Tom Hayden: One of the great scandals of the Long War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is the often-deliberate fog of confusion smothering public knowledge of civilian casualties.
Ivan Eland: Why has this reverence for the military arisen and become patriotic when it runs counter to the nation’s founders’ suspicions of large standing armies and foreign military adventures? A skeptic would attribute the excessive exaltation to guilt.
Lawrence S. Wittner: One of the ironies of the current international situation is that, although some government leaders now talk of building a nuclear weapons-free world, there has been limited public mobilization around that goal—at least compared to the action-packed 1980s.
Jeremy Kuzmarov: It might not be Reefer Madness redux, but the blame being put on drugs for civilian deaths in Afghanistan today has that same air of hysteria about it.
T. Christian Miller: More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields.
Tom Hayden: Next week the Canadian parliament is expected to hear a bill proposing humanitarian grounds for granting asylum in the country. Watson’s application for permanent resident status is on hold. About 40 other American war resisters are seeking asylum in Canada, where nearly 80,000 were given protection during the Vietnam War.
Steve Hochstadt: The main problem has been the the policy of intervention. We can’t create a safe world by sending more arms overseas.
Jim Cullen: Parsons’s most important contribution to a discourse of empire: his attention to the issue of assimilation-which runs between conquering and subjecting.
T. Christian Miller: Army commanders have routinely denied Purple Hearts to soldiers who have sustained concussions in Iraq, despite regulations that make such wounds eligible for the medal.
Charles Hayes: Today I feel very differently about the Vietnam War than I did in my youth, but my own feelings of guilt during that time give me a unique kind of insight into the psychology of courage and commitment. America has never had a shortage of courageous citizens willing to take up arms and fight to the death for reasons and causes beyond their own understanding. Arlington Cemetery in Virginia serves as proof. But my sense of the decades since the end of World War II is that America has and is experiencing a courage crisis of shameful origin and of tragic consequence.
Michael Hunt: This might be a good time to put a stop to general confusion and to that end assert firm civilian control, order the brass back to the Pentagon, and above all ask if the militarization of our society is consistent with our historic values.
Lawrence Wittner: When it comes to military appropriations, the U.S. government already spends about seven times as much as China, thirteen times as much as Russia, and seventy-three times as much as Iran.
Ivan Eland: The American media, and to a lesser extent the world media, focus on symbolism at the expense of underlying reality. And sometimes they can’t even make sense of the symbolism. The artificially generated controversy over a proposed mosque within about two blocks of the site of the 9/11 attacks is illustrative of this ignorance.