Agent Orange victims Nguyen and Hung Vuong Pham, ages 14 and 15, as captured by Brian Driscoll, photographer, in 2008.(Huffington Post, 2013, see link in article)

The Hidden Costs of War

W.J. Astore If you’re in the U.S. military or you’re a veteran, you probably know casualty figures, especially deaths, from America’s wars.  To cite one example, America lost more than 58,000 men in the Vietnam War.  Their names are inscribed on the “The Wall” in DC.  I’ve been there.  Seeing all those names is a…

vietnam

What the President Should Say to the Troops

W.J. Astore For George W. Bush, American troops were the greatest force for human freedom in the world.  For Barack Obama, the troops represented the world’s finest fighting force, not just in this moment, but in all of human history.  What is the reason for such hyperbolic, I’d even say unhinged, praise for our troops? …

The Original Poem on "Guilt" at the Vietnam War Memorial

Sniper Chris Kyle Did Not Live Long Enough

Walter Stewart (Major General, U.S. Army, retired) Sniper Chris Kyle did not live long enough.  I don’t say this in the context of his and Chad Littlefield’s senseless murder at the hands of a supposed brother-in-arms, but in the context of the American Sniper movie trailer that has Kyle saying, “I’m willing to meet my…

The Misfortune Teller

Polemical Poetry X: Dead Metaphors

Michael Murry I wrote this poem in 2005, two years after U.S. President George (Deputy Dubya) Bush’s notorious “Mission Accomplished” proclamation. With the U.S. Military hopelessly mired in the twin quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan and desperately searching for any face-saving way out, I understood the predictable predicament, since I served eighteen months as a…