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Live By the Sword, Die By the Drone

Ronald Ernest Paul, the nation's last best hope for internet gambling and the gold standard, responded to the murder of a Navy SEAL by saying, "He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword." But the question is whose sword is it?

To the anti-war movement, all conflicts between the free world and the world of slaves are reduced to a pithy formula of moral equivalence. America lifted the sword and has gone on swinging it. It never puts the sword down and therefore it dies by it. Chris Kyle becomes a metaphor for the great beast of war, unleashed by the Rockefellers, the CIA, the Trilateral Commission, the Federal Reserve and every other gang of miscreants, that goes around swinging the sword until it destroys itself.

The far left and the far right agree on few things, but they both agree that America's wounds in the War on Terror are self-inflicted. America creates terrorism through its foreign policy and fights terrorism thereby perpetuating terrorism. Islamic terrorism is just a figment of our foreign policy. Put down the sword, is the implication, and the fighting can stop. Keep fighting back and eventually more planes will fly into your skyscrapers as blowback for all the fighting back that you did before.

Moral equivalence would have it that all swords are created equal, much as gun control advocates insist that a rifle in the hands of a hunter is no different than a rifle in the hands of a serial killer. A gun is a gun and a sword is a sword. If you own one, you're likely to use it. And if you use it, then you are utterly evil, regardless of the reason you use it and the purpose that you use it for.

But not all swords are created equal and neither are all wars. There are swords of conquest and swords of peace. Swords of war and swords of last resort. To the left, the size of the sword is all that matter. The party with the larger sword is always the bully and the party with the smaller sword is always the victim. A police officer who carries a bigger gun than a mugger is more culpable in any confrontation between the two because disproportionate firepower carries with it disproportionate responsibility and disproportionate guilt. The sole exception to this broad moral standard is when a government of the left is the one wielding the bigger guns.

Whose sword was it then? In the school of thought embraced by such students of history as Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Ron Paul and the rest of the gang, the sword is the massive steel blade of empire that is borne by the strongest power. Like white privilege, it is one of those things that exists and acts even when the wielder is unaware of it. Like a car left parked outside for a month, its foreign policy continues accumulating terrorist tickets even when it isn't aware of it. And the terrorist tickets are eventually cashed in for a terrorist attack, which it richly deserves because though it may seem as if it came out of the blue, it's actually blowback for the crime of having the bigger sword.

Followers of this school of thought style themselves realists. Their sword of empire realism however fails to encompass the history and ambitions of over a billion people, their theology, their dreams and their internal conflicts. To the realists, over a thousand years of Islamic history hardly carries any weight compared to the doings of ARAMCO and the CIA. There is a certain unrealism to such realism. The realist may be a cynic, but if he, like the World War II Trotskyist labor unions in the UK who told their members that the American soldiers weren't coming to fight Hitler but to break up labor strikes, follows a realism mired in petty cynicism that cannot see past last week, then his realism is really ignorant cynicism masquerading as history.

History does not begin with Standard Oil or the Crusades. A view of history as ethnocentrist as that might have been forgivable for a manifest destiny conservative, but is a rather surreal offering from self-proclaimed realists who want us to consider the views of the other side, but refuse to consider the history and the past of the other side.

The revisionist history of the realists blames America by beginning with America. America is the axis around which the world revolves. There was no Islam before America and if America sinks into the ocean, the realists must assume that Islamic terrorism will go with it, unless the Zionist Entity sticks around and continues infuriating the otherwise peaceful peoples of the Middle East whose brief history of violence only commenced in 1948 or 1917.

But what if the sword is not the red, white and blue rhinestone spangled sword of Americanism, the steel-forged blade of manifest destiny, with a bald eagle on the hilt and the blood of the oppressed gushing like oil from its blade? What if history does not begin with America and what if the sword that is held above the wall is not America's sword to put down?

Anti-war activists, like anti-gun activists, cannot spend too much time contemplating the other side. The anti-war position automatically picks the other side and because of the innate whiff of treason in such a choice, it must justify that treason by utterly damning and demonizing its own side. It cannot afford nuance at home, though it often calls for it abroad, because to concede complexity is to endanger its own moral standing. The only thing standing between the anti-war movement and  treason is its ceaseless effort to demonize its own government, soldiers and people as monsters. If it lowers that sword of invective for a moment and accepts that they are less than monsters, then its moral standing falls apart.

The anti-war movement can only maintain its moral standing through extremism and hate. Its activism is an eternal war fought against an endless war whose existence justifies their existence.

Each war, whether it is against Communism or Islamism, tribal warlords or world powers, reaffirms their thesis that their country is a bloody monster, an empire of skulls ruled over by warlords who live by the sword and then die by it. Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania and the Maine, September 11 and the Pueblo Incident all blend together into one false flag operation; a single continuous historical event with a single explanation. And the explanation is the Great American Sword that sets up bases to extract oil, drugs and arms deals along with all the other trappings of empire. It is the answer that answers everything. Even the question of why the wars don't stop.

And what of the sword of Islam, its hilt inlaid with emeralds, its blade clotted with infidel blood, which was sweeping across the world a thousand years before some Virginia farmers got together to discuss theories of government? What was it that made that sword rise and fall, before the oil companies and the Israeli lobby, before arms dealers and neo-conservatives, and all the other crutches on which the realists hobble their lame revisionist history?

Is Islamism a toy monster, a jack-in-the-box that pops out when you turn the handle of imperialism long and hard enough, or is it a self-animating empire of its own? Are its emirates a CIA plot or the work of aspiring sultans and caliphs looking to claim their share of the wealth and women that the followers of Islam have always deemed to be their fair share for fighting Allah's wars for him? Is Islamic terrorism a phenomenon that exists only as a response to American foreign policy, or is it the work of men animated by a fervent vision of history and a love of power? Whatever the realists may say, human nature says otherwise.

If the realists are forced to take Islamism seriously, rather than as a childish response to the Gulf War, Israeli housing or French cartoons, then they will have to measure the Sword of Allah against the Colt of Uncle Sam, not just in terms of firepower, but in moral standing. It will not be enough to say that America is responsible because it fires the first shot and swings the biggest sword. It will not be enough to tear down their own country because it has the biggest guns. Not if the hate and violence of the other party predated the existence of the guns and the gunpowder and dates back to the time when the Servants of Allah made their swords by quenching them in the bodies of their slaves.

Right now it isn't so much a matter of live by the sword, die by the sword, as it is a case of live by the sword, die by the drone. While the sword-wielders close in for close combat, hoping to swarm all that superior firepower with sheer numbers, the wielders of the Colt and the drone practice a more distant form of killing, whether it is the sniper art of Chris Kyle or the truly distant kill of the drone.

When you are standing beneath the wall trying to get up into the castle, then you send out your cannon fodder up the wall angling for a foothold. But when you are holding the wall, then you do your killing from a distance, sparing the lives of your scarce men and keeping the barbarians from reaching inside your gate. That is the war of sword and colt or of sword and drone. It's a bloody and messy war, but opting out of it is not an option.

Uncle Sam did not raise the sword. Uncle Mohammed did, more years ago than anyone can count, and the sword has never been lowered since. As long as Mohammed is at the gates, Sam cannot put down the sword and spend all his time discussing monetary theory or social justice. Not if he expects to still be wearing his head by morning.

A war is not a dance, though there is some circling and some tricky steps, it is not a mutual agreement, but a historical collision. It does not take two to wield a sword. It does however take two to achieve a stalemate. It is this stalemate, a war that falls short of war, whether it is a Cold War or a War on Terror, that the anti-war movement hates and needs. It is this indefinite endless war that animates its thesis and sustains its ideology.

The Muslim world has chosen to live by the sword and the free world must learn to use the sword, if it is not to live under their swords. But there is a difference between these two swords, between the Sword and the Colt, which made all men equal, and the sword and the drone. It is the same as the difference between Sparta and Athens and between Mecca and Jerusalem.

There are nations and peoples that live by the sword, producing nothing of worth, living and priding themselves on their plunder while remaining deaf to their own worthlessness outside the realm of the sword. And there are nations and peoples to whom the sword is a tool, rather than a final answer, an implement which works alongside the hoe and the pen and the many other implements that make a society great.

A great nation does not live by the sword; it uses the sword to keep its way of life free from those who do live by the sword.

In such a society where many professions are possible, most free from risk of death, the man who picks up the sword, who pledges to hold the sword so that others may work, not only does not live by the sword, but also makes it possible for his entire society to live free of the sword.

The death of such a man is a tragedy for those who understand that the sword can only be opposed by a sword, and that freedom is won at the cost of resisting slavery, but is a cause for celebration to those who imagine that when the last of their countrymen who carries a sword dies, the endless war will finally end.


  1. Anonymous10/2/13

    Daniel, that was beautiful.

    Thank you.

    Rest in sweet peace, CPO Chris Kyle. ~♥~

  2. Anonymous10/2/13

    If either side in the Mid-East were to disarm unilaterally, there would be peace.
    If the Arabs disarmed, it would be a slow return to a normal society for all, as the Israelis became able to trust.
    If the Israelis disarmed, they would die.

  3. Good essay on the necessity of defending oneself and one's country against aggression. It reminded me of a scene from the first Indiana Jones movie, when Harrison Ford, trying to find the romantic interest who's been kidnapped, is blocked in a bazaar by a smug master swordsman who first displays his dazzling skill with his sword by treating it as though it were the supreme juggling act. Jones's bullwhip would be no match against it, and he knows he'd be cut to pieces by the sword if he tried to drop-kick the show-off. So he takes out his pistol and shoots the guy. That scene outraged many people, because it was "unfair," because they felt cheated that Jones didn't find some ingenious way of neutralizing the menace. But time was short and besides, he was being threatened by the sword. That's the morale to be deduced from Greenfield's essay here. I include a YouTube link to the scene here.


  4. Anonymous10/2/13

    Your work is brilliant and so very much appreciated. Please keep 'em coming.

  5. " To the left, the size of the sword is all that matter"

    It would have been more accurate to say "When the left wishes to protest against a powerful opponent, they pretend that the size of the sword is all that matters, when it is their ally who carries the bigger sword, they say it is the principle that matters. To the left, the only truth is power, the only good is their controlling of power, the only evil is opposing their aquisition of power."

  6. Daniel,I do not comment very often on your articles but I read them every day. Today my comment is not about your most recent essay but about your essay from 10/4/11, The Power of Weakness and how it relates to this Fugitive Los Angeles Policeman and his relation to the left.Everyone should read this or read it again.100% correct.BTW Great essay today.

  7. Anonymous10/2/13

    "The Muslim world has chosen to live by the sword and the free world must learn to use the sword, if it is not to live under their swords. "

    I fear for the masses who live under Muslim regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the banlieues of Paris. I fear for them because most feel they have no choice but to live under "the Swords," and, if given a choice, they would migrate or convert in a second.

    And also because probably a majority of the populations of places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait and Libya have never wielded "the Sword" against their fellow men. These are fine global citizens, and offer much in the way of commerce, knowledge and culture to us in the West.

    The multitudes who live their days under the Muslim label are being used as cover by Islamist terrorists and their partners in the Global Left.

    The acknowledgement of which puts added pressure on the West to restrain its reaction to the affronts of the minority of radicals hiding in this human thicket.

    Which only serves to say that, when Americans go to aim their "Colts" at "Muslim Terrorists," they'll need to be like Bruce Willis in DieHard and take the time to distinguish between the hostage-takers and their hostages.

  8. To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. To the people who hate America everything looks like America's fault.

  9. Igor, indeed

    Steve, they do need to go after the leadership and especially the money men

  10. Anon34510/2/13

    Daniel, what exactly is your point? Because the point of the anti-war movement has not been refuted - Americans are dying for nothing. It does not make Americans any safer to send our troops to kill towelheads in the Middle East. It actually makes us less safe, as the orphans of war that are created will then be easily recruited by terrorists. If self-described patriots were actually concerned about national security, then they would advocate to end the importation of Muslim immigrants. Instead, the GOP says nonsense like we should give amnesty to illegal aliens.

    Not to mention the fiasco that is Libya. A secular leader was overthrown, and now Islamists are in control. They even ethnically cleansed the nation of blacks. Now they want to do the same in Syria? As if the Islamists wont once again pick up the pieces. The best thing the US can do is leave the entire region. No matter what happens, at least Americans will stop dying. Prolonged occupation will only bankrupt us, like what happened to the Soviet Union.

    Again, if we are at "war" with Islam, then the goal should be to secure our borders and stop importing Muslim, including the Somalian refugees. Yet the government has no clue who is actually in the US. We have people like Ayman Kamal Sulmane, who snuck into the US pretending to be Mexican. How many others were successful?

  11. Killing people who want to kill you by definition makes you safer.

    The "Orphans of War" story is nonsense. Terrorism doesn't come from orphans, it comes from wealthy and organized movements staffed by university graduates who believe that Islam should rule the world.

    That's an ideology, not orphans.

    I am all for ending the importation of Muslim immigrants, and that will help end domestic security threats, but in a world where cheap but devastating attacks are becoming easier to pull off, it's not a complete solution.

    I am not for occupation, but I am for quick devastating attacks on Islamist targets.

  12. "I am not for occupation, but I am for quick devastating attacks on Islamist targets."

    And the Islamic targets would include, not only the leadership and the money men, the "rebel" groups and gangs, but things such as Iran's nuclear program. That program is something that should be turned into a collection of giant Sheffield glassware bowls. We don’t need to "occupy" Islam's conquests in the Mideast and the Far East to defeat Islam, to emasculate it, to enfeeble it.

  13. Anonymous10/2/13

    Oh, wow, Eward Cline! That is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. I laughed out loud. Guess I'm about the farthest thing from a PC leftist as one can get, eh?

    Thank you.

  14. Anon34510/2/13

    Every Muslim wants to kill all Americans? You actually believe that nonsense? Islam cannot possibly take over the world. It has no foothold in either East Asia or Latin America. And even in sub-Saharan Africa, the Christian populations are hostile to Islam. The only place Islam is spreading is Europe, and thats because of their ridiculous immigration policy.

    As for orphans, my point is its easy to recruit women and children when you murder their families at weddings and funerals.

    I dont care how Islamists run their countries. They can never fight the US head-to-head, as the US is unrivaled both in the air and on the seas. And as long as the US clamps down the borders, guerrilla warfare is neutralized as well.

    As for Israel, I dont care about it either. Its neither a US state nor a US territory. And we dont have a treaty with them. The country is too dependent on the US military, and they are mistaken if they think that will continue in the future. The US fiscal status is dismal, and the the US will soon withdraw from the Eastern Hemisphere out of financial necessity. When the American people have to choose between welfare and military adventurism, they will choose welfare without hesitation. And at that point, Israel will be on its own. Especially now that the US demographics has changed, with Latinos become a significant power bloc in their own right. They have no more sympathy for Israel than black Americans and Asian Americans. White evangelicals will no longer be able to shield Israel.

    Its poetic justice really that the hypocritical American Jews who adamantly fight against a US border fence being built, deportations, and any semblance of immigration control are in fact actually setting the seeds for Israel being cut off in the future.

  15. Anon345,

    If you want to have a serious discussion, don't put words in my mouth. No one said all Muslims want to kill Americans or mentioned Israel.

    Whether or not Islamists can take over the world, the point is that they aspire to

    Islamist terrorists don't come from orphans, they come from political organizations, largely based around universities... much like Communists do.

    They aren't going to fight the US head to head, but they can find ways to launch cheap and dirty attacks, especially if they get their hands on WMDs. Ending immigration will make it harder, but not impossible.

    Your comments about American Jews could just as easily apply to Liberal Protestants.

  16. Anonymous10/2/13

    Nice piece, as usual, but sometimes a banana is just a banana. Crazy people just do crazy things.

  17. anon is a typical paulbot.

  18. Anon345 confuses incompetence with futility. Pointing to an incompetently waged war will not prove that the war was not worth fighting. The theory of "just war" has prevented the US from winning any major conflict for decades. Were it practiced during WWII the US would have lost.

    The West generally has become suicidal in various ways. In any conflict, self-interest, while not completely lost, has either become a relatively minor consideration or so convoluted by conflicting sub-interests and self-imposed constraints as to make the success of the mission an ill-defined goal that's not only not achieved but isn't even describable in understandable terms. When fifth columnists or confused mental midgets wage war on America's behalf, good ol' Uncle Ron and good ol' Rev. Wright both have a great time pointing out how it's all good ol' Uncle Sam's fault and their points are not that as easy to disprove as they should be.

  19. VA_Rancher11/2/13


    A most EXCELLENT essay. Your understanding of this conlict is great. Your compassionate close for Chris Kyle, a warrior indeed and in deed, was touching.

    God Bless you and yours.
    Chris Kyle, RIP...

  20. Anonymous11/2/13

    Two things:

    Chris Christie has taken up the cause of Internet Gambling, so Ron Paul won't have to tote that smelly burden alone.

    Todd and Sarah Palin came down to Texas to attend Chris Kyle's funeral.


  21. Gould K.L. Brownlee12/2/13

    Attacking Islam in its own countries is perfectly insane. Their countries are weak, backward (oh excuse me, "developing") and completely harmless to countries built by Europeans. Where Islam is dangerous is when we let them into our countries. It is within our borders that Islam damages us, and actual terrorist attacks are only part of it. Islam is being used by a hostile, uncivilized Left to destroy our civilization. That is why the response to 9/11 was to open the doors to even more Islamic parasites.

    Of course the Left bleats about understanding them and celebrating them and being grateful to them for blessing us with their presence, but the blunt truth is that the Left is the enemy of the West and is using nonWhite cultures as weapons. Islam is one of the most destructive and it can only do its destruction from within and with the help of a traitorous Left and a cowardly GOP.

    Because Islam is so visibly destructive and so obvious an enemy, our ruling elites must be seen to be doing something about it. But because our rulers are either traitors or cowards, they cannot attack our enemies on the actual battlefield; which is within the borders of the U.S. and Europe.

    So we must attack Islam thousands of miles away and pretend that these wars will somehow transform low-IQ, third-world savages into something indistinguishable from coffee-sipping, pinky-lifting libtards in Portland, Oregon.

    If we keep these third-world savages out of our country and leave them alone in their countries we will have no problems. At all. Israel will still have a problem, but that is their problem, and they can deal with it. Or not. This is the blunt truth.

    The ONLY solution is to admit that we have been insane to allow millions of nonWhites into our White countries, and then we must send them home; almost every one of them. It would be a good idea to "encourage" our domestic Blacks to toddle on home to a dynamic and bustling Africa. Just look at the stories in National Geographic. I'm sure any day now, Africa will astonish the world. Maybe not. We certainly need to take the pledge never to send another penny to that continent-sized Detroit.

    Then we must leave them alone except for some buying and selling for mutual benefit. Or perhaps the occasional punitive expedition when they try to throw White tourists in prison in order to extort money. This kind of extortion is time-honored in Mexico, one of our very worst enemies.

    The solution is simple. Admittedly it's not easy, especially with the large number of cowards and traitors in our government. Our own president, that affirmative-action parasite Obonzo, is one of the most devoted enemies of his own country. We'll have to give up that kind of luxury too. We can no longer afford to be sanctimonious Leftist twits.


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