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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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Court Convenes: Healing and Justice Meet

By Robert C. Koehler “Even if you’re the one charged, you will help create the answer.” And the court has now come to order. The speaker is Colleen Sheehan, the presiding judge of the Restorative Justice Community Court, which opened last week in the Chicago neighborhood of North Lawndale, after several years of intense planning. […]

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Begging for War

By Robert C. Koehler “There are no good options,” Brian Williams said the other night on MSNBC, launching a discussion about North Korea with the implication that war — maybe nuclear war — is the only solution to the problem it represents. We’ve been cradling our own suicide for seven decades. The baby’s eyes open […]

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The Man Who Stood Up to Armageddon

By Robert C. Koehler Suddenly it’s possible — indeed, all too easy — to imagine one man starting a nuclear war. What’s a little harder to imagine is one human being stopping such a war. For all time. The person who came closest to this may have been Tony de Brum, former foreign minister of […]

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Facing History in the Age of Trump

By Robert C. Koehler Tempting as it is to isolate Donald Trump as the worst president in history (and “worst” is putting it mildly . . . more like the most narcissistically infantile, the most Nazi-friendly), doing so achieves nothing beyond a fleeting sense of satisfaction. Yeah, he’s scary. His supporters are scary. But he […]

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Why Does North Korea Hate Us?

By Robert C. Koehler “The bombing was long, leisurely and merciless . . .” And so we return to the Korean War, when North Korea was carpet-bombed to the edge of existence. The American media doesn’t have a memory that stretches quite so far back, at least not under present circumstances. One commentator at MSNBC […]

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Terrorism for Profit

By Robert C. Koehler Donald Trump stands cluelessly at the edge of history, exemplifying everything wrong with the past, oh, 10,000 years or so. The necessity for fundamental change in humanity’s global organization is not only profound, but urgent. Trump’s latest outburst about North Korea’s nukes — threatening that country “with fire, fury, and frankly […]

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Opening Gitmo to the World

By Robert C. Koehler To read Witnesses of the Unseen: Seven Years in Guantanamo is to run your mind along the contours of hell. The next step, if you’re an American, is to embrace it. Claim it. This is who we are: We are the proprietors of a cluster of human cages and a Kafkaesque […]

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Dead Civilians and the Language of War

By Robert C. Koehler Finally it comes down to this: Some people are expendable. In certain parts of the world — where we and our allies are waging war — the expendable people come in two categories: terrorists (good riddance!) and civilians, whom we only kill if and when necessary, and whose deaths often elicit […]

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