By David Swanson. This article was first published on

Now that General David Petraeus wants to arm and train al Qaeda killers, a number of questions arise that might be raised with the great leader:

1. Should people who said that anyone was a traitor who called you David Betray-Us while you were fighting al Qaeda, now call you David Betray-Us or a traitor?

2. Do you imagine that just because you can share all sorts of secrets with your girlfriend and get off easy, there are no hardcore nut cases who believe in the “material support for terrorism” law more than they believe in you?

3. Have you looked into whether this West Point professor wants you shot?

4. The U.S. armed what would become al Qaeda against the Soviet Union. Al Qaeda in Iraq developed into ISIS following U.S. war-making there. Could arming one branch of Al Qaeda against another really be the way violence at long last, for the first time, produces something other than more violence?

5. Is this part of a revival of Ronald Reagan traditional conservatism?

6. Do you foresee arming ISIS against a different, greater evil, as a possible future policy? If so, is the Pentagon justified in having gotten a head start on that?

7. Did you know that the U.S. public revolt against a proposed war on Syria in 2013 was driven in part by opposition to aligning with al Qaeda?

8. Is the problem here overly successful propaganda? Should future wars be marketed without the same level of promotion of an enemy brand?

9. When recruiting people to commit mass murder, are you seriously going to keep claiming that what you’re looking for are the “moderates”?

10. While avoiding arms embargoes, disarmament, cease-fires, aid, diplomacy, or peace at all costs, and always arming new groups, you either have to continually invent new groups (like Khorasan) or eventually come around to arming some of the groups you previously armed others against. Which raises the question: which weapons maker loves you the very most?

11. Have you shifted strategy from bribing people not to fight to bribing people to fight because the success of the former turned out to be so fleeting? Why would the latter work better?

12. You have the right to remain silent. Do you understand this right? Have you ever considered exercising it?

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David Swanson's books include: War Is A Lie (2010), When the World Outlawed War (2011), and The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012).  He is the host of  Talk Nation Radio. He has been a journalist, activist, organizer, educator, and agitator.  Swanson helped plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC in 2011.  Swanson holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. He blogs at and and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization Swanson also works on the communications committee of Veterans For Peace, of which he is an associate (non-veteran) member. Swanson is Secretary of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet.