Episode

4/4 How Presidents Lie Us Into War w/ John Schuessler

April 4, 2022

Sam and Emma host John M. Schuessler, Associate Professor of Government and Public Service at Texas A & M University, to discuss his book Deceit On The Road To War: Presidents, Politics, and American Democracy, and how the blueprint to manufactured consent for US intervention developed over the last century. Professor Schuessler begins by situating his work coming out of graduate research on FDR and the leadup to WW2 in the early aughts, right as the debate around the Iraq war was peaking, and the inspiration he found in the parallels between how President Roosevelt and President Bush saw a window to get into war, and took it. Jumping back to 1941, Sam, Emma, and John look to FDR’s perspective as the Second World War escalated, understanding that if the Nazis took control over the USSR or Europe our time at the top of the global stage would be over, while having to balance that with an anti-interventionist public that wanted no more than economic and military aid to the allies. They distill his plan into the sphere of the Atlantic, where FDR hoped to isolate any action, and the Pacific, where he wanted to avoid any military engagement. However, unable to find any excuses in the Atlantic to garner support for action against Germany, FDR’s policy began to shift as he used an oil embargo to push Japan over the brink, expecting light retaliation and instead getting the Pearl Harbor attacks. Next, they walk through the state of the foreign policy elite at the time, who, much like the leaders of the Military-Industrial Complex today, were concerned with the downfall of the Liberal order above all, with much more invested in America’s role as a global superpower than they have to lose in going to war. Jumping forwards, they contrast this with the tools George W. Bush had at his disposal, between a fully developed relationship between government, business, and the military, an incredibly homogenized media industry, and an ethos of “the end of history” in the air, all serving to bolster his choice to ride complete misinformation into decades of disaster and bloodshed in the Middle East. They wrap up by shifting to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as they unpack Biden’s maneuvers to avoid joining the warfare compared with the complete lack of subtlety on Putin’s end, as leak after leak reveals false flag plans and other clamors for justification, before they unpack the relationship between deceptions for war and deceptions for peace, and the similarities that intelligence disclosure plays among the two. Sam and Emma also touch on the updates to KBJ’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the House’s weed bill, and CNBC’s unintelligible squawking about the Staten Island Amazon union win.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma take a call with Jeremy from Indiana on the IBEW strike in Chicago, Mel from TX-3 calls in with some juicy RINO drama, and Dick Durbin talks overnight specials in LA (not innuendo). Sen. Roy Blunt discusses why, despite KBJ meeting all standards, he won’t vote to confirm her, Sen. Graham rallies against electing her to the high court, and Tulsi Gabbard says “keep the government out of our children’s beds, that’s where I belong!” Amir from Northern Virginia showers the crew with front-handed insults, Sam and Emma get some Space Force revelations, and Katie Porter calls in following Nerd Cheetah’s whistleblowing on MR’s dark money slush fund, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out John’s book here: https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9780801453595/deceit-on-the-road-to-war/#bookTabs=1
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