Biden Is the Latest President To Tout the Vietnam War as Proud History

When Joe Biden flew out of Hanoi last week, he was leaving a country where U.S. warfare caused roughly 3.8 million Vietnamese deaths. But, like every other president since the Vietnam War, he gave no sign of remorse. In fact, Biden led up to his visit by presiding over a White House ceremony that glorified … Continue reading “Biden Is the Latest President To Tout the Vietnam War as Proud History”

How 9/11 Bred a ‘War on Terror’ From Hell

On September 11th, 22 years later, what are we to make of it all? Who even remembers that, as the Pentagon burned, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld picked up a scrap of hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 from the smoking ruins of that building. Soon after, he would tell his aides (as one of them … Continue reading “How 9/11 Bred a ‘War on Terror’ From Hell”

Decades Later, the US Government Called Hiroshima and Nagasaki ‘Nuclear Tests’

In 1980, when I asked the press office at the U.S. Department of Energy to send me a listing of nuclear bomb test explosions, the agency mailed me an official booklet with the title “Announced United States Nuclear Tests, July 1945 Through December 1979.” As you’d expect, the Trinity test in New Mexico was at … Continue reading “Decades Later, the US Government Called Hiroshima and Nagasaki ‘Nuclear Tests’”

It’s Always a ‘Difficult Decision,’ They Tell Us

“In a dark time,” poet Theodore Roethke wrote, “the eye begins to see.” Stanley Kunitz observed: “In a murderous time / the heart breaks and breaks / and lives by breaking.” In the current murderous time, amid the dim media swirl, acuity arrived for some with the news that President Joe Biden had approved sending cluster munitions … Continue reading “It’s Always a ‘Difficult Decision,’ They Tell Us”

The Patriotism of Killing and Being Killed

The Fourth of July — the ultimate patriotic holiday — is approaching again. Politicians orate, American Flags proliferate and, even more than usual, many windows on the world are tinted red, white and blue. But an important question remains unasked: Why are patriotism and war so intertwined in U.S. media and politics? The highest accolades … Continue reading “The Patriotism of Killing and Being Killed”

US Media Blind to American War Carnage

On the first day of March 2022, visitors to The New York Times homepage saw a headline across the top of their screens in huge capital letters: ROCKET BARRAGE KILLS CIVILIANS It was the kind of breaking-news banner headline that could have referred to countless US missile attacks and other military assaults during the previous … Continue reading “US Media Blind to American War Carnage”

Daniel Ellsberg Has Passed Away. He Left Us a Message.

When Daniel Ellsberg died on Friday, the world lost a transcendent whistleblower with a powerful ethos of compassion and resolve. Ellsberg’s renown for openly challenging the mentalities of militarism began on June 23, 1971, when he appeared on CBS Evening News ten days after news broke about the Pentagon Papers that he’d provided to journalists. … Continue reading “Daniel Ellsberg Has Passed Away. He Left Us a Message.”

Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished,’ 20 Years Later

Twenty years ago, President George W. Bush landed in a twin-engine Navy jet on an aircraft carrier, strode across the deck in a bulky flight suit and proceeded to give a televised victory speech under a huge red-white-and-blue banner announcing "Mission Accomplished." For Bush, the optics on May 1, 2003 could hardly have been more … Continue reading “Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished,’ 20 Years Later”

Daniel Ellsberg Has Foiled Those Who Want Him Confined to the Past

In just a few words – "those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future" – George Orwell summed up why narratives about history can be crucial. And so, ever since the final helicopter liftoff from the U.S. Embassy’s roof in Saigon on April 30, 1975, the … Continue reading “Daniel Ellsberg Has Foiled Those Who Want Him Confined to the Past”

We Don’t Have To Choose Between Nuclear Madmen

The announcement by Vladimir Putin over the weekend that Russia will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus marked a further escalation of potentially cataclysmic tensions over the war in neighboring Ukraine. As the Associated Press reported, "Putin said the move was triggered by Britain’s decision this past week to provide Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds containing … Continue reading “We Don’t Have To Choose Between Nuclear Madmen”