too costly. Become unoccupiable.

Any government which makes it difficult for the population to own and carry weapons of war is inviting invasion and defeat. Ukraine learned this lesson. Israel is learning this lesson now. The lesson will be forgotten as soon as it no longer serves the interests of politicians to respect this natural human right. The US governments-- local, state, and federal-- have been lucky so far, routinely violating this right without too many disasters. Their luck will run out, and no one knows when.

War is the health of the state. Governments and their co-conspirators hope to brainwash you with war propaganda. Don't let them.
I couldn't do this without your support.


  1. It's been published in alternative independent news sites that Hamas is confiscating peoples' car key and bank cards so they can't get out of the Gaza Strip. It guarantees that they will have plenty of human shields to hide behind, which was the point.

    Hamas needs to be eliminated. I wish it could be done without innocents being spared.
    But Hamas is making sure that's impossible. There is no good way for Israel to end this.