Note from the Editor

Are some Americans awakening from their post 9-11 lethargy? Deck Deckert and Michael Stowell think they may well be. Both note the success of Michael Moore's latest book, "Stupid White Men," to show that maybe, just maybe, people are slowly beginning to take a second look at our anointed bureaucratic monarch. But this page has not been optimistic lately. Another little war (Iraq?) and we'll hear Hail to the Chief all over again until those new mini-nukes get used on whatever battlefield situations. Our plutocracy coldly considers and plans for their use and no one's even blinking. It's just another reality-TV show to watch in prime time.

Blowing away entire nations on the flimsiest rationale, based mostly on factual lies (e.g., incubators, staged massacres, fabricated evidence), have become a way of life. One hears the meekest justifications, "oh yes, it's bad, but at least the Afghan women are free to walk in the streets and go back to school..." How many times have we heard the old "destroy the village to save it" story? How long can humanity sustain such assaults on reason and life? When are we going to say "enough is enough?" When are we going to collectively decide to stop playing the game? When?

Shall we ever understand that people, confined to abject reservations and living conditions, once driven beyond despair, end up committing the most barbaric actions, blowing themselves up with their victims? Our response? We unleash the most destructive forces upon them; we drive them further, beyond despair, if ever imaginable; and we think of ourselves as heroes when in truth we are further dehumanizing ourselves and becoming oblivious to the destruction we wreak upon others. Blinded by vengeance, raising the flag, ratcheting the lowest primal emotions, we are shutting our minds off and losing our own senses. We've become like the patient on the operating table, after receiving a shot of morphine, that can't feel anything anymore. Can we get past the post-surgery syndrome and wake up to our senses again?

This rendition of Swans is replete with food for thought and stimuli for the senses; from Afghanistan and The Hague to Israel and Palestine, and to a few lighter moments, as well. Also check out the announcement about a book which a friend of Swans, Gregory Elich, and a collective of other fine authors published, entitled "Hidden Agenda: U.S./NATO Takeover of Yugoslavia."

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


US Politics and Society

Deck Deckert:  Pretzels And A Book: Sign And Portent

Something is stirring out there. The sycophantic media has been telling us ever since 9-11 that the whole country is united behind George W. Bush's plans for eternal warfare, welfare for rich corporations, and the abolition of civil rights.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Our Tax Dollars and Moral Leaders at Work

Anyway, it's all just pocket change in comparison to the military budget; tokens, really, but there are some disturbing items in the US budget. It pretty much crystallizes the administration's philosophy when it's in black and white with a dollar figure attached, or in red with no funding, as it were. One hundred and thirty five million dollars for promoting abstinence until marriage.   More...


Stephen Gowans:  Munchausens At The Hague, Cowards At Woods Hole

If Carla del Ponte, The Hague's chief prosecutor, were a piece of chocolate, she wouldn't so much resemble the chocolate of her native Switzerland as she would a bar of Ex-Lax, the faux chocolate laxative made in America whose sole purpose is to draw forth copious quantities of shit.   More...


Michael W. Stowell:  Keep Dancing

It's been a rainy week here in Humboldt County; a hard rain has fallen on the status quo and both the Sheriff and the District Attorney have been swept out in a flash flood.   More...


Deck Deckert:  Why Didn't YOU Vote For Nader?

For months after the election, Democrats and other misguided Al Gore supporters berated me for voting for Nader.   More...


Patterns of Violence which Connect

Milo Clark:  Wrong Question, Worse Time

One factor which I notice I presently assume, although not precisely spelled out, may be stated simply: Conventional 20th Century strategy, tactics and weaponry are now irrelevant.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  'Terrorists' Who Made Good

When I was a teen-ager I had a globe of the world. Britain and her colonies were light red and occupied one-quarter of the earth's land surface -- the sun never set on the British empire.   More...


Stephen Gowans:  The Worst Day of the War?

Three, four, five thousand Afghans dead -- nobody knows the precise figure -- and no tears, no prayers, no photographs of anguished parents, spouses, children, mourning.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Israeli-Palestinian And American Sad Minuet

In the whirlwind news not making the headlines, hidden in the bowels of secrecy, out of the figment of a gadfly's imagination, these conversations were overheard. They may or may not have actually taken place.   More...


From The Hague to Belgrade

Stephen Gowans:  The Best-Laid Plans Of Mice And Tribunals Go Oft Astray

Critics of the The Hague Tribunal, before which former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic stands accused of murder, deportation and crimes against humanity, say the tribunal is like no other court.   More...


Aleksandra Priestfield:  Destinations For The Cynical Traveler

For those of us jaded by the plethora of destinations, by a too-wide choice of places to wander wearing the traditional checked shorts and large dark glasses of the American tourist, The New York Times appears to have added something new -- destinations for the cynical traveler.   More...


Culture and Language

Alma A. Hromic:  Watch Your Language!

An apocryphal tale tells of a German scholar who spent many years diligently studying the English language. He wrestled with such anomalies as Leicester and Cholmondeley, and conquered them.   More...


Swans:  God at the Mall, as Predicted

At the close of every year, Swans editors let their hair down and create the always tongue-in-cheek, often sacrilegious, and occasionally sarcastic predictions, grounded in the absurdities of the times. Sometimes they ring true.   More...



William Butler Yeats:  An Acre of Grass

Picture and book remain,
An acre of green grass
For air and exercize,
Now strength and body goes;   More...


Charles Baudelaire:  lxxx (in French)

Quand le ciel bas et lourd pèse comme un couvercle
Sur l'esprit gémissant en proie aux longs ennuis,
Et que de l'horizon embrassant tout le cercle
Il nous verse un jour noir plus triste que les nuits;   More...


Book Excerpts: "Suicide Charlie, A Vietnam War Story"

Norman L. Russell:  War up Close -- The Kid and the Old Man

Inside a clump of bushes, a man and a boy tremble, waiting for us to pass, knowing that the slightest movement or sound could betray them. . . .   More...


Norman L. Russell:  War up Close -- Russell's Lament

The soldiers of Suicide Charlie were young men forced to deal daily with situations that would test the wisdom of the greatest philosophers.   More...



Published by the International Action Center
Available on line at

Our friend, Gregory Elich, is part of a collective -- comprising Sara Flounders, Ramsey Clark, Monica Moorehead, Nadja Tesich, Milos Raickovich, Michael Parenti, Shani Rifati, and many more authors -- that has written this book. Flounders writes that "the material published in this book will contribute toward the judgment of history. NATO means continuing war, crisis and colonial domination. Here at home NATO's existence means greater poverty and repression. This book is our effort to develop an understanding and to plant seeds of resistance. Resistance is needed, resistance is possible. The new movement against corporate globalization has shown that resistance will grow." You can learn more about this work at the International Action Center.

Purchase a copy at



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


Created: March 18, 2002