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I am a 65-year-old American who served in Vietnam as a naive 19-year-old kid. From that moment on, I've been studying and re-thinking what US counter-insurgency war means. I live outside of Philadelphia, where I'm a writer, photographer and a video filmmaker. I have been a member of Veterans For Peace for 27 years. I think we're living through a complex economic reckoning we do not fully understand. I'm clear, as Americans, we need to re-evaluate who we are and we need to ratchet down the imperial world policeman role we too often take for granted. We need to stay engaged diplomatically in the world, but we need to better look after our own nation's problems. I like good writing, good film, good music and good times. I drink alcohol and smoke dope socially and responsibly. I say this publicly because I think the Drug War is an hypocritical failure. I'm a committed pragmatist who actually subscribes to the old right-wing formula: My Country Right Or Wrong. When our government is wrong, which it is a lot of the time, I'm happy to say it. And I plan to stick around.
Why We Should Not Go To War Over James Foley
The killing of James Foley was an intentionally provocative act in cycle of vengeance that should be broken. Of course, the cycle was boosted to the level of psychopathic response by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq that dis-empowered the Sunnis of Anbar Province. Fueling the revenge cycle with Foley's killing will not help. Future-oriented sanity needs to prevail.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri (16 comments)
The cable news duel between Fox News and MSNBC was interesting to follow as the story in Ferguson, Missouri unfolded through the week. Fox took a retro, pro-police line and MSNBC ran with compelling, live images from social media observers on the ground. As a battle of narratives, we have not heard the last from Ferguson, Missouri.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Americans Need to Break the Cycle of War: A Meditation on Peacemaking (3 comments)
It's clear the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq has led to the psychopathic ISIS reaction in Anbar Province in Iraq. Vengeance is no longer the right response; it failed back in 2003 and it will only lead to more killing. How about, this time, we honor John Lennon and just "give peace a chance"?
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Gaza: The Moral Agonies of Asymmetrical Diplomacy (1 comments)
There is a hole in coverage of the Gaza assault and other middle east stories. That is the glib dismissal of suicide bombers. It says something when a culture is driven to the last-stand position of employing humans willing to sacrifice their lives to deliver bombs. While opposing bomb delivery by any means, it's time Americans pondered the fact of suicide bombers.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Bleedback of a US Imperial Wound (1 comments)
Twenty-five percent of the kids at the center of the current border crisis are from Honduras. We need to look at the history and not pump up the military at the border. We need a more human border.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Bad Wars and the Voice of Disillusion (9 comments)
It's the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, a war founded on rotten political leadership and known for the voices of disillusion that came out of the trenches. The legacy of top-down bad leadership and bottom-up voices of disillusion are still with us today from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghansistan.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
The Shame of Clarence Thomas (1 comments)
The recent Supreme Court ruling banning affirmative action in a case from Michigan shines a light on Justice Clarence Thomas, the affirmative action baby on the high court. His degree of hypocrisy is so profound if he any sense of honor he would resign.
Friday, April 25, 2014
LOSING TIM: A Mother Unravels Her Son's Military Suicide (1 comments)
LOSING TIM is a memoir by a well published novelist about her son's suicide in 2004. A veteran Army Ranger, Tim Eysselinck gravitated to the contractor world and ended up in Iraq training de-mining teams at the point that war zone had descended into a moral cesspool. The "moral wound" good men like Tim suffered needs to be better understood by Americans.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Balls, Brains and History: The New Crimean War (3 comments)
The downfall of the Ukraine president, Russia's President Putin has acted fast to establish a red line in Crimea. The US right wing has gone ballistic. When you distill it down, the imbroglio is all about three things: History, Brains and Balls. The world is changing and the ol' USA ain't what it used to be.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Drug War Sanity (3 comments)
Philip Seymour Hoffman led an acting life that one could say was about socially educating the public on the inner lives of his characters. The last thing he would want is his death to be the catalyst for more Drug War madness. In his name, we should reform the Drug War employing the Harm Reduction approach.
Monday, February 3, 2014
"American Hustle" and Prosecutorial Politics (1 comments)
The current film "American Hustle" is, at the same time, a great entertainment and an essay on the state of American politics as far as it's dominated these days by the archetype of the aggressive prosecutor who lives and gets ahead off societal fears.
Friday, January 10, 2014
Thanks to George Bush, Talks With Iran Make Sense
Whose to blame for the current horrors in Iraq, Presidents Bush or Obama? The Obama administration is hardly an anti-war activist's dream, but its recent decision not to bomb Syria and its efforts to negotiate with Iran are good things. It's all about what Thomas Ricks meant when he talked about continuing to eat "the fruit of a poisoned tree."
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Washington Does Not Like Snarky
As someone who once tried to join the Foreign Service Washington Merry-go-round, I send a letter to Jofi Joseph suggesting he ponder what it means to became an insider Twitter gadfly in the Obama administration's national security team.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
It's Time To Feed the Hungry Peace Wolves
John Lennon had it right: Just give peace a chance. As simple and elegant as that lyric is, it is one of the most difficult of human challenges. Is President Obama, after a first term appeasing the militarist beast, finally giving peace a chance?
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Trust and Verify and Vomit (5 comments)
All the criticism of President Obama for "dithering" and President Putin for being a "KGB thug" playing the US president misses the point. Something different is going on. And it's an improvement.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Who's Hiding Behind the Accountability Mask? (1 comments)
There's an elephant in the room no one wants to talk about when it comes to debating whether or not to bomb Syria. There's more than "accountability" going on here. The elephant is Israel.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Once Again, the Answer Is Bombing (1 comments)
Bombing Syria is simply a bad idea that will further exercise the Law of Unintended Consequences. Why not try something different for a change?
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Despite Hand-Wringing, Cairo Massacres Suit US Policy (17 comments)
Let's stop kidding ourselves: The massacres of Egyptian citizens is messy but it conforms perfectly with US desires in the Middle East. Plus, the kleptocratic military institution running amok in Egypt is largely a US creation. We need to honestly recognize our national culpability.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Killers Turned Inside Out (3 comments)
The Act of Killing is an amazing film that tells the story of murders done by death squad killers in Indonesia's counter-insurgency massacre of 1965 in a most novel manner. It's also pretty damning for US police makers at that time who fully supported and aided the killing of 500,000 to 2 million Indonesians. Not America's finest hour.
Killers and Roller-Coaster Rides: A Noir America (3 comments)
The world is changing in ways more profound than we may know. US leaders want to keep the US on top, and they are devising new ways to do that, starting with Cyber War and Special Ops secret killing. We aren't living in Kansas anymore; we're living in Oz and Toto has been declared a terrorist.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Rape and War Go Hand-in-Hand
The Senate Armed Forces Committee is wrestling with rape and sexual assault in the military. The problem is improvement is impossible unless the current status quo that looks the other way to abuses of the hypermasculinity encouraged by our militarist war culture.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Veterans and Pennsylvania's Criminal Justice System
In Pennsylvania, there is no parole allowed for those sentenced to life in prison. This has become an issue in the discussion of incarcerated veterans and PTSD. This is discussed in a speech given on Armed Forces Day to the Vietnam Veterans of America inmate Chapter 466 inside Graterford Prison outside Philadelphia.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Liberating Women With Bombs and Bags of Money (1 comments)
We have a legacy of using "bags of money" along with our bombs to engage with Kipling's "white man's burden." Lately, the right wing militarists have been assuming the antiwar left's view of European colonialism. And it has become pretty weird.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
4/19: The Day It All Came Together
April 19th was a milestone in the emerging 21st century surveillance police state in America. Yeh, it worked like a charm. But there's a very dark side to consider.
Monday, April 1, 2013
How to Avoid the Bummer Myth With a Good Plan B (3 comments)
The recent tenth anniversary of the Iraq War invasion did not address the damage that unnecessary war had done to both Iraqis and to Americans. Why is it American leaders so easily turn away from unpleasant history toward the bright future?
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Hugo Chavez and the Knuckleheads (4 comments)
The far right and much of the middle-brown mainstream press were so knee-jerk in their reductions and dismissals of Hugo Chavez that they missed the real story on what Chavez means for hemispheric history and the future.
The Heart IS a Lonely Hunter: Making It Right (2 comments)
The stories of Essie Mae Washington-Williams, whose father was Strom Thurmond, and Nancy Gonzalez, on trial for conceiving a child with a murdered she was guarding in a New York prison were back to back in the New York Times the other day. They tell us a lot about sex, race and power in America.
Joe Biden: Dancing With the Sausage maker (6 comments)
Joe Biden is a brilliant sausage maker when it comes to Mark Twain's famous metaphor. But the notion that bi-partisanship is missing in Congress is nonsense. Militarism, intelligence and surveillance and police are so bi-partisan they tend to be impregnable issues. Lovable Joe is dead-center in this disaster.
Monday, December 24, 2012
The President's 900 Pound Stinking Elephant (4 comments)
President Obama is a sensitive father who oversees a project of targeted assassinations. The former role works for him the gun-control issue. The latter role does not.
Citizens Are Winning the Battle Over Cops and Cameras
There's a battle in America between citizens using ever-more-compact digital video cameras and i-phones to record police doing their public duty. The tourist-shot image of a New York cop who bought a barefoot homeless man warm boots adds a new wrinkle to the battle. New court cases show citizens winning the battle.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
CLUSTERBALL: James Bond and the Petraeus Affair (2 comments)
The fact the Petraeus Affair broke the same week the latest James Bond thriller hit the US theaters makes for some interesting cross-over questions about art and life in America. Add to that the November issue of Newsweek and more is revealed.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Why I'm Voting For Barack Obama (6 comments)
President Obama is a disappointment, and third Party candidates can't win. So what is one to do? If you're a realist and don't nurse a fantasy that voting is about expressing your ideals, there is no other choice than a vote for President Obama.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Sticky Wicket in Benghazi and Seal Team Imperialism (1 comments)
The Benghazi attack has become a political football that blinds too many Americans to the realities of our current moment in history. Benghazi is a symptom of much larger historical shiftings that involve even the United States of America and Americans.
Monday, October 15, 2012
The Silly Season Goes Into Overdrive (3 comments)
Both presidential candidates are hiding something and avoiding discussion of the real problems facing the nation. What if someone actually told the truth? Do Americans really want to be lied to? As the famous film character put it, can they handle the truth?
Friday, September 28, 2012
Building Bridges Instead of Imperial Wars (2 comments)
History is telling, and an excellent film on the Italian imperial assault on Libya before WWII -- "Omar Mukhtar, Lion of the Desert", sheds interesting light on today's crisis of US imperialism, a quality of our lives most citizens hold in deep denial.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Harvey Pekar, Graphic Art and Israeli State Policy (1 comments)
The well-known graphic narrative curmudgeon Harvey Pekar died in 2010, but a new book written by Pekar and drawn by artist J.T. Waldman goes through Pekar's life and mind about the State of Israel and where he thinks it has gone wrong. Igt's a most interesting story.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Is There a Way Beyond Israeli Madness? (9 comments)
Israel has big problems that become US problems. As the biggest sinner in the game, the United States needs to help its friend Israel be more Buddhist. Now that really sounds mad.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Who the F#&% Is William Brownfield? (2 comments)
William Brownfield is central in selling the new War On Drugs as it becomes linked inextricably with the Global War On Terror. Who is William Brownfield and why is he saying all these crazy things to promote militarism in Latin America and, now, in Africa.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Citizens Protest PA Prison Expansion at Graterford Prison
The Governor of Pennsylvania and others in the state are keen on building new prisons and expanding prisons like the one at Graterford outside Philadelphia. It's a really bad idea, and 50 citizens took to the street near Graterford Prison to say so. The State Police were waiting for them.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Covering Up Debacles: The Sandusky Affair and the Vietnam War (2 comments)
The nature of the Penn State cover-up debacle has a lot to tell us about how other debacles are covered up by those in power. The Vietnam War Commemoration Project is a good place to shine the metaphoric light of the metaphoric light of the Penn Sate case.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Forgotten Casualties of the Vietnam War
A number of Vietnam veterans with PTSD are serving life-without-parole sentences in Pennsylvania. It is an injustice that needs to be addressed in this age of sensitivity toward veterans and PTSD issues. Commer Glass is one of those veterans.
Friday, June 22, 2012
The Vietnam War and the Struggle For Truth (6 comments)
The government and the Pentagon have launched a 13-year propaganda project to clean up the image of the Vietnam War. As President Obama preached at the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day, the war made us a better people. Vietnam veterans like myself disagree with that profoundly. The war was an historical debacle of immense proportion. Nothing has changed.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
A Killer In the White House (1 comments)
It is becoming clear how vital the special ops and drone killing doctrine is for President Obama and his image. His sidekick VP Joe Biden has been plowing this ground for decades with the Drug War. The two Wars (Drugs & Terror) are now merging, which means trouble ahead.
Americans Love a Good Killer (1 comments)
Killers are a perennial pop culture favorite, and that holds true for the new Special Ops doctrine. Things could get weird, though, as the militarization of domestic police forces keeps on developing as it has.
Friday, April 20, 2012
A Conspiracy of Whores (9 comments)
The Secret Service scandal that came out of the Cartagena summit is nothing but a distraction from the real story, which is the shifting economics and politics of Latin America vis-a-vis the imperial United States. Whoring is nothing new, and in fact prostitution and US imperialism have always gone hand-in-hand.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The Trayvon Blues (8 comments)
The Trayvon Martin story is an important one that is not going away because it speaks volumes about the nation's current crisis of police officers (or wannabe cops like George Zimmerman) pumped up on fear and adrenaline overreacting and, then, not held accountable for the stupid, often lethal things they've done. If Trayvon's death can do anything, maybe it can shine a light on this.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Afghanistan: The Wheels Are Coming Off (1 comments)
It's one thing after another. Now a soldier runs amok and kills 16 Afghans. What's going on? It's simple: The mission in Afghanistan is bankrupt and going down the tubes. It's time to be adults and recognize wed need to leave.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Israel Lobby Beats the Drums For War (1 comments)
Israel and American right wing pro-war forces are linking in DC this week to push for war with Iran. It's an awesome blitzkrieg. The story is not pretty once you begin lifting rocks to see what's under the propaganda.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
The United States and Its Dark Passenger, Part II: Act Of Valor (3 comments)
US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan are not ending well. US imperial ambitions face other problems in the world and, especially, at home. The new soloution is secret killing teams, and the Pentagon has gone into the propaganda movie business to assault the American public mind.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The United States and Its Dark Passenger (2 comments)
The new spiffy US military doctrine of Special Operations hunter-killer teams came of its own in the Anbar "surge." Strangely, the rules and justifications of this program mirror those of Dexter, the popular book and TV psychopathic killer.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
A Modest Proposal for Israel and Iran (1 comments)
The US is threatening to pull its military aid from Egypt. How about making that threat to Israel -- before it deludes itself into attacking Iran and starting World War Three. It's so tragic it makes you want to laugh.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Hugo Chavez, Drugs, Guantanamo Bay and Vultures (33 comments)
As we watch Hugo Chavez welcome Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Caracas, it's time to re-think our relationship with Latin America, dump the legacies of the 20th Century and join the 21st with a new face.