World’s Most Evil and Lawless Institution? The Executive Branch of the U.S. Government by Fred Branfman

by Fred Branfman
Writer, Dandelion Salad
originally published on Alternet, June 26, 2013
July 1, 2013

Rusty Antiwar Sculpture

Image by Franco Folini via Flickr

Executive Branch leaders have killed, wounded and made homeless well over 20 million human beings in the last 50 years, mostly civilians.

America has a secret. It is not discussed in polite company or at the dinner tables of the powerful, rich and famous.

Parents do not teach it to their children. Best-selling authors do not write about it. Politicians and government officials ignore it. Intellectuals avoid it. High school and college textbooks do not refer to it. TV pundits do not comment on it. Teachers do not teach it. Journalists from the nation’s most highly regarded TV news shows, newspapers and magazines, do not report it. Continue reading

Questioning McNamara by Daniel N. White

by Daniel N. White
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
November 16, 2010

The main building of the University of Texas a...

The main building of the University of Texas at Austin, built in part with oil revenues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Had a day completely off back in July, which isn’t normally the case for me during the summer months when I’m usually busy as hell.  Wasn’t a planned day off doing something I wanted to do–I had a jury duty summons and had to go downtown to the courthouse.  Parked about two miles away–that’s the nearest free parking to the courthouse downtown in Austin, and jurors don’t get free parking or parking meter passes here.  You do get all of a six dollar per diem, which buys most of your lunch I guess.  So I walked over to the courthouse from my truck, plenty early for my summons, and got stopped at the security checkin on account of my pocketknife, which I’ve toted one of around in my front pocket ever since I graduated from diapers.  Continue reading

Bill Moyers Journal: LBJ’s Path to War

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Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal
November 20, 2009

Bill Moyers considers a President’s decision to escalate troop levels in a military conflict. Through LBJ’s taped phone conversations and his own remembrances, Bill Moyers looks at Johnson’s deliberations as he stepped up America’s role in Vietnam.

Learn more the LBJ tapes and explore an interactive timeline of the escalation.

video/transcript: Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

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The Fog of War (2003)

Dandelion Salad

replaced video Sept 1, 2014

nellis51·Mar 23, 2013

Documentary about Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, who subsequently became president of the World Bank. The documentary combines an interview with Mr. McNamara discussing some of the tragedies and glories of the 20th Century, archival footage, documents, and an original score by Philip Glass. Written by Richard Latham

The “Eleven Lessons” listed in the film are as follows:
1. Empathize with your enemy.
2. Rationality will not save us.
3. There’s something beyond one’s self.
4. Maximize efficiency.
5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
6. Get the data.
7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.
8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.
9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
10. Never say never.
11. You can’t change human nature.

Continue reading

stimulator: The Present Insurrection

Dandelion Salad

July 20, 2009…
This Week:

1. State of the Future Report
2. Obama Acts on Climate Change
3. The Gangstas meet again
4. Le Boom Boom!
5. Squatting an airport
6. Earth First! blockade
7. EnCana’s holey pipeline
8. Bobby Mac eats it
9. Jedi Mind Tricks
10. Defending the resistance

Continue reading

How McNamara Lost World War II by Greg Palast

by Greg Palast
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
July 9, 2009

Excerpted from “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” (Penguin 2003).

It’s been a good week. Robert McNamara’s dead and my book, Armed Madhouse, was released in translation in Vietnam.

I don’t blame McNamara for losing the war in Vietnam. After all, the good guys won. I do, however, blame him for losing World War II.

Continue reading

Gareth Porter: McNamara deceived LBJ on Vietnam + McNamara’s mindset

Dandelion Saladfl

Updated: July 15, 2009 added Part 2


Part 1

Paul Jay speaks to Garth Porter about former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara who died Monday, July 6th. Porter says that documents he uncovered from the Lyndon B. Johnson library demonstrate that McNamara deceived LBJ over the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In spite of dubious reports that U.S. Navy ships were attacked by North Vietnamese fleet, “[McNamara] went ahead with drafting the strike order for the retaliation that night and actually [sent] that strike order without having basically consulted further with President Johnson about the situation that he now understood of real doubt on the part of the commander on the scene that they had been attacked.”

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Antiwar Radio: Daniel Ellsberg and Gareth Porter on Tonkin Gulf

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Dandelion Salad

Scott Horton
Antiwar Radio
July 07, 2009

Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, discusses the events leading to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, earlier CIA attempts to provoke N. Vietnam retaliation, Robert McNamara’s role in hiding evidence that the second Tonkin Gulf incident never happened, the possibility an earlier leak of the Pentagon Papers would have prevented the Vietnam War and saved millions of lives, the sociological explanation of how government secrects are kept and the U.S. penchant for planning false-flag operations that sacrifice American lives.


via Daniel Ellsberg « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton and Charles Goyette


Gareth Porter on Antiwar Radio

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for Inter Press Service, discusses evidence that Robert McNamara never told LBJ the August 4, 1964 Tonkin Gulf attack on the USS Maddox and Turner Joy never happened, information revealed in recorded phone conversations between LBJ and McNamara released in 2006 and Gareth Porter’s own phone conversation with McNamara. Note: recorded on June 22, 2009


via Gareth Porter « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton and Charles Goyette


McNamara Dies at 93: A Look at His Legacy With Howard Zinn, Marilyn Young & Jonathan Schell

An Open Letter to Robert S. McNamara by Daniel N. White

An Open Letter to Robert S. McNamara by Daniel N. White

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Sent to DS by the author.

Note: The following letter was sent January, 2009 but Daniel did not receive a response in return.

by Daniel N. White
Dandelion Salad
July 7, 2009
originally sent Jan. 2009

Dear Mr. McNamara,

My readings of late have prompted me to write you in the fine lost tradition of a public exchange of letters.  I wish to raise issues from your writings both as Secretary of Defense and as a private citizen in your recently published books that are of the utmost importance to our current wars in the Middle East, and to the health and proper functioning of American society and its political system.  These issues require being raised, and answered, in public, and therefore I turn to this old-fashioned means to do that.

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Vietnam War architect McNamara dies

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Dandelion Salad

Mon, 06 Jul 2009 16:22:40 GMT

Former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the main engineer of the US war in Vietnam, has died at the age of 93, his family says.

McNamara died in his sleep at his home in Washington on Monday after a period of ill health, his wife, Diana, told the Associated Press.


via Vietnam War architect McNamara dies


Commentary: Galloway on McNamara: Reading an obit with great pleasure

By Joseph L. Galloway
McClatchy Newspapers
06 Jul 2009

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” —Clarence Darrow 1857–1938

Well, the aptly named Robert Strange McNamara has finally shuffled off to join LBJ and Dick Nixon in the 7th level of Hell.

McNamara was the original bean-counter — a man who knew the cost of everything but the worth of nothing.

Back in 1990 I had a series of strange phone conversations with McMamara while doing research for my book We Were Soldiers Once And Young. McNamara prefaced every conversation with this: “I do not want to comment on the record for fear that I might distort history in the process.” Then he would proceed to talk for an hour, doing precisely that with answers that were disingenuous in the extreme — when they were not bald-faced lies.


via Commentary: Galloway on McNamara: Reading an obit with great pleasure | McClatchy.