How did my article on the importance of critical military history morph into a discussion about religious faith? God truly works in mysterious ways.

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Nov 3, 2022Liked by Bill Astore

The other thing I'd like to see in college is more study of propaganda. Jacques Ellul's book of the same name really changed my way of looking at the way information is presented and I would recommend it as a primary textbook. Although propaganda is so ubiquitous in our society I can see why those in charge don't want to study it. It would blow their cover, so to speak.

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Some people think that to study something is to approve of it and people don't like to think of themselves as approving of war. Although, and recent experience supports this, people disapprove of war in general but end up approving of war in particular. As in, "I disapprove of war but we need to stop Putin." War approval it seems to me always ends up with that formula. I disapprove of war but we need to stop (Hitler, Putin, Tojo, Hirohito, Sadam Hussein, Communism, Gaddafi, etc.). Once you get an evil person into the picture critical thinking about war stops as our tribal fight or flight takes over.

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Scott Ritter nails it again with his insightful analysis of what our Generations must face directly, or be steamrollered into oblivion pretending otherwise.

Vladimir Putin’s address at the Valdai Club last week, coming on the heels of the Biden administration’s release of its National Security Strategy, shows how the battle lines have been drawn.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s keynote address at the Valdai Club last Thursday appears to have put Russia on a collision course with the U.S.-led “Rules Based International Order” (RBIO).

The Biden administration two weeks earlier released its 2022 National Security Strategy (NSS), a full-throated defense of the RBIO which all-but declares war on “autocrats” who are “working overtime to undermine democracy.”

These two visions of the future of the world order define a global competition that has become existential in nature. In short, there can be only one victor.

Given the fact that the main players in this competition comprise the five declared nuclear powers, how the world manages the defeat of the losing side will, in large part, determine whether humanity will survive into the next generation...........

[...] But at what cost? The end of American singularity does not have to mean the end of America. The American dream, once removed from the need to dominate the world to sustain it, can be an attainable possibility.

The alternative is grim. Should the U.S. opt to resist the tides of history, the temptation to use the final weapon of existential survival — America’s nuclear arsenal — will be real.

And no one will survive.

In the end, the decision of whether to “burn the village in order to save it” is up to the American people.

We can buy into the flawed “democracy versus autocracy” suicide pact inherent in the 2022 NSS, or we can insist that our leaders use what remains of American leadership and authority to help guide the planet into a new phase of multilateralism where our nation exists as one among equals.


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Nov 5, 2022·edited Nov 5, 2022

Bill, except for the edit function on substack, overall I prefer your Wordpress site and it appears with the noticeably reduced activity of the regulars here, I'm not alone in that opinion.

The best way to know if that's the reality is to allow discussing your thought provoking articles on Wordpress for a Time again.

As for me, I resolve to proof read my comments more thoroughly instead of the more reflexive submitting with the last typed word.

Even The Washington Post allows 5 minutes to edit and refine a comment.

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On the subject of Studying War Some More...

Included in the required reading of a course of study enabling Americans to Study War A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT MORE and begin to come to understand it would be:

1. Joseph Heller’s CATCH-22, [Which, incidentally, i first read in month nine of my first of two years in Vietnam.]

2. Mark Twain’s THE WAR PRAYER [ https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/19-american-empire/mark-twain-the-war-prayer-ca-1904-5/ ]

3. Retired US Marine Corps Brigadier General Smedley Butler’s WAR IS A RACKET

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket ]

4. Ernst Friedrich’s WAR AGAINST WAR!

“The age-old call to glory held no charm for German pacifist Ernst Friedrich (1894–1967). In 1924, he founded the National Anti-War Museum in Berlin, where a radical new method of protest was born. To illustrate a need for universal peace, FRIEDRICH QUICKLY DISPLAYED HUNDREDS OF DISTURBING PHOTOGRAPHS WHICH FULLY REVEALED THE HIDDEN HORRORS OF WORLD WAR ONE. FOR THOSE WHO COULD NOT PERSONALLY ATTEND HIS GRUESOME GALLERY, FRIEDRICH PUBLISHED A BOOK CALLED WAR AGAINST WAR, WHICH FEATURED ANTI-MILITARY SENTIMENTS JUXTAPOSED WITH SOME OF HIS MOST GRAPHIC IMAGES. In 1933, with thousands of copies in circulation, Friedrich encountered the wrath of the aggressive and newly formed National Socialist party. Soon, the war museum was destroyed, and its curator was forced to flee to Belgium.” ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_against_war [EMPHASIS added.]

5. Thich Nhat Hahn’s LOTUS IN A SEA OF FIRE [Which i wish i had read when it was first published in Vietnam in 1967, also during my first year there.]

6. Chris Hedges’ just-published THE GREATEST EVIL IS WAR; his follow-up to WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANING mentioned by Bill.

7. Dalton Trumbo’s 1939 novel JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Got_His_Gun ].

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Bill and BV folks: Does anybody have any thoughts on President Biden's address to the nation on Election2022?


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Will Biden Gamble on a Ukraine Coalition?

The Washington establishment is considering a risky and ill-defined intervention in Europe.

Col. Douglas Macgregor

When Napoleon Bonaparte began his 1812 campaign to conquer Russia, he led the largest “coalition of the willing” in history. In addition to its French core, Bonaparte’s army of more than 400,000 consisted of Italian, Dutch, German, and Polish soldiers. They were at best unenthusiastic. Frankly, other than the French, only Napoleon’s Polish allies were truly eager to march on Moscow.

By the time Bonaparte’s multinational force reached Moscow, paralyzing cold, ruinous battles, exhaustion, disease, and poor logistical planning reduced the original invasion force to less than half of its original strength. It was not long before Prussia and its North German allies defected to the Russians while the remainder (minus the Poles) deserted or died on the march home.

Today, the Biden White House appears to be considering the use of a multinational force aimed at Russia. The NATO alliance is unable to reach a unanimous decision to intervene militarily in support of Ukraine in its war with Russia.

But as signaled recently by David Petraeus, the president and his generals are evaluating their own “coalition of the willing.” The coalition would allegedly consist of primarily, but not exclusively, Polish and Romanian forces, with the U.S. Army at its core, for employment in Ukraine.................................................


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Thank You, Bill, for another nominee for inclusion in THE BEST OF BV. Lots and Lots to chew on, think about, and reflect upon there.

The first thing is whether or not the American People would, as You concluded, “all do well to study and understand [War] better.”

i would propose that the American People need to not Study War merely “Some More” so as to understand it merely “better.”

Rather, they need to study it and come to understand its historical, present, and future Realities a WHOLE HELL OF A LOT MORE if they, their Children, and their Grandchildren are going to have anything to celebrate on “USA-CCL,” July 4, 2026.

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In Other News besides the latest from the Old Testament…; Or, So what does this have to say about the direction in which this country is headed?... :


"Billionaires represent 0.000002% of the American population, but they're responsible for 7.4% of all political donations so far this cycle," according to Americans for Tax Fairness.


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Nov 3, 2022·edited Nov 3, 2022

Bill, this is the equally important part of Eisenhower's MIC retirement speech on Universities and Education

"Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mould, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society."

The Old Testament is rife with so many accounts of WAR.

When the People of God did things God's Way, Peace, Truth, Justice, Prosperity and Equity permeated the whole Society.

When the People of God departed from doing it God's Way, WAR was the inevitable result.

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deletedNov 3, 2022·edited Nov 3, 2022
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