45 years ago, people learned what had happened in My Lai

And all  earlier drafts of my book included a sort of big-picture retelling of those events, focusing on signature dissenters like Hugh Thompson and Ron Ridenhour. Now that I’ll be referring to those events ONLY in a leaner, character-based narrative, I wanted this blog to have this version, of which I am pretty proud. IContinue reading “45 years ago, people learned what had happened in My Lai”

On Memorial Day, remember these priests, poets, politicos and pranksters!

That’s how I’ve tended to characterize the huge, diverse and boisterous movement working to stop the U.S, war against Vietnam, 1963-1975. I should have written an essay here about them last month, for the anniversary of the 1975 evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, but I could barely fit them in a chapter forContinue reading “On Memorial Day, remember these priests, poets, politicos and pranksters!”

News mix: a house of cards

As ever, my not-quite-daily roundup of items that caught my attention, and still might yours. In Winona, MN, a veteran artist enacts war’s suffering by lying on a bed of nails. 160 retired Israeli defense officials speak out against PM Netanyahu’s address today to the US Congress. The group reminds me a little of the Vietnam-eraContinue reading “News mix: a house of cards”

a 1968 whistleblower, for whom “official channels” didn’t work

Not that often I’m caught out by an obituary. And I can’t believe I never heard of Colonel Anthony B. Herbert: In August 1968, he joined the 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in the central highlands of South Vietnam. It was there as commander of the Second Battalion of the 503rd Infantry, he said, that heContinue reading “a 1968 whistleblower, for whom “official channels” didn’t work”

the singer of the song

I’m in final revisions on the AMA book, so my focus here is shifting for the next five weeks or so; expect to see some musings on the book’s themes, and new stories getting inserted at the last minute. But I’m unlikely to be following the news quite so closely, and there will be silences.Continue reading “the singer of the song”

Can you handle the truth? A guest post from Jane Fonda

The role of Jane Fonda in the Vietnam-era GI movement has always deeply intrigued me, but I had no idea she’d been turned anti-war after meeting deserters in Paris. The fuller story fascinates. I’ve long known the “Hanoi Jane” stuff was a smear job. Now, in “The Truth About My Trip to Hanoi,” which she explicitlyContinue reading “Can you handle the truth? A guest post from Jane Fonda”

How long does the pain last – forever?

I’m far from the only one to have shared that heartrending New York Times essay by Shannon Meehan, entitled “Constant Wars, Distant Ghosts.”  And perhaps as a result, veterans of all generations raised their voices and became this piece on “War and Conscience.” Some bits that hit the hardest: As a former World War IIContinue reading “How long does the pain last – forever?”

Leave no FNG behind: thoughts on Kelly Kennedy’s They Fought for Each Other 

I’ve hoped to grow up to be Kelly Kennedy ever since my friend, rockstar author Alia Malek, profiled the Military Times reporter for Columbia Journalism Review. I knew it was impossible, of course, as the very first line of Kennedy’s author bio makes clear: “Kelly Kennedy served as a soldier in Desert Storm and Mogadishu,Continue reading “Leave no FNG behind: thoughts on Kelly Kennedy’s They Fought for Each Other 

People who Died: Now Murtha, too (UPDATE Two)

Three obituaries inside a week or so: first the World War II-vet peers Howard Zinn and J.D. Salinger, only one of whom became a dissenter. Now Murtha, of the Vietnam generation but only a dissenter much later, who I sort of pre-eulogized last week when he went into hospital. Respect to CBS News for notContinue reading “People who Died: Now Murtha, too (UPDATE Two)”