Illusions & Realities
edited by Paul Buchheit
Price: $14.95

ISBN: 13-digit: 978-0-932863-56-0
24 illustrations / 192 pages


    “There are always alternatives to war, as the voices in this book testify. Let us listen to
    their voices of wisdom, and start to disarm our mindsets, talk to our enemies and
    solve our problems in a civilized way. We all know in today’s highly militarized and
    dangerous world, this nonviolent path to peace makes sense.”
    —Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

    “Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower expressed his concern about the ‘campaign of
    hatred’ against us in the Arab world, for reasons that his administration knew were
    sound. By now, particularly during the Bush years, fear and often hatred of the US
    have spread widely and deepened. Even Europeans now rank the US as the greatest
    threat to world peace, far above China, Russia, Iran or North Korea. Americans
    should be deeply concerned about these developments, and the reasons for them.
    The questions raised in these essays are the pertinent ones, and the answers
    developed should be pondered carefully by those who are concerned with their
    country and— and given its immense power—the entire world and future

    “Thinkers and chroniclers since Thucydides have argued that war is an inevitable part
    of human existence. This book presents the views of people who have studied the
    issues and believe that the truth is otherwise. The world needs to hear their voices.”
    —Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow and All the Shah’s Men

    “American Wars: Illusions & Realities sets the record straight. War is not peace, only
    peace is peace. If the Iraq War is a teachable moment about the real nature of U.S.
    aggressive intentions in the world, then this book should be in the core curriculum.
    —American Friends Service Committee

    “In 1960, US General Thomas Power declared: ‘The whole idea is to kill the bastards!
    At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win!’ We have
    to make sure that US foreign policy is not run by  people with the mentality, the heart,
    and the soul of a General Power. That  type has occupied the White House all too
    frequently, as AmericanWars shows us.”
    —WILLIAM BLUM, author of Rogue State

    “The American way of war offers a nonstop supply of illusions—while imposing
    horrific realities far away and, ultimately, at home too. This book is intent on dispelling
    key illusions and coming to terms with human realities. Between the covers of
    American Wars, the result is a compendium of insights and hard-won knowledge of
    the sort you’ll rarely find in the daily paper or the evening news. The writers are myth-
    busters who challenge the conventional lack of wisdom that drags the United States
    into one war after another and keeps us lethally mired in a warfare state. This
    collection provides us with an array of vital perspectives, opening up a crucial topic
    that usually remains shut down—what American wars are doing to humanity, under
    false pretenses and with calamitous results, around the world and in our own
    neighborhoods. The future is at stake. This book helps us to understand the perils
    and opportunities of the present moment.
    —NORMAN SOLOMON, author of War Made Easy

    “With the War on Terror threatening to go on for decades, it’s critical for Americans to
    examine the myriad ways our government has tricked us into supporting unjust wars,
    with catastrophic consequences for all sides. American Wars uncovers a tragic
    pattern that must be broken. Read it and act.”
    —MEDEA BENJAMIN, Code Pink

    “This country needs a moral revolution where supporting work for peace and justice
    is not seen as weakness. The voices heard in this work truly “speak truth to power.”
    This book addresses issues that will empower the reader to more fully appreciate the
    ethical challenges America faces and to effectively participate in this change. Its
    accessibility will attract, inform and inspire the next generation of peace activists.”
    —Ray Parrish, Vietnam Veterans Against the War

    "Constructing a powerful antiwar movement continues to be the order of the day.  
    American Wars:  Illusions and Realities, is a helpful resource for those involved in
    this project."
    Michael Florentino, reviewed in International Socialist Review, July-August 2009


    American Wars vs. American Values

    Americans value honor

    Illusion 1:
    We fight for peace and democracy
     Paul Buchheit: Founder, Global Initiative Chicago

    Illusion 2:
    We fight to defend our personal freedoms
     Judi Nitsch: Anti-War Activist, Chicago City Colleges

    Americans value truthfulness

    Illusion 3:
    Our government tells us the truth about war
     Cindy Sheehan: Candidate for U.S. House of

    Illusion 4:
    We stay in Iraq to prevent further bloodshed among
     Joshua Holland: Editor, AlterNet
     Raed Jarrar: Iraqi Political Analyst, American Friends
    Service Committee

    Illusion 5:
    The mainstream media gives us balanced reporting
     Anup Shah: Founder and Editor, Global Issues
    Americans value self-awareness

    Illusion 6:
    War doesn’t impact me personally
     Maureen Dolan: Professor of Peace Studies, DePaul

    Illusion 7:
    The military will take good care of our soldiers
     Tod Ensign: Veteran’s Rights Lawyer, Director of
    Citizen Soldier

    Illusion 8:
    War boosts the economy for all Americans
     Jesu Estrada: Anti-War and Pro-Labor Activist,
    Chicago City Colleges

    Illusion 9:
    We always win
     Vic Blazier: Iraq War veteran and member of Iraq
    Veterans Against the War

    Americans value compassion

    Illusion 10:
    Suffering is minimized in today’s wars
     Kathy Kelly: Voices for Creative Non-Violence

    Illusion 11:
    Our modern military warfare only kills the ‘bad guys’
     Marc Herold: University of New Hampshire
    Departments of Economics and Women’s Studies

    Illusion 12:
    ‘Collateral damage’ is an impersonal by-product of
     Gayle Brandeis: CodePINK

    Illusion 13:
    War is temporary
     Sherwood Ross: Journalist

    Americans value altruism

    Illusion 14:
    America’s relationship with Israel promotes stability
    in the Middle East
     Ghada Talhami: Professor of Middle East Politics at
    Lake Forest College

    Illusion 15:
    Developing countries ultimately benefit from our
    wars for democracy
     Maurice Carney: Friends of the Congo

    Illusion 16:
    The environmental consequences of war are
     Tom Hastings: Professor of Peace & Nonviolence
    Studies at Portland State University

    Americans value realism

    Illusion 17:
    I personally have no better options than the military
     Amy Meyers: Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism

    Illusion 18:
    Wars result from the aggressive nature of human
     Arun Gandhi: Founder of the Gandhi Institute for

    Illusion 19:
    Humans are inevitably driven to war
     Howard Zinn: American historian, political scientist,
    social critic, and activist.



    When many Americans hear that the US may go to
    war against another nation, they tend to believe
    there’s probably a good reason for it or that no
    viable alternatives exist­or they don’t think about
    it at all. They trust their leaders to represent
    them and defend their values. They accept their
    leaders’ claims that war is to ensure their safety
    when others wish to harm them. The parties of
    war play on Americans' basic values to bring
    them online. The media reassures them that the
    reasons for war are altruistic­ that Americans
    wish to spread democracy and allow others to
    adopt their way of life. But is this the case?

    With 24 compelling illustrations, maps and
    graphs, this book is intended to serve as a tool
    for peace advocacy. Well known peace
    advocates respond to 19 of the most common
    illusions held by the American public which
    weaken their opposition to Washington's wars.

Paul Buchheit is Founder and director of, and Co-founder of Global
Initiative Chicago (GIC), a consortium of
Chicago colleges and high schools dedicated to
the study and communication of global issues
within the schools. He has taught in Chicago
colleges for 25 years.