|April 4, 2017|
Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Teflon Wars[Note for TomDispatch Readers: A small reminder that our special offer for John Dower's new Dispatch Book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two, at an exclusive TD discount of 50% off, is still available at Haymarket Books and can be accessed by clicking on this link and following the checkout instructions you’ll see there. It's a great deal for a new work that couldn't be more disturbingly relevant. (To get a taste of it, check out the recent excerpt posted at TomDispatch.) It's also the capstone work in the career of a remarkable historian whose past books have swept prizes ranging from the National Book Award to a Pulitzer. Juan Cole writes that Dower is "our most judicious guide to the dark underbelly of postwar American power in the world." Adam Hochschild calls the book "mandatory reading." Seymour Hersh adds, "No historian understands the human cost of war, with its paranoia, madness, and violence, as does John Dower." What more can I say, except pick up a copy and in the process support this website? Tom]
A Nation Made by War and a Citizenry Unmade By It
By Tom Engelhardt
On successive days recently, I saw two museum shows that caught something of a lost American world and seemed eerily relevant in the Age of Trump. The first, “Hippie Modernism,” an exploration of the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s (heavy on psychedelic posters), was appropriately enough at the Berkeley Art Museum. To my surprise, it also included a few artifacts from a movement crucial to my own not-especially-countercultural version of those years: the vast antiwar protests that took to the streets in the mid-1960s, shook the country, and never really went away until the last American combat troops were finally withdrawn from Vietnam in 1973. Included was a poster of the American flag, upside down, its stripes redrawn as red rifles, its stars as blue fighter planes, and another showing an American soldier, a rifle casually slung over his shoulder. Its caption still seems relevant as our never-ending wars continue to head for “the homeland.”
“Violence abroad,” it said, “breeds violence at home.” Amen, brother.
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