By Matthew Rothschild on September 04, 2013

John Kerry is not exactly inspiring confidence as Secretary of State.

He's become the biggest cheerleader for war against Syria in the entire administration.

At the Senate hearings yesterday, he wouldn't even rule out putting boots on the ground in Syria, even though President Obama had assured us on Saturday that this wouldn't happen.

Asked directly about it, here's what Kerry had to say: If chemical weapons were at risk of falling into the hands of Al Qaeda types in Syria, he said: "I don't want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a President of the United States to secure our country."

He then backtracked and tried to slam the door shut on putting U.S. ground troops there, but if you were listening, you had to conclude that this door is still kind of open.

And anyway, why is the U.S. planning an action that logically will help Al Qaeda types in Syria, who are opposed to the Assad regime?

Kerry also repeated Obama's falsehood from Saturday that the President has the authority to attack Syria without authorization from Congress. By saying so, Kerry shows himself to be ignorant or disdainful of the Constitution and of the War Powers Act.

Once more, a majority of the American public doesn't want war. And once more, the political class is intent on dragging us into it.

To be sure, if it is proven that Assad used chemical weapons, that would be a war crime.

But remember, at the Nuremburg trials, Justice Robert Jackson said the greatest war crime of all was waging an aggressive war.

And that's what John Kerry and Barack Obama seem prepared to commit -- unless we organize and stop them.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Bradley Manning's Unjust Sentence.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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