Note from the Editors

Change is the mantra of the 2008 presidential election, yet change when it comes to war is defined as more war, or the right war, or the winnable war. No candidate even questions the military-industrial complex or war for oil, let alone suggests peace. In true form and with another 9/11 upon us, McCain and Obama will strike their best commander-in-chief poses at Ground Zero to remember the victims of the tragedy that became the Pearl Harbor of the Global War on Terror. We prefer to use this sad occasion for a more reflective commemoration by publishing Letters Against the War by the late Tiziano Terzani. Terzani's book, a series of letters he wrote between September 14, 2001, and January 17, 2002, is a profoundly humane, insightful, prescient plea to choose peace over the war he knew would only fuel the flames of terrorism and destroy peoples and cultures of which we have little understanding. Just as the world changed after September 11, one's perspective cannot but change after reading this book, which explains why no American or British company would publish it. Terzani could not have predicted nor even fathomed the horrifying crimes committed against prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and in stark contrast to choosing peace, we found ourselves in one of the darkest chapters of war and its cover-up. Peter Byrne reviews the documentary and accompanying book Standard Operating Procedure that reveals the culture that encouraged these atrocities.

Opponents of war would be well advised to consider a real candidate for change, Ralph Nader, rather than supporting war by voting for its advocates (including Barack Obama). At his August 27 Open the Debates rally he asked us "to apply our time to waging peace -- muscular peace." Nader, like Terzani, is effectively censored in the American media, so we are publishing the transcript of this impassioned speech. (Also censored is any coverage of antiwar protest at the Conventions for Change, as resident activist Martin Murie laments.) For those looking to Ron Paul, Gilles d'Aymery reveals the wizards behind the curtain of this man's platform and from what he found, there's not much love in the rEVOLution... If you're still reading and still think you're a progressive, have a look at Joel Hirschhorn's article, then imagine Carol Warner Christen moderating the duopolist debates when she challenges endless war and asks, did anyone care that we killed children?

Those "change" candidates are also flexing their muscles at Russia as we head down the path to Cold War II. Charles Marowitz wonders if the same type of Stalinist dogmatism that literally extinguished the great experimental theater director Vsevolod Meyerhold and free artistic expression in 1940 may be reawakening in Putin's 21st century Russia. Encapsulating all of the above, R. Scott Porter's poem considers our tenuous relationship with the planet, and we close with your letters, on Jimmy Carter's snub, Joe Biden's values, and Ralph Nader's platform for change you can believe in.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.

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Waging Peace Against War

Gilles d'Aymery:  Ode To Peace And Life
Introduction to Tiziano Terzani's Letters Against the War

Introductory remarks on one of the most remarkable short books ever written in favor of peace, non-violence, and understanding among distinct cultures, and its author, Italian journalist and author Tiziano Terzani.   More...



English translation of Lettere Contro la Guerra, originally published in 2002. It's a series of profoundly lucid and relevant letters that the distinguished Italian journalist and author dedicated to his grandson, Novalis, so that he may choose peace. (Published on Swans by permission of   More...


Waging War Against Peace

Peter Byrne:  Torture For Fun And Uncle Sam

A review of Errol Morris's documentary on the horrors of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, Standard Operating Procedure, and his accompanying book co-written with Philip Gourevitch.   More...


US Elections 2008

Ralph Nader:  We Will Decide!

The transcript of Ralph Nader's impassioned Open The Debates speech at the Denver Super Rally on August 27, 2008.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples

The nativist, anti-immigrant, white supremacist, federalist, isolationalist, anti-civil rights hard right-wing people that stand behind Ron Paul and his demagoguery. Don't be fooled by Ron Paul's narrative.   More...


Martin Murie:  Denver Braying

The "historic event" of the 2008 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention is historic regarding the media's lack of protest coverage, rugged individualism gone wild, empty antiwar promises, and the utter disregard for the only candidates supporting people power: Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader.   More...


Joel S. Hirschhorn:  Neo-Progressives Sell Out To Democrats

Neo-progressives, aka fake progressives, want to believe that Barack Obama and the Democrats will finally deliver the political outcomes that have been dreamed about for a long term. This is delusion-driven hope, based on well founded despair about our political system.   More...


America: Myths & Realities

Carol Warner Christen:  Well-Known "Evils" We Never Seem To Learn

War seems to be the answer, always war and weapons -- each worse and nastier than the previous weapons -- which pile up monies and profits and pseudo-standing in the eyes of those who want to profit from the slaughter of human beings. Did anyone care that we killed children?   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  The Fall Of Meyerhold

The same type of Stalinist dogmatism that literally extinguished the great experimental theatre director Vsevolod Meyerhold and free artistic expression in 1940 may be reawakening in Putin's 21st century Russia.   More...



R. Scott Porter:  Nature And Man

A poem that addresses our tenuous relationship with our planet.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Change you still believe in? Jimmy Carter censored at the DNC; Joe Biden's a friend of war, but no friend of the working class; and taking control of our planet, with idealists like Ralph Nader.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: September 8, 2008