1. Any article listing the top 10 of anything will be widely read.

2. A poll
of people in 65 countries, including the United States, finds that the
United States is overwhelmingly considered the greatest threat to peace
in the world. The consensus would have been even stronger had the United
States itself not been polled, because the 5 percent of humanity living
here is largely convinced that the other 95% of humanity — that group
with experience being threatened or attacked by the United States — is
wrong. After all, our government in the U.S. tells us it’s in favor
of peace. Even when it bombs cities, it does it for peace. It’s hard
for people under the bombs to see that. We in the U.S. have a better

3. Polls in the United States through the 2003-2011 war on Iraq found
that a majority in the U.S. believed Iraqis were better off as the
result of a war that severely damaged — even destroyed
Iraq[1]. A majority of Iraqis, in contrast, believed they were worse
off.[2] A majority in the United States believed Iraqis were
grateful.[3] This is a disagreement over facts, not ideology. But people
often choose which facts to become aware of or to accept. Tenacious
believers in tales of Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” tended to
believe more, not less, firmly when shown the facts. The facts about Iraq
are not pleasant, but they are important. To believe that the people
who live where your nation’s government has waged a war are better off
for it, despite those people’s contention that they are worse off,
suggests an extreme sort of arrogance — and a misplaced arrogance
because you’ve just proven that a few slick politicians can make you
believe up is down.

4. According to U.S.ians the greatest threat to peace on earth is a
nation that hasn’t threatened any other, and hasn’t attacked any other
in centuries, a nation that suffered horrible chemical weapons attacks
and refused to use chemical weapons in response, a nation that has
refused to develop nuclear weapons but been falsely accused of doing so
by the U.S. government for decades. That’s right: a bit of laughably bad
propaganda, regurgitated in variations for 30 years, and the smart
critical thinkers of the Land of the Free declare a nation with a
military budget below 1% of their own — Iran — the Greatest Threat to
Peace.[4] Edward Bernays is cackling wickedly in his grave.

5. Because no cartoon character has ever been named after Edward Bernays, nobody’s ever heard of him.

6. In poll after poll after poll, 75% to 85% in the United States say
their system of government is broken. Yet, what remains the top piece
of advice to agitators for change? That’s right: “Work within the
system.” And what remains the fallback ultimate reliable justification
for launching or escalating or continuing a war: That’s right: “We need
to bring our system of government to others.”

7. When U.S. military spending begins to inch below $1 trillion a year, military-friendly journalists declare
the weapons lobby dead.  When it begins to inch back slightly above $1
trillion a year, slightly less military-friendly journalists declare
the weapons profiteers alive but struggling. In both scenarios the
level of spending remains roughly $1 trillion and the difference between
the high end and the low end, while greater than most other public
programs will ever see, is less than the Pentagon “misplaces” in an
average 12-month period.

8. On Tuesdays, President Barack Obama goes through a list
of men, women, and children, picks which ones to have murdered, and has
them murdered. Knowing this would conflict with hating exclusively a
particular sub-group of our public sociopaths, so most people simply
choose not to know it.

9. If Iraq had really had those weapons, and if Syria had
demonstrably really killed a small number of its victims with the wrong
type of weapons, and if Iran were really building nuclear weapons, . . .
then launching wars on those countries would still be illegal, immoral,
and disastrous. We all have opinions about the question the warmakers
want asked, but not about the insanity that lies behind the question.

10. People have been dying since before recorded history, and yet
only those who pretend to believe nobody dies can be considered serious,
honest, upstanding folk. That there’s another longer life helps us not
worry so much about getting screwed during this one. Perhaps it also
helps us in allowing our “representatives” to routinely end the lives of
so many foreign, and thus ignorant, people.


1. The last such poll may have been Gallup in August 2010.
2. Zogby, Dec. 20, 2011.
3. The last such poll may have been CBS News in August 2010.
4. Check out Gareth Porter’s forthcoming book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.