Archive for War and Peace

Kevin Perrin’s “The Shir Khan Bandar Bridge”

By : June 21, 2019

Kevin Perrin’s “The Shir Khan Bandar Bridge” blog post seems to me to have the potential to be one of those modest but telling anecdotes that succinctly illuminate the American military experience in Afghanistan, richer in specifics than a parable, but still lean and uncluttered. Kevin Perrin was in Afghanistan 2005-2006 as a U.S. Army […]

The Mozart mystery remains unsolved

By : September 16, 2017

In a letter to the Napa Valley Register (“Darwin’s Dilemma,” Sept. 1, 2017), Lowell Young suggests that extraordinary talents in music, mathematics and the other arts prove the existence of a creator. I find it quaint that some people still think that finding flaws or incompleteness in one scientist’s 1859 book undermines an idea that […]

Donald Trump and the Law of Unintended Consequences

By : January 30, 2017

No one should have a fuller experience with and understanding of the law of unintended consequences than Donald Trump. Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who is impulsive, narcissistic, and willfully and profoundly ignorant (of culture, history, economics, science . . .). Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who considers his intuition more […]

Review: Eye in the Sky

By : April 24, 2016

Gavin Hood’s 2015 film Eye in the Sky is a very well constructed thriller, crispy written and mostly well acted. And it is a film with an important central issue. The ethical dimension The central subject of Eye in the Sky is not drone warfare per se, no matter what some reviewers say, it is […]

Sarah Palin and PTSD

By : February 1, 2016

Track Palin was charged in January 2016 with “fourth-degree assault, interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.” Sarah Palin blamed President Obama, even though she has tried to deny it since. On Feb. 1, Donald Trump supported her, and also blamed Obama. Only a fool could […]

Marco Rubio’s lunatic notion of war

By : May 28, 2015

Thank goodness presidents seldom get to put into effect all of their bold, insincere, and self-serving campaign promises. And thank goodness Sen. Marco Rubio is unlikely to ever be president. But if you like cool wars and exciting international crises, and if you wish we would spend lots more on the military than either political […]

Review: Last Days in Vietnam

By : December 6, 2014

Rory Kennedy’s Last Days in Vietnam is a wonderful documentary, with an engaging mix of period video, talking head remarks, contemporaneous cassette letters home, and some judicious computer graphics. The film depicts the chaotic evacuation of Americans and some Vietnamese as Saigon fell, ending the Viet Nam War in 1975. Rory Kennedy focuses on how […]


By : September 23, 2014

“TERROR MONSTERS IN THE CROSSHAIRS!” That sounds like a ludicrous 1950s Hollywood B-movie, and I can almost see the lurid poster, with its determined hero clenching his jaw, the buxom starlet lifting her hands in fear, and the hideous, outsized monster menacing the planet. But this is not a poster. It is the splashy New […]

No good will come of this: Obama’s speech on Islamic State

By : September 12, 2014

President Obama has promised air attacks in Syria, and increased air attacks in Iraq. He sounded disturbingly like President Bush in his September 10th national address, optimistically announcing deeper American involvement in the chaos of Iraq and Syria. “We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL” Degrade, sure. Destroy one organization whose name will probably change […]

No, Brian M. Welke, the Iraq War was not “worth it.”

By : September 5, 2014

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, an Iraq War veteran tells readers the answer he gives to people who ask whether that war “was worth it.” Depending on who is asking, this question might be about the veteran’s own participation, but most often it is probably about American foreign policy. Was the war worth […]