“The first casualty of war is truth”

Oh how the truth is bent, twisted, psyop’d, propagandized, comm killed and botted about. Today, war in Ukraine is displayed with dis- and mis-info, virally blasted out and marketed as war-by-other-means.

D.H. Lawrence comes to mind and World War 1 with carnage and its nationalistic lies that set the stage for World War 2 … In the first world war’s ashes came the East-West “Cold War” with its “Mutually Assured Destruction” nuclear weapons stand-off… and now comes “Cold War 2.0”, a new nuclear weapons standoff with a Russian president literally threatening to use his nation’s nukes. Yet, the people of this nuclear-weapons nation have little to no knowledge of what is really happening in Ukraine, even as much of the world can see the reality reported from the front lines.

Just over a century ago, at Verdun, the lies of war were destroying a generation and, on the home fronts in Europe, flags were being waved as lies were fed to the home populations. These lies came back to haunt the people of Europe, the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, the U.S. and the world. We remember how the violence begat more violence…



The cycle continues today, the Ukraine war will continue on, lies will continue to be delivered… consequences will continue on… international cooperation is being destroyed…. dismantling of nuclear weapons control agreements is bringing on a new nuclear arms race. The consequences of this war in Ukraine will see the world failing to act with all due speed to face existential, mutual security threats of climate disruption and nuclear weapons use.

Today we recall ancient lies, disaster, carnage and in an Internet Age we see new, more powerful lies in an Age of Nuclear Weapons. Today we look back and look forward realizing this war is a disaster on most every front.


Now we query the Brits of English dictionaries about the lexography of truth and war… They lost a generation in World War 1, they should know by now, shouldn’t they? Let us go to Guardian “reader comments” on the origins of a truism — “the first casualty of war is truth”:

  • In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: The first casualty when war comes is truth. However, this was not recorded. In 1928 Arthur Ponsonby’s wrote: The ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. (Falsehood in Wartime.) Samuel Johnson seems to have had the first word: ‘Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.’ (from The Idler, 1758) — Peter Brooke, Mewmachar, Scotland
  • The original quote is “The first casualty when war comes is truth”. Hiram W Johnson, staunchly isolationist senator for California, to the US Senate in 1917 (the year of his election to the Senate, where he remained until his death in 1945). — Philip Draycott, Leicester, UK
  • …”The first casualty when war comes is truth,” was coined by Hiram Johnson a Republican politician from California who served in the United States Senate for nearly 30 years, beginning in the midst of World War I and concluding with his death in 1945 — as it happens, on the same day the U.S. dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima… — Gareth, Leeds, UK
  • It has been attributed to both Athur Ponsonby in “Falsehood in Wartime” (1928) and US Senator Hiram Johnson in a 1918 speech. However, the true origin may be in the edition of “The Idler” magazine from 11/11/1758 which says “…among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.” — Andy Ward, London, UK
  • Hiram Johnson (USA). The full qoute is “The first casualty when war comes is truth”. Coincidentally Johnson died on August 6th 1945 (of old age!) — Kevin Wooldridge, Lowestoft, UK
  • Boake Carter, an American Radio Reporter. Not sure when though. I seem to remember hearing the original broadcast in a TV origram some time ago. — Ken Blair, Stirling, Scotland
  • Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) – a Progressive Republican senator in California. His actual quote, ‘The first casualty, when war comes, is truth’, was said during World War 1. He died on Aug. 6, 1945, the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. — Gilbert Sharp, Bury St., Edmunds, UK
  • Michael Herr in his book “dispatches” based on his experience as a journalist in the Vietnam War. — Martin Togher, London, England
  • In war, truth is the first casualty. Aeschylus Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC – 456 BC) — B Smith, Chicago, Ill, USA
  • The most fundamental of the Chinese fifth century general Sun Tzu’s principles for the conduct of war is that “All warfare is based on deception”. — Ed Richardson, Deer Lake, Canada
  • Although frequently attributed to Sun Tzu (544 BC), “All warfare is based on deception”; the Sun Tzu quote actually refers to methods of subterfuge in war and goes further to explain, “Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” The first corroborated quote reflecting the true essence, almost verbatim is “In war, truth is the first casualty,” attributed to Greek writer/poet Aeschylus (525BC – 456BC). — Reese, Jeffersonville, Indiana, United States
  • “In war, truth is the first casualty”, this quote is from Aeschylus — Ensar, Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Read “the First Casualty” by Philip Knightley – a history of deception in war – it’s all in there. — John, London
  • Aeschylus “In war, truth is the first casualty.” — Susanna Richards, Somerset West, South Africa
  • Aeschylus greek tragic dramatist 525-546 BC.  In war, truth is the first casualty. — Andy, South Boston, Mass, USA
  • There are now two books that give authoritative answers to these kinds of questions, namely the Yale Book of Quotations and the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. The latter records that Mrs. Philip Snowden wrote in the Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the National Education Association: “Someone has finely said that ‘truth is the first casualty in war’.” A similar quotation appears in E. D. Morel, Truth and the War (1916). The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs further notes that “Currently the proverb is often attributed to Aeschylus, but the attribution seems to be no older than the 1980s.” — Fred Shapiro, Bethany, Connecticut, USA
  • This quote was stolen from Aeschylus “In war, the first casualty is truth.” Aeschylus lived from 456 B.C. to 524 B.C — Jayme Ariss, Shelburne, Canada




Beyond ‘Reader Comments’ in The Guardian this week

A war of manipulation in the Internet Age plays out

Autocracy, Democracy, a network of moves

The Internet becomes a battleground


FACT SHEET: Act Now to Protect Against Potential Cyberattacks | The White House


Disinformation – Online – Dangerous

The Bane of the Early Internet Age

Misinfo/Disinfo, Powerful Political Tools

Hybrid Threats, Hybrid Warfare


In politics, in influencing and swaying public opinion, in engaging target audiences and motivating with ‘calls to action’

In international relations, in regional conflicts, in the cause of nationalism, conflicts and wartime

In the Internet Era, the use of Misinformation and Disinformation become formidable weapons



* https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psyops

“Military operations usually aimed at influencing the enemy’s state of mind through noncombative means (such as distribution of leaflets)”

First Known Use of psyops — 1965, in the meaning defined above


GreenPolicy360’s associate, Strategic Demands, adds an expanded definition in cyberwarfare application of psyops — consider “cyber-psyops” as in the disinformation/misinformation viral use of online social media platforms to deliver messaging intended to deceive, distract, and sow distrust of fact-based news and online information


Begin to watch the ‘western’ mainstream press/media/new media/online media report on war in Ukraine and beyond. Begin to notice ‘eastern’ state-influenced and -controlled dominant press/media/new media/online media. This modern cyberwarfare is a reality whether you see it and believe it, or altogether reside in ‘a bubble’ and miss what’s going on around you… if you are in Europe, or China, in Russia or the U.S., the story of this war in Ukraine is a different beast as delivered to you…


Cyber-Psyops: War of Disinfo