In The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism--From al Qa'ida to ISIS, recently retired Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Morrell uses his talents to offer an unblinking and insightful assessment of CIA's counterterrorism successes and failures of the past twenty years.

  The year was 1922: World War I had just come to a close, the Ottoman Empire was in decline, and Asa Jennings, a YMCA worker from upstate New York, had just arrived in the quiet coastal city of Smyrna to teach sports to boys. Several hundred miles to the east in Turkey’s interior, tensions between Greeks and Turks had boiled over into deadly violence.

Turkish soldiers proceeded to burn the city and rape and kill countless Christian refugees. Unwilling to leave with the other American civilians and determined to get Armenians and Greeks out of the doomed city, Jennings worked tirelessly to feed and transport the thousands of people gathered at the city’s Quay. With the help of naval officer Halsey Powell, and a handful of others, Jennings commandeered a fleet of unoccupied Greek ships and was able to evacuate a quarter million innocent people.


  Today in our Ideas Matter segment, we check in with the Vermont Humanities Council to talk about their program Standing Together: Veterans Book Groups. We are joined by Michael Heaney, a retired American History Professor, lawyer, and a wounded combat veteran of the Vietnam War. In 1965 and 1966, he served in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division as an infantry platoon leader. Much of his post-war life has been devoted to working with combat veterans, and to writing, teaching, and leading discussions about war- and veteran-related matters. For 15 years, he led wilderness expedition courses for combat veterans, in a program jointly sponsored by Outward Bound and the Veterans Administration.

  When Emma Sky volunteered to help rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, she had little idea what she was getting in to. Her assignment was only supposed to last three months. She went on to serve there longer than any other senior military or diplomatic figure, giving her an unrivaled perspective of the entire conflict.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we check in with the Vermont Humanities Council and a speaker in their First Wednesdays lecture series. Dr. Edward Tick, director of the Soldier’s Heart Clinic, will be talking about "The Human face of War: Combat, Healing, and the Humanities" on Wednesday, April 1 at 7pm at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport, Vermont. Dr. Tick explores the inner world of combat, the universal dimensions of veterans’ wounding, and a philosophy of healing combat’s consequences—recognizing that while war most directly affects veterans, it wounds us all.

Dr. Edward Tick joins us now along with Sylvia Plumb, Director of Communications for Vermont Humanities.

Paul Elisha: Defense?

Mar 17, 2015

The Congressional ‘War Hawks’ and their Profit-Monger patrons are at it again.  That most American of Poets, Carl Sandburgh called them the “Hoodlums!”  “This is the hate my father gave me, this was in my mother’s milk, this is you and me and all of us in a world of hoodlums—maybe so.”… he wrote, “…it has always been so, it will always be so, there is nothing more to it.”   “Let us do this now…for our mothers…for our sisters and wives…let us kill, kill, kill---for the torsos of the women are tireless and the loins of the men are strong;” he wrote in 1919, after the first World War.  But in 1936, on a note of hope, he wrote: “Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”

  Richard Rhodes is the Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

His new book, Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it Made, tells the remarkable story of the Spanish Civil War through the eyes of the reporters, writers, artists, doctors, and nurses who witnessed it.

  The First American-Afghan War, a CIA war, was approved by President George W. Bush and directed by the author, Robert Grenier, the CIA station chief in Islamabad. Forging separate alliances with warlords, Taliban dissidents, and Pakistani intelligence, Grenier launched the “southern campaign,” orchestrating the final defeat of the Taliban and Hamid Karzai’s rise to power in eighty-eight chaotic days.

Grenier writes about the war - what happened and what is meant - in his book, 88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary.

  How did the Vietnam War change the way we think of ourselves as a people and a nation? Christian Appy, author of the oral history of the Vietnam War Patriots, now examines the relationship between the war’s realities and myths and its impact on our national identity, conscience, pride, shame, popular culture, and postwar foreign policy.

Drawing on a vast variety of sources from movies, songs, and novels to official documents, media coverage, and contemporary commentary, Appy offers an interpretation of the war and its far-reaching consequences. The new book is American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity.

He will be speaking about and signing his new book at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA on Tuesday, February 24th.

  In its earliest days, the American-led war in Afghanistan appeared to be a triumph — a "good war" in comparison to the debacle in Iraq. It has since turned into one of the longest and most costly wars in U.S. history. The story of how this good war went so bad may well turn out to be a defining tragedy of the 21st century — yet as acclaimed war correspondent Jack Fairweather explains, it should also give us reason to hope.

In The Good War, Fairweather provides the first full narrative history of the war in Afghanistan, from the 2001 invasion to the 2014 withdrawal.