The Arrogance—and Emptiness—of Power

Vietnam and Iraq

W. D. Ehrhart: As I watch events unfolding in Iraq over the last weeks, I find myself wondering if Iraq War veterans are feeling the way I felt in March and April of 1975 when the fiction that was South Vietnam collapsed like a house of cards.

We Lost Our Humanity in Vietnam

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William Astore: In a war in which commanding generals rewarded American troops for generating high enemy body count and punished those “slackers” who didn’t kill enough of the enemy, small wonder that Vietnam became an American killing field and a breeding ground for atrocity.

Bible Lesson on Patriotism

cecil roberts

Berry Craig: Throughout the New Testament, Roberts says, Jesus Christ “talks about the people who are poor and living in poverty. Today, who tries to lift people out of poverty? It’s the labor movement.”

Don’t Forget About Us

occupy 99 to 1 odds

Tim Gatto: For all of you oligarch’s out there with your billions of dollars, fine automobiles and trophy wives, don’t think for a minute that this thing is over.

God and Vietnam

vietnam religion

Jim Rhodes: Before I departed the United States last August, I read an official American government report on ‘religious persecution’ in Vietnam. This event and that report did not add up.

MLK Would Oppose Today’s Wars

william loren katz

William Loren Katz: Would Dr. King have called for withdrawal from Vietnam and, had he lived, not called for a withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan? Would he have failed to see parallels that are as obvious as they are frightening?

Agent Orange Years Later

agent orange conference

James Rhodes: I am blessed to be around victims as these and feel a moral obligation to do what we can for them; after all, this has been the only place I have ever received medical and traditional treatments for my Agent Orange conditions.

The Pentagon and the King Legacy

martin luther king riverside church

William Lorenz Katz: Was not Martin Luther King, Jr. reaching beyond Vietnam when he warned of “approaching spiritual death” and called for “a significant and profound change in American life and policy” and insisted “we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.” Was he only speaking of Vietnam when he said, “War is not the answer?”

Obama Speaks (Some) Truth From Power

Peace-Prize

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.

Was William Calley a Scapegoat?

Calley

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.

Why Arlen Specter’s Defection Should Terrify the GOP

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On August 11, 1971, John Lindsay, the Republican mayor of New York City, radiating calm and charm after a 10-day camping trip in Colorado and Utah, stepped before a crowd in the ballroom of Gracie Mansion to announce that he was becoming a Democrat. After explaining where he believed his party had gone astray—Vietnam, wiretapping, [...]

Mary McCarthy in Vietnam, Barack Obama in Afghanistan

marymccarthy460

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 [...]

Notes From The American Lunatic Asylum

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If America ever is going to stop making aggressive war, Americans will first have to get into contact with reality. That’s because U.S. administrations for the past century have periodically frightened the public out of their collective wits. And a frightened nation is a malleable nation, one whose people are susceptible to being led into [...]

The War on Drugs Redux

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Opium is in the news again. Afghanistan is producing bumper crops of opium poppies, funding Taliban attacks and simultaneously enriching some of the Afghani government’s warlord allies. Low heroin prices worldwide suggest that the marketplace is saturated, and American policy abroad is aimed narrowly at crop eradification while at home we are incarcerating drug users [...]

Testaments: John F. Kennedy

This week, John Peeler will present “Testaments,” a series of poems that take the form of valedictory statements by each of the postwar presidents, in the poetic manner of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. John F. Kennedy Nixon was a fool to debate me. I was no fool to take Lyndon:Texas made me President. [...]

When Congress Failed to Stop the Vietnam War

Joel Goldstein

Although polls show that two-thirds of the American public think that the war in Iraq is a mistake, Congress is having trouble stopping it. In fact, it continues to fund the war. Congress recently voted to appropriate $162 billion more for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the bill, the Democrats included domestic benefits [...]

When “Oops” ISN’T Enough

Bush Cartoon Railroad Tracks

Erich Segal, the author of “Love Story,” once put the phrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” into the official collection of favorite American catch-phrases. Up until very recently, we’ve had to suffer under a latter-day perversion of that: “The ‘War on Terror’ means never having to say you’re sorry.” Now, however, comes [...]

The Winter Soldier Returns

Fighter Pilot

What is Winter Soldier? In 1971, a group of veterans—current Massachusetts Senator John Kerry prominent among them—staged a protest called “Winter Soldier” that helped end the Vietnam War but that also unfairly saddled the Democrats with a “soft on defense” label that dogged the Party for decades.

The War Comes Home

Walter Reed Cartoon

Dick Price: The Iraq-Afghan War has taken on a sad new face as stories of shoddy health care given returning veterans began surfacing lately. Newsweek brought us up short with its coverage last month of the Minnesota veteran suffering from depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts whose runaround at the local Veterans Administration hospital ended only when he managed to hang himself.

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