ARNOLD OLIVER – There are no more important decisions that republics can make than whether to go to war. In such times of crisis, citizens are obliged to inform themselves on the facts and issues as best they can, and to speak out clearly and forcefully. But it is difficult to see how this is possible if any questioning of a rigid orthodoxy leads to immediate attacks on one’s character; or worse, if the major media outlets are in lockstep on the march to war, and deny the public access to dissenting views. All of this happened in 2003, and it is again happening now.
ARNOLD OLIVER – More than five years ago a soldier named Bowe Bergdahl left his U.S. Army unit in Afghanistan. He was captured, imprisoned in brutal conditions for five years, and finally released in a prisoner exchange in 2014. The Army is now considering whether he should be court-martialed for desertion and other crimes. Bergdahl’s case needs to be understood, not only in terms of his actions, but also what is known about the psychology of war. What we have learned ought to give pause to those eager to send young people off to fight and die. To explain, let’s review some of the research on the psychological stressors relevant to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
ARNOLD OLIVER – Along the rugged coast of northern Californiaâ€™s Humboldt County, maritime history is being made. June 20th marked the launch ceremony of the rebuilt sailing ketch, the Golden Rule, after four years of hard work by a restoration team led by Veterans for Peace. As we shall see, the Golden Rule is no ordinary sailboat.
ARNOLD OLIVER – On the evening of December 24th a century ago, peace broke out in the most unlikely of places. In the blasted, putrid trenches of Belgium and France, soldiers fighting on the Western Front put aside their arms in what became known as the Christmas Truce. Although World War I was then only a few months old, there had already been a million combat deaths. Many soldiers were weary of the futility and horrific costs of the war, and thousands of them spontaneously stopped trying to kill each other.