Holy Wars: Putting the “Mental” into Fundamentalism

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Ed Rampell: General Sherman, who burned Atlanta to the ground, rather famously and pithily said, “War is hell.” Stephen Marshall’s new documentary about religious fanaticism, Holy Wars, turns Sherman’s quote on its head with the clever tagline, “War is Heaven.”

Elisabeth Bumiller: Wrong on the Tonkin Gulf Incident

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Joseph Palermo: If Bumiller really believes that her peers in the establishment press in February/March 1968 were expressing “widespread skepticism” about the facts concerning the Gulf of Tonkin Incident then shouldn’t she have been a little more “skeptical” herself when her good friend Condi Rice (along with Rummy and Cheney and the rest of the gang) were launching their own pretext for invading Iraq?

Unanimous Conformity in the Senate

Sen. Wayne Morse

Norman Solomon: Every living senator voted Wednesday to approve Gen. David Petraeus as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Call it the unanimity of lemmings – except the senators and their families aren’t the ones who’ll keep plunging into the sea.

Taliban’s Time Horizon Longer Than America’s

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Ivan Eland: The only solution is to cut the U.S. losses and leave Afghanistan for good. The good news is that removal of U.S. occupation forces from a Muslim land might actually reduce blowback anti-U.S. terrorism around the world.

From Great Man to Great Screwup: Behind the McChrystal Uproar

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Norman Solomon: For months, the McChrystal star had been slipping. A few days before the Rolling Stone piece caused a sudden plunge from war-making grace, Time Magazine’s conventional-wisdom weathervane Joe Klein was notably down on McChrystal’s results: “Six months after Barack Obama announced his new Afghan strategy in a speech at West Point, the policy seems stymied.”

O.J., Blumenthal, Souder, and Other Liars: What’s the Point?

Richard Blumenthal (Photo by Chion Wolf)

Michael Sigman: It’s one thing for a sociopath like Simpson to think he can get away with asking, in effect, “Who do you believe, me or your lying eyes?” But why do politicians — who love to praise the smarts of “the American people” — tell lies time and again when common sense dictates they’ll be caught, especially now that online searches allow facts to be instantly checked and communicated?

Feting a Fetid War

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Ivan Eland: The U.S. government’s inability to distinguish between al-Qaeda, with global ambitions, and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, with their local goals, has merely made more enemies, including those who would begin attacking the United States. How are Americans being made safer by this war?

War Politics: Numb and Number

Senator Wayne Morse

Norman Solomon: While the escalating disaster of war in Afghanistan keeps setting deadly blazes, the few anti-war voices on Capitol Hill usually sound like people whispering “Fire!”

Vietnam: What War Stories Need to Accomplish

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Wayne Karlin: As the grave filled, as Dam was brought to rest, we knew that we were burying the war. We had accomplished what war stories needed to accomplish. We had not left the dead restless in their mass and anonymous graves, and in doing so we had attended to all the wandering souls, Vietnamese and American, dead and still living, that could not come home from the war.

Obama Speaks (Some) Truth From Power

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President Obama’s Nobel lecture might have showed us that the United States has reached a turning point: either the national security monster we’ve created is going to eat us alive by bankrupting the country or we’re going to have to shift course. We must begin to spin off the 700 or so military bases and installations around the world and focus on building a better life for our own people here at home.

False Atrocity Tales from the War in Vietnam

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A young lance corporal, who could not distinguish between a legal and an illegal order, shot an unresisting, unarmed, and unnamed woman in the back, in front of children that were likely hers. He and his company commander were court-martialed.

Is Adulation of the Military Really Patriotic?

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And the American public, still feeling guilty over the admittedly terrible treatment of returning draftees from the Vietnam War, has retained its awe of the now voluntary military as an institution, even as it has soured on the Iraq and Afghan Wars.

Obama’s Afghanistan Dilemma

LBJ's ghost chasing Barack Obama cartoon

We will not hear much dissent among the political elite from McChrystal’s recommendations, aside from the usual array of war critics. But what is at work here is that vague, almost incalculable force: public opinion.

Was William Calley a Scapegoat?

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Ever since the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, many have held that higher-ups were more responsible than William Calley, who was convicted of murder and now has issued his first public apology. Gary Kulik, himself a Vietnam veteran, declines to shift the blame.

Democrats and War

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There is an admirable strain of pacifism among many Democrats, especially among Democratic activists. Every rational, compassionate individual dislikes war and seeks to avoid it whenever and wherever possible. Yet there are circumstances in which war can be justified from a moral standpoint as well as that of national interest.

To Escalate the Escalation?

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The debate rages among experts on whether to escalate the escalation of Barack Obama’s “war of necessity” in Afghanistan—seemingly oblivious to American public opinion at home that has turned against waging the conflict at all.

Obama Swiftboats Van Jones

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I’ll expand that to say, the loss of Van Jones is a huge loss for Obama. Obama’s one-time supporters on the Left, who demand accountability, backbone, and honor, are fast jumping ship, as he limply swiftboats away.

Warfare Over Health Care

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The Blue Dogs and other fellow travelers ask us to be frugal when considering the general health of our citizens. But where were these spendthrift “deficit hawks” when Congress pushed through the lavish Pentagon spending.

The Way It Wasn’t: Cronkite and Vietnam

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Cronkite made a bold decision to step out of his familiar role as impartial anchor and to express views that he said were “speculative, personal, subjective.” Yet he was speaking for more than himself.

Walter Cronkite

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There’s only one tribute to the memory of Walter Conkrite that means anything and that would be if TV “journalists” somehow learned from his example and did their goddamn jobs!

Mary McCarthy in Vietnam, Barack Obama in Afghanistan

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In 1967, outraged by the course of the Vietnam War, as well as her country’s role in prolonging and worsening it, Mary McCarthy, novelist, memoirist, and author of the bestseller The Group, went to Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam, to judge the situation for herself. The next year, she went to the North [...]

The War Is Not Over: Letter from a Soldier’s Mother

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I was standing in line at the bank when I heard a customer ask the teller if her son was home from Iraq. The teller responded that he was not home in her house, but he was back and stationed in Texas. The customer said she was glad to hear that. I thought to myself: [...]

Color of Law: U.S. Drug Policy Has Gone to Pot

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In a recent online town hall meeting at the White House, President Obama was asked by the online audience whether he thought legalizing marijuana would create jobs and help the economy. It was the most popular question asked at the meeting.

It’s Not About Ugly Betty: The DTV Transition and Why It Matters

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On May 3, 1963 the North was stunned as it saw broadcast images of Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety, Bull Connor, turning fire hoses, dogs, cattle prods, and billy clubs on peaceful black protesters that had organized a campaign targeting the local business community. The response was immediate and profound. The public outcry forced President [...]

Something Bad Happens When Ads Are Made by Children

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I know that it’s typical in the ad agency business for creative types to be about 14 years old but the trend seems to be slipping onto the client side, as well. Take the current commercial for the 2009 Lincoln Continental. Apparently, no one on either the agency side or at the client is old [...]

Obama’s Nixonian Dilemma with Iraq

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by Brian R. Robertson With several public commentators and scholars comparing President-elect Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, it has surprised me that there has been little attempt to compare Obama’s election with Richard M. Nixon’s election, exactly forty years ago. Both inherited divisive wars from the previous administration and both campaigns [...]

I Stand Corrected

Let me be among the first to congratulate my friends who always believed that Senator Barack Obama would win the election for the Presidency. As most of you know, I was on record one year ago stating that it was my firm belief that America was a country beset by discrimination. Furthermore, that this stain [...]

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