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Women’s Rights: Afghanistan and Beyond

By Robert C. Koehler Suddenly there’s major concern across the country — from the mainstream media to every last rock-ribbed Republican — for the rights of Afghan women and girls to be able to work, to go to school. Oh my God, we’ve given Afghanistan back to the Taliban! Even George W. Bush found his […]

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A National Rite of Passage: Beyond War

By Robert C. Koehler A recent New York Times op-ed was perhaps the strangest, most awkward and tentative defense of the military-industrial complex — excuse me, the experiment in democracy called America — I’ve ever encountered, and begs to be addressed. The writer, Andrew Exum, was an Army Ranger who had deployments in the early […]

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Letting the Future Out of Its Cage

By Robert C. Koehler We pretend to have enemies, but mostly what we “have” are people whose lives simply don’t matter. And then we kill them, either directly — via airstrikes or other war games, turning them into collateral damage — or indirectly . . . by simply failing to notice that they exist. The […]

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After Afghanistan . . . a Truth Commission?

By Robert C. Koehler “Ten members of one family — including seven children — are dead after a US drone strike targeting a vehicle in a residential neighborhood of Kabul . . . “The youngest victims of Sunday’s airstrike were two 2-year-old girls, according to family members. “Relatives found the remains of one of the […]

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Growing Old in the Newborn Universe

By Robert C. Koehler That link between age and wisdom — is it just a joke? Suddenly I’m curious in a real way. I just turned . . . 75. There’s a significance to that number that isn’t abstract, and I’m having a hard time ignoring it. Perhaps it has more to do with cataracts […]

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War, Herbicides and Moral Disengagement

By Robert C. Koehler And the least secret agent of all . . . Agent Orange! On August 10, 1961, the United States, several years before it actually sent troops, started poisoning the forests and crops of Vietnam with herbicides. The purpose: to deprive our declared enemy, the commies of Ho Chi Minh, of food […]

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Is a United World Possible?

By Robert C. Koehler What if . . . ? I get lost — tangled in doubt and cynicism — when I try to pose the question in a more specific way. What if . . . a collective human voice could be heard, crying out across the borders as the pandemic surges, as the […]

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Democracy: Enemy of the Powerful

By Robert C. Koehler Perhaps the best possible thing we could acknowledge being is a “divided nation.” Failing to do so justifies — or at least avoids noticing — all manner of violent cruelty and repression in the name of so-called democracy, from the jailing of whistleblowers who reveal U.S. war crimes and global criminality, […]

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Civilizing the Savage

By Robert C. Koehler We crossed the Atlantic, encountered a bunch of savages, defeated them, claimed the continent. We won! This is the history I remember learning, as satisfying and stupid as a John Wayne movie. The myth is crumbling and cracking, its certainty now as precarious as the statue of a Confederate general. Truth […]

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Moral Intelligence or Nuclear War

By Robert C. Koehler Let’s dance at the border! One of these days, something will give — the rich, the powerful will suddenly look around cluelessly. What’s happening? Awareness will sweep across the planet: We are one, and life is sacred. This consciousness will even invade political life and what I call moral intelligence will […]

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The Narrow Borders of Militarism

By Robert C. Koehler An end to war? It’s certainly necessary, but is it politically possible? The fate of House Resolution 476, introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee, will give us a clue how close “we,” by which I mean the leading military power on the planet, are to transcending our suicidal certainties. The wording of […]

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Why Did You Kill My Brother?

By Robert C. Koehler For Derek Chauvin, nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds have turned into twenty-two and a half years — the prison sentence he recently received for the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin famously knelt on George Floyd’s neck last year, as he lay handcuffed and helpless, for those nine-plus minutes, while three colleagues […]

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Transcending War: Everyone Wins

By Robert C. Koehler When will we as a nation admit it? Barbara Lee was right. She was the only member of Congress to vote against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force back in 2001, following the 9/11 disaster, which allowed George W. Bush to invade Afghanistan. A year later she voted against […]

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Politically Correct Racism

By Robert C. Koehler “The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie.” I offer these words of Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose 2019 essay is part of the New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project,” to the Heritage Foundation and the horde of Republican politicians currently trying to update the look and […]

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Protecting Borders, Not Life

By Robert C. Koehler Remember the Space Force? You know, the sixth branch of the U.S. military, officially created in 2019, “establishing space as a warfighting domain and guaranteeing that the United States will dominate in that environment just like all others.” Thus declared President Donald Trump at the time, unleashing a Hollywood script on […]

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Nukes, Lies and Invisible Murder

By Robert C. Koehler Let’s listen in for a moment to the gentle, awkward language of mass killing: “The employment or threat of employment of nuclear weapons could have a significant influence on ground operations. . . . Integration of nuclear weapons into a theater of operations requires the consideration of multiple variables. Using nuclear […]

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A Permanent Structure of Peace

By Robert C. Koehler Suddenly a shard of history comes flying at me from the ebbing days of World War II, hitting me in the heart. You mean world leaders (not to mention all the rest of us) were serious about transcending — for good — the hell the world had just been through and […]

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Terror Plus Public Relations

By Robert C. Koehler “The president reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attack,” The Guardian has informed us, as conflict flares once more in the Middle East. But, oh the humanity! Good guy Joe also “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians.” […]

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Transcending ‘the Religion of Whiteness’

By Robert C. Koehler Basically, Derek Chauvin was convicted of enforcing the status quo. Because his behavior was caught on video — his knee on George Floyd’s neck, oh my God, choking him to death — and looked so disturbing to most of the public, official American “justice” had to take some sort of action. […]

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Our Own Wisdom Is Telling Us To Evolve

By Robert C. Koehler Let’s use up the planet and bless the future with its corpse. If politics involved speaking the truth, those words could well be the core slogan of mainstream politicians and their media cohorts, with the purpose of the election process (you know, democracy) being, simply, to choose the specific ways in […]

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Armed Racism Keeps No One Safe

By Robert C. Koehler “Get out of the car! Get out of the car NOW!!” The officer — the mad man with a badge — probably shouts those words 50 times at the driver, Second Lt. Caron Nazario, at a gas station in Windsor, Va., all the while holding a gun a foot from his […]

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Trapped at the Border: Their Fate Is Our Fate

By Robert C. Koehler You’d think that the “border crisis” begins and ends as a problem for Americans. Oh, what to do, what to do? All these people showing up at our back door, trying to get in. They want to take our jobs, drink our water. . . . And think about the dangers […]

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Ending the Endless War

By Robert C. Koehler Will Joe Biden end the endless wars or won’t he? I have serious doubts that he has the will or political acumen to do so. But that’s only a fragment of the question that needs to be asked, as we approach the twentieth anniversary of our global “war on evil.” A […]

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Waging War . . . at the Supermarket

By Robert C. Koehler When a lost soul attempts to reclaim himself in the American way, it becomes, far too often . . . we all know this . . . another mass murder. In the past week or so, there have been two more of them. “This cannot be our new normal. We should […]

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Growing Up Ecologically

By Robert C. Koehler Is it possible that the country is truly rebuilding itself . . . from the soul up? Deb Haaland has been confirmed as head of the Department of the Interior. A Native American congresswoman and, as she describes herself, 35th-generation New Mexican, has been given the reins of the department that […]

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