In American politics and media, anyone who questions the concept of “American Exceptionalism” is banished to the margins of society. But this self-aggrandizing notion has always contained a large measure of self-deception, ignoring the suffering inflicted on other peoples and on U.S. soldiers, as Gary G. Kohls notes.
Some of our special stories in May focused on the Right’s racist past, the Republican scandal-mongering, Ronald Reagan’s ties to genocide, Barack Obama’s defense of drone attacks, and new tensions in the Middle East.
From the Archive: Mother’s Day has become a time to thank mothers for the hard work they do raising children and keeping families together, surely a worthy message. But the original Mother’s Day in 1870 had a more political intent, urging mothers to stop the horrors of war, as Gary G. Kohls wrote in 2011.
Before his execution by hanging in 1947, Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hoess confessed to his role in the industrialized slaughter of millions of Jews and other “enemies” of Hitler’s Third Reich. But Hoess’s guilt – while extraordinary in its numbers – extends to all leaders who carelessly choose war, Gary G. Kohls observes.
The Boston Marathon bombings have brought forth a frenzy of right-wing hate speech against Muslims who are depicted as mindlessly violent. But many of history’s worst atrocities – including the Holocaust, the Vietnam War and even today’s “war on terror” — have been carried out primarily by Christians, as Gary G. Kohls recalls.
The American political system continues to ignore President Eisenhower’s dour warning about the Military-Industrial Complex and embrace President Reagan’s happy “We’re No. 1” illusions. The long-term consequences of this choice have been devastating to most U.S. citizens and to the world, writes Gary G. Kohls.
In life, Martin Luther King Jr. was often demeaned for his radical vision of peace and justice – and not just by crude racists and warmongers but by well-spoken members of the elite. Then, in death, King became a national icon but with his sharpest criticisms dulled down or forgotten, writes Gary G. Kohls.
Lying and warfare have long gone hand in hand, a reality that continues today with a U.S. news media that opts for simpleminded storylines about good guys vs. bad guys, the pro-U.S. side against the America-hating side. Such nonsense has caused much death and destruction, notes Gary G. Kohls.
Since World War II, the common reaction to the horrendous crimes of the Nazis has been to wonder how such extreme behavior was possible. But the more important point is how the process of killing could be made so mundane, a question that remains relevant today, as Gary G. Kohls explains.
For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a time of family get-togethers around a traditional turkey dinner, with vague recollections of Pilgrims sharing a meal with Native Americans in eastern Massachusetts nearly four centuries ago. But for the remnants of those indigenous tribes, it is a time for mourning, Gary G. Kohls writes.