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Sunday, September 1, 2013

The real question today, as we consider attacking yet another nation

"...have we learned nothing?

Time and again over the last half century American presidents have justified so-called surgical strikes because the nation's credibility is at stake, and because we have to take some action to show our strength and resolve -- only to learn years later that our credibility has suffered more from our foolish and brazen bellicosity, that the surgical strikes have only intensified hostilities and made us captive to forces beyond our control, and that our resolve eventually disappears in the face of mounting casualties of Americans and innocent civilians. We and others have paid an incalculable price.

On Labor Day weekend we should rather be testing the nation's resolve to provide good jobs at good wages to all Americans who need them, and measuring our credibility by the ideal of equal opportunity. And we should strike (and join striking workers) against big employers who won't provide their employees with minimally-decent wages. We need to commit ourselves to a living wage, and to providing more economic security to the millions of Americans now working harder but getting nowhere. Yes, Mr. President, a lot of people think something should be done -- about these mounting problems at our doorstep, within America. We can have more influence on the rest of the world by showing the rest of the world that we live by our ideals, than by using brute force to make points."

--Robert Reich,  American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator.

And the answer, I believe, a lot of us believe, is no, no we Americans have learned nothing. We haven't learned from Korea, we haven't learned from Vietnam, we haven't learned from even the still painful, actually not-ended 2nd Iraq War.

It was writer Gloria Emerson's take from the Vietnam War that a) we learned nothing from it, after the fact, and we nearly refuse to learn anything. If you haven't already, you might pick up her book:  Winners & Losers: Battles, Retreats, Gains, Losses, and Ruins from ...

It was poignant then and still resonates today.


Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert Reich | Facebook

Gloria Emerson

Gloria Emerson, Chronicler of War's Damage

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