What Is a Hero?

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My local newspaper recently printed a trio of articles about fallen heroes. One was the story of a young Marine who died in a training exercise, months short of discharge. His body was welcomed home with 2200 American flags. Another was a comment by a columnist questioning the economics of providing military honors to people who died in circumstances other than combat. Still another opined that lots of people are heroes … [Read more...]

The Gravest Consequence of War is Silence


Editor’s note: These remarks were given November 12th by Dr. Nancy Wolff at the annual Veterans Day ceremony put on by the Vietnam Veterans of America inmate chapter inside Graterford State Prison near Philadelphia. Dr. Wolff was the ceremony’s Special Guest Speaker.  Also attending and speaking were Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and  former US Navy Vice Admiral and Congressman Joe … [Read more...]

Covering Up Debacles: The Sandusky Affair and the Vietnam War

Vietnam kids FEA

Life is overflowing with metaphorical material. Maneuvering through reality is a constant dialogue and negotiation between what’s inside our heads and what’s going on outside in the chaotic flow of what is. We understand what's outside by comparing it with what's inside. This is true whether or not the average anti-intellectual Joe Sixpack or Joe the Plumber recognizes it or not. In fact, those who don't understand … [Read more...]

Americans Love a Good Killer

McChrystal FEA

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. - D.H. Lawrence The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations … where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket … where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practicing. - Raymond … [Read more...]

A Conspiracy of Whores

Whores THe girl FEA

It’s a challenge to make adult sense of the absurdities coming out of Colombia right now. I had first planned to write about the Drug War aspect of President Obama’s summit meeting in Cartagena, since it’s quite amazing when the right-wing president of Colombia publicly lobbies the US president to shift the Drug War from military operations against supply in Latin America to a more social approach against demand in … [Read more...]

Brazil 2014 … but first a Truth Commission

Braxil favela FEA

On the flyleaf of a school notebook I’d purchased at a papelaria in Salvador, Bahia, where I was on assignment in Brazil to write a destination piece in 1984, I found the following stanzas from a 19th century poem by Casimiro de Abreu: Correi pr’as bandas do sul Debaixo dum céu de anil Encontrareis o gigante Santa Cruz, hoje Brasil; — É uma terra de amores Alcatifada de flores Onde a brisa fala … [Read more...]