VIDEO: Millennials and conscience

Some video reminders why this book has to exist. A simple question, posed 6 years ago by a respected journalist to an author, was already being answered Chelsea Manning, soon to be echoed by the voices of the whistleblowers above. I discovered the first as I was reshaping – for the last time, I hope!Continue reading “VIDEO: Millennials and conscience”

Intro, continued

After that loooong deconstruction of the book’s title… The following pages offer an idiosyncratic path from the country’s beginnings to the 21st century. Our guides: a handful of soldier-dissenters, who nudged that arc of history toward something resembling peace and justice. In the 1990s, when I was on staff at the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, I used to half-joke that “ifContinue reading “Intro, continued”

this is joe from gainesville

On a Joe Haldeman kick, for reasons perhaps obvious to some of you. After all, there’s that subtitle on my book, the next stop on my introduction exploration: From the French and Indian War to the Forever War. That section of the title has been a shape-shifter. When I first proposed it in 2007 itContinue reading “this is joe from gainesville”

Dissentire via souldine: notes toward a new introduction

I find myself wishing I could defer to Ochs’ elegant summations: “The young land started growing, the young blood started flowing” for the War of 1812, or “the final mission to the Japanese sky…I saw the cities burning” for World War Two.

For all this powerful poetry, Ochs knew there was much more inside that iconic dissenter’s story. He knew from his own dad, who’d come home broken and abusive after World War II; he knew from the Vietnam veterans who jammed his concerts. He had no idea, of course, of the wars to come, or that his own music would be sung by that iconic soldier in the 21st century.

storytelling as dissent

Yesterday’s War Horse post only spotlit one small share of the vast number of veteran writers and artists, like the one pictured,  charting the forever war. They’re musicians, they’re poets holding incredible slams, they’re winning Pulitzers and National Book Awards. The current bounty has me thinking about how the presence of such artists forms anContinue reading “storytelling as dissent”

when gender-dissent got serious

 My book has a quiet backbeat of gender-dissent, separate from but not irrelevant to its years of conscientious objectors, mutinies and warrior writers. From the beginning, we had women dressing as men to fight, from the Revolution to the Civil War; we had women codebreakers and nurses during World War I and II, and anContinue reading “when gender-dissent got serious”

Saluting 4,000 vets on the White House lawn

No, not in 2003. Not in 1971. In  1932. The data caught up on me Friday, but May 29, 1932 was when the Bonus March arrived in Washington, D.C. — and laid the groundwork for how the U.S. currently pays veterans for their service in war. These were veterans of the ‘Great War’,World War I: from ourContinue reading “Saluting 4,000 vets on the White House lawn”

No #47traitors here;The Logan Act’s namesake just wanted peace with France

If you’ve been following national politics some, you may have heard, from both the left and the right, people naming the “Logan Act” as a way to penalize those Republican senators who sent a letter to Tehran behind Obama’s back. This isn’t the site for it, so I’ll leave it to Charlie Pierce to  explainContinue reading “No #47traitors here;The Logan Act’s namesake just wanted peace with France”

bloody bloody caricature of the citizen soldier

This Daily Beast call to strip Andrew Jackson off the $20 is way overdue: it doesn’t stop with the Trail of Tears. The military record that made Jackson a “war hero”? One long recitation of atrocity. Heroically breaking a treaty with the Creeks to slaughter them wholesale. Taking advantage of the Battle of New Orleans to ruleContinue reading “bloody bloody caricature of the citizen soldier”