Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

I’m Already Against the Next War and You Should Be Too


This week, the boogeyman is North Korea. Is anyone surprised? The Stalinist “Hermit Kingdom” is right out of central casting. Isolated, always bellicose, unpredictable, and on a war footing for decades: If the Korean War was an American citizen, it would be deciding about now whether to take Social Security early or keep brandishing its atomic weapons for a few more years.

But that narrative is shaped by nearly unavoidable bias. It’s easy to bash North Korea, but if I address my own knowledge of the country honestly, I must admit that most of what I think I know about it is really just what other governments choose to tell me. And those other governments routinely lie — to everyone, about everything, day in and day out, as a matter of policy so ingrained in their character that it can only be accurately characterized as pathological.

So, I can’t really know whether  Kim Jong Un is a nuke-waving megalomaniac or a milquetoast reformist whose every public utterance is filtered by other states’ censors to make him LOOK like a nuke-waving megalomaniac, pursuant to those other states’ agendas.

Nor can I know whether his generals are egging him on to confrontation, or working frantically to cool things down. Or whether his armies are the brainwashed oriental hordes of US propaganda or just a starving gaggle of  scarecrows who’ll throw down their weapons and throw up their hands the first time they see what a US “smart bomb” does to their positions along the DMZ.

If this particular war breaks out — or to be more exact, breaks out again — we’ll be deluged with detailed accounts of  how “they” fired first and how the “free world” merely responded in kind. And once again, we’ll have no way of knowing whether those accounts are true stories or heaping piles of bovine scat. The most we’ll really be able to know (and then only if we’re willing to look closely and carefully) is that even if Kim is as bad as we’re told he is, his adversaries aren’t much better on their best days.

And of course we can know — when we take the time to think about it, we DO know — that war is evil, that as Sherman put it, it is “all hell,” and that it always, every time, serves the interests of the politicians and their crony corporate profiteers at the expense of the victims on all sides who pay the butcher’s bill in blood, treasure or both.

The state did not invent war (in fact it may have been the other way around), but the state has normalized war. It has perpetuated, and continually worked to perfect, wholesale murder for four centuries now. Not just Kim’s state, but all of them. Even if anarchy resulted only in Hobbes’s imperfect, retail “war of all against all” — a doubtful proposition, in my opinion — that would be a dramatic improvement.

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society. He served as a US Marine infantry NCO in the first Gulf War.


Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”