Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn: On The Stupidity Of War




Howard Zinn, author of "A People's History of the United States" died at 87 yesterday. As this was one of the more eye-opening and provocative books I ever read on American Civilization I offer this recent interview as a tribute to this influential former veteran of World War II who pointed out the uncomfortable facts about modern warfare.

24 comments:

  1. "War is now the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people"

    Every generation idealizes war. Zinn did an excellent job here, telling us all yet-again why this is a dangerous and irresponsible act.

    RIP, Mr. Zinn. You were influential far beyond your own imagining.

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  2. Too bad no one is listening except those of us who agree with him!

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  3. Yes,I read about that. I've never read his books, but of course,I know the name.

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  4. I can imagine what the loony right thought of him.

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  5. That is usually the case. People usually only listen to what they want to hear

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  6. Dr. Zinn made a lot of people reasess American military history, Astra. You don't have to believe all of his historicla viewpoints to see that see this clear Truth: to idealize war is to create an environment where leaders can destroy the good this country has stood for in the name of the own glorification and petty vendettas.

    One war can easily begat another; that's how we were stampeded as a nation into Iraq.

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  7. All too true Jacquie. Hard as it is at times (for me at least) we should all try to listen to viewpoints we don't agree with, provided they rise above hate dogma and name-calling.

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  8. Yes, farewell J.D. "Catcher in the Rye" was a great book. He never had to write another--but hopefully he has a couple tucked away to be revealed.

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  9. "One war can easily begat another; that's how we were stampeded as a nation into Iraq."
    Oh yeah,and don't forget the egotist that thought god called him to do this job!
    I still think we should let women run things. We're less likely to go to war, in most cases. We just finished studying Freud and the folks that came after him. I've never been a Freudian, but I'm getting there now!

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  10. The 'loony right' was no doubt made quite uncomfortable by his work, Jim.

    It was very difficult to ever find Howard Zinn on American commerical television; the television networks networks want comfortable nattering commentators who don't expend the poltical debate much beyond what happened a few years ago.

    The best extended interview I ever saw on him was on the public satellite station "C-Span", on their "Book Notes" programming.

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  11. Bush was taking a page from William McKinley, who claiimed God told him to conquer the Phillipines and make it an American colony. Such "answered prayers" are always a bit hard to get independant verification on.

    Women are a lot less likely to kill; I think it has something to do with giving birth and raising kids, or maybe they are generally smarter. :-)

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  12. You're right Fred. We must always challenge ourselves to read and listen to the views of serious-minded people, even if we are uncomfortable.

    P.S.--Pat Robertson doesn't count.

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  13. Or maybe both? lol
    I don't know about less likely to kill, but I do think we are less likely to declare a war, or to kill on a mass scale.

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  14. I agree. Certainly women don't start wars like men do.

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  15. We seem to be more sneaky and we usually have an emotional tie to whoever we kill! lol
    Not that it makes a difference, but it looks to me like we just kill one at a time.

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  16. An acceptable rate of attrition compared to total warfare.

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  17. It would sure take a long time to depopulate a country, even a small one!

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  18. One could start with Monaco and see how things go :-)

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  19. Why Monaco? Did you lose at the tables?? lol

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  20. Thanks for posting this memorial to Howard Zinn Doug, I hadn't heard of his death, he will be missed by all historians amateur and professional who deconstruct propaganda and lies and leave them in neatly labeled pieces for us all to mull over.
    His contribution to the history of those ordinary people who actually make history rather than the puffed up elitists who lay claim to it is a very influential one.
    Howard Zinn has never been more important than he is now, when the 'government' and their agencies try to rewite what actually happened (like Blair tried to do in London yesterday) he keeps the focus at the human scale of events.

    I think it would be entirely in keeping with the US Constitution if the current government were to be overthrown by the people and their servile henchmen accommodated at Guantanamo Bay, Bagram torture center and all of the secret CIA dungeons to await their fate.

    That would be a fitting tribute to Howard Zinn I think, but in the meantime thanks for posting your own testimonial Doug. A great post.

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  21. Thanks AA. Yes, despite the marginalization of his message by the corprate media, Zinn's interviews and his writings bore the mark of a man who had seen 'the dogs of war' first-hand and refused to wave the flag when things looked fishy. He was a good teacher for a lot of Americans who had been taught to see history as a "great man" parade.

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