Where the Real Dangers Lie

A waterinfrastructure

By W. D. Ehrhart The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is violent, fanatical, barbaric, brutal, intolerant, and . . . add whatever other adjectives you’d like to throw in.  I won’t argue that these characterizations are not true.  But over the summer and into the fall, I have watched and listened with increasing dismay to the shifting sands of the US approach to the situation. Not so many months ago, we were … [Read more...]

The Arrogance—and Ignorance—of Power

VIetnam

As I watch events unfolding in Iraq over the last weeks, I find myself wondering if Iraq War veterans are feeling the way I felt in March and April of 1975 when the fiction that was South Vietnam collapsed like a house of cards. Eight years earlier, I had arrived in Vietnam as an 18-year-old Marine, convinced of the rightness of our cause, and eager to save the Vietnamese from the scourge of communism. I left … [Read more...]

Thank You For Your Service

Vietnam War 1

Over the past decade or so, it’s become quite the fashion, when people learn that I once served in the Marines, to say to me, “Thank you for your service.”  I’m sure they mean well, but I wish they would take just a moment to reflect on what they are saying. I went halfway around the world to a place called Vietnam, where I killed, maimed, brutalized and made miserable a people who had never done me or my … [Read more...]

Paul Fussell: A Remembrance

Fussell portrait FE

Not surprisingly, virtually every publication in the English-speaking world from the New York Times and Britain’s The Guardian to the Scranton Times Tribune and the Kennebec Journal took note of the recent death of Paul Fussell.  Beginning with the 1975 publication of his landmark study The Great War and Modern Memory, which earned him both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, he rapidly … [Read more...]