The My Lai massacre of March 1968—the murder of 500 South Vietnamese men, women and children by U.S. Army soldiers led by Lieutenant William Calley—is the only American war crime of the Vietnam War to survive the conflict in popular memory and in a great deal of historical scholarship. But this singularity is misleading.
Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in America War and Diplomacy, by Andrew Preston. As this year’s presidential debate on foreign policy indicated, partisan differences often fade decidedly at the water’s edge.
In February 1941, Henry Luce, the formidable publisher of Time, Life and Fortune, published one of the most memorable op-eds in the history of American journalism. The article, titled “The American Century,” was aptly inserted in Life between a story on women’s shoe fashions and another on a celebrity heiress.
One of the notable features of the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been its disavowal of the locution, if not necessarily the policies, of the “war on terror” declared by George W. Bush in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The most famous farewell addresses in the history of the American
presidency are those delivered by two of the greatest military leaders
to occupy the office: George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower. Both
warned of the threat that military power and its interests posed to the
No one has anatomized the misadventures of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with greater historical perspective or critical acuity than Andrew Bacevich. He is among our indispensable intellectuals, all the more so now that the cartoonish figure of George W. Bush has been removed from the equation.
Rapidly shifting gears from translating Martial’s Epigrams to explicating the scriptures (What the Gospels Meant) to scrutinizing the classified memos of George Kennan is bound to induce wear and tear on the transmission of even the most tireless polymath’s intellectual lathe.
If by the early years of the 20th century traditional monotheism had not died in the hearts and minds of European intellectuals, as Friedrich Nietzsche had suggested in the mid-1880s that it would, among them God was nonetheless on life support.
If you are, as I am, often puzzled by the landscape of contemporary religious belief and unbelief, you will regard Charles Taylor’s huge and hugely rewarding intellectual history of the secularization of European and North American culture as a marvelous gift.
The war in Iraq has begun to shatter the ranks of the neoconservatives—the faction that gave us this disaster. The most prominent turncoat is Francis Fukuyama, whose forecast played no small part in the neoconservative project of a war that was to make the Middle East safe for Halliburton and Republican political consultants. America at the Crossroads is Fukuyama's apologia for apostasy. He has much to regret.
In the spring of 2003, Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid noted that, for Iraqis, the Arabic word for occupation is ihtilal. The word is "shadowed by humiliation, notions of resistance, and still resonant memories of the occupation by the British 85 years before.” Yet that same year the U.S. secured sweeping formal authority from the UN Security Council to serve as the principal “occupying” power in Iraq. John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the UN, declared that “the council has taken decisive action to help the Iraqi people.” This was not the way many Iraqis greeted the news.
The war in Iraq grinds on, now at the cost of over 2,000 American lives and uncounted thousands of Iraqi lives. Few are reluctant to attack the way the Bush administration has managed the war, but fewer still are willing to say that this war should never have been waged. The U.S. should make what amends it can to the Iraqi people for the damage it has done and let them decide their own fate. Our task is not to “complete the mission," but to abandon it.