Dick Price: I have thought, at least at times, that my life has been better for having served in combat in Vietnam, that what I learned about myself eventually made me a better person, clearer about what to believe and what not to believe, surer about my own moral compass. But what if the luck of the draw had gone the other way?
The Military Industrial Complex
President Eisenhower warned against the dangers of developing a military industrial complex. It appears that when all you have in your toolbox is hammers, everything looks like a nail. The articles below give a sense of the many ways we use all of the hammers we've invested in.
Cora Currier: The government apparently calls such attacks signature strikes because the targets are identified based on intelligence “signatures” that suggest involvement in terror plots or militant activity.
JP Sotille: Thanks to drones, these may be “limited engagements,” but rest assured that Duck and Cover Soup will open in more theaters, even if it doesn’t turn out to be a big hit in current screenings.
William Astore: War should never be debated in the abstract; it’s only at our own peril when we reduce it to mindless entertainment. We must always remember how hideous the face of war can be, and how pitiless it is to those caught in its path of destruction.
Norman Solomon: But unlike the horrific war in Southeast Asia, the ongoing and open-ended “war on terror” is not confined by geography or, apparently, by calendar. The search for enemies to smite (and create) is availing itself of a bottomless pit, while bottom-feeding military contractors keep making a killing.
Joe Palermo: Kerry and Hagel (like Colin Powell) missed their historical moment. Had they opposed Bush’s war they might have made a difference. Now perhaps they can use their cabinet posts to implement a policy or two of atonement.
Norman Solomon: Without an honest reckoning of what did and didn’t happen in the lead-up to the Iraq war, a pernicious message comes across: of course we stuck it out and followed orders, we had private doubts but fulfilled our responsibilities to maintain public support for the war.
John Peeler: We urgently need, as a society, to figure out how to contain the president’s war powers without crippling the president’s ability to defend us. When we finally decide that the most urgent threat comes precisely from the president, will it be too late?
Nick Turse: Chuck Hagel’s views on the Vietnam War underwent a fundamental shift following the release of audio tapes of President Lyndon Johnson admitting, in 1964, that the war was unwinnable. That “cold political calculation” caused Hagel to vow that he would “never, ever remain silent when that kind of thinking put more American lives at risk in any conflict.”
Lasrence Wittner: People interested in removing the dangers posed by over 17,000 nuclear weapons around the globe might want to press the administration to honor its commitment to seek a nuclear-free world.
Tom Hayden: The Vietnamese call China “the enemy brother” and, while seeking to avoid a Cold War-style alliance with the US, are exploring the Obama administration’s “Pacific pivot” as a possible balance against China.
Jonathan Shell: In Kill Anything that Moves, Nick Turse has for the first time put together a comprehensive picture, written with mastery and dignity, of what American forces actually were doing in Vietnam.
Norman Solomon: After his Inaugural speech in January 2009, Obama has pursued policies that epitomize King’s grim warning in 1967: “When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.”