12 2 mins 8 yrs

This is great stuff.

The historian Tom Woods recently put together the anthology We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now” with the author Murray Polner. That’s a libertarian and a Leftist teaming up there. Here, Jeffrey Tucker of the von Mises Institute chats with Woods about it. I have to say that Tom Woods just gets better and better, and that he’s a hugely engaging speaker (particularly when he gets exasperated, as here). The anthology brings together anti-war writing and speeches from Left and Right, primarily from those who aren’t pacifists. What we chiefly learn from the chat is that war propaganda over the last two centuries has not changed. The same propaganda and lies are always rolled out, for the same interests, and that the people are always suckered by it. We learn this because Woods and Polner went back and studied the primary evidence of those who opposed those wars and why.

This really is an entertaining and informative discussion. It’s worth thirty minutes of your time, I promise.

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  1. Sorry, Pete, but he lost me at the “video game” metaphor.

    If he supported the Iraq War because in his mind it was a “cool video game” – as he says he did – he’s too immature to think straight.

  2. You lasted all of a minute? Sounds like you’re not much up for watching it anyway. Best not to then, I suppose.

  3. Pete, the youtube had me at “Ludwig von Mises Institute” but then lost me at “war= cool video game” but… ok, Ill accept the challenge, I will watch all 30 minutes of it and get back to you.

  4. He said he supported the Iraq war at the beginning!

    He then came to his senses and thought ‘what the hell was I thinking’?

    What was he doing in 2003, studying St Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus??

  5. Bernard –

    Tom Woods supported (though he later recanted) the Gulf War, not the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was the Gulf War which changed his mind.

  6. Aaaaah, my mistake!

    I supported it too, at the beginning. But I can how he changed his mind; those images of Yanky war planes strafing retreating Iraqi vehicles, and playing the overture to William Tell when they returned to base.
    That was appallingly gratuitous, and turned most decent peoples’ stomachs.

  7. Pete – I let this play whilst I was doing some ironing and my opinion is that although Tom Woods is generally correct, it is put more conscisely by General Smedley Butler who explained in 1935 the corporate imperative behind war and that Japan is being targeted next.

    What Butler missed is that Japan was merely the portal to get into a very profitable war against Germany. Here is how far FDR went to wind up Poland. It’s fully referenced using notes of the Polish government of the era:


    When the Germans took Warsaw in late September 1939, they seized a mass of documents from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a letter of 8 April 1983, Dr. Karl Otto Braun of Munich informed me that the documents were captured by an SS brigade led by Freiherr von Kuensberg, whom Braun knew personally. In a surprise attack, the brigade captured the center of Warsaw ahead of the regular German army. Von Kuensberg told Braun that his men took control of the Polish Foreign Ministry just as Ministry officials were in the process of burning incriminating documents. Dr. Braun was an official of the German Foreign Office between 1938 and 1945.

    There is now absolutely no question that the documents from the Polish Foreign Ministry in Warsaw made public by the German government are genuine and authentic.

    Charles C. Tansill, professor of American diplomatic history at Georgetown University, considered them genuine. “… I had a long conversation with M. Lipsky, the Polish ambassador in Berlin in the prewar years, and he assured me that the documents in the German White Paper are authentic,” he wrote.[8] Historian and sociologist Harry Elmer Barnes confirmed this assessment: “Both Professor Tansill and myself have independently established the thorough authenticity of these documents.”[9] In America’s Second Crusade, William H. Chamberlin reported: “I have been privately informed by an extremely reliable source that Potocki, now residing in South America, confirmed the accuracy of the documents, so far as he was concerned.”[10]

    More importantly, Edward Raczynski, the Polish Ambassador in London from 1934 to 1945, confirmed the authenticity of the documents in his diary, which was published in 1963 under the title In Allied London. In his entry for 20 June 1940, he wrote:

    “The Germans published in April a White Book containing documents from the archives of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, consisting of reports from Potocki in Washington, Lukasiewicz in Paris and myself. I do not know where they found them, since we were told that the archives had been destroyed. The documents are certainly genuine, and the facsimiles show that for the most part the Germans got hold of originals and not merely copies.”

  8. Pete

    How do you.reconcile support for the British Empire, which like Islam, was spread by the sword by government agents, with an opposition to all military ventures by the US or Europe ( incl the UK component ) now?

    Were you kidding then or are you kidding now?

  9. Phantom –

    I don’t oppose all military ventures. I’m not a pacifist.

    The British Empire, which was the best thing to happen to an underserving world, was not spread by sword. As has been said of it, Britain pretty much came across an empire by accident.

    Much of the expansion was via trade, companies, buccaneers, rogues, missionaries, explorers and settlers. North America, India, the Cape, Australia, New Zealan – all these colonies and settlements and more were founded outside of government control.

    India’s a typical example. The East India Company was possibly the most powerful entity on the planet. It beat the French out of India. But it was only after this that the British government (which, like all governments, insists on a monopoly of violence) took it and India over.

    The idea that central government control in London directed the expansion of the Empire is way off. In the 16-18th centuries, central government power was vastly weaker than it is today. The idea of merchants and explorers going of to spread British civilisation – without government approval – to new lands is difficult to get your head around today, but that’s how it was.

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