How I Became a Peace Activist

When I was teaching myself how to write, when I was about 20 to 25, I churned out (and threw out) all kinds of autobiographies. I wrote glorified diaries. I fictionalized my friends and acquaintances. I still write columns all the time in the first person. I did write a children’s book in recent years that was fiction but included my oldest son and my niece and nephew as characters. But I haven’t touched autobiography in more years than I’d been alive when I used to engage in it.

I’ve been read more

What We’re Supposed to Think

We’re supposed to think that the United States is threatened for no reason by irrational subhuman monsters arising out of the less important bits of the earth found beyond U.S. borders.

We’re supposed to think that the bigger the U.S. military is, and the more places it’s based in around the world, the better it can counter those monsters.

We’re supposed to think that other nations don’t have this sort of problem or depend on this sort of solution because the United States does it for read more

Trump in Exile

SHIP’S LOG, February 15, 2018 — How the Earthlings have survived is a mystery. Ever since the United States impeached and removed Donald Trump for accidentally live-streaming himself sexually assaulting a tourist (or was it really for refusing to bomb Moscow? unclear) events have spiraled out of control.

Trump is now residing on a private island, making offers by tweet of trillions of dollars to various nations in exchange for their willingness to bomb the United States. No nation is known read more

FAILED: Foreign Policy as We Know It

The Stop the War Coalition has just published a short summary of what’s wrong with foreign policy, going through a partial list of current wars one by one. Of course this is a British organization with a British perspective, but it’s the closest thing to what a well-funded U.S. anti-war organization might produce, and it ought to be considered by people everywhere, as it impacts us all.

I confess that I have throughout the terror-producing “war on terror” envied and identified with the read more

New York Times and Reaction to It Help Us See Where Nazis Come From

“Imagine being so bad at drumming that you become a Nazi,” someone tweeted in response to the recent and scandalous New York Times’ article about an Ohio Nazi. “Or at painting,” I replied.

That part of the explanation of where Nazis come from is not new.

What’s newest about the article is the reaction to it: a flood of outrage filling my social media and email, including demands that Nazis not be “humanized” or “normalized,” and insistence that they be simply condemned, ignored, read more

Against Thanksgiving

What the hell do I mean I’m against Thanksgiving? Can’t I find something worse to be against? How about famine, cholera, war, slavery, rape, murder, torture, environmental collapse, refugee crises, evil heartless lying scheming governments, oil spills, slick propaganda, mass incarceration, entrenched apathy, bigotry, greed, or sadism? Indeed, I’m certainly against all of those things and thousands of others, and more so than I am against Thanksgiving.

But the world’s problems are relevant read more

Top 10 Ways to Stop Trump Nuking Anybody

 On Tuesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on whether Trump can just up and nuke people or not. The hand-picked witnesses, all former military, all said there was some chance that if Trump ordered a nuking, somebody might refuse to carry out the order. On what grounds? No witness or Senator ever mentioned the illegality of war under the UN Charter or the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But one witness brought up “necessity” and “proportionality” as grounds for deeming a particular apocalypse-creating act illegal and another legal. But these “just war” concepts are not empirical. There’s no standard for determining whether an action is “necessary” or “proportional.” It comes down to the mood the commander of Strategic Command is in that day, or the partisan identity of some official, or the courage and integrity of rank-and-filers ordered to begin the earth’s destruction. If, like me, you’re not convinced that’s good enough, here are some other possible approaches:

1) Pass a new law for North Korea and one for each other country on earth pointing out that a stronger law already exists called the U.S. Constitution which forbids presidents from launching wars that have not been declared by Congress, and include a ban on using any funds to violate the law.

2) As long as we’re passing laws to acknowledge the existence of laws, pass one to point out the absolute ban on war in the Kellogg-Briand Pact, as well as read more

Talk Nation Radio: War Stories

The late Eduardo Galeano’s forthcoming book, Hunter of Stories, has five or ten sentences on each page — each page a tiny story, their combination engaging and powerful. Galeano includes the story of a war resister who chose read more

U.S. Mass Shooters Are Disproportionately Veterans

Are veterans of the U.S. military disproportionately likely to be mass killers in the United States? Asking such a question is difficult, first because of concerns of profiling, discrimination, etc., and second, because it’s hard to answer.

It’s important to answer because it’s important for us to know whether military training is contributing to this epidemic, a fact that (one must rush to say) would not somehow eliminate the roles played by gender, guns, mental illness, domestic violence, read more