Football as a Metaphor for Endless War

Fox NFL Sunday pregame

Tonight on primetime, national TV a yearly sports ritual will commence, the National Football League Draft of the most gifted college players by the 32 NFL professional football teams scattered throughout the continental US. The NFL with its 32 teams comprises a monopoly of billionaire businesspersons, who hire some 1700 elite athletes that make up the 53-man rosters. A goodly number of the star players become … [Read more...]

Surviving PTSD

The Scream

(Comments opening a Maine Veterans For Peace symposium on PTSD, April 23, 2011) Forty-two years ago today, I arrived at Valley Forge Army hospital, my tour in Vietnam mercifully cut short by the timely affliction of pulmonary tuberculosis.  Having thus survived Vietnam, I have spent the years ever since contending with its aftermath in the form of a wound far more resistant to healing than the disease that once lodged … [Read more...]

General Injustice: The Asymmetry of the Cases of Private Manning and General McChrystal


The central intuition behind our concept of justice is that like cases should be treated alike.   John Rawls in his immensely influential book A Theory of Justice states that justice is “the first virtue” of social institutions; adherence to the requirements of justice is a test of such institutions.   When the requirements of justice are blatantly unmet, that is, when seemingly like cases are treated radically … [Read more...]

Annals of the New Left: Dissing Golub

UHL art

[ MEMOIR ] The following story is intended as a commentary on the political culture of the New Left during the Vietnam War period; it is also intended to amuse. Tod and I sat in the reception area sipping from containers of take-out coffee and traded last minutes strategies for the meeting with Bernie Mazel, Direct Mail Czar of left-wing causes in the U.S.  Bernie wore two other power hats, publisher of Mazel Books, … [Read more...]

The Battle Over PTSD

Ajax square 72

The battle over the meaning of a traumatic experience is fought in the arena of political discourse, popular culture and scholarly debate. The outcome of this battle shapes the rhetoric of the dominant culture and influences future political action. Kali Tal, Worlds Of Hurt: Reading the Literature of Trauma _______________ There’s a major struggle for meaning going on in America now that centers on war trauma … [Read more...]

The Stranger


[ MEMOIR ] For several months after my discharge from the Air Force at the beginning of November 1969, I lived with my father.  The two of us alone in the large 4-bedroom twin house from which he had walked 6 days a week to work in a steel plant by the Schuylkill River in Eastern Pennsylvania at a time when American industry was the envy of the world and produced the things the world wanted, the house in which I had … [Read more...]