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The War Tree


The War Tree

Kent Shifferd

Picture War, with a capital W, as a giant tree. The branches are the individual wars, some great like WWII and some just twigs, small skirmishes. These are supported by a great trunk which is, of course, rooted in the ground. The trunk comprises all the institutions that support war: most obviously standing military forces, but also the schools (ROTC, teaching a distorted version of history as a string of wars), the veterans’ organizations, the think tanks, the great corporations that supply the war materiel, the religious organizations that justify War, even our sporting and entertainme


Make war the monstrous crime that it is and punish not only those who wage it, but also those that profit from it and promote it. Intentionally killing another human being is murder. Period. Those who support it are accomplices.

Outlaw war on a global basis and impose complete boycotts of countries, including this one, that wage war, especially countries which use war as their foreign policy. A good place to begin is to prosecute war criminals from the last three administrations in this country and the media and defense industry bosses that were accomplices, rather than promote them to positions of even more power.

Call out any and every politician that supports the war machine, especially politicians who preach progressive policies at home with one hand and continue to support the global war machine with the other. They can dress it up anyway they want, but they are accessories to murder. No progressive movement should support war in any way, shape, or form.


What you wrote is excellent, true, and, for those of us who care, compelling. But the political/economic system of the West is based on the power and greed from the Merchants of Death Industries and their willing, greedy accomplices in politics and media who will never relinquish their blood-stained hold on power unless they are forced to.

So how do we do that without even more bloodshed?


E.O. Wilson says war is inevitable:


World Beyond War says war is not inevitable:


The US is still a signatory of this:

Since treaties the US sign and ratify are the law of the land…


One ROOT of the middle east wars is the Petro-dollar system. Another ROOT is the greater Israel project.

Google those to learn more.

In essence the petro-dollar agreement with OPEC nations replaced the gold backing of the US dollar. The agreement calls for all oil to be extracted by US firms, sold in US dollars and earnings invested in US treasuries making OPEC countries vassal states of US hegemony. In return the US will ensure those dictatorships and kingdoms will not get democratized.

After the first Gulf war and creation of the Eurozone, Iraq started selling oil in Euros, Libya started a new pan-African Dinar currency backed by gold to facilitate oil transactions in. Venezuela, Russia and Iran are selling oil in Yuan. All three of those countries are in the cross-hairs of the US. China is the de-facto head and beneficiary of the BRICS coalition however the Yuan is still pegged to the US dollar so that is not as much of a threat right now. If China removes the peg and allows the Yuan to increase in value, the US dollar will crash.

In essense the US dollar is backed by guns not exports.


True, but the US has a long history of not honoring treaties. With that in mind, I don’t understand why any country would sign one with us.


The United States no longer has morality, (I’m not sure it ever did). Without it, peaceful protests will fail.


When we talk about the great influence war and jingoism and patriotism has on society we are talking about what Dwight Eisenhower first called the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC)

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together” – President Dwight Eisenhower, farewell address, 1961

today the war-machine MICC intentionally has an arms/weapons systems manufacturer, supplier, sub-supplier, dealer in near every Congressional district, and those “JOBS” based on killing and destruction are as American as apple pie.

The fact is "War is a Racket" as Marine Maj-Gen Smedley Butler wrote: - “It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

Bill Moyers Interviews Chuck Spinney - “The military industrial Congressional complex is a political economy with a big P and a little E. It’s very political in nature. Economic decisions, which should prevail in a normal market system don’t prevail in the Pentagon, or in the military industrial complex.”

All those profits by the arms industry, the pentagon careers made, the lives shattered, are bought by death and destruction on a scale that should make every conscious person take note…unfortunately they are diverted by the mechanisms of the war-machine - the appeal to support “jobs” - to ignore morality…what would Jesus do?


To abolish war, there must be an alternative to “might makes right.” Most of the world lives within countries with laws. Similarly, we need just laws planet-wide that are enforced disinterestedly by and for people as a whole.

As I see it, the US is THE major stumbling block to world peace. There are already many reasonable international institutions and laws on the books, but the US (sometimes alone) pointedly refuses to abide by many of them including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Ottawa Land Mine Treaty, the International Court of Justice, and now the Paris Climate Accords.

Instead, the US claims the title of “world policeman,” maintains military bases in over a 100 countries and floatillas across the seven seas, and spends as much on war preparation as the rest of the world combined.

Where are the US leaders who advocate peace rather than war?


Did anybody come across this news? Seems to be missing from all major news outlets.


" Where are the US leaders who advocate peace rather than war? "
They’re in their neighborhoods and communities trying to end the murdering of their fellow citizens by the local police depts.
They’re in their neighborhoods and communities trying to end the homeless crisis ( war refugees in their own country ) among their fellow citizens by the local police depts. and the business interests. Who demand excessive profits, protected by local gov’t officials, over people ( primarily of the working class and minorities ) in various stages of financial and mental duress.
They’re in their neighborhoods and communities trying to protect and save children ( the children of the working class and minorities ) from willful neglect by the wealthy elites. Who refuse to pay their fair share of taxes to maintain healthy and thriving communities ( " to whom much is given, much is asked " ).
They’re in their neighborhoods and communities trying to protect and save their fellow citizens from environmental castrophies like polluted water systems and industrial waste. Which are the direct results of irresponsible corporations owned by welthy elites. Who refuse to pay their fair share…
They’re in their neighborhoods and communities trying to protect and save their fellow citizens from… irresponsible corporations owned by wealthy elites who couldn’t give two shits whether 50-60% of their fellow citizens died tomorrow. Who refuse to pay for, or stop, their willful destruction of anything which doesn’t produce excessive personal profits. Thus destroying the lives of most of the citizens who live in the communities…
Endless War and its companions; always being on a military footing and protection of wealthy elites’ excessive profits, requires peacemakers to constantly use their energy trying save and protect our vulnerable neighborhoods and communities. When Endless War is the business partner of a Federal Government owned by wealthy elites, their priorities and agendas always come first. That’s how it is in the United States of America, currently and historically.
" He wasn’t born in a cabin, he never fought in the war, But he learned to quote Abe Lincoln…So wave the flag and take a stand; Stand in line to shake his hand, he says he’s your friend, the friend of the common man. " The Blasters’ Common Man


For a few hundred years international laws and treaties have been made and broken to outlaw war and to "civilise its conduct and practice.

Modern war has a cause and that is capitalism. To end war means ending capitalism and that is what all the reformers and anti-war activists fail to include in their good intentioned peace campaigns .

Try a read of this pamphlet from a political party that has opposed ALL war since its foundation in 1904 regardless of whether they have been described as just or humanitarian.


The only war worth fighting is the class war

Oppression is the Greatest Determinant of Deadly Heat

Interesting though honestly there is nothing to stop Trump from just bombing them, after we have bombed plenty of countries in the past without officially declaring war. And besides with the Republican controlled congress Trump doesn’t have to worry about the consequences of impeachment if he does start going to war with Iran.


Well put. For all those despondent that it doesn’t seem like there are any peace leaders anymore keep in mind that the media purposefully is manufacturing that perception by not covering such peace activists.


Saddam Husein declared that Iraq would switch to the Euro for it oil sales. Shortly after that, the US invaded.
Muammar Gaddafi declared that Libya would switch to the Euro for it oil sales. Shortly after that, the US invaded.
Is there a pattern here?


Many things are right about this essay, but there are also basic problems:

(1) The author asks why all the antiwar efforts haven’t won and answers that they’ve all been misdirected; but this omits the obvious possibility that we haven’t yet produced a warless world because the cultural and economic bases of war have active defenses. Like the wicked apple tree in the Wizard of Oz, if you mess with the war tree, it may very well beat the shit out of you. And putting forward a “positive peace system” will not get a free pass any more than direct resistance – not if it really threatens the war system’s continuance. Let’s not fool ourselves that it could be so easy, that the foe is so stupid.

The idea that we would have won by now, if only we’d been doing something different and wiser, assumes that we could have won by now. But that may not be true. It probably isn’t.

(2) The article’s frame is an either/or: “We must stop hacking at the branches and the trunk. . . . We need to uproot the tree.” But war culture is not actually a tree; one could as well (or better) visualize it as a network of feedbacks, where actual nukes feed nuke culture, fresh military martyrdoms strengthen militarism, the imperial invasion du jour strengthens the whole war system, etc. To interfere with these loops at any point is not only to hamper imminent particular harms (e.g., an invasion of Iran) but to mess with the cultural roots of the shitshow. On this view, all efforts are good. Anywhere you chip in is good. Even resistance is not futile.

No pivot on a simple Big Idea is going to set the world right. It will take a thousand forms of resistance and creativity and, should we live so long, will take generations longer, maybe centuries longer. “We must stop hacking at the branches and the trunk. . . . We need to uproot the tree” sounds to me too much like “We must stop struggling, and achieve victory” – which is, frankly, vacuous.


Ever since man learned that a rock could be used to kill there has been hostility. When in history have there not been wars to conquer, rape and subjugate others ? In the past few centuries war is an industry not just to pillage and control but because WMD are big business. So your post which focuses on placing some limits on the war economy sounds appropriate and citizens of this world must work to force limits on killing.


I hope all is well w you – If you get a chance listen to the last 25 minutes of this show about war etc and environment


check out link above