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Friday, March 27, 2009

[haw-info] against escalation in Afghanistan

We are passing along the following statement just issued by United for Peace and Justice, the anti-war coalition to which HAW belongs.

Call for National Action for Peace in Afghanistan

Today, President Barack Obama announced his plans to send another 21,000 troops to Afghanistan: he is girding the nation for a long and costly military occupation there.

While he also made some good statements on increasing diplomacy and economic aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the emphasis is clearly on military operations. Predictably, the Pakistan and Afghan factions of the Taliban are already uniting to oppose our escalation of troops. As the spring fighting season approaches, only one thing is certain -- more death, destruction, and misery in a desperately poor country that has had little respite from war for decades. 

Here in the U.S., Obama's escalation in Afghanistan and the continuing occupation of Iraq threaten our nation's urgent economic and domestic agenda. Now is the time for more diplomacy, not more war!

United For Peace and Justice calls for immediate action for peace in Afghanistan. Here are three things you can do:

1) Call the White House today - 202-456-1414

Make sure President Obama knows that you disagree with his plans to send more troops to Afghanistan. Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1414 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET.

2) March with UFPJ on April 4!

Building on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are marching on the anniversary of his historic speech against the war in Vietnam and the anniversary of his assassination. On Saturday, April 4, we are taking our message to Wall Street in NYC: addressing this country's economic crisis must include drastic cuts in military spending and that means ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The last thing our country needs is a new quagmire in Afghanistan - it is time to bring the troops home, not send more.

3) Help organize local actions April 6 - 9

Congress will be in recess so this is a perfect time to meet with your representatives while they are home. Actions can also be community or media-focused -- vigils, rallies, public education forums with local speakers, film showings or other events to educate and mobilize support in your community. This is an important time to educate people about Afghanistan and the urgent need to change U.S. policy.

UFPJ calls for the following:

  • A halt to the planned escalation of 21,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. We need to bring all our troops home now, not to send more into a country where military solutions have never worked.
  • A strong commitment to diplomacy as the only solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The U.S. must support negotiations already underway among various actors in Afghanistan, and must also engage all countries in the region with a stake in a peaceful Afghanistan. The announcement that Iran will join negotiations over Afghanistan is a positive development. We need to share more cups of tea for negotiating rather than more weapons where military solutions have never worked.*
  • A dramatic shift from military spending by the U.S. to funding for Afghan-led humanitarian community development and reconstruction projects to enable Afghan communities to improve daily life for their own people. Our goal is to put an end to U.S. war funding.

Please let us know of the actions you are planning by posting them  on the UFPJ calendar.

*The reference is to the work of Greg Mortenson as described in his New York Times #1 best-selling book, 'Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time', by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

Friday, March 20, 2009

War Crimes Press Conference Today

Today, from 3:15 to 4:15 PM (Eastern Time) Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights will speak at a special session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. His remarks can be views at www.oas.org/OASpage/Live.
Ratner will put forward a three point plan.

• Issue official recommendations to the United States to engage in criminal investigations and prosecutions for torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;
• Reform laws that prevent the victims of U.S. policies from learning the truth about these abuses; and
• Make reparation s to victims of human rights abuses committed by the U.S. government.

The word “victims” and the field of “victimology” have changed and grown in recent legal and historical scholarship. As a sub-field of legal history there are interesting and important debates about the elevation and deployment of this construct. Some French jurists have argued that the focus on victims can result in a perversion of criminal law and justice. They argue that the creation of specialized “Victim Judges” has undermined, twisted and perverted everyday criminal trials and reintroduced pre-revolutionary interpersonal vengeance into court proceedings.

It is important to note that the CCR proposal DOES NOT fall into such a trap. The ability of those who have been tortured to publicly confirm what they already know to be true is crucial for personal healing. Moreover, the process will enable each person to speak to us all and empower their voices in ways that will sustain a healing process. In many ways, the opportunity for on-going psychic reparation will be far more important than cash compensations that can never be commensurate with the damages and losses suffered by the human beings who have been abused.

When HAW was founded in 2003 we said, “We deplore the secrecy, deception, and distortion of history involved in the administration's conduct of a war that violates international law, intensifies attacks on civil liberties, and reaches toward domination of the Middle East and its resources.” The CCR initiative and approach offer us the best strategy to accomplish our goals and help create a historical record that “connects the dots” in our founding statement.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

El Salvador: Voting in Rebel Territory

I have just returned from observing Sunday's historic elections in El Salvador. For the first time in that country's history voters selected a left-wing government. This bring an end to 20 years of right-wing ARENA rule, the U.S.'s closest ally in the region and a party associated with paramilitary death squads in the 1980s.

El Salvador is the only country in Latin America that has troops as part of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The FMLN's victory will mean that the country will withdraw those troops, striking a significant blow against imperialism.

My report on the elections is available on Upside Down World at http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1771/1/

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Historian Gareth Porter on latest plan to win in Afghanistan...

Historian Gareth Porter has written a piece on the latest administration ideas about pacifying Afghanistan:
Plan to Split Taliban Lures Obama Deeper Into War.

The plan to "buy off" supposedly "reconcilable" Taliban fighters and thus split the insurgency projects an image onto the situation in Afghanistan that is contrary to the assessment of Afghanistan experts about the true motivation for the hostility toward coalition personnel. It is a repeat of numerous cases under the Bush administration of ignoring the real cultural context on the ground. It fails to recognize real fault lines among the insurgents - for example between the Arabs associated with al Qaeda and the local Taliban.

In the accompanying radio interview at http://antiwar.com/radio/, Porter assents to antiwar.com's radio host Scott Horton's charicature of the Afghans as a warlike people who will always fight, among themselves and against foreigners, implying either a Hobbesean state of nature or a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland view of the "noble savage". The two say that this image of eternal war represents the consensus of experts - it is in their ancient culture. As the conversation moves on, and as the article presents it, however, a more subtle view emerges: The Afghanistan insurgency is rooted in hostility to foreign occupation troops based primarily on desire for revenge for violence inflicted by the occupation forces on members of their groups. That view would seem to fit in better with the history of the clan/tribe-based society there, where sub-national loyalties and honor are so highly valued. Against that background, the idea of buying off parts of the insurgency seems absurd.

Afghani conceptions of honor, reconciliation and compensation do allow for monetary reimbursement for killing, however. So a scenario where the coalition buys off insurgents is not total fantasy. But each case would have to be personally negotiated by men (sic) of recognized authority and accompanied by ritualized actions that would be difficult to reconcile with military or bureaucratic traditions in the west. And any such action would leave the issue of the presence of foreign troops and the anger generated by foreing occupation as such unaddressed.


Monday, March 16, 2009

This Blog is NOT dead!

A recent comment on the previous story laments the stagnation of this blog and the fact that it is now commenting on things other than foreign policy (which it was not limited to before either, as several earlier postings can attest).

The HAWblog is not dead, but we are deliberating rules and procedures for its continuance because

- there were some sharp disagreements between the Steering Committee of HAW and those who were making the most frequent contributions

- there was a desire to slow down traffic to allow the new Steering Committee statement to remain at the top of the page.

We plan to return shortly with clear procedures for dealing with authors and ironing out disagreements, and perhaps somewhat narrower parameters for content. The slate of authors will likely change as well, although exactly how will depend on the decisions made by those members of the Steering Committee who will be elected to be in charge of the blog under the new rules.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Historians in Support of the Employee Free Choice Act


Historians in Support of the Employee Free Choice Act
March 14, 2009
By Michael Honey and Fred Haley and Dorothy Haley

Michael Honey's ZSpace Page

One hundred historians have declared their support for the Employee Free Choice Act, introduced into Congress on March 10 by Senator Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller. The legislation would make it easier for workers to organize unions and harder for employers to evade them. Workers could obtain a union when fifty percent sign cards authorizing a union. The law would also force employers to respond quickly and bargain in good faith or face increased fines and mandatory, binding arbitration by the National Labor Relations Board.

Why are faculty members, who are so notoriously un-organized, speaking on behalf of unions? There are many reasons, but on one level the reason is simple: democracy depends upon it, and our economy needs it.

The last great depression occurred when unions declined to almost nothing in the 1920s. Republican government cut taxes on the rich and removed many of the regulations of the Progressive era, which in turn allowed bankers and corporations to make sky-high profits. The housing and stock market boomed, and the rich got richer. That led to the crash of 1929.

Because labor was not organized, it had almost no restraining influence on government, leading to a vast divide between the rich and the working class. Sound familiar?

In 1935, the Wagner Act made it easier for workers to organize, establishing the right to freedom of association and speech on the job without employer intimidation or interference. The rise of unions paved the way to the Social Security Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and many of the government safety nets we rely upon today.

Because unions gained in strength, workers increased their wages and their buying power. When the economy came out of its stupor during the rapid industrialization of World War II, unions became widespread. The result was the rise of the largest middle class in world history.

This history favors two arguments about the need for labor law reform today. Without unions, government will not reflect the needs of the great majority of people who work for a living. Not only will democracy suffer, but wages will stagnate, people cannot afford to buy what they produce, and our economy will suffer.

Those who have jobs need to be able to advocate for themselves. Employers will not voluntarily raise wages, and government will not do very much to make that happen either. Only workers themselves can do that, but to do it, they need to be able to harness their numbers in an organized way.

Employers will say EFCA takes away the workers right to a secret ballot. It isn't true. If thirty percent or people in a work place petition for it, they can demand a secret ballot election. The trouble is, employer strategies since the 1980s have turned elections into a nightmare of intimidation, delays, and poor results for workers.

EFCA allows that if fifty percent petition for a union, it will take effect immediately. The choice of methods belongs to workers, not to the employers, who seem perfectly capable of protecting themselves. Let's face

it: Labor laws are written to protect workers.

History shows that we are in a time where worker rights need increased protection. Unions are clearly not the answer to every problem. But for capitalism to function in a democratic manner, we need them.

For a list of signers to the historians' petition, and for more information on the Employee Free Choice Act, see the web site (http://LAWCHA.org/tls.php).


By Michael Honey, Fred and Dorothy Haley Professor of Humanities, President, Labor and Working-Class History Association University of Washington, Tacoma http://faculty.washington.edu/mhoney/

Monday, March 09, 2009

More responses to the statement published by the HAW steering committee...

The following are only those e-mailed responses for which we have received explicit permission to publish.


To HAW Steering Committee:

I think we should revise our existing policy statement from September 21, 2003. It was good for then, but events have moved along. We should take some credit as an organization for helping to raise some of the anti-war consciousness that eventually became politicized and will result in the eventual end of US military occupation of Iraq by August 2010.

I think the proposed statement takes us well in the right direction. I would reduce the word-count but expand on the anti-war ideas. Please see my revised statement that is attached.

I have looked through the blog exchange and would restrict my comments to two issues. First, I do not think we need to attract all historians. We are liberal and progressive historians in a professional organization that has traditionally been quite conservative, often apolitical, and frequently silent on US imperial aggression. This should be our guiding light. Second, I agree with the contributor who wishes to remove the reference to global capitalism’s crisis. As a socialist, I need little persuading regarding the accuracy of the argument. I just think that HAW’s raison d’etre is anti-war opposition to US imperial policies past and present and that this is where our focus should lay.

I do not think we need a redefinition of HAW; nor do we need to consult the members in an e-mail ballot. I think the proposed statement should be a statement offered by the HAW steering committee. We elected you. You have solicited feedback and revision. That’s fine by me.

One suggestion for the future is that the policy statement might be updated every time by newly-elected steering committee members.

in solidarity,

J. R. Kerr-Ritchie


I agree totally with the statement only one word I would change: "crisis of global capitalism" for "global economic crisis." Capitalism (unless one is a determined terminologically commited marxist) is not a very clear category and adds a political tone that is not heplful and somewhat restricts the appeal of the statement. My best wishes and many thanks.

Arturo Giraldez


The new statement appropriately broadens the concerns of HAW and I believe should be considered as a re-definition of the group's purpose. I am very pleased to see at least a mention of the "global capitalism" in relation to US empire.

E. Wayne Ross


Dear Steering Committee,
I am enthusiastically in favor of the first three paragraphs, but strongly opposed to the fourth and much of the fifth. I think you stand a real danger of limiting your membership to a negligible sect as soon as you start talking about "the crisis of capitalism," a term that I've heard thrown around for too much of my life, and labelling the entire course of American history as evil. Many people, myself included, and I would suppose the Society of Friends, are opposed to all that you mention in the first three paragraphs but are not ready to agree on causes or on the complexion of American history in the 18th century. Please ponder ways of broadening your organization, not narrowing it.

Robert Lerner


Dear HAW Colleagues ~
I've read through the comments on the blog, yet still believe the new revision is strong, clear and a better expression of contemporary concerns. One minor suggestion - if we oppose both "foreign military bases" and US empire, should we not explicitly encourage the return of Guantanamo to Cuba? I think a job well done on a difficult and delicate issue! My thanks to those who worked so hard on this -
In solidarity,
nelly blacker-hanson


Hi -

As far as feedback - I would like to see a better developed rationale for opposition to the Afghan war. The major US media seem not to address this issue at all. US goals seem muddled and vague.

Best wishes,

Thomas K. Murphy


I like the statement and would support it as redefinition of HAW. I do have two comments, though. In this sentence, why not just "people" rather than "working people" (?):
"We support solutions to this crisis that seek to enrich the lives and increase the power of [working] peoples globally, and protect their fundamental human rights."

Also, in the penultimate sentence, would it make sense to add environmental to "social justice" (thus, "environmental and social justice")? Environmental justice is implicit in social justice, but it seems to me worth making the former more explicit.

Matthew Dennis


I like the revised/updated statement; I'm not sure its adoption would necessarily entail "redefinition" of HAW. Thanks for all the work you do.
Warm regards, Davis Joyce

I support the statement, and opt for the second option to include the question of support for Israel as part of the mession statement.
Magid Shihade


I support the revised statement, in general and as the position of HAW rather than just the Steering Cmte. Thanks for drafting it and sending it out for comment.
Dan Berger


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Some responses to the new HAW statement proposal...

Response to our new statement has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are the e-mail responses we have gotten from our members who have given up permission to make their remarks public. Other responses can also be seen as direct comments made at the blog posting of the statement itself (story below this one).

Since there is concern that criticism of the statement is not being given a fair viewing at this blog, a particularly critical contribution to the discussion is highlighted below in red. We encourage comments and discussion about the statement, both pro and con, in the comments section.

I think the new statement looks pretty good and should be adopted (after revision) as a new general statement of HAW's purpose. The old statement, with its heavy focus on Iraq, is becoming dated as the imperial action moves to Afghanistan, Gaza, etc.

I caught one grammatical error in the draft: in the 3rd par., "accompanies" should be "acompany," since you have a plural subject (secrecy, deception, distortion, etc.) for that verb.

Beyond that, you might prune the prose a little so that the statement is not an unbroken chain of multiclause sentences. But that's just a stylistic matter.

On a substantive note, might you want to include another sentence or phrase pointing toward "lessons of history?" The current draft statement is really just an anti-imperialist manifesto that doesn't reflect a distinctive "historically-minded" approach. I'm wondering if there are things that stand out in particular to historians. Perhaps a troubling parallel between Obama, who is now pushing a surge in Afghanistan to fend off charges of being "soft on terrorism," and his fellow Democrats JFK/LBJ, who did likewise in Vietnam to avoid being labelled "soft on communism?" Just a thought.

Thanks for your hard and good work on behalf of the membership.

Roberta Gold

I'm down with the statement. It's well put together. As always, better to light a single candle than curse the darkness.

Incidentally, I'm not on the updated signers' list but I'm happy to be.

Louis Segal


I like it. There's nothing I see wrong in or with it.

My thanks to all those who have worked on it.

Daniel White


Dear Friends,

Thank you for your enduring commitment to these issues. And for considering an updating of the statement.

I write as one who dates from long back in the struggle, as indeed to many other members of HAW. I appreciated your statement of basic values and specific positions. But if there are lessons to be learned from forty years ago, they would include two points. If we wish to be effective in bringing people in (rather than simply stating our postion) our statement needs to be succinct. And it needs to avoid polarizing language; we need allies, even at the expense of expressing intellectual purity.

With these points in mind, I've proposed some revisions, both to make this more concise and to serve as an arena that will attract, not alienate others. Below, I attach three texts: your original, my proposed revisions in track changes mode (so you can trace each proposed change), and a clear copy of the revision.

I realize this will disappoint some people who want to make points of their own, but it seems to me more important to write in such a way what can bring a range of diverse people along.


David Newbury


I love the new statement. Have been feeling so frustrated about the build-up in Afghanistan...wishing the president were better versed in history instead of constitutional law.

As for how the statement should be handled, I'm for whatever will get it out in pretty much the form it's in now. If the membership is less rad than the leadership things can sometimes be derailed when the membership is not unified.

One thing I hate about email is that I can't hear various arguments pro and con, and in isolation it's hard for me to think out the ramifications of a certain position. I like to come to my conclusions after listening to what others' concerns are.

Anyway, 'way to go!

Ann Jefferson

Just a quick note to say that I like the new HAW statement, which I think should be a re-definition of HAW itself. It seems to me much more of a general identity statement for the organization than a specific timely comment on Lebanon, Gaza, or Afghanistan. Thanks for your excellent work on this.


Scott Laderman

What HAW is doing and has done is of great importance. Neither the media, nor congress nor the "public" have the expertise at their disposal that HAW does. What is more they are not beholden to anyone and can address issues in as unbiased a way as is possible. You are indispensable if this nation is to deserve to long endure.

Bill Springer

"…or that occupy the territories of other peoples." Given the vast number of states that occupy territories claimed by other peoples this would appear to be a call for ending almost all financial and military support for other countries. That might be a good thing, but I don't think that it is what's really meant here. It seems to me that this is a mealymouthed way of sneaking a proposal to cut off aid for Israel into the document without openly calling for that and opening a potentially divisive debate on the topic. We should either open this to full and honest debate or we should drop this line from the statement.

Stan Nadel


It would be a disastrous strategic mistake for HAW to adopt the proposed new statement. The statement's assertions on domestic policies will only weaken the anti-war movement by driving away anti-imperialist libertarians and conservatives who have been among the most committed opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whereas the original statement wisely avoided making domestic policy prescriptions, the proposed new statement calls for "a drastic reduction of national resources away from military spending and towards urgently needed domestic programs." This is an attack on the politics of libertarians and conservatives who have campaigned tirelessly against the wars but who object to spending on both the warfare and the welfare state.

Similarly, the claim that "the current, rapidly escalating crisis of global capitalism, which is creating suffering worldwide, will lead to escalating wars abroad and intensifying repression at home," is rejected by many anti-war libertarians and conservatives who believe that the source of the current crisis is too little, not too much, reliance on free-market "capitalism." Several scholars sympathetic to HAW's original statement, such as distinguished economic historian Robert Higgs, author of Crisis and Leviathan, attribute the current global economic crisis to governmental actions such as deficit spending, bailouts, Federal Reserve inflationary credit expansion, various stimulus plans, and vast military spending.

Three years ago, there was another attempt to make similar changes to HAW's statement of purpose. David Montgomery, a founder and leading member of the organization, eloquently gave cheer to those of us who favor the strategy of uniting all anti-war historians when he wrote the following: "I remain cautious, however, about taking organizational stands on some of the other issues mentioned as possible targets of HAW activity, especially the socio-economic impact of imperialism. From the outset HAW has encompassed historians with divergent political views, among them quite a number of conservative libertarians. We must try not only to keep our ranks diverse but united. We should welcome open discussion of such issues, but limit the extent to which we take organizational stands. There are, after all, other organizations that quite properly represent their particular analyses and viewpoints. HAW's aim should always be to involve as many historians as possible and to make them feel at home, without in any way prescribing or stifling particular analyses of US power or interpretations of what is now called 'globalization.'"

Montgomery's words apply equally today. Let's not weaken the antiwar cause by adopting positions on domestic and economic issues that will only alienate us from potential allies.

In solidarity against the empire,

David T. Beito

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

[haw-info] Draft of HAW statement

To members and friends of Historians Against the War,

For the past several weeks the Steering Committee has been discussing revising or updating our policy statement that people have been signing to join HAW. We adopted the current statement on September 21, 2003, and it reads:

As historians, teachers, and scholars, we oppose the expansion of United States empire and the doctrine of pre-emptive war that have led to the occupation of Iraq. We deplore the secrecy, deception, and distortion of history involved in the administration's conduct of a war that violates international law, intensifies attacks on civil liberties, and reaches toward domination of the Middle East and its resources. Believing that both the Iraqi people and the American people have the right to determine their own political and economic futures (with appropriate outside assistance), we call for the restoration of cherished freedoms in the United States and for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Several times since 2003 the Steering Committee has expressed opinions on issues that were outside the literal framework of the founding statement, but that appeared to many people to be related. The Steering Committee criticized US government support for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, and for the invasion of Gaza earlier this winter. Last fall we adopted a set of "discussion points" on Afghanistan that called for the US to withdraw rather than to escalate.

More recently, there has been discussion of formalizing a broader scope for the organization, either through a more general statement by the Steering Committee or by a new statement of unity for HAW as an organization. A proposed document that could potentially serve either purpose is included in this message. We invite feedback on either or both of the following points:

-- The substance of the statement: Do you have concerns about the proposed text? Would you suggest revisions?

-- The purpose of the statement: If it were to be adopted after the process of feedback and revision, should it be simply as a statement of opinion by the Steering Committee (parallel to the earlier statements on Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan) or as a re-definition of HAW itself? (If we follow the latter course, it would be subject to approval in an e-mail ballot open to recipients of the HAW-Info messages.)

Please send any feedback to statement@historiansagainstwar.org. This statement is also posted on our blog, and those who so wish can discuss the proposal at

Jim O'Brien and Marc Becker, co-chairs
for the HAW Steering Committee

New Statement Proposal:

As historically-minded activists, scholars, students, and teachers, we stand opposed to wars of aggression, military occupations of foreign lands, and imperial efforts by the United States and other powerful nations to dominate the internal life of other countries.

In particular, we continue to demand a speedy end to US military involvement in Iraq, and we insist on the withdrawal, not the expansion, of US and NATO military forces in Afghanistan. We also call for a sharp reduction of US military bases overseas, and an end to US financial and military support of regimes that repress their people, or that occupy the territories of other peoples. We favor as well a drastic redirection of national resources away from military spending and towards urgently needed domestic programs.

We deplore the secrecy, deception, and distortion of history, the repeated violation of international law, and the attack on civil liberties domestically that accompanies the present U.S. foreign policy of war and militarism—a foreign policy that became especially belligerent in the aftermath of September 11.

We fear that the current, rapidly escalating crisis of global capitalism, which is creating suffering worldwide, will lead to escalating wars abroad and intensifying repression at home. We support solutions to this crisis that seek to enrich the lives and increase the power of working peoples globally, and protect their fundamental human rights. We are unalterably opposed to any attempts to solve the crisis at their expense.

We are aware that, in the words of the late historian William Appleman Williams, "empire as a way of life" has characterized the United States since its foundation and is not easily changed. However, we are mindful as well that the current conjunction of international and domestic crises offers an opportunity to alter longstanding destructive patterns. As historians, we believe that we can and must make a contribution to the broad, international movements for peace, democracy, and social justice. In pursuing our objectives, we look toward building and joining alliances with a wide variety of intellectual and activist groups that share our

Note: You are receiving this email because you signed a Historians Against the War statement (see http://www.historiansagainstwar.org/). If you no longer wish to receive these occasional messages about HAW's work, send an email to haw-info-request@stopthewars.org?subject=unsubscribe.
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Paul Harvey: A Stilled Voice of the Old Right

When I was seven years old or so growing up in the small town of Albert Lea, Minnesota, Paul Harvey was one of the first voices I heard in the morning. His memorable over-the-top delivery kept me entertained as I gulped down my mother’s signature “mush” (which, contrary to the name, was a tasty Norwegian dish of cream, cinnamon, and butter). None of the reserved Minnesota adults I knew sounded like that! Harvey’s bracing “Good Day!” helped get me in the right frame of mind for the coming day in school--one my least favorite activities.

After we moved to Minneapolis, I rarely heard him on the air. Even the old fogie stations didn’t seem to carry him. His fan base was always in small towns, where he often preceded or followed the daily crop report. Like many, I eventually came to dismiss Harvey as an antiquated vestige from a 1950s time warp, a sort of precursor to such bumbling and pretentious fictional new announcers as Les Nessman (“WKRP in Cincinnati”) or Ted Baxter (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”)

Later, however, in my research for my book on tax revolts I gained a new appreciation for Harvey. He stood out as one of the last prominent survivors of the once powerful Old Right of the 1940s and 1950s. Old Right conservatives had fought a dogged rear-guard action against the New Deal welfare and warfare states. The man who published Harvey’s first books in the 1950s was none other than John M. Pratt. An ardent FDR hater, Pratt, while in Chicago during the 1930s, had led one of the largest tax strikes in American history. He obviously saw something in young Harvey.

While Harvey moved away from his earlier Old Right isolationism, events sometimes pulled him back to it. It was Harvey, along with Walter Cronkite, who was instrumental in turning the heartland against the Vietnam War. In 1970, when Richard Nixon was still popular in countless small towns Harvey announced dramatically in his daily commentary: “Mr. President, I love you ... but you're wrong." He was deluged with angry mail and phone calls.

For this expression of old fashioned Midwestern horse sense alone, Paul Harvey deserves the recognition and thanks of all Americans who value peace.

Robert Dreyfuss ("Devil's Game" author) Interviewed

Robert Dreyfuss, the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, is interviewed by Scott Horton.

Dreyfuss also blogs at the "The Dreyfuss Report" for The Nation.

Here is the audio.

"Bin Laden Loves Our Foreign Policy"

Ron Paul goes into the lion's den and gives the members of CPAC a much needed lesson in the dangers of an interventionist foreign policy and the need to protect civil liberty. He doesn't pull his punches and you can feel the tension in the room.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Obama Administration More Deadly Than the Taliban

The AP reports that "more Afghan civilians are dying in U.S. and allied operations than at the hands of the Taliban, according to a count by The Associated Press. In the first two months of the year, U.S., NATO or Afghan forces have killed 100 civilians, while militants have killed 60."