Rio de Janeiro in 1964…

            Rio de Janeiro in 1964 remained the de facto seat of the Brazilian government and home to its corps of international diplomats.  Despite the fact that Brasilia, the modernist architectural ghost town erected in the scrublands of the country’s isolated interior was designated Brazil’s new capital in 1960, the foot dragging went on for years before the embassies and the governing bureaucrats … [Read more...]

The Chomsky Thread

The long stream of commentary and observations which follows was prompted by a series of staccato exchanges on email between Professor Noam Chomsky and me, Michael Uhl.  In the first exchange I received some unanticipated support from Chomsky about my critique of Nick Turse's book, Kill Anything That Moves.  But it is the second exchange that I would really wish to bring to the attention of a larger, albeit highly … [Read more...]

Red Lines and Bombing in Syria: A Really Bad Idea

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Here we go again. Polls suggest the American people are fed up after two full-bore wars and the killing of an ambassador in Benghazi following our commitment to regime change in Libya. Yet, the Obama administration seems poised to launch another war in Syria. “We can’t do a third war in 12 years!" This exasperated response was not from a leftist peace activist ready to do civil disobedience; it was from Colonel … [Read more...]

The Problematic: Penny Lewis Repairs Some Misconceptions About the Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War seems to be drawing attention increasingly from researchers born during or after the tumultuous decade in which that deadly drama played out.  One sees mostly this generation’s higher profile works, like Fredrik Logevall’s Embers of War; The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History, and Nick Turse's Kill Anything That Moves: The Real … [Read more...]

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 Battle Still Rages Over What Vietnam Means: Individual Honor or Unpleasant History?

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"The experience we have of our lives from within, the story we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to account for what we are doing, is thus a lie -- the truth lies rather outside, in what we do." Slavoj Zizek Soldiers and veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan and other wars are killing themselves, according to Sixty Minutes, at a rate of 22-a-day. For any fair-minded person whose mind is not locked into a dehumanized … [Read more...]