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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 6, 2011 7:00am-8:00am EST

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>> their whole ninth army was out of action until april the following year before they even came into, you know, play again. and had we not put up this stand, they could have just swung around and defeated the army at seoul, and there would be no more south korea. because what would stop 'em? we had nothing. any other questions? >> mr. danielson. >> yes. >> with 3-5, you were a veteran of the chosen reservoir. thank you for coming. >> one of the special things
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about marines, one does something, and somebody does something better, so you try to keep up with them. but the marines at the chosen reservoir disobeyed an order. the marine general said, no, sir, we're not coming out unless we're coming out fighting, so i said to the general, you disobeyed an order. but that's the way the marines work. you get the job done, or you're not supposed to be there. one of the things i was wondering about here was what kind of medals, what are the things you get when you're a veteran? you get a hat. [laughter] you get a whole mess of medals and so forth like that. but one of the things that veterans need to get is this thing they call disability payment. disability payment that's available to the veterans, you'll be with surprised now, it's $2700 a month tax-free.
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$2700 a month tax-free. the government gives you a hard time sometimes to get those things, but this chosen group had a lot of frozen people and so forth, and it took some people many, many months to get approval on et. this is where we, the people, need to take advantage of is that when you have somebody go into the military and do something, make sure they're taken care of properly. take care of properly. now, the reason you'll be asking yourself why do we go into military, why do we have fights with these other countries? well, or it's very simple. other people did a great job of helping us become individuals, liberty and justice for all. we fought each other in our united states, and then we finally said freedom is something everyone needs to have. so you find the people going to
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other countries and fighting freedom for other people, that's because other people did things that we benefit from. so never, never turn that down. now, one of the wonderful things that we marines have is that we have very many marines that start their training at paris island, south carolina, which is a basic training thing. but few end up after world war ii and korea go back there for what? what would they go back to paris island for? they became a drill instructor because they learned how the marines go through things. and those are the things that are very important. some of us are very fortunate that we got in world war ii, got educated, and then we get -- got training and were called back for korea and, therefore, various other things taking place. >> let me -- let me just, i'm
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sorry, sir. that was a very good statement. let me just go ahead and move on to the next question then. do we have another question in the audience? >> i'd just like to make a statement. i received disability from the korean war. mine's $123 a month, not $2700. and it's very difficult to get disability. this gentleman said it's difficult, it's really difficult. by the way, the u.s. army was also in korea. yeah. >> we certainly want to honor the sacrifices of the u.s. army veterans in korea, and the book brings out one unit, in particular task force faith, that was on the other side of the chosen reservoir that fought very valiantly and made their way. and as i mentioned earlier, the book is really not just about george company in particular, it's also trying to capture the entire korean war and the sacrifices that army veterans as
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well as marine veterans made. do we have any other questions? yes, sir. >> i'm not sure it's appropriate, but i just wondered if you could tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and how you got into writing books and -- >> sure. yeah -- >> and what it means to you. >> it means a lot to me. it's not a job. this is my passion. i -- it's not work for me at all. when i was 4 years old, i picked up a book on world war ii instead of a dinosaur book, and i was kind of sucked in immediately. next thing i know i had a library of about 8 or 900 books on world war ii, and it just sort of -- the topic consumed me in one way or another. and i started reading about military history, specifically american history. and it was after college that instead of reading the books
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about military history i started to interview the men themselves that fought these wars. and it wasn't a book -- it wasn't about what they did. i started to find out about sort of the feelings and emotions that so many of these men had felt. and it began with world war i veterans, members of the 82nd airborne division, 101st rangers, and it just, it went from there. and i created a web site called the drop which is still out today, and it's an oral history project where i volunteered my time -- i didn't get paid to do it -- to just capture these stories. as bob mentioned earlier, i interviewed about 4,000 members of america's armed forces as well as german and japanese veterans. and i just started to do these interviews, and the next thing i know the men themselves said, why don't you write a book? and i just kind of fell into it. by accident. and i wrote my first book called
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"beyond valor," back in 1999 which was a bestseller for simon and zeuser -- schuster, and, you know, here i am today. it's really not about the books, it's about the journey. i really enjoy the people that i met, the places that i've gone. it's not about the destination, so to speak, it's really about the journey and the people that i've met who have been extraordinary. i've made some really extraordinary friends. thank you for that question. >> [inaudible] >> yeah. >> i'd like to ask bob, any close air support? >> a lot. >> daily? did the -- >> wherever it wasn't snowing, the blue angels were always above us. and without them we couldn't have got out. they, they paved the way, they softened up the enemy, and they
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saw what we couldn't see. we're stuck to the roads. and they're up high, they could see where they're amassing. providing the weather's good. in the winter you always have snow clouds and a lot of cold weather. fog from, you know, from the snow. so, but without them -- i just want to mention about the air force's c-47 planes. they called them the goonny birds. but these c-47 planes could carry out 20, 25 wounded marines. well, they took out 4,500 on a runway that was ice and snow. it wasn't a normal runway. and how they came -- and it was shorter than what was required.
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but those pilots says, we're gonna try. and i'll tell you this one story ant this one pie -- about this one pilot. he came in, and he saw some marines that he couldn't get on, so he said, come on, put 'em on. we'll take out 28. next trip he saw some more marines, he says, come on, put 'em on. he took out 30-some. in be the final trip he made he had 40-some marines, wounded ma marines on his plane on this short runway, in this weather, and he got 'em all out. over 4500, that's 200-some flights had to come in while they were surrounded and being shelled and shot at. so they deserve a lot of credit too. >> gonna kind of finalize things here. thank you all for coming. and i really just want to
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emphasize that, you know, "give me tomorrow "is a week about the korean -- book about the korean war, and i hope that people look at their own relatives out there, and they find out what they did during the korean war and that this isn't the forgotten war. thank you very much. bob and i are going to have -- sign a few books now. [applause] >> patrick o'donnell's books include "beyond valor," "into the rising sun," he's the founder of the, an oral history web site. for more information on his latest book, visit >> booktv is on twitter. follow us for regular updates on our programming and news on
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nonfiction books and authors. >> we're at the national press club's book and author night talking to eugene robinson about his new book, "integration." can you tell me about the book? >> four just seemed to be the way it worked out. it's clear there was, you know, one group was the mainstream, the middle class black measuring. one group was the abandoned, non-middle class black america. and then the other groups were, you know, i did think that the existence of a small but very powerful elite was something new. and so i call that the transcend cant group. and then i needed a category to
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deal with, with other groups that didn't fit the other categories like immigrants, for example, from the caribbean and africa and also biracial americans. and i thought that they would kind of fit into an umbrella group i called the emergents. so that's how i got to four. >> i notice that you put new immigrants and biracial people together, and you were comfortable with that, grouping them under the same umbrella? >> well, i was mostly comfortable with that. it was not precise, and it didn't make for as clean a category as the other categories. however, i thought the similarities were, this concept of emergent groups that were becoming more prominent that kind of hadn't been around in larger numbers before or at least acknowledged in those
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numbers before and that i thought were going to be more important in the future. so i was comfortable with that aspect of it. i kind of wish it had worked out, you know, exactly four and -- but i didn't think they kind of stood alone either as separate groups. >> and can you tell me which of the four groups do you think has expanded the most in recent yearsesome. >> has what? >> expanded the most in recent years? >> um, well, in strict numerical terms i would say probably the mainstream just because its numbers are so great that relative to, really, any of the others. that i would say it has expanded depending on what you consider recent years, you know? in the middle of recession -- >> let's say the last decade. >> in the last decade, i'd say the mainstream group has expanded the most in real terms.
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and the emergent group, especially the immigrants, has probably expanded the most in percentage terms. >> what are some of the more surprising findings that you, you came upon in writing the book? >> there were, there were tons of them. there was this amazing figure from a pew research center study that showed that 7% of -- 37% of african-americans didn't believe black americans could still be thought of as single race. i thought that was really a striking figure. after a certain age, there's only, there's something like a 40% chance that a black woman, i believe, in her early 20s would, would never marry as opposed to a 20% chance for white women. i thought that was an interesting figure. so there are lots of these things that i kind of stumbled across. >> were there any stark
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comparisons to white americans in similar groups? >> well, yes, there are some. i mean, one is even if you compare middle class to middle class, there's a stark difference in wealth as opposed to income. middle class to middle class income is fairly close now, but wealth is a huge gap, and that's something that some people have been talking and thinking a lot about including bob johnson, the billionaire, who's now got a project going about that. >> and do you tap into any solutions for kind of stopping the splintering or -- >> you know, i don't -- i think it may be a process that kind of happens. a lot of it is orr begannic. what i do hope i identified some possible solutions for the plight of this abandoned group which i think is really the group that needs kind of urgent attention right now. and so if it calls attention to that, then i think it's been a success. >> thank you very much for your time.
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>> coming up, richard rubenstein, conflict resolution and public affairs professor at george mason university, reports on why he believes americans are amenable to the notion of war. he contends that the u.s. government sells war to the populace and examines the war that involvement in foreign conflicts are proposed to the nation. he discusses his book at the cambridge public library in cage bridge, massachusetts -- cambridge, massachusetts. it's just under an hour and a half. [applause] >> thanks very much. it's wonderful to be back in cambridge, and i appreciate that fine introduction from brian core of the cambridge peace commission. very interesting organization. i'm beginning to think that maybe we need a peace commission in washington, d.c. too. and anyway, i want to thank brian for that intro and, also,
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thank the cambridge public library, this wonderful building, and thank marilyn in particular for inviting me to be here. i also want to say a special thank you to my classmates, to fritz donovan and the harvard class of 1959, several of whose members are here today to make me feel very much at home. as i was listening to brian speak about this book, i found myself questioning, wondering whether it's really an anti-war book. it's called "reasons to kill: why americans choose war." and i don't think i would have written it if i didn't believe that the united states had become involved in too many unjust and unnecessary wars.
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but on the other hand, the question that i'm asking, why do americans choose war, goes in a way beyond the question of which wars do you like and which wars do you not like. it goes to the question of how we become convinced that a war is worth fighting or not. because one of the things that one finds very quickly when doing research on a subject like this is the ubiquity, the strength, the power of anti-war movements in the united states. with the exception of world war ii, there's never been a major war in america that hasn't generated a substantial anti-war movement. and because of that, that raises an interesting question. because of that it means that there's a debate about war. we don't automatically go to war. we don't say it's our patriotic duty and march lock step off
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war. off to war. we have to be convinced. therefore, what does it take to convince us? well, many of us are familiar with the definition of war as the continuation of politics by other means. and the realist notion that we go to war to pursue national interests of various kinds; territory, resources, etc. it's certainly true, i think, that our leaders often go to war for such reasons; geopolitical ambitions, even to stay in office. abraham lincoln famously called the mexican-american war an unjust -- a war of conquest fought to catch votes. so there are certainly such motives at work among the leadership. but why do people follow, why do
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people follow the leadership into war when they do? two theories that are frequently bandied about -- in order to try to answer that question -- i call in the book the innocent dupe theory and the frontier killer theory. innocent dupe theory suggests that americans go to war because they are gullible consumers, pause they'll buy -- because they'll buy anything if it's well enough packaged. and like many half truths, there's half a truth there. we do go to war sometimes -- we are conned into going to war, at least partially, sometimes. the mexican-american war that i mentioned before is a good example. president polk went before congress and said american blood has been shed on american soil, war exists by act of mexico alone when what we know now and,
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in fact, what the whig party knew then and abraham lincoln and others knew then was that polk had sent american troops into territory which was disputed which an international court would almost certainly have awarded to mexico in order to provoke the attack on the troops which would then give him the excuse to fight a war which was a war of conquest. it conquered the west. what we now know as the american west. and there are many other examples. the most recent of which, of course, is the iraq war fought in order to seize nonexistent weapons of mass destruction from saddam hussein and fought because of a false allegation that he was in league with al-qaeda. even so, even after one rehearses the sorry story of americans being fooled by their
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leaders, one comes to the conclusion it's not an adequate explanation. it's not simply a question of our stupidity and the ability of the authorities to manipulate us. and the proof, it seems to me, of that is that anti-war movements have been so strong including in the mexican war. the proof of this, also, is that even where manipulation takes place there are often more important reasons why we go to war than the manipulation. in the case of the spanish-american war, americans were manipulated, if you like, into believing that the spanish had blown up the battleship uss maine in havana harbor. and the hearst press and the other yellow journals trumpeted the theory that that was a dastardly spanish deed.
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admiral rickover in the '70 headed up a panel to look into the probable causes of that explosion and came to the conclusion which many had come to before that because of battleships of that era were fueled by coal and the coal stores gave off coal gas, in the case of the maine, the gun powder magazine of the ship was placed directly above the coal stores. it would have taken nothing but a spark to blow the maine out of the water to put it at the bottom of the harbor. one could have also reached the same conclusion by recognizing neither the spanish nor the cubans had anything to gain by sinking the maine. never the rez, that's not -- nevertheless, that's not why we went to war. that certainly played a role in building up the pro-war sentiment in america, but it's much more important to note that for months and month t before the maine -- months and months
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before the maine was destroyed and afterwards, the press were running perfectly accurate stories about the horrible atrocities committed by the spanish against the cuban independence movement. a counterinsurgency movement in cuba in which at least 200,000 cubans died and maybe as many as 400,000 died. a movement featuring counterinsurgency campaign featuring the rerotation of villages -- relocation ofville ams, featuring the torture of counterinsurgents, featuring equivalent of waterboarding. americans went to war in cue i baa to liberate cuba from the spanish, and they did for a few months. after liberating cuba from the spanish, they, of course, took cuba for themselves. and worse yet, went to war in the philippines and conducted a
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counterinsurgency campaign which was almost the mirror image or should i say the exact image of the counterinsurgency campaign that had been conducted by the spanish against the cubans. this raises a bunch of questions, several questions. one of the things it points to is the fact that americans don't get convinced to go to war unless there is a powerful appeal made to what i call in the book their civil religion, following robert bella's article on civil religion. that is to say this is an appeal to to our values. our cherished, our most cherished values. the americans are not convinced to go to war because it's allegedly in the national interests. nor, i may say, do they go to war because they like to fight. the other major author ri which
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i also classify as a half-truth is the theory that because we had particularly in appalachia a civilization, scotch-irish, etc., of people who spent a long time fighting against the indians and developed a kind of warrior ethos, a warrior culture that that is driving american militarism today, that that's the reason americans want to go to war, because they envision themselves as indian fighters on the afghan frontier. again, some truth to this. jim webb's book on the subject contains some truth. but if we were simply lovers of violence, if we were gun-crazed people who like to fight and don't care about who we kill, including ourselves, why would we have such powerful anti-war
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movements? why would we have such a deep and searching debates? why would it be necessary to appeal to us on the basis of our value system and not simply on the basis of our interests or our love of fighting? no. it's the value system that i believe is central. in convincing americans to go to war. and one sees this, i think, most clearly when one looks at the main reasons that we, that are used to induce us to fight. or to support wars. what are they? very quickly, one is self-defense. self-defense in anglo american culture is not just a matter of convenience, it's a sacred right and collective duty. if we've been attacked, we believe we have the right to defend ourselves. and if be -- if we've been attacked, we believe the government has the duty to protect us. the problem with self-defense is what is the self that's being
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defended? what does self-defense actually mean? in the earliest days, it meant what it seems to mean, the common sense definition, that people were being attacked on american soil. but even then if one goes back to to, say, the seminole war which was fought by andrew jackson before he became president, one finds jackson and his friends asserting that indians and escaped slaves located in florida were attacking american settlements across the florida/alabama border and, therefore, we needed to retaliate in order to defend america. looking more closely into that, which i do in the book, one finds something very interesting. first of all, those attacks by the indians were not initial
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attacks, they were retaliatory attacks. they were retaliatory attacks because the indians were welcoming escaped slaves from the south and making them seminoles and treating them with dignity. because of that, white southerners were going, attacking across the border to reclaim their property. and because of those attacks, there were a few reprisal attacks, not very many, by the indians. the moral of this is when jackson marched into spanish florida and seized the state, and seized the territory which later became the state of florida, he was not doing it in many defense of american lives endangered, he was doing it in defense of the southern slave system. we were already seeing the expansion of the notion of the self that requires defense from people and property in the u.s., particularly in people, to the
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domestic institutions of the u.s., to the idea, if you like. ideas that are important to the u.s. a development which takes another giant step forward in world war i and world war ii. when what is being defended is not american for story except for pearl harbor, leave pearl harbor out for the moment, is not american lives, but rather the idea of america, the idea of freedom. the idea of political freedom, of free enterprise. of religious freedom, of human rights. so this is a defense of american ideology. it seems to me that, then, we have to make a distinction between the two world wars because in world war ii we actually confronted an adversary which is capable of threatening
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us physically and materially. germany and japan, the number two and three economic powers in the world as well as being fascist, as well as being aggressive were, also, capable of waging a struggle, a worldwide struggle which would have -- had they won -- would have been to our disadvantage. certainly would have been to my disadvantage, i'd be a lamp shade today if we had lost. world war ii, an entirely different matter. world war i, when one reads the world war i propaganda today and sees the fantasies of the kaiser marching across the atlantic to establish german power in north america, when one sees the propaganda about german atrocities in belgium which was blown out of -- not that there weren't any, but it was blown out of all proportion by the british prop began da office, one realizes that world war i was not the same as world war ii
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many terms of any real threat to the united states. and coming more recently, the kind of -- in a way, the self-defense doctrine is the notion that self-defense means defending the last established imperial outpost. that if united states invades a country even for the wrong reasons like iraq, as soon as we have some troops there, if anybody attacks the troops, it's self-defense. we have to support the troops which means it's self-defense. we're defending ourselves. we identify with the legions. in the same way, suppose, that row -- i suppose, that romans must have done, identify with their legions. so self-defense now has reached the point where there's no difference between self-defense and aggression. self-defense will justify anything. it becomes meaningless. and so in my book i beg my
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readers and the american public not to always distrust the government, not to believe there's no such thing ever as a just war, but to think about what self-defense means. what does it mean? ord marely, we're a very hard-headed people, we americans. we don't give to charity unless we know where the money's going. we say, i'm from missouri, show me. we say, we're not going to trust the government just because the government says this, that or the other thing. but somehow when it comes to war making, we do. there's a tendency to buy into these scenarios, these narratives. so really what my book is an attempt to get people to stop, in a way, to become americans. to say, no, i don't believe you just because you say this. prove it. prove it. prove that we're in danger. prove it. prove that the taliban is
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endangering us. prove that when al-qaeda's left town -- and they're now in pakistan, somalia, yemen, wherever they are -- that we have to continue to fight in afghanistan to save ourselves from al-qaeda. well, self-defense is one value that's appealed to, and others without going into such great lengths. let me name a couple of others. especially when self-defense arguments falter, it's common for pro-war forces to trot out the evil enemy. and the existence of an evil enemy does what self-defense alone maybe can't do, it suggests that there is at loose in the world a force that's demonic, that's diabolical that we can't negotiate with, we can't deal with, we can't eliminate it causes because the
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devil is a transhistorical figure. if people hate us because as bush said after 9/11 they hate us because we're free, if they hate us because we're good and they're not, if they hate us because they're crazed by power -- unlike us who couldn't care less about power -- [laughter] these, this is what psychologists would call projection of our unwanted tendencies on the enemy at least create a say -- satan-like figure. and american history is full of such figures beginning from the indian days on. figures who don't exist in history and, therefore, are not amenable to historical solutions. they're not amenable not only to negotiation, they're not amenable to any sorts of reform because the concept is that they want to destroy us because of their own destructive nature. and that's straight august stint
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yang die bollism. that's what the devil is. well, i deny that there are absolutely evil forces in the world. relatively, yes. relatively evil, yes. good and evil still have some meaning. but even with a force as destructive as al-qaeda, to say that they dislike us and they want to do us in because that's their evil nature means that we can't face the fact that we are involved in a relationship with them. and this, not to excuse anything that they've done, but the fact is we've done things to them too. we've done things to their people too. that make sense of the vicious relationship between us.
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we can't make sense of the relationship unless we talk about what america does in the world, about who's representing us abroad and what they're doing in the islamic world in israel/palestine, in iraq, in everywhere. again, not to -- this is not to blame america, this is not to blast america, this is to say that if you diabolize the enemy, you remove yourself from any possibility of dealing with him historically. i would also say then that the same kind of critical thinking that i'm pleading for in the book needs to be used when somebody says the enemy's evil. and a good skeptical american should ask, what do you mean evil? absolutely evil? relatively evil? how do you know? compared with whom? is every enemy we face a hitler?
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etc. and let me say, also, that the same kind of critical thinking needs to be applied in the hardest circumstance of all, and that is when appeals are made to our values as humanitarians and lovers of humanity, as lovers of human rights and people who believe that their power ought to be used for good in the world. we've gotten into so much trouble in so many places by intervening as humanitarians and fighting moral crusades that it's long past time to ask when such appeals are made to us, what's in it for us? when we intervene in cuba, for example, and liberate cuba from the spanish but then annex the philippines and do to the filipinos exactly what the spanish did to the cubans, why
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did that happen? what's the logic of that? when we intervene around the world in the case of the world war on there are ism and we -- terrorism and we worry about the way women are being treated by islamic fundamentalist extremists and we worry about fanaticism and fundamentalist beliefs being imposed on other people -- all of which, it seems to me, are things worth worrying about -- we need to ask, are we there for intervening as some kind of neutral third party to bring justice to the world? or is this part of an imperial ideology? are we fated again and again to repeat the dynamics of the spanish-american war and the philippine, the massacre of
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2-400,000 filipinos in the philippine counterinsurgency because we can't recognize, because we want to portray ourselves as a selfless force for good, as liberators, not occupiers? not recognizing that this is a nation which has assumed an imperial role and that liberation is always, for us, a prelude to occupation with perhaps the exception of world war ii, something we can talk about in the question period. but in most other cases the liberator becomes the occupier. i mention in the book that one way of understanding this is to think about the importance of the moses figure in american civil religion and the fact that in the moses story, moses who
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liberates the children of israel then becomes their ruler, stamps out rebellion and then, although he dies short of the occupation of the holy land, and then their leader in an occupation. the notion that the liberator also becomes the occupier is acceptable if one believes in the unique virtue of the liberator. we are uniquely virtuous in that -- and we're not subject to the same kinds of temptations, the same kinds of greed, the same kinds of -- [inaudible] as other powers in the world are. it's deeply ingrained in some ways in the american religion, civil religion to believe that since we left europe originally to found a uniquely virtuous republic that we still possess that kind of unique virtue.
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president bush started saying at a certain point not god bless america, but may god continue to bless america. that involves a kind of patriotism, may i say, that i try to talk about also in the book which complicated subject. a kind of patriotism which has gone from, has moved from a pride in one's heritage, from a love of one's -- of the place, the spacious skies, etc., a fondness for one's country people, a love of one's customs. it's moved on to a quasireligious plane in which recently, and this is a fairly recent development, a love of
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military violence is part of the patriotic, is part of it, has become part of u.s. patriotism. so that we can't go to the ball game and sing "take me out to the ball game" in the seventh inning stretch anymore, we have to sing "god bless america." and next time you're at the ball park and you decide not to sing "god bless america," see what the folks around you, the kind of looks you get. we can't have a super bowl without having military overflights at halftime. it's become sort of a, shall i say, omnipresent? and the problem with it is not only that it's militaristic, it's that it inculcates the notion, it's an attempt, it seems to me, to inculcate the notion that patriotic duty means being willing to fight on demand. do you love your country? yes. would you fight for it?
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you're supposed to say, yes. would you kill and die for it? yes. that's the proof that you love your country. no, no, no. no, that's not true. maybe you love your country so much that you won't fight for it. president wilson when he was running as the peace candidate in 1916 before he committed america to world war i nine months later said there's such a thing as a manner and a nation that's too proud to fight. great patriots from abraham lincoln to john quincy adams to eugene devs, jeanette rankin and dennis kucinich have combined their love of country, have combined their patriotism with an insistence that the
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country -- that we not fight, that we not shed our own blood or any other's blood except in a just cause. and what's so corrosive about what we're experiencing now, it seems to me, is that -- and may i say it seems to me un-american as well -- is the attempt to undermine the just cause doctrine. i started out my little talk by saying that we uniquely in our country don't fight unless we are convinced that it's in a just cause. yet many people would like us to fight because war is now normal and because the appeal is not made to just cause so that, for example, if one looks at the
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current situation with our wars in afghanistan and the war ending in iraq sort of if you call leaving 50,000 troops in a country ending a war, the war not at all ending in afghanistan although there are some signs of possible negotiation. more than 60% of americans disapprove of these wars, you know. 63% in the last poll, the pew foundation poll say that they don't think the war in afghanistan was worth fighting. 63%. and yet for various reasons they're not out in the streets demanding the end of the war, heir not mobilized in the way -- they're not mobilized in the way people were mobilized against the vietnam war. i think for some fairly clear reasons, not just the draft which is always used as the explanation for why -- always thought that was not, and i argue in the book that that's not a very good explanation for
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why there is not a stronger anti-war movement today. you know, there was a draft in world war ii, and there was no anti-war movement to speak of at all. there was a draft in korea which was a war that got extremely unpopular. and even so and was ended finally by president eisenhower, even so there was no anti-war movement to speak of at all. so it's not simply the question of whether you have a draft or you don't have a draft although having a draft certainly makes anti-war activity more feasible or easier. it also, it seems to me, has to do with things like an economic growth or economic recession. the anti-war movement in the vietnam era grew out of two decades of the most sensational economic growth anybody had ever seen which raised expectations across the board and made young
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people in particular believe that they were entitled to a better life than going to fight in a jungle for a cause they didn't understand i. now people are worried about jobs, about what their next, where their next job b or next meal is coming from. it's a different -- second, fear. the fear engendered by the 9/11 attacks, a horrific trauma, is still with us. and fearful people are also much more easily whipped into line or more easily induced to believe that they are or in danger -- they are in danger by forces that the government points at as endangering forces. little by little, it seems to me, that trauma is disappearing. but especially when government itself whips the fear up. when, for example, there's a constant drum beat of attention
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on possible terrorist attacks. which, it seems to me, are not only for the purpose of warning us since a lot of them are useless in terms of altering our behavior. i think they are consciously or subconsciously also playing the role of maintaining the fear, keeping fear alive as colbert would say. and third, co-opation. that is to say we have a president in the white house in whom great hopes for peace were invested. the fact that he sent 30,000 troops to afghanistan after reviewing that situation didn't destroy people's faith in him. although it undermined it, you might say, to some extent. it was not the same as the situation you had where lyndon johnson was elected as a peace candidate in 1964 and in 1965 sent 500,000 troops to vietnam, and the sense of betrayal was so
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thick you could cut it with a knife. and i know because it experienced it myself, and be -- many of the people in this room probably did also. but by the same token, it seems to me one can say when the fear lifts, when the economy given begins to -- begins to recover, when the hopes in obama or any other leader begin to fade further, when people become tired of incessant warfare of what is called the forever war, one could predict a revival of some kind of anti-war sentiment. one of the things that it seems to me we can't do, we mustn't do is to buy into the argument that since there are not many american casualties comparatively speaking, since
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thousands of body bags aren't coming back from the war zone we can accept war as normal with the current level of violence and accept that as normal. and so let me conclude by reading the conclusion of this book which talks about the fact that deaths in american wars are down, but we are seeing horrifying increases in injuries generated by asymmetric warfare against hostile groups wielding low-tech weapons such as improvised explosive devices. american veterans' hospitals are jammed with soldiers suffering the effects of severe head injuries, amputations and post-traumatic stress. and the suicide rate among combat veterans has skyrocketed. furthermore, we have to question the official definitions of high, low and acceptable casualty rates.
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was the iraq war worth more than 4300 american lives and 32,000 wounded? and i conclude by saying that even if we could lower the number of u.s. casualties to zero, that should not consent -- that should not secure our consent to the slaughter of foreigners in unjust wars. 100,000, at least, died in the iraq war, some estimates run as high as 500,000ment people who think that we'll continue to conduct wars like this in exchange for a guarantee of our own safety don't have a very high opinion of americans' moral character. the major premise of this book which i want b to close by reaffirming is that we will not kill and die without being convinced that the struggle is justified on ground of legitimate self-defense or moral duty. the current war system seems
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designed consciously or unconsciously to wean us from the habit of demanding justifications for war. moral justifications for war. it's an act of faith be, perhaps, to assert that this will not work, that americans will remain unwilling to fight except for a cause they are convinced is just. but i'm going to keep that faith, and i hope that you'll keep it as well. thank you very much. [applause] well, let's have some talk. yes. >> i i wonder if you have any cases where peace has been patriotic and effective in combating or counteracting war? i ask as a former peace corps volunteer and as a quaker where
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people say war is not the answer which is for pragmatic and for moral reasons it's not the answer. but -- >> uh-huh. >> has peace, have peace movements been effective counteracting war? >> yes. well, it's a very interesting question. and i think one that i should have probably addressed in my book at more length than i do because it seems to me two things are true. one is that although there are the -- there are frequent debates between pro-war and anti-war forces whenever a major war is proposed, and the anti-war forces mostly lose those debates, that is the wars generally happen despite the anti-war movement. there are also cases that are harder to spot in which the war doesn't occur because the people
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in power recognize that americans wouldn't stand for it, they recognize if you like in advance that they better not help to create a peace movement or take one on in a political fight that they're going to lose. there are several examples of that, and one of the most interesting which i do talk about a bit in the book is the debate about what to do about vietnam after dien bien phu when the french lost the battle of dien bien phu and were driven out of vietnam. there were powerful forces in washington that thought the united states should intervene. we had already given some military aid to the french. they were asking for special forces and so forth. they were asking for people, for boots on the ground. and eisenhower had said, not yet, or no. but at the same time there's some evidence that eisenhower
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was seriously considering an intervention. well, we didn't have an intervention, and it was for several reasons. one is that the korean war had just been fought, and people were tired of war. a second was that when you look at the congressional debates -- and there were congressional debates about what to do about vietnam after dien bien phu -- you find congressmen standing up and saying the french are simply a colonialist power, and if we go in there, we'll be playing the french game. we shouldn't try to replace the french in ip doe china. that's -- indochina. that's not why we fought in world war ii, to become the new old world empire. and that was -- nobody called those people communists because they said that. people said, yeah, yeah, that's
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right. and we didn't have the war then. all right? we didn't have the war until ten years later. and in order to get the war ten years later -- more than ten years later, 13 -- well, however many, 11, 12, 13 years later, lyndon johnson had to cook up the on tonkin gulf fiasco. johnson said after the u.s. destroyers were allegedly fired on by north vietnamese pt boats in 1964, johnson was asked about it later and said off the cuff but it was recorded, those boys didn't know what they were shooting at. they must have been drunk or something, they didn't know what they were shooting at. because, in fact, there had been a challenge to u.s. boats in the tonkin gulf the night before the tonkin gulf incident -- it's worth reading up on this.
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actually, it's amazing that people don't know these stories better than they ought to know them. the night before the tonkin gulf, the alleged tonkin gulf attack, u.s. destroyers had been accompanying south vietnamese raiding parties who were raiding north vietnamese territory. and it was all hush hush, of course. we weren't supposed to be doing that. so the north vietnamese pt boats came out and challenged the destroyers who were doing that but didn't fire on then. and when the destroyers took hostile action against the pt boats, they ran. they went back. they were outgunned. the next night all that we know is that destroyers, the maddox and the turner joy started firing. and that's when johnson said those boys didn't know what they were shooting at. there's no evidence that they were firing on anything. but since the united states was
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involved in illicit activity the night before which could not be discussed -- all right, the whole thing turned, the whole thing was, basically, a fraud, and johnson knew it was a fraud which he used to get a blank check from a compliant congress. they passed the tonkin gulf resolution. only two votes in the senate against, wayne morris and earnest greening. i used to know morse. i went to morse's office to congratulate him right after the tonkin gulf for voting against the tonkin gulf resolution, and he said two things that have stayed with me -- this is not in the book. he stayed two things that have stayed with me ever since. he said, oh, so nice to be thanked by anybody. you know, i was just a kid, i just started law practice. just a young man, i was nobody. nobody else was telling him


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