Panel discussion - Perpetual War or Rule of Law?


Senior Member
Oct 27, 2009
Panel discussion titled Perpetual War or Rule of Law?Given October 17th at the National Lawyers Guild Law for the People 2009 Convention in Seattle.

Speakers include David Gespass (moderator co-founder of the NLGs Military Law Task Force),
Neri Colmenares (Secretary-General of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers),

Jaribu Hill (Executive Director of The Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights)
and Jeanne Mirer (President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers).


Senior Member
Oct 27, 2009
Perpetual war

In current events

British journalist Robert Fisk has been a critic of Western policies in the Middle East and argues that recent Western conflicts against the Middle East after the end of the Cold War have been part of a new perpetual war.[1] He suggests that Former U.S. President George W. Bush launched attacks on Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan to distract the population from his domestic political problems and claims that despite victorious claims after the first Gulf War that Saddam Hussein had been "defanged," he was again the target of Western attacks through 2001 (and of course beyond).

Critics have used the term "perpetual war" in reference to non-military "wars", such as the "War on Drugs", "War on Poverty", "War on Cancer", Lou Dobbs's "War on the Middle Class", or the "War on Terrorism" or Bill O'Reilly's "War on Christmas".


Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace ... - Google Books

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

How we got to be so hated
by Gore Vidal
Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002, paper

Our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to he told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people.
Arno J. Mayer, professor emeritus of history at Princeton, in an article entitled "Untimely Reflections" published in the magazine Le Monde [France], because he could not get it published in the U.S.
... since 1947 America has been the chief and pioneering perpetrator of "preemptive" state terror, exclusively in the Third World ... Besides the unexceptional subversion and overthrow of governments in competition with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Washington has resorted to political assassinations, surrogate death squads, and unseemly freedom fighters (e.g., bin Laden). It masterminded the killing of Lumumba and Allende; and it unsuccessfully tried to put to death Castro, Khadafi, and Saddam Hussein; and vetoed all efforts to rein in not only Israel's violation of international agreements and U.S. resolutions but also its practice preemptive state terror.
President Bill Clinton in 1996
There is nothing patriotic about our pretending that you can love your country but despise your government.
November 1995 CNN-Time poll found that
55 percent of the people believe the federal government has become so powerful that it poses a threat to the rights of ordinary citizens.
The New York Times is the principal dispenser of opinion received from corporate America.
Adolf Hitler's 1933 speech calling for "an Enabling Act" for "the protection of the People and the State" after the catastrophic Reichstag fire that the Nazis had secretly lit.
"Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and associations; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed."
American Civil Liberties Union in a 1996 report
Today, in the all-out, never-to-be-won twin wars on Drugs and Terrorism, 2 million telephone conversations a year are intercepted by law-enforcement officials. As for that famous "workplace" to which so many Americans are assigned by necessity, "the daily abuse of civil liberties . . . is a national disgrace."
Among the report's findings, between 1990 and 1996, the number of workers under electronic surveillance increased from 8 million per year to more than 30 million. Simultaneously, employers eavesdrop on an estimated 400 million telephone conversations a year-something like 750 a minute. In 1990, major companies subjected 38 percent of their employees to urine tests for drugs. By 1996, more than 70 percent were thus interfered with.
In 1970, I wrote in the New York Times
It is possible to stop most drug addiction in the United States within a very short time. Simply make all drugs available and sell them at cost. Label each drug with a precise description of what effect-good or bad-the drug will have on the taker. This will require heroic honesty. Don't say that marijuana is addictive or dangerous when it is neither, as millions of people know- unlike "speed," which kills most unpleasantly, or heroin, which can be addictive and difficult to kick.
The word terrorist was coined during the French Revolution to describe "an adherent or supporter of the Jacobins, who advocated and practiced methods of partisan repression and bloodshed in the propagation of the principles of democracy and equality."
Although our rulers have revived the word to describe violent enemies of the United States, most of today's actual terrorists can be found within our own governments, federal, state, municipal. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (known as ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, IRS, etc., are so many Jacobins at war against the lives, freedom, and property of our citizens. The FBI slaughter of the innocents at Waco was a model Jacobin enterprise. A mildly crazed religious leader called David Koresh had started a commune with several hundred followers-men, women, and children. Koresh preached world's end. Variously, ATF and FBI found him an ideal enemy to persecute. He was accused of numerous unsubstantiated crimes, including this decade's favorite, pedophilia, and was never given the benefit of due process
"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example."
Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
" To keep information from the public is the function of the corporate media.
Justice Brandeis
"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes the law breaker, it breeds contempt for laws; it invites every man to become a law unto himself."
There is, as yet, no debate over the role of the military in the nation's life and its ongoing threat to us all, thanks to the hubris of senior officers grown accustomed to dispensing vast amounts of the people's money for missiles that can't hit targets and bombers that can't fly in the rain. Congress, which should ride herd, does not because too many of its members are financed by those same companies that absorb our tax money, nor is it particularly helpful that senior officers, after placing orders with the defense industries, so often go to work as salesmen for the very same companies they once bought from.
Fifty years ago, Harry Truman replaced the old republic with a national-security state whose sole purpose is to wage perpetual wars, hot, cold, and tepid. Exact date of replacement? February 27. 1947. Place: White House Cabinet Room. Cast: Truman, Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, a handful of congressional leaders. Republican senator Arthur Vandenberg told Truman that he could have his militarized economy only if he first "scared the hell out of the ,American people" that the Russians were coming. Truman obliged. The perpetual war began. Representative government of, by, and for the people is now a faded memory.
Only corporate America enjoys representation by the Congresses and presidents that it pays for in an arrangement where no one is entirely accountable because those who have bought the government also own the media. Now, with the revolt of the Praetorian Guard at the Pentagon are entering a new and dangerous phase. Although we regularly stigmatize other societies as rogue states, we ourselves have become the largest rogue state of all. We honor no treaties. We spurn international courts. We strike unilaterally wherever we choose. We give orders to the United Nations but do not pay our dues. We complain of terrorism, yet our empire is now the greatest terrorist of all. We bomb, invade, subvert other states. Although We the People of the United States are the sole source of legitimate authority in this land, we are no longer represented in Congress Assembled. Our Congress has been hijacked by corporate America and its enforcer, the imperial military machine. We the unrepresented People of the United States are as much victims of this militarized government as the Panamanians, Iraqis, or Somalians. We have allowed our institutions to be taken over in the name of a globalized American empire that is totally alien in concept to anything our founders had in mind. I suspect that it is far too late in the day for us to restore the republic that we lost a half-century ago.
The 1950 taxes on corporate profits accounted for 25 percent of federal revenue; in 1999 only 10.1 percent.

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace How we got to be so hated by Gore Vidal


Senior Member
Oct 27, 2009
ISAF has suffered 1,481 casualties in Afghanistan as of Dec. 31, 2009. (This figure does not include four Canadian non-military casualties)

U.S. 860

U.K. 244

CANADA 138 (does not include civilian deaths — one diplomat, two aid workers and one journalist)






















ISAF casualities in Afghanistan

Global Defence

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