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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 […] more

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 […] more

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 […] more

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 […] more

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 […] more

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 […] more

Nukes and the Global Schism

By Robert C. Koehler The United States boycotted the U.N. negotiations to ban — everywhere across Planet Earth — nuclear weapons. So did a few other countries. Guess which ones? The international debate over this historic treaty, which became reality a week ago by a margin of 122 to 1, revealed how deeply split the […] more

Skewing Democracy White

By Robert C. Koehler Every real problem this country — and this planet — face is replaced by a fantasy problem, which all the powers of government then pretend to address. Meet Donald Trump, master of the street con, trickster extraordinaire. How many cabinet positions and high-level government posts have been filled by someone whose […] more

The Fire Burns, the Caldron Bubbles

By Robert C. Koehler America serves up its news in a caldron from hell, or so it sometimes seems. The fragments are all simmering in the same juice: bombs and drones and travel bans, slashed health care, police shootings, the Confederate flag. Double, double, toil and trouble . . . Suddenly I’m thinking about the […] more

When the Detainee Is American . . .

By Robert C. Koehler The corpses pile up like sandbags along the planet’s geopolitical borders. “Perhaps his condition deteriorated and the authorities decided it was better to release him in a coma than as a corpse.” So said an expert on North Korea recently, quoted in the New York Times following the death of 22-year-old […] more