50 years since veterans swamped the Capitol — but for democracy

They crossed the Potomac — some in wheelchairs or on crutches — to Arlington National Cemetery, where a former military chaplain led a funeral service for the war dead. They refused to stop sleeping on the Mall despite orders from the Supreme Court. The war they hoped to stop didn’t end until four years later, but its course and that of the nation was altered by their movement, many of whom are still fighting for change today.

It’s showtime, folks.

Join Chris Lombardi & Adam Hochschild for a conversation on writing narrative nonfiction & the history of dissent in the U.S. armed forces. And no doubt we’ll talk about current soldier-dissent, from the National Guard troops refusing domestic deployment to the veterans mobilized to protect Black lives.

Notes toward an introduction

  July 2020: As the book approaches publication WITHOUT an introduction, I decided to repost this from ten years ago, when it was still under the aegis of UC Press and Chelsea Manning was still imprisoned at Quantico. The book evolved as well, but the themes below whisper from between its pages. It’s been a long timeContinue reading “Notes toward an introduction”

Outtake: Scott Olsen, who almost died for Occupy

Eight years ago this week, a NYPD riot at New York’s Zuccotti Park evicted the last remaining Occupy Wall Street activists. That year had seen an incredible amount of movement-building, with organizing from coast to coast–including by dissenting veterans.  Below, a vigil for Iraq vet Scott Olsen at Occupy Oakland. In 2011, Obama’s Afghanistan “surge”Continue reading “Outtake: Scott Olsen, who almost died for Occupy”

Old soldiers, new century

Again with the cutting-room floor — this time with a section I’d worried was superfluous when I wrote it, but had been irrationally seized with wondering how my two Civil War storytellers had reacted to the beginning of the 20th century. Old Soldiers in a New Century The morning of August 18, 1906, is seasonablyContinue reading “Old soldiers, new century”

Ron Kovic’s Convention speech

Which no one ever heard, because the networks had stopped filming in 1972. (They’d already wrecked the candidacy of WWII veteran Edmund Muskie. ) We’ll never know if that speech might have rocked the world of Richard Nixon. Now, thanks to Studs Terkel’s chat with Hunter S. Thompson, you can hear it starting at minute 36.Continue reading “Ron Kovic’s Convention speech”

Friday news dump, belated

As what one writer has called “this insult of a month” comes to an end, a baker’s half-dozen to keep us warm: Famous Veteran: Leonard Nimoy. As many of us mourn the guy who made smart cool, IVAW’s Geoff Millard points out this Military.com Q&A in which Nimoy offered vets tips on making their dreamsContinue reading “Friday news dump, belated”

About VASECMcDonald: it’s not Brian Williams redux

If you were sitting down w/homeless vets, CBS News watching, and a homeless vet looked up at you and said “I was special forces,” how would _you_ sum up a decade jumping out of parachutes for the 82nd Airborne and keep his attention?

None of the articles about this, on Tues. a.m., have quoted the homeless vet in question. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the only interview that matters here.