News mix: a house of cards

AintMarchincoverbyAlexAs 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-era ‘Brass Lambs‘: ” ” Commanders for Israel’s Security, an organization of 200 retired and reserve senior officers from the Israel Defense Forces, the Mossad secret service, the Shin Bet domestic security agency and the national police force […], was created last year to push Netanyahu forward on a regional peace agreement aimed at ending the conflict with the Palestinians.”
  • In The Nation, George Black revisits Quang Tri province 50 years after the USAF tried to bomb it, and Vietnam, back to the Stone Age.
  • Transgender vets raise a concrete issue for SecDef Carter: “If Carter is serious about revisiting the ban on transgender troops, he also needs to turn his attention to another issue: how the Defense Department responds to transgender veterans who need to update official military records to reflect their new [true] gender.”


As for this post’s title; Last night, in our slow binge of House of Cards season 3, an unexpected death reminded me simultaneously of the veteran suicide crisis and of Evan Thomas, who in 1918 refused special treatment to protest the treatment of COs in prison. I’m guessing that plot point was suggested by Pussy Riot.

take a moment first

Right now I’m working on a post about today’s news, but until I post it, I think it’s crucial to honor the giants one more time — in this case, Howard Zinn.

  • Check out Daniel Ellsberg, like Zinn a hero of my book, telling stories about getting arrested with Zinn in protest of the Vietnam war. That scene — a World War II vet and a formerly gung-ho ex-Marine -— kind of says it all.
  • Meanwhile The Nation (by itself a fantastic partner to many dissenting soldiers for 100+ years) has  a terrific “Remembering Howard Zinn” roundup, featuring Tom Hayden, Marian Wright Edelman, and many others. That one takes time, but what else are most of us doing to mourn him?

Some housekeeping: I finally managed to import posts from my other site (from before I realized the book needed its own), with tons of military-history gossip and some on the writing process. (There’s a fair amount of video, including from a TV series that encompassed how I felt when I was writing the Vietnam chapter.)