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Empowering the Vulnerable

By Robert C. Koehler OK, here’s a good one: What’s the position of women in the antiwar movement? This was circa 1967, when I was a college kid just coming of age, psychologically and politically. I was a hippie. I had stopped cutting my hair. I’d discovered pot. And I was outraged by the Vietnam […]

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Trapped in a ‘Man’s World’

By Robert C. Koehler Things fall apart, the center cannot hold . . . The “man’s world” I grew up in is shattering into fragments of shame, contrition and desperate denial. Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse are catching up with powerful perps, sometimes decades after the fact. On Capitol Hill, we now know about […]

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The Illusion of Armed Salvation

By Robert C. Koehler This time, the “the fire and the fury” of American mass murder erupted in church. Twenty-six people were killed, including children, one only 18 months old. How do we stroke their memory? How do we move forward? This is bigger than gun control. We should begin, I think, by envisioning a […]

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Bureaucracy vs. Humanity

By Robert C. Koehler Basically, it’s kidnapping. Were the Border Patrol agents wearing MAGA hats when they grabbed Rosa Maria Hernandez as she left her hospital room? “It’s a shocking case — the most outrageous case I’ve ever seen. Is it a preview of things to come?” ACLU attorney Michael Tan said to me about […]

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Praying for the Moths and Beetles

By Robert C. Koehler “. . . insects as a group are in terrible trouble and the remorselessly expanding human enterprise has become too much, even for them.” And instantly I’m beyond the realm of anything I know, as I consider the gradual disappearance not of whales but of . . . beetles, moths and […]

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A Country, and a Future, Worth Serving

By Robert C. Koehler America’s endless war quietly moves across the broken nations of the world. Every so often, U.S. soldiers die, as four Green Berets did several weeks ago in . . . Niger. And the news was more about the adequacy of presidential condolences to the families of the slain soldiers than the […]

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The Calm Before the Storm

By Robert C. Koehler Every time Donald Trump blurts or tweets a shocker — “maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” for instance — questions flood the media. Is he serious? What did he mean? Yes, of course, but beyond these, larger questions hover half-asked, cutting into the soul of who we are. This is […]

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The Violence Comes Home Again

By Robert C. Koehler In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, as in the wake of all the high-profile mass shootings that preceded it, the big question looms: Why? John Whitehead puts the question this way: “What is it about America that makes violence our nation’s calling card?” This is the enormous question — […]

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The Courage To Kneel

By Robert C. Koehler Kneel, touch the earth. “Oh say can you see . . . ” The anthem starts. I can feel the courage . . . of Colin Kaepernick, the (then) San Francisco 49ers quarterback who refused to stand for the national war hymn, not when one of the wars was directed at […]

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Reclaiming the Truth about Vietnam

By Robert C. Koehler “From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans […]

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