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Tom Engelhardt | A Record of Unparalleled Failure

  • More than half a century of American-style war by the most powerful and potentially destructive military on the planet adds up to worse than nothing.
  • Part 1: Don’t Walk Away from War 
  • Part 2: Stop Here

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Don’t Walk Away from War 

  • It’s Not the American Way 
  • Here are five straightforward lessons -- none acceptable in what passes for discussion and debate in this country -- that could be drawn from that last half century of every kind of American warfare.

Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch

End%20the%20War.jpg June 10, 2014 | The United States has been at war -- major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions -- nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began.  That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face.  They are, however, the words that can’t be said in a country committed to a military-first approach to the world, a continual build-up of its forces, an emphasis on pioneering work in the development and deployment of the latest destructive technology, and a repetitious cycling through styles of war from full-scale invasions and occupations to counterinsurgency, proxy wars, and back again.

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the Tomdispatch.com website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Part 2: Stop Here ~ Beverly Gologorsky

One summer reading recommendation tied to today’s piece: don’t miss TomDispatch author Beverly Gologorsky’s Stop Here, a powerful working class novel about the effects on this country of its endless, distant wars. It’s riveting! Tom

Described in Good Reads

books/1364250859l/17412773.jpg June 10, 2014 | Ava, Mila, and Rosalyn all work at Murray's Diner in Long Island. They are friends and coworkers struggling to hold together their disordered lives. While Ava privately grieves the loss of her husband in the first Iraq War, Mila struggles to dissuade her seventeen-year-old daughter from enlisting in the second. Rosalyn works as an escort by night until love and illness to disrupt the tenuous balance she'd found and the past she'd kept at a safe distance. The promise of a new relationship with a coworker soon begins to restore Ava's faith in her own ability to feel, and Mila learns through wrenching loss that children must learn from their own mistakes. But ultimately it is love–for one another and for their wayward families–that sustains them through the pain and uncertainty of a world with no easy answers.

With tender, unadorned prose and a supremely human sympathy for the triumphs and defeats of everyday life, in this long-awaited second novel Beverly Gologorsky delivers a moving and incisive story about loss, friendship, and healing in the shadow of a seemingly endless war.

Full story … 

The US Gun Culture, Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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  • America is living under the gun. America has lost its mind.
  • Part 1: Lt. Col. Robert Bateman challenges the NRA
  • Part 2: That's It. I am Coming Home. 
  • The US Gun Culture, Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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Part 1: Lt. Col. Robert Bateman challenges the NRA

  • It's pretty much an open declaration of war on the NRA. He is a brave man. He has already received a lot of hate mail. So, he seems to have no illusions about the risks. But he openly taunts them:
    • Wimps need guns. Come and get me.
    • Oh, and if you try to go lethal, to convince me that your rhetoric is more intellectually compelling than my own written words, I am going to be giggling at the Las Vegas odds on you, with your guns, and me.
    • So there is that. Bring it on, little boys.
  • Anyway, I am very proud of him and I wanted to bring him to your attention because he deserves our support and encouragement.


Demi Moaned, Daily Kos

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Betty Culver

robert_bateman_s2.jpg Bateman, pictured, is an infantryman and a Military Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). 

Jun 09, 2014 | It's been some time now since I added Charles Pierce's 'The Politics Blog' over at Esquire to my daily blogroll. His righteous indignation coupled with his madcap prose stylings are sui generis and often hilarious. But, although Pierce is the proprietor and primary contributor to the blog, other writers are sometimes featured. Among them is a semi-regular whom I've come to increasingly appreciate named Lt. Col. Robert Bateman.

Bateman is active-duty Army, 'an infantryman and a Military Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)' and currently stationed in England. His primary recurring feature at 'The Politics Blog' is the Civil War Reenactment an as-it-happened 150 years ago today recounting of the military events of the Civil War. But he's not one of those sentimentalists who appreciate the beauty and valor of the South's struggle. He unapologetically refers to it as The War of Southern Rebellion and considers Robert E. Lee a traitor. The last installment in the series to date had Grant stalemated just a few miles from Richmond.

Demi Moaned: I'm a 59-year-old male living in San Francisco and I've been on the individual insurance market for several years now, so you can imagine ...

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Part 2: That's It. I am Coming Home. 

The NRA has made mass killings normal in this country. I'm coming home from years of serving my country overseas to help stop it.

LTC Robert Bateman, Esquire Magazine 

June 9, 2014 | This is too much. We have Tea Party political activists shooting cops from behind, in the head, then covering their dead bodies with the Tea Party “Gadsden” flag and shouting, “The Revolution begins now!”

No. I am coming home. I need to be there and be part of the solution. Moms Demand Action is getting some traction, but they can use the lean-in of a few U.S. Army Airborne Infantry Rangers. I am only sorry that I did not stand up to this threat to our nation before. I am sorry. I was busy.

LTC Robert Bateman is an infantryman, historian and prolific writer. Bateman was a Military Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and has taught Military History at the U.S. Military Academy.

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Related:

The US Gun Culture, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • America is living under the gun. America has lost its mind.
  • Part 1: If It's A School Week In America, Odds Are There Will Be A School Shooting
  • Part 2: Shooter And Student Reported Dead At Reynolds High School

 

The US Gun Culture, June 10, 2014

article_imgs6/6213-bible-gun-flag-032412.jpg  

  • America is living under the gun. America has lost its mind.
  • Part 1: If It's A School Week In America, Odds Are There Will Be A School Shooting
  • Part 2: Shooter And Student Reported Dead At Reynolds High School

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: If It's A School Week In America, Odds Are There Will Be A School Shooting

Including Tuesday's incident at a high school in Troutdale, Oregon, 74 school shootings have taken place in the approximately 18 months since the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown shooting.

Nick Wing & Sam Stein, Huffington Post

2014_SchoolShootingsSinceNewtown1.png06/10/2014 | Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been an average of 1.37 school shootings for each school week, according to data maintained by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to end gun violence.

Including Tuesday's incident at a high school in Troutdale, Oregon, 74 school shootings have taken place in the approximately 18 months since the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown shooting. The average school year typically lasts about 180 days, which means there have been roughly 270 school days, or 54 weeks, of class since the shooting at Newtown. With 74 total incidents over that period, the nation is averaging well over a shooting per school week.

Nick Wing: Senior Viral Editor at Huffington Post

Sam Stein: Political Editor and White House Correspondent at Huffington Post

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Part 2: Shooter And Student Reported Dead At Reynolds High School

The Oregon violence came less than a week after a gunman opened fire on a college campus in neighboring Washington state, killing a 19-year-old man and wounding two others. It follows a string of mass shootings that have disturbed the nation, including one on Sunday in Nevada that left two Las Vegas police officers and a civilian dead.

Nigel Duara and Jonathan Cooper, Associated Press / Huffington Post

06/10/2014 | A teen gunman armed with a rifle shot and killed a student Tuesday and injured a teacher before he likely killed himself at a high school in a quiet Columbia River town in Oregon, authorities said.

After the shooting stopped, police spotted the suspect slumped on a toilet in a bathroom but couldn't see what was happening with him.

Nigel Duara: Associated Press (AP) legal affairs reporter, focusing on civil liberties, mental health and terrorism.

Jonathan Cooper: Associated Press (AP) reporter covering Oregon politics and government. 

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Here's The Simple Reason Congress Hasn't Fixed The VA

Politics%20Banner.jpg

  • The VA is low priority: the Senate vets committee had the second lowest budget to spend on staff and other expenses -- just a few thousand dollars more than the Committee on Indian Affairs. It is also one of the few, if not the only panel, without its own press operation. And it's such an afterthought that the Senate lets a socialist run it. (We kid, but it is chaired by Vermont independent Bernie Sanders.)
  • Who is to blame for the crisis at the VA?

Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

public/story_images/soldiers.png Photo Credit: Robert Adrian Hillman/Shutterstock.com 

06/04/2014 | In 2011, a significant chunk of the congressional agenda was taken up by banks and merchants battling over swipe fees -- namely, how much could banks charge Walmart and others to run a debit card. The focus on the penny brawl made no sense from a public policy perspective.

But merchants and banks rained down a staggering sum of money in their fight -- on lobbyists, consultants, campaigns, public relations firms and any other bucket that Washington put out. That flow of dollars determines what gets on Congress' agenda.

Ryan Grim is the Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post.

Full story … 

Related:

Who is to blame for the crisis at the VA? People's World

The truth is the VA was not equipped to deal with the aftermath of two multi-trillion dollar land wars. To deal with the aftermath properly the agency has to be modernized and beefed up and given far more, not fewer resources.

 

 

Obama was right to bargain with Taliban for Bergdahl

  • The criticisms can be countered. In the big picture, this made sense.
  • Part 1: The Real Villains of the Bergdahl Tale
  • Part 2: Bergdahl critics desert U.S. values

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Part 1: The Real Villains of the Bergdahl Tale

The right-wing media is denouncing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as a “deserter” who wasn’t worth ransoming from the Taliban, but the real villains are the architects of the disastrous Iraq and Afghan wars who frivolously put the many Bergdahls in harm’s way.

Ray McGovern, Consortium News

tenet-cheney-bush-300x199.jpg President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right).

June 3, 2014 | For me, the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl affair brings back angry memories of how, in 2009, President Barack Obama caved in to be-medaled and be-ribboned generals like David Petraeus and ordered a modified-limited-hangout-type “surge” of 33,000 troops into Afghanistan. Consequential cowardice at work – trading lives for political advantage – as bad as it gets.

Bergdahl was quick to discern that he and his comrades were pawns of a policy doing far more harm than good in terms of helping the Afghans. Emailing from Afghanistan in late June 2009, Bergdahl pointed out the main problem in these words: “In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit-bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. In the Sixties he served as an infantry/intelligence officer and then became a CIA analyst for the next 27 years. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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Part 2: Bergdahl critics desert U.S. values

Trading for POWs is nothing new, and honors obligation to troops.

Editorial Board, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Photo: U.S. ARMY, NYT - NYT471*425/02bowe+gal53114.JPG

June 3, 2014 - 5:57 PM | After five years as a prisoner of war, Bowe Bergdahl’s freedom is what matters, not the circumstances of his capture.

It’s to our nation’s disgrace that rather than welcome the young man home from Afghanistan, some have marred this occasion with attacks on Bergdahl’s character because it’s unclear how he fell into enemy hands.

Full story … 

 

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