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The Washington Post’s Case Against Democracy

The Washington Post has been a leading promoter of the Rules Based Order, which some have confused with a pro-democracy initiative. The Post has, however, assembled a powerful case against democracy, that we all need to take seriously if we want to be, you know, serious.

I want to highlight just the most recent two additions to the anti-democracy argument that by now is quite overwhelmingly established.

On August 29th, a column appeared in the Washington Post by a very serious columnist who has seriously and consistently supported every war in recent decades, and done so with completely inconsistent but super serious arguments. The fault of the horrific deaths of 13 people in Afghanistan in recent days, this column argued, lies with the U.S. public, which may have (the column doesn’t really suggest this, but who knows) had some influence on the U.S. government.

The brilliance of this column may fade into the wallpaper, because some of it is now well-established practice. It is none the less worth noting that vastly more than 13 people have died in recent days in Afghanistan. The U.S. military is still sending in missiles to blow men, women, and little children into tiny bits and pieces. But they are not lives that matter. If they mattered, then it would also matter that the war has been killing people, almost certainly in the 2 to 4 million range over a period of 20 years. And if that mattered, then ending a war wouldn’t be understood as an act of violence, no matter how badly you ended it.

There’s something even more brilliant here, though. If you look back at the public opinion polls in the United States, the U.S. public has opposed the war for well over 18 years. Millions of us have not just said that but done everything we could to end it since the day it began. If you’re finally going to give us credit, it might be worth considering the likelihood that the ending would have been better 19 or 20 years ago than it was this past week. Only a very skilled and serious columnist could erase that line of thought by transforming credit into blame, peace into war, and missile victims into vapor.

The idea of democracy is subtly weakened while the wars for “democracy” are strengthened in the hands of a master — or of a brain-dead jackass paid big bucks for this swill; as a member of the public, I don’t feel qualified to say which it is.

Example number 2: On August 27th, the Washington Post published a column that lamented the possible influence of European public opinion on the participation of European governments in NATO. It seems that people in Europe are not fond of all the wars, much less of planning more of them. They believe some of the fearmongering lies about Russia, yet still strongly oppose the basic idea of NATO, which is the illegal commitment of each member to join in any crime committed by the military of another member. In particular they oppose stirring up a war on China, which is of course the number one project of the democracy-spreading Rules Based Order.

The Washington Post knows what matters, thank goodness, and is focused on making sure NATO can do what the weapons dealers demand, no matter what the pesky public may prefer in NATO member states.

The point that the Post really needs to develop further, and I have every confidence that it can, is how an antidemocratic institution waging unpopular and illegal wars that cause more destruction, death, and suffering than just about anything else happening in the world can be better sold as pro-democracy. The Rules Based Order is already crumbling as a piece of propaganda. It too obviously is a mask for the notion that who rules gives the orders. But the sacred word “democracy” is of too much value to the most serious project there is for it to be allowed to slip away without a struggle. That project is of course the critical work of bullshitting everyone.


David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

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